|Charlie, girl won't sit still for a pic|
Tomorrow marks the 13th anniversary of Charlie joining our family. A little background story, 1999 was rough, both of our daughters were diagnosed with Autism within 6 months, we moved to a tiny little town, away from family, and I was basically on my own while hubby worked 2-3 weeks at a time on the road. During their November checkup, the girls' doctor recommended, "Get them a pet, a dog will help them with socialization skills and keep them grounded in reality." Oh joy, another mouth to feed and take care of.
We get home and the phone rings, "Um, get a DURABLE pet, LARGE dog. No puppies or kittens or guinea pigs. Think DURABLE." Heh, he really knows the girls. So while I'm contemplating durable dogs that night, I hear a truck pull up in front of the house, door open and close, and then drive off. Weird. Next morning I go out to get the paper and this sad, starved, scared to death dog is sitting at the end of the driveway looking down the road. Son of a bitch, somebody dumped a dog on our property. She was a sorry looking thing, bald spots on her muzzle and shaking. As I got closer, I could also tell she was very pregnant; so skinny that you could count the pups. But as soon as I looked in her eyes, I knew. This was the girls' dog and God had made the decision for us.
It took a good week, setting out bowls of food and water, placing them closer and closer to the house, but eventually she came to the understanding that we were her people and she was home. I had just gotten her settled in the backyard, brand new red collar and dog tag, when she had her pups. It was early December, our first snowfall; and when I came back from dropping the girls off at school, Charlie grabbed me by the wrist and took me into the shop behind the garage. There, in a shivering little pile, were seven fat, fluffy furballs. She then grabbed my wrist and took me to the backdoor of the house. Uh-huh, got it. Miss Charlie and family were NOT spending another minute in the cold.
It took some maneuvering, with her hot on my heels, but I got her kids moved into the laundry room where she nestled down and got to the business of being a mom. She was an EXCELLENT mom. Many times I found my oldest nestled in with Charlie and the puppies, sound asleep. After the puppies were all adopted out, Charlie settled in to her role as 2nd Mom to the girls. She instinctively knew how to reach the girls, how to watch them, handle them, love them. She is their guardian angel in so many ways.
It's obvious the years are catching up to her. She's slowed down a bit, and her muzzle is graying as much as my hair. I have so very many stories of this beautiful dog; too many to put here. Just wanted to share her Anniversary with people who understand.