Goodbye Sweet Charlie Dog

Have you ever had someone… something… enter your life so seamlessly it’s hard to remember a day without them in it. Someone or something that increased your own capacity to love?

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Charlie came into my life as unexpectedly as most furry friends do. Our Junior year, my college roommate was picking up a little friend for her furr ball when the lady offered Charlie to me, essentially for free. He was tiny, white, fluffy and sweet. I’m a girl that’s typically pretty calculated in making life altering decisions (which according to my mom at the time, adopting a puppy most certainly was), but gave in and brought him home.Looking back, it probably wasn’t my wisest moment, but that’s where you have to grab the cliché by the horns (throw another one in for good measure) and just own up to the fact that sometimes things really do happen for a reason.

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About a month ago Charlie started acted funny, I took him in for tests only to receive the call as I’m walking into work on a Friday morning that Charlie’s results weren’t good and that he only had limited time left with us. I walked through the revolving door of my office building,  rode the elevator and managed to turn on my computer before the tears started dropping down my face. I broke down in the middle in the kitchen, awkward hugged my boss and left for the day when I was one breath short of a sob.

 

The next three weeks were packed with every activity that I could think of to make Charlie’s last days as good as possible. Trips to the park, walks after dark, morning swims in his little pool, snuggles during movies and as many kisses as a little dog can possibly take. His appetite waned as the days went on and we tried every protein-less option there ever was – raspberries, wheat thins, applesauce, pumpkin, green beans, french toast bagel, pizza crust, spaghetti… the list goes on. There were days he’d eat 10-15 bites with it dropping down to none at all by the end.

 

His belly began to protrude – like the images of starving children we see in so many charity commercials. But he fought. Most everyone thought he only had a few days, but he didn’t like that idea and hung on for three weeks before we took him in. Each night he snuggled close, under blankets and right up against us. Even though it was September, his weight loss made him shiver all the time. He religiously wore his favorite “Team Captain” shirt and winter jacket throughout the days to stay warm and did his best to just keep on going.
During his last days, we knew he wouldn’t be with us much longer. His bones were sticking out, he no longer got up to greet us, he wasn’t eating, he shook all the time. It was hard to watch, but, for me, even harder to know that it was me that was going have to put it to an end. The night before we took him to the vet, I couldn’t sleep. I just wanted to lay with him, hold him and love him. How do you go to bed knowing it’s the last time you’ll say goodnight, the last time you’ll get up together in the morning.
Before we took him in I wanted to give him a big treat, something my family has joked about since his diagnosis and protein-free diet for life. I tried bacon, cheese, peanut butter… he wanted none of it. My heart broke. And, it repeated to break as we got in the car, drove to the vet and walked in.

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Charlie was a rare dog. He always wanted to be where you were, whether it was folding laundry with me in the basement or sitting on Christian’s lap any chance he could get (including directly after taking a swim in the backyard). He’d kill the stuffed squeaky animals we brought home in a matter of days – slowly and meticulously removing the squeaker. He dismantled his favorite toy of all – mini squeaky tennis balls – with the same fervor… kill the squeaker, remove all the fuzz, shred the rubber. It wasn’t uncommon to walk into our house to see a pile of shredded tennis ball on the carpet, or an array of tennis ball fuzz in varying colors strewn about haphazardly.

Going for walks, sans leash were his absolute finest athletic moments. Running, peeing, racing to catch back up and squirrel jumping off any ledge he could find. He may have been sick most of his life, but that never held him back from doing the things that made him happy.

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I think that Charlie was put in my life for a purpose. That purpose may not fully be known, but I can tell you that he and I got through a lot together… Break-ups, my Dad’s ongoing health issues, friendship ends, graduation, moving (cough, 12 times), an appendectomy for me and a liver surgery for him… on any given day he’d patiently lay next to me while I cried about this or that, or get excited when something went right, barking and running as I laughed and cheered.

Some people may say that it was time, he fought the good fight, he was sick, it’s a miracle that he lived this long, I gave him longer than anyone else would have. And, those things are mostly all true. But, it doesn’t take the sting out of losing my baby. It doesn’t take the regret out of being the one to carry him into the vet and make the hard decision. It doesn’t take the remorse from my heart or the images from my mind.

 

I never realized, until he was gone how many routines, thoughts and daily practices were wrapped up in him. Each time I get out of bed, I expect to have him greet me at my feet. Each time I pull into the driveway I have to resist the urge to run into the house and smother him with love. Each time I step outside I know I’ll only have memories of all the fun we had playing ball, going for dog swims and just sitting in the yard. The house feels empty now, though only 8 lbs. are missing. It’s as if a piece of our home and a piece of our family have disappeared.
I miss the way he sat at my feet while I cooked dinner, the way he never once wasn’t excited to see me, the way he loved to wear clothes and would sit next to me while I picked out his shirt for the day. I miss the way he just sat on my lap — half asleep, half awake — just enjoying being with me.
There isn’t a tribute, post, story, eulogy or book long enough or detailed enough to explain how much I loved him, how much he meant to me or how much I’ll miss him everyday. But, I have to hope he knew each of those things and that we’ll be reunited someday.I’ll never be able to forget all the joy, solace and love that he brought to my life, and I’ll never stop wishing he were here instead of there…
** For other Charlie posts, click here. Also, has your dog ever brought you flowers?

