May 15, 2000 was a very special day for
our Golden family. We had our Book Signing Party for the adorable book,
Charlie: A True Story about a Real Dog, written by Karen Grassmuck
Kraushaar, with photography by Doris Kays Kraushaar. This
book details a very special Golden guy. Imagine filling up
your tank at the local gas station and having a beautiful,
friendly dog comes to collect your money. Cash or credit,
Charlie took care of it all, with a wagging tail and eager
smile that brightened everyone's day. This Golden boy lived
in Saline, Michigan and helped Rick and Harry Parsons at the
Marathon station on Michigan Avenue.
Our party had its proceeds benefiting Golden Retriever Rescue. How really thrilling it was to meet both authors
(Karen and Doris Kraushaar) of this wonderful Golden book.
We had Darcy and Alfie as our Golden
Goodwill Ambassadors, helping to welcome folks to this fun event. And, hubby Gary, with my
favorite Golden sweatshirt on, was helping lots as well! All of the following lovely
pictures taken during the party were courtesy of Doris (except for the one pose below of
Doris and Karen that we took!).
Now, don't Karen and Doris
mother-in-law) look GReat together, with pens in hand? There were loads of books on hand,
and folks had an opportunity to have their purchases customized.
We were thrilled to be able
to have Karen and Doris complete some special books for me. It was thrilling for them to
personalize a book for Sally and her Golden family who live in Switzerland. We sure hope
that she enjoys this special treat when it arrives!
We met loads of folks and loads of
Goldens and made lots of new friends. There were lots of special visitors to Timonium,
Maryland's Pet Depot, where the party was held. Dan, the owner of Pet Depot, was on hand, and we couldn't have done the event without
And, Shaaron and Cy Plate, rescue officers, were on board. Shaaron brought her
special TV/Video Player and everyone shared in special tapes of Gas Station Charlie at
work in Michigan.
So many Goldens were in attendance and
it became a true GoldenFest. Even some puppies were on board. Doesn't Karen look so
content with this Golden boy?
She is hoping to have puppies one day with her young Bailey. Hogan, the old man of the
house, is still quite active at age 13.
Here is Karen's family, which includes her
husband, Kevin (Doris's son), and of course Bailey and Hogan. Kevin is actually pictured
in the Gas Station Charlie book. He grew up in Saline, Michigan, and actually went to high
school with Charlie's human and owner of the infamous Marathon Gas Station.
We had plenty of refreshments for both
our 2 and 4-footed guests. But, Darcy, here was forgetting her manners. Here, she is
dunking into the ice chest for some refreshing ice cubes. The only problem with this, is that this chest was the
same one that our human guests were using to get ice for their drinks. OOPS!!
We loved when Alfie and Darcy got a
chance to interact with the kids in attendance. Sean Thiess, son to Pam, was having such a
great time with all of the Golden guys at the party. Pam is a very special lady who has
been involved with Golden rescue for some time.
Just look at the love on Pam's face for
handsome Bart, one of our happy Golden party members. Pam says that of all of her
children, Sean is the most involved with their Golden family. At eleven years of age, he
is the perfect playmate. I've already asked if Pam could lend me Sean so that my guys
could have a human playmate. But, she told me to be careful for what you wished for!
We think Sean and Alfie became fast buddies at the party. Could you have any more appealing
smiling faces? We were very excited when these pictures arrived from Doris and made up an
enlarged version of Sean with Alfie, also framing it for Sean. We hope that it becomes a
valued memento of the wonderful time that he seemed to be having at the party.
We had some wonderful Golden Retriever
Rescue folks attend this event. Sue and Bill Hutt are one of the foster families that provide immediate homes for Goldens. In fact,
they give of their time to do this for both golden rescue groups that service Maryland.
Boy, don't we wish we had more noble folks like these.
Foster families provide so much of
the hard and important work of a rescue organization. They get Goldens from some sad
situations, and must work hard to turn many of our friends around. Health needs must be
addressed, and emotional support and loving must also be overflowing. Here are Bill and
Sean rewarding some nice sits with tasty treats.
Below, is a nice big family picture. It shows Bruce and
Lynne Zucks with their adored Goldens, Bart and Zoe. Bruce & Lynne have also provided
fostering for many Goldens, actually having fostered Pam's Golden rescue boy Hogan before
he came to become part of her family. And, there's Pam, with two loving boys seemingly
attached to her (Sean and Alfie).
By Alice Tippery, Staff Writer, The Saline Reporter
Saline has enjoyed its share of glory stemming from talented poets,
writers, performers, lawyers and judges who hail from the community. There have been
prehistoric bones and courtroom decisions that have drawn attention to Saline, but nothing
quite like a canine named Charlie.
The dog has appeared on several Detroit TV stations, CNN, and has
been featured on three Ann Arbor, two Canadian, one Kentucky and one California radio
station. Paul Harvey also highlighted Saline's friendly pooch on a recent broadcast.
On May 10, a camera crew from "Inside Edition" will film
Charlie at his work place-Harry's Marathon, at the corner of East Michigan Avenue and
Even David Letterman is considering having the
6-year-old Golden Retriever, who collects gas
money from customers, on his show and filming of Charlie for a new program "Amazing
Tails," will be televised this fall.
