Me, to my 16-year-old daughter, broken hearted after the end of a friendship:
Sweetheart, I’m so sorry you’re hurting. What do you think would make it better?
I expected to hear “cookies,” or “a sweet tea from McAllister’s,” or even “a new top.” Instead she said,
I said, “Of course you can have a puppy.”
Seemingly in the next minute, she said, “I’ve found the puppy.”
So we drove to Southaven, Mississippi, from our home in Germantown, a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. A local shelter had pets for adoption at a Petco store there, and we saw the adorable Beagle-German Shepherd mix she had seen online. They had named him Nicolas. She took to him immediately and we walked out of the store with a new puppy that she promptly renamed Charlie.
Charlie was smart. He was easily trained and was a great pet from the start. More than any other dog we’d ever had, he loved being with us and wanted to be around us all the time.
He was sweet and gentle, despite the fact that he could growl like a German Shepherd. He looked like a full-blooded German Shepherd with short legs, and sometimes he squeaked like a Beagle when he didn’t get what he wanted.
He grew to be a wonderful watchdog, who protected our home from many scary, nefarious mothers with babies in strollers who walked by our house. 😉
He loved being outside, at least as long as we were out with him. We spent many evenings on our patio in Germantown, relaxing while he ran around the yard and barked at squirrels.
We loved the way his tail curled up when he was happy. Sadly, it had been quite some time since his tail had curled that way.
Every night at bedtime he jumped up on our bed and slept at our feet the whole night. When the time came that he couldn’t jump up anymore, Jim would lift him onto the bed. Then he started sleeping on the floor next to our bed. But always there with us.
Charlie weathered our move to Jonesboro quite well and soon grew to love his new back yard. He liked to relax with us on the deck and bark at the dog next door. We knew when he could no longer go up and down the stairs to the deck that his time was coming soon.
Today, we sat with him, talked to him, reminisced, and reminded him of our love for him as he finally rested calmly and breathed his last.
I’ll miss him in the den while we watch TV and in our room at night as we sleep. He was a friend, a companion, protector, and a dear fur baby.
Rest in peace, boy. You’ve earned it.