Woman Cozies Up to Feral Dog in the Woods As Neighbors Rally In Support

February 18, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

A local community has rallied together to save a feral dog from the cold, DNAinfo reports, after one woman started sleep with the wild dog in the woods to keep it warm.

Washington Heights woman Denise Lauffer, a dogwalker with a habit of adopting feral dogs. Residents say that the dog, who Lauffer called Charlie, has been roaming the lands of Highbridge Park and Inwood Hill Park for 10 years. But Lauffer moved out last week because she didn’t think the sickly dog would survive the temperatures, hovering near zero degrees.

The 40-year-old created a makeshift shelter for Charlie and “was able to line the bottom of his bed with hand warmers,” she said. The entire neighborhood seemingly took notice:

There were the school safety agents and teachers from across from the park at P.S. 5, two Russian women, a traveling salesman who frequented the neighborhood and a handful of other residents who brought Charlie hot meals and blankets.

Even a Con Edison worker stopped by one day to donate more than 30 hand warmers.

“[Charlie] had coats and blankets and [he was] sleeping on pillows and hand warmers and hot water bottles,” Lauffer said. “You name it he had it.”

On Sunday, several neighbors were able to get Charlie into a van and took him to the Animal Medical Center, and went home with another of Lauffer’s neighbors who is overseeing his medical care.

(Photo: Steven Severinghaus)