Peculiar Pittsburgh

A howling Pittsburgh pug who misses his human just won the internet

It’s over, folks. We can all go home.

'You howl all you want Charleston, honey'

'You howl all you want Charleston, honey'

Courtesy of Megan Jones

Updated 4:38 p.m. 

All doggos go to heaven.

Some go viral first.

What began with a note posted on a door inside a Downtown Pittsburgh apartment building by the apologetic owner of an elderly, scared and very vocal pug named Charleston Chew has now won the internet. It was a good run, folks.

“Hello, neighbors. My name is Charleston Chew and I’m very sorry for my howling,” begins the note. Alongside the text are photos of Charleston, and as you might expect from his genteel salutation, he is priceless.

“I’m an old man now, with cataracts, and sometimes I get real scared because I can’t see where I am and can’t find my mom. As I get used to my new place, I will start to settle down. Thanks for being patient with me. I don’t mean to be such a pain.”

The first-person note written by a very articulate and very contrite pup quickly melted the internet’s icy heart. It also prompted a few obvious and easily dismissed questions.

The photo of the note was taken by another resident of Charleston’s building, Megan Jones, who stumbled upon it after accidentally getting off the elevator on the wrong floor. She then posted the photo on Monday to Twitter where it has accumulated more than 337,000 likes, 97,000 retweets and hundreds of replies.

“So I just moved in and accidentally hit the 5th floor in the elevator (I’m on the 3rd). I looked over and saw the sign and realized I was on the wrong floor but it was worth it. The sign is on Charleston’s owner’s door to warn those around him,” Jones told The Incline today.

“My first reaction was to bust down the door and love on Charleston, but instead I just stood there with a goofy smile on my face and snapped a picture. I sent it to my friends and family and then decided to post it on Twitter to spread the love. I haven’t heard Charleston since we are two floors apart but his owner sent a video of him howling, and it was adorable!”

The internet agreed, showering the 11-year-old pug with social media love and even prompting his owner, Sharla Wilson, to create a Twitter account in Charleston’s name. (Days later and he’s already well on his way to eclipsing my follower count.)

The story has since been picked up by media in Ireland and the animal-centric U.S. outlet The Dodo.

Charleston’s owner, Wilson, told The Dodo that her note was posted before any neighbors complained. But she said she had good reason to expect they might.

It’s the most horrific sound you’ve ever heard,” Wilson said of Charleston’s howl. “It’s a startling noise, to say the least. It sounds like some sort of alien life form. […] No one had complained yet. I was told that it was a quiet building, so I made a note thinking we’d get ahead of it.”

She added, “I have to physically touch him — then he’s happy and well again. He just wants to know where I am. He’s very quirky and very spoiled. […] He’s a little grandpa.”

Wilson, a parts and service manager for an auto manufacturer, told The Incline today that she is a recent arrival to Pittsburgh and came here in February with Charleston in tow. She and Charleston are natives of Texas and both lived outside of Philadelphia for 10-and-a-half years.

She moved into her current Downtown building in March and before that lived in the River Vue apartments on Liberty Avenue, where she posted a similar note to neighbors about Charleston’s howling. That version did not go viral. This version obviously did.

Before the second note achieved internet immortality, Wilson had no Twitter account. Now she has multiple accounts and even had to disable her push notifications.

“I had never been on Twitter and then I started an account yesterday morning to track this and see all this madness unfolding and just the notifications — my phone was just buzz, buzz, buzz.”

Charleston Chew and Sharla Wilson are pictured.

Charleston Chew and Sharla Wilson are pictured.


She added of Charleston’s howling, “It’s funny that something he does that causes me to lose so much sleep and causes so much worry, it’s funny that he’s been embraced by the universe for it. […] He’s been with me through my 20s and the finding-out-who-you-are years and growing up. He’s been through it all and it’s funny to see him embraced by the world in the same way that I see him.”

On a human level, her note reminds us that getting older is scary, that change is scary and that dogs are not immune.

It also reminds us that the internet exists just to provide us with endearing glimpses of other people’s animals. And above all else, it shows us that old dogs don’t need new tricks, they just need a dose of social media fame and a banging Twitter ratio. We aren’t so different after all.