But Charlie has not let the attention go to his head, although a
portion has gone to his belly. "The only thing that's changed is he only gets one
treat now," says Harry Parsons, owner of the station.
Since Charlie's reward for his labor is a dog biscuit each time he
collects a patron's money, Parsons also is consulting the vet for the healthiest brand to
offer the faithful canine, who truly has put Saline on the map.
National and international newspapers have picked up on Charlie's
story since The Saline Reporter covered the theft of Charlie's retirement fund last year.
"Nothing would surprise me anymore," claims Parsons, who
has experienced a substantial increase in business "thanks" to the pilferage
But don't think for a minute that Parsons and his son Rick,
Charlie's owner, are the only ones benefiting from the notoriety. As Parsons so aptly
points out, Charlie's story has universal appeal. Letters and personal visits to Charlie
prove that people welcome good news.
Maria Lochrenberg of the Republic of South Africa was so thankful
to have caught some footage of Charlie at his "job" that she sent off a Rand
coin to be taped to Charlie's new retirement fund for "good luck."
Lochrenberg, who says her three dogs are "spoilt" and
"could not apply for any kind of job," wrote that around Easter the holiday
traffic toll in her country is so depressing that the "short video and lovely
shots" of Charlie's story were particularly encouraging to her.
|Mr. Rick Parsons and
Charlie the Garage Golden Retriever
At Some Garage
United States of America
Lochrenberg and her husband were so uplifted by the canine
interest story that she jotted off a letter having only the sketchiest information. The
Charlie and Harry have had the letter
framed and it is proudly on display at his workplace. Locally, Charlie continues to
brighten days of customers. As patron Barb Alderink observes, "How can you have a bad
day after you pay a dog for your gas?"
Canine Cashier Misses his Stolen Kitty
By Don Bauerle, The Detroit News 1996
low-life rats stole the kitty from Charlie, the celebrity canine
cashier at Harry's Service in downtown Saline. Burglars broke into the Marathon station
over the holidays and raided a jar full of tips set aside for the 7-year-old Golden
Retriever -- a sort of 401K-9 plan, if you will.
"Probably some kids," said station manager Rick Parsons, Charlie's
owner. "They got $80 to $100. Nothing else was taken."
But Charlie isn't pouting. A financial planner in town is working on a new
retirement setup for the pooch known around the world for his knack to retrieve money.
Charlie gained international fame for clenching customers' cash and credit cards in his
mouth and heading straight for the cash register. Each time, he gets a doggie treat for
doing his job.
Charlie "trained himself to fetch the money," Rick said. One day
he just started doing it and the rest is history.
Customers delight in tipping Charlie, and their children delight in asking
for a Charlie paw print, which is usually stamped on their wrist. A paw print appears on
credit card receipts, too.
Everyone has been wild about Charlie since CNN featured a segment on the
gentle gold's routine a year ago. Newspapers in Europe ran photos. A woman in
Johannesburg, South Africa, saw the TV segment and sent Charlie a tip for a shtick well
Another customer told Rick that her daughter, in her first day on the job in
Japan, mentioned she was from Saline. A fellow staffer's response: "Do you know
Rick said Charlie earns about $20 a week in tips and eats about five to
seven pounds of treats a week. Rick's father, Harry, who has operated the station since
1959, realizes Charlie is a public relations windfall. "When someone gives you a $20
bill for their gas, they're generally pleasant," Harry said. "But when they give
it to Charlie, they're downright happy."
Public Digs Deep to Help Restore Charlie's Fund
By Don Bauerle, The Detroit News, February 26, 1997
An outpouring of support
has added about
Charlie's 401K-9 fund
kitty is healthy again. Following newspaper and television reports that $100 was stolen
from Charlie's "tip jar in December, cash and checks began rolling in from across the
nation, earmarked for the Golden Retriever's retirement account.
Charlie's owner calls it his "401K-9 fund. The dog works for his
pension (and bones) at Harry's Marathon station in Saline. He clenches customers' money
and credit cards in his mouth and heads for the cash register. Sometimes, he gets tips.
Once word of the Christmastime burglary got out, sympathetic Charlie fans in
Metro Detroit and across the country sent cards, letters, checks and money. In addition to
newspaper and TV coverage, the BBC interviewed Charlie's owner, station manager Rick
Parsons, and broadcast the dog's plight on the military network in Europe.
"People have been generous, Parsons said. "WJR sent a check for
$110, a group of workers at Chrysler's Trenton engine plant sent $60 and the employees and
patrons of Roses' Family Dining in St. Clair Shores sent $45. I got a check for $25 from a
Warren woman the other day.
"People would walk into the station and put $20 and $1 bills in the tip
jar. It's been unbelievable. Altogether, about $250 has come in.
The owner of Asbury, a Golden Retriever in the Chicago area, said: "I'm
sorry about what happened. There are some strange people out there. It's a doggone shame.
And the Hovet family in Eugene, Ore., wrote: "We're sorry to hear of
your loss. Here's a little something to rebuild your tip fund. We'll stop by the next time
we go through Saline.
Sadly, Charlie died in August 1999 at age nine, from
lymphoma (the same disease that claimed our own Ollie).
Please click here to see
the lovely articles in the press about this loss.