Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Queen Charlene Led the Way

Today we write in honor of a faithful participant of our Walk for the Animals: a beautiful lady with long, flowing white hair and sparkling dark eyes; refined taste; and the confident ambition of a successful leader. Queen Charlene made Walk history. She also stood about two feet high. She was a gorgeous American Eskimo.

Charlene’s doting person, Marian, assisted the Queen in her many successful Walk ventures. Marian writes:

“The 6th Walk for the Animals [twelve years ago!] was the first event for Charlene and me … I chose Charlene out of all of my dogs because she was beautiful, she loved attention, and she loved to go for a walk. She knew my walking shoes and she'd have a fit when she saw me putting them on; she'd run around the house barking until I snared her and put her leash on. Each year at the Walk, no matter where we started in the crowd, she'd pull ahead until she was in the lead. Then she'd hold her beautiful head high, smile, and wag that beautiful plume of a tail. She loved it. And she loved winning."

Indeed, Charlene and Marian have taken the top fundraising prize for several years now, and together raised thousands of dollars for HSCC!

“People loved giving Charlene money,” Marian writes. “After a while people would ask if it was ‘time to give Charlene money again.’ She had a following.”

And Marian helped.

“Each year I made a postcard with her photo and a theme: ‘Take Charlene for a Walk,’ ‘Still Going Strong,’ and, of course, in 2010 as ‘Sweet Sixteen’ with her crown and sash. Somewhere I also have ‘Queen Charlene,’ ‘Keep Charlene on Top’ (she's sitting on a bench and my other dogs are under the bench) … you get the idea. I'd enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope so it was easy for people to send a check back to us.”

We, too, looked forward to the advent of Charlene’s inevitable win at the Walk each year. It became tradition to announce Marian and Charlene as the winning fundraisers. In the midst of applause, a proud, petite white dog would emerge purposefully from the crowd, approach the stage with her starlet smile—fur blowing in the breeze—and accept the award with the knowing grace and humility of a dignitary. We loved that moment.

Make a tribute to Queen Charlene's work for shelter animals.

On May 5th, we received this email from Marian:

“The star of the walkathon, the lovely (both inside and out) Charlene, died today. She lived for two words: ‘good girl’—and she earned those words hundreds of times over her almost 18 years. So the walkathon this year, for me, will be in her memory.”

As you can imagine, we were deeply saddened by this news. It’s hard for us to imagine the Walk without Charlene.

Marian has chosen Charlenes’ 15-year-old sister, the Fair Miss Bianca, to fill her predecessor’s dainty white shoes this Sunday—because Miss Bianca is “the softest dog in the world.”

Marian and Bianca began their rounds over the weekend, and have raised over $700 already.

If you haven’t begun fundraising yet, could you follow Charlene's lead? Set up a fundraising page online or download a pledge form to raise money offline. Don't feel like fundraising? Make a tribute to Charlene by donating to Marian and Bianca's page.

We have only five days left to make the Walk a success for our shelter, and are still $13,000 from our goal. You do not have to attend the event to help.

We have a special award for Charlene planned for this year’s Walk. We hope you’ll join us in honoring her steadfast work for her temporarily less advantaged fellow animals. And what better way to remember her, then by asking your friends, neighbors, family to invest in the futures of the animals at HSCC ... with a wag and a smile!

Thank you.

You can find details about the 18th Annual Walk for the Animals here.

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