The brief blog mentions of Charles have not done him justice. Allow me to share with you his story to celebrate his turning 2 along with this blog. Can you believe we’ve been here over two years? Writing and discussing trials and tribulations, successes and hardships? My gosh.
Picture it: Tacoma, WA. January 2020. I was 3 weeks post failed heart procedure when my friend Melissa sent me a message asking if I knew anyone interested in a golden retriever as her dad was no longer in a position to care for him. Uh…I wasn’t actively looking for another dog at this point, but if the universe wants to drop a pup at my door I’d definitely open it to greet him.
Grace died six months before, and I was desperately missing a second dog. Imri likes to be loved on and then left alone. He’s happy to be near you, but doesn’t give affection often, nor does he want to be love mauled either. I needed a more needy dog, and a more generous with affection pupper.
We arranged to go for a walk together, distanced, because post operatively I could NOT be jumped on. I needed to wait a few more weeks for my artery to be totally closed from the catheter insertion to be 100% safe around doggos. That didn’t work out, because Charles desperately wanted to say hello to me and everyone else.
We let the dogs off in my fenced yard, and I stood behind a solid chair to protect myself. I was watching Charles with Imri. Imri had to be priority one as the aging resident dog. Did Charles respect Imri’s signals? When Imri made it clear he was done, or didn’t want to play, did Charles leave him alone? This was super important. He did. 100%. He came up, sat next to me and closed his eyes in ecstasy when I gave him pets.
I was full on in love with him.
But he had to pass one more test. My best friend and I are like family. Any dog coming into our houses has to get along with our resident dogs AND her children.
We arranged another play date, with my friend bringing her dogs and her children. This part is important to remember: we both have over 10 years experience working with dogs. We understand the subtleties of dog body language. In addition, Melissa has 15 years experience. We also had my friend’s husband there. We know what we are looking for and I had tested him already for food/toy aggression with my own dog before we did this. Do not do this lightly, or without experienced people.
One of my friend’s two dogs is a persnickety doggo, and picky on who she likes. She took to him immediately, which shocked all of us. ‘Cause she’s generally affectionately referred to as a dick.
We let everyone play, and introduced toys, and all the humans. My friend’s husband is well over 6 ft, loud man, and we had him do some yelling and rough housing. Charles did not care at all. LOVE ME. LOVE ME. LOVE ME.
We introduced the older child (who is responsive, and listens well) and Charles promptly sat down next to him and sucked up the loves. We did more exercises with them both, and then introduced the younger child, and same. He laid across her lap. Just touch me, always.
This was one of the easiest decisions I’d ever made. Two weeks later, she dropped off a freshly groomed black hole of want, and I’ve been happy ever since.
Charles just had his 2nd birthday and is silly, happy, and incredibly affectionate. He is fairly low energy. He enjoys a walk, or a few balls being thrown, but he is just as happy crawling on top of you and laying down in a giant dog bear hug. I’ve never had a dog that needs to be physically in such close contact with you. And frankly: I love it.
There are moments where I’m like, GO AWAY FOR 5 MINUTES, but 99% of the time, he is my savior. This year, 2020, and the 8th month of isolation I am on, I don’t know if I would be surviving without his need for affection, and his giving of it. He wants hugs and loves all the time, and I feel like the universe just knew I would need that, that the coming year would suffer an incredible lack there of, and my other doggo wasn’t up to the task.
See, I say the universe, when in fact: Melissa later confessed she sent me that message hoping I was ready for another dog, because she felt there would be no better place for him. And what an incredible compliment that is.
If you follow Instagram you’ll know that it has been quite a year for Charles. He became ill about a month after I adopted him, and it was a prolonged illness. I’ll do a post on it, but again: Thank god for pet insurance. I immediately purchased a policy for him, and boy it has already more than paid off.
Charles, I am so grateful every day for the trust Melissa placed in me, and for your relentless love. I’m so pleased to celebrate your 2nd birthday, and the 2nd birthday of this website!
PS: The balloons were leftover from a child’s birthday party and no contact gifted to me from BUY NOTHING. After our photo shoot, we gifted them to another child. FREE FUN! Join your local Buy Nothing Project!