Sunday, July 26, 2009

One Year

One year ago today, I lost my dog, Charlie Brown.
Last night I had a dream about him. He was right by my side, right where he always used to be. He even used to wait outside the bathroom door for me and I remember I nearly tripped over him more than once when I opened the door. :-)

He was a Border Collie/Retriever mix and so incredibly smart. I used to call him my wonder dog. As a pup, he had parvo and survived. When he got older, he had a bad habit of chasing really loud vehicles - and the UPS man. One time, the UPS man won and I had to rush him to the vet - and I was 7 months pregnant. That time, he made it through fine.

The next time he nearly lost his life.

I still remember that day quite clearly. We couldn't find him. It was a cold, dreary day, patches of snow covering the ground, and after we looked everywhere, we finally found him curled up beside the house. My husband carried him back to the yard, but somehow, he got out and went into the alley, almost as if he was wandering off to die. We rushed him to the vet and found that he had a broken pelvis. He couldn't go to the bathroom on his own. He had several wounds on his side from being hit (we think by the UPS truck) and we weren't sure if he would recover. The vet said if he didn't heal and couldn't go to the bathroom by himself, his quality of life wouldn't be good and we'd have to think of putting him down. I vowed that wouldn't happen.

It was touch and go for awhile. Since Charlie was an outdoors dog, we put him on an inflatable chair, the kind you use at the beach (the name escapes me right now), and I would drag every morning from the warm garage into the warm sunshine of the backyard. I gave him his meds, cleaned his wounds, and cleaned his backside. Flies would swarm around him, trying to get to the wounds, and despite everything I did, they did their deed. I discovered maggots in his wounds one day (sorry if this is too gross!) and immediately called the vet. He told me how to get them out. Of course, my husband was at work at the time, so I knew I'd have to handle this one myself. And I did. I got those little buggers out and Charlie laid there, so peaceful and calm, never once trying to bite me, never once yelping in pain, but stoic through it all.

I still remember my mom calling me and telling me that if Charlie didn't improve, I might want to think about putting him down. I was so vehemently against this idea that I cried, loudly protested that Charlie would make it through this, and then hung up on her. (Sorry, Mom!).

Charlie continued to improve. His wounds healed. But he still couldn't go to the bathroom on his own. I would watch him through the kitchen window and just pray and pray. And then one day, I saw him struggle to his feet, lift his leg in a corner of the yard, and then I knew that he would be ok.

I've lost pets before,
but the grief I experienced with Charlie was unparalleled. I literally felt as though part of my heart was gone. I blogged about this grief and I know it helped me get through it.

That dog was as devoted to me as I was to him. His loyalty never faltered. It was unconditional love on both our parts. I still miss him. I still cry occasionally and today, I've shed more tears. That's ok.

I just hope I get to see him someday. I hope that there is a doggie heaven.

I miss you, Charlie!
Love and hugs from Mama.


  1. I lost my good old girl Kayla one year ago on the 28th *sob*

    Charlie is a handsome boy...

  2. I feel so sad still for you. An animal takes and gives love so much like an adult. He was so pretty and the kind you just want to hug!

  3. I am so sorry for your loss, but what a blessing to have had such a great dog in your life.

  4. Melissa, I can tell just by his picture how gentle and lovable he was. I'm sad for you, and I'm so sorry.

    I had a Border Collie, Baxter. He, too, loved to chase cars (is it a breed thing?) and that's how I lost him. I like to imagine meeting again one day.

  5. Some pets are beyond special, beyond loved. Mine was my Brinja girl, who I lost two years ago. She was my first dog and I had her for 11 years. I still cry for her too. Charlie looks so beautiful and rather wise in those pictures. What a harrowing story about his recovery! He sounds like a wonderful dog, companion, and family member.

  6. I'm sorry for your loss. Of course there's a doggie heaven! :-)

  7. One of my favorite quotes is from a card I got when I lost a pet. It said, "What the heart has once known, it will never forget."

    I'm so sorry about Charlie. I lost a beloved friend this year too. My heart's with you. Just remember that it works both ways. You loved him and he loved you.

    What the heart has once known, it will never forget.

  8. Elizabeth Parker8:51 PM

    Charlie looks like a wonderful dog. How wonderful that you had him in your life.

    Our favorite pet was our white cat, Bud. His personality was truly special. We had to put him down on Thanksgiving Day, believe it or not. Afterward, the vet sent us a card "from Bud." The last line said, "I loved you so." And we loved him.

  9. Feel for your loss, friend. I lost my 16-y.o. Boston last August. :(

  10. My childhood dog died when I was a junior in highschool and I remember that loss even today. My parents have never gotten another dog - but I just did last fall. And she sounds just like your Charlie. I hate to face the day when I have to say goodbye. The power of dogs is such a wonderful mystery. (found you via Heidi at MMM)

  11. Some dogs are very, very special and Charlie was one. It's an awful thing to lose such a devoted friend. Sending lots of (((hugs))).

  12. All good warm and fuzzy doggy thoughts on such a difficult anniversary. I loved reading about Charlie, and know how much you miss him.

  13. Thank you, all, for the wonderful comments. They mean a lot!

  14. My little Buddy left me 2003 and I still weep over him, and even had a dream about him the other night.

    I have nothing to add. This is so painful for us.

  15. Oh, pets just worm into my heart and soul. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  16. One of the best quotes I ever saw says something like, "Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really."

    Says it perfectly. Our hearts are with you...


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