Confessions Round 2.

1.) I cannot remember to pluck my eyebrows.

Like ever. It all comes to a head when I do a double take wondering if I’ve got just a touch too much foundation near my eyebrows only to realize it’s been over a month since I gave them some attention. For my sister’s wedding last month, I had my make-up done. As I’m surveying the wonder that is even skin tone I realize I can’t even remember the last time I gave the ‘ol caterpillars a pluck.

2.) Dairy doesn’t do good things to me.

I’d say you have a 50/50 chance of witnessing me double over in agony after slurping down a quart of frozen yogurt or snarfing a bowl of steaming mac ‘n cheese. I can’t say no and I pay the price. Le sigh.

3.) I make up theme songs for my dog. 

We already knew that I was a crazy dog lady and that Charlie is a straight up dog child in this house — but I’m pretty sure this is taking it to the next level. Currently our neighbors have the pleasure of hearing me belt the following tune each night when I get home from work:

His name is Charlie
He’s a small dog…
With a big heart. 

I wish I could tell you the tune that I sing it too, but only heaven knows where I got it (or I may have made it up).

4.) Turns out I watched H.R. Pufnstuf as a child.

I spent many an hour trying to figure out what show I watched growing up with a magic flute. Which, until, recently never yielded much in the results category. However, I stumbled across H.R. Pufnstuf on Netflix and found myself a highly disturbing show that fit the bill of my magic flute. Enjoy:

5.) I don’t really like football. 

When I say I don’t like football, this does not apply to tailgating. You can’t pry my hot dog obsessed self away from a parking lot filled with grills, coolers and tailgating food. But, when you get to the game part — not so interested. I’d rather chat or, if I’m at home, take a nap until the last few minutes of the fourth quarter. I’m not American… I know.

 

20 things to be thankful for.

I’m not very good at, you know, getting posts out on the actual holiday… but I figure being thankful is being thankful and whether it happened last Thursday or happens this Thursday doesn’t really matter. Right? So here it goes, 20 things that I’m thankful for at the start of this holiday season:

1.) A husband that loves me, shares a love of cheese and pineapple, will let me watch hours of Diners, Drive In’s and Dives and who happens to be one of the greatest people I know. I heart him.

2.) Days where you just have to eat your feelings — and friends/family that are more than happy to join in.

3.) The most ridiculous, ill-mannered, sweet dog ever.

4.) Cheese. What else is there to say?

5.) A glass, or 5, of good wine.

6.) The best friends in the world. Ones who repeatedly remind you of all those times you laughed until you peed your pants.

7.) Knowing that rum cake is less than a month away. Oh, yes. Holiday desserts.

8.) The ability to spend a night snuggled in blankets watching movies from the 90’s (Ahem, Father of the Bride 2).

9.) A house, while needing immeasurable amounts of duct tape & love, to hang Christmas lights on.

10.) The best family a girl could ask for.

11.) My health and the health of those around me.

12.) Christmas – I just love it. Christmas trees, twinkle lights, joy.

13.) Pinterest. The amount of things I’ve learned and the amount of time I’ve wasted are both astounding.

14.) Red shoes because they can inevitably make any outfit glamorous.

15.) *Fingers Crossed* That we’re done car shopping for several years. Two new cars in less than 1 year is a bit much.

16.) Chapstick. My chapped lips live for you, and my addiction to you means I couldn’t go more than a day without you.

17.) All the amazing things that happened in 2011 – engagement, wedding, travel, new house, and the list goes on.

18.) A safe, warm (though Christian and I differ greatly on the definition) and nice place to call home.

19.) Truffle oil – on french fries, on burgers, in mac n’ cheese, in anything really…

20.) Snowflakes. But only when they’re falling. Once they’ve hit the ground they might as well be the scourge of the planet.

I truly am thankful for everything I have, all the friends and family in my life and so much more. Hope you had a fabulous Thanksigving (only a week late)!

*Image by: jessicaNdesigns

25 before I’m 25 – Fail.

So, I’m 25. The whole birthday thing happened last week and I’ve put off going through my 25 before I’m 25 list because, well, I didn’t do them all. 5 years ago all I would have wanted for my birthday was to go out, party, and have a night to remember with my friends. Now, all I wanted was a night, at home, doing nothing but relaxing. Maybe that’s the wedding planning/house buying craziness talking, but maybe it’s not. We had hamburgers and strawberry shortcake. It was the perfect in every way.

