An upper Manhattan woman slept outside in a makeshift shelter for two days straight — braving ruthless winds and bone-chilling temperatures — as she risked her life to save a stray dog from freezing to death.
When temperatures in the Big Apple plummeted to record lows over the weekend, Denise Lauffer, 40, knew she had to do something drastic to ensure the survival of Charlie, a local feral dog who was in desperate need of medical care.
The black-and-tan canine had been born to a wild pack of around a dozen dogs in Highbridge Park.
Worried that Charlie was too old to survive the relentless weather conditions after spending 10 years in the park, Lauffer wanted to get him safely indoors, but knew she would ultimately have to earn his trust to do so after he had eluded capture attempts in the past.
“He needs to associate me . . . [with] food and companionship and heat and warmth,” the Washington Heights resident explained.
So in the attempt to save his life, Lauffer braved the cold and began cozying up with Charlie inside a temporary doghouse she had constructed.
“[Charlie] had coats and blankets and [he was] sleeping on pillows and hand warmers and hot water bottles,” she told DNAinfo.com. “You name it, he had it.”
During the two full nights she was in the shelter, Lauffer fed him hot meals and even snuggled up close to keep him warm through the night.
“I was able to line the bottom of his bed with hand warmers,” she said. “He loved it.”
By Sunday, neighbors finally managed to wrangle the pooch into a van and transport him to a local veterinarian, where he was treated and released to the care of another concerned citizen, Tina Ilmet.
But when Ilmet noticed that he wasn’t running around or eating, she decided to bring Charlie to Blue Pearl animal hospital in Hell’s Kitchen to undergo tests.
“He unfortunately is doing about the same as when he came in,” Blue Pearl’s Dr. Elizabeth Wolf told The Post. “Maybe a slight improvement in that he’s more hydrated now.”
In just two days, his fundraising page was already at more than $2,500 and counting.
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