Charlie My Boy

Charlie My Boy

Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,6 September 2016

There was no traffic at 3am. That’s good in one respect as I needed to get my dog to the Emergency Animal Hospital and it’s horrible in another respect in that I knew what would happen when we got there.

There was a little more traffic at 4:30am, when I drove back to my house alone, sobbing most of the way. I never want to come home again. How could I ever possibly want to when the best part of home, my baby Charlie, isn’t here? Everything here looks terrible. Even driving down the street hurts when I think how I’ll never again walk side-by-side with my pal. His bowls, his toys, hanging up his leash, all of it is wrong without him here.

It’s only been 12 hours since he went to sleep and in the three times I’ve had to walk through my door without him greeting me, it feels like I’m falling deep in a hole that I’ll never find my way out of. You see, Charlie is the best dog. Was the best dog. You may want to disagree, thinking that your dog is the best, but that’s just because you didn’t get to have Charlie. He was the bestest. That’s part of the song I used to sing to him (did I mention that he even put up with my terrible singing and general craziness?).

Charlie

I got him from a shelter when he was only 10 weeks old and he’s been my main man, baby boy, and best friend since then. He loved people. Like so much he could wag his tail right off his sturdy little body. Especially his people, like his dog walker, and my sister, and our little neighbors, and my friend and most frequent houseguest Gigi. And me. He loved me so much it made everything okay. Like everything, even the crappy parts of this world were 1,000 times better with my boy by my side. I had come to terms with being on my own; sometimes it still made me a little sad but I was never lonely because I had Charlie. And all was right with the world.

Although we didn’t know it was his last day on earth, yesterday was pretty good. He got to go on an adventure as we rescued my sister, cousin, and their three dogs from a park after my cousin’s car broke down. Charlie got to scamper a bit, off-leash, in the grass with his three canine pals and then we all crammed into my Prius for the return trip. It was almost like the old days, before the tumor made it harder and harder for him to walk. We used to walk and hike and geocache all over the place. He could run himself ragged but never seemed to get tired. He was always afraid he was going to miss something.

Adrienne and Charlie

And at home when things were all wrong, there was my boy, snuggling up to me, leaning in for a cuddle and a kiss. He was the best listener. He heard way too many of my troubles over the past 10.5 years and he took it all in stride. And he tried to hold on way longer than he should have probably, just to make me happy. I had been not really ignoring the signs, but not reading them as clearly as I could have. Like how he no longer jumped up on the couch, or even walked the tiny steps up to my bed. How it took him forever to come up the stairs until the night when he couldn’t come up at all. How he had gone from a little scuffing of his paws, to dragging them when he tried to walk. All the while, wagging his tail and smiling up at me for a treat.

He gave me so much over the years and I wanted to do something for him, even if it was only to memorialize him for a bit here. If you had the privilege of meeting him and seeing his awesomeness in furry-person, you can attest he really was something special. He was my best of times and now it feels like all that’s left is the worst of times. Except that he left me with so many great memories, it feels wrong to still feel so cheated by time.

When it was time for him to go to sleep that last time, I held his little face and told him that I’ve loved him all his life and I’ll be loving him for all of mine. Goodbye, Charlie my boy. You were too good and too sweet for this world and I’m so very glad, from the bottom of my broken heart, that I got to be your best friend, favorite person, and mom.

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