I originally posted about my 25 before I’m 25 list in 2010 and gave ‘er a little update in February 2011. Below is the final summary of what got done, and, um, what didn’t. About half made it to fruition and the other half of the list was a major fail. Everything on this list is still something I want to do, it just wasn’t in the cards for the year before I turned 25.

  1. Spend a week on a beach. Any beach. Unplugged. – Ok, I didn’t do this… but I’m going to be heading to a beach on my honeymoon. That counts right?
  2. Re-work the design of this site. – Done.
  3. Read 12 books, one per month. – Done. I think I read maybe 50 books this year, and totally underestimated my reading abilities.
  4. Post 100 times… 30 will, hopefully, be cranked out in November. – Well, I quit Nablopomo… and fell of the wagon when things got hectic this spring. Fail.
  5. Be healthy. Get back to working out and eating well. – Done. I think I’ve done this. I’ve been working out, trying to eat better and trying to slim down for the wedding.
  6. Try yoga. – Fail.
  7. Take cooking classes. – Fail.
  8. Schedule time for myself each week. – I would say I did this about 50% of the time. While I crave alone time, I’m too much of a do-er and end up finding things to do in place of “me time”.
  9. Find a classy purse that suits me. And buy it. – I bought a lovely gray purse off Etsy! Double done.
  10. Be able to do 10 push ups. – I can’t do 10, but I can see myself getting stronger and dipping lower and lower. Score!
  11. Attend Canvas and Cocktails. – I have a gift card but haven’t used it, yet. I’m halfway there.
  12. Smile more often — especially at strangers. – Some days this is a go, other days this is a fail. Check Denver traffic to see which day we’re on.
  13. Fix Charles. Surgery and all. – Done and done.
  14. Be happy. So much of it is in my control. – Done.
  15. Pick a cookbook and make all the recipes – except the ones with mushrooms or other inedible objects. – I’ve got cookbook commitment issues. Sue Me. Fail.
  16. Tell everyone I love, why I love them. – An everyday goal… and one that will always be in progress. Done.
  17. Send more mail. Cards, packages, random gifts. – I sent and gave lots of gifts, card and random little mementos this year. Done.
  18. Stay up late drinking wine and talking, even though I have to work the next day. – Done, done, done… too many times to count.
  19. Buy a pair of *perfect* boots for winter. – I bought a pair… but my calves rebelled and wouldn’t allow the zipper up. So technically, done?
  20. Spend a weekend in the mountains with friends. – Done.
  21. Buy something from Etsy for someone and for my house. – Done. I bought magnets at Christmas for friends (and a necklace)… and a purse for me!
  22. Develop my favorite pictures and hang them up. – Fail.
  23. Be a positive impact. Be aware of what I do, what I listen to and how I behave. You never know who you’re impacting. – Always a work in progress.
  24. Eat locally and naturally. Try to buy local and eat out at local restaurants. – Doing better at this. I love me some local food, and have tried to spend my money where it counts.
  25. Stop to smell the flowers. This year flew by and I was constantly caught up in the day-to-day. I want to remember to take it one step at a time and pause to enjoy it! – Well, I’m planning a wedding and buying a house. I haven’t had much time to stop and smell the flowers. Have to mark this one as a work in progress.

Maybe the next list should be a 30 before I’m 30. That way I have five years. Meaning I’ll either have plenty of time to get all 30 things done OR I’ll totally forget about it until the last day that I’m 20. There’s probably and equally good chance it could go either way!

*Image by Jonty Wareing

Indulge me just for a second.

Charles, my sweet and cantankerous little dog, did something so precious that I just can’t keep it to myself any longer. This may officially make me a crazy dog mom, and I will happily accept the label.

This past Sunday morning, Charles brought my mom flowers. Yes, you read that correctly… he brought her flowers. He went outside and dragged them up from the garden, through the dog gate, up the stairs and planted them firmly inside her bedroom door. He then proceeded to sit by them and waited for her. And, as anyone would, she took a picture.

Come on, it’s cute, right? I heart that little man. With my whole heart. Even if he looks like he has a lazy eye and is in desperate need of a bath. Maybe next time he’ll pick some flowers for me?

 

 

Charles, the three month update.

is much better than a sick Charles

It’s been about three months since Charles became frankenpuppy. After seeing him suffer so much after surgery I wasn’t at all sure that I’d made the right decision. However, I’m happy to report that he is doing GREAT. His bile acid (the bad things) are going down and he is (from a medical standpoint) slowly improving. From my standpoint he’s a whole new dog.

In July he could only walk a few blocks before pooping out, now he’s racing around with Christian and I on our runs. He’s eating more, he’s running more, he’s humping more — he’s acting like a whole new dog! And, I couldn’t be happier!

The only down sides we’ve noticed are his lack of snuggling and a new tendency stink up the room — at least his dog farts give us (mainly me) something to laugh about.