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Charleston Chew's owner 'blown away' by support, response to howling post

Renatta Signorini
| Friday, May 11, 2018, 11:15 a.m.
Charleston Chew, an 11-year-old pug who lives in Pittsburgh with owner Sharla Wilson, has gained popularity after a social media post and numerous media interviews.
Charleston Chew, an 11-year-old pug who lives in Pittsburgh with owner Sharla Wilson, has gained popularity after a social media post and numerous media interviews.
Charleston Chew, an 11-year-old pug who lives in Pittsburgh with owner Sharla Wilson, has gained popularity after a social media post and numerous media interviews.
Charleston Chew, an 11-year-old pug who lives in Pittsburgh with owner Sharla Wilson, has gained popularity after a social media post and numerous media interviews.

It's been a whirlwind two weeks for new Pittsburghers Sharla Wilson and her beloved dog, Charleston Chew.

First, a neighbor posted to social media an apology made by Wilson to their Cultural District neighbors about her 11-year-old pug's sometimes noisy howling.

Then came his celebrity status.

After that, Charleston and his mom got their own Twitter accounts and the quirky, playful dog has been running the show ever since. People want to pet him when he's out and about Downtown. He's created a social media buzz and received gifts from businesses.

"He's acting more like a puppy in the last week than in the last year," Wilson said.Charleston is diabetic and has cataracts and a bit of separation anxiety, which sometimes leads to the howling that prompted Wilson to apologize to her neighbors via a note posted to her apartment door. Being mostly blind, Charleston sometimes bumps into things and can't see Wilson, but she assured neighbors in the note that he will eventually calm down.

"It's been heart-breaking to see his decline," Wilson said.

A sympathetic neighbor snapped a photograph of the note and posted it to her Twitter page on April 30, touching of a storm of likes, retweets and replies. Wilson was in a work meeting when her phone started buzzing. She's done plenty of interviews with local and national news outlets.

"This is the craziest thing that's ever happened," she said on Friday. "I'm still so completely and totally blown away by it."

Charleston was 5 weeks old when Wilson received him as a present when she was in her early 20s. They've been inseparable since, previously living in the Philadelphia area before moving to Pittsburgh a few months ago.

Wilson is grateful for her understanding neighbors, who live in a typically quiet building.

"I can't believe just how kindhearted and welcoming and wonderful everyone has been," she said.

She's even more grateful for two cameras that she said were sent by two companies, so now she can talk to Charleston — or calm down his howling — when she's not home and see what he's doing.

Follow along: Wilson's Twitter handle is @charlestons_mom and Charleston's is @charlestonpug .

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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