Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dear Charlie

The oil truck came today. It’s been awhile since you were able to hear the sound of it backing up into our driveway, just as you were no longer able to hear the plow truck coming in the middle of the night these past two years, but I still thought of you racing to the window, jumping up on the sill to bark frantically at the regular, yet unknown, seeming-to-be-threats to our home. I’ll smile whenever I spot those claw marks now.

I took a nap today, several small ones actually. Each time I’d imagine you over on your blanket near my bed. You always stayed by my side when I’d stay home sick from school, following me from room to room, making sure you never lost sight of me. I remembered how one time two summers ago we thought we were going to lose you, of how you battled back after your arthritis kicked in. I was sure that was it that day when I woke up to hear you panting, unable to walk. But you always were a fighter. You gave us all another 19 months of happiness. Thank you for that.

I drove Daddy’s car to the hospital today. I had to carry you to the back knowing you weren’t able to make it on your own but I thought of how much you always loved riding in the car. I forever hated how your fur would go everywhere and would stick to my clothes for weeks after I’d relent and take you for a ride, but it was of course worth it to see your joy at being invited to hang your head out the window and to feel the wind in your face. I loved how you’d pop your head back inside to come nuzzle my arm as I steered the car.

I looked out at the snow today. I thought of our many walks in the neighborhood and of our treks as I snowshoed out back, making trips to the cabin. Oh how I loved watching you throw yourself into the snow, happily wriggling on your back, your paws dancing in the air. I smiled at the memory of you, my snow dog.

I couldn’t find my slippers today. I thought of how you used to greet me at the door when I’d come home. You always brought us a present as you met us. You’d pick up my slipper or a Lego or a dirty sock, anything you could find. You were always so happy to see us coming home to you. I was always so comforted to see your loving face when I’d come through the door.

I picked up some clothes off the floor today. I remembered how you’d always find whatever clothes, blanket, or towel had been dropped and make it your bed. I thought of how in recent years we’d carry your blanket to the kennel on those few times we traveled out of town for an extended period. I remembered how much you were loved by the kennel owners and of how sad they’ll be to hear. I remembered how special you were to so many friends and family, how Danielle always treated you so well when she’d pet sit, or how touched Meme and Grampy would be to see how excited you were to be told of their arrival in our driveway, of how you’d run circles around the house at the sound of their names.

I haven’t gone to the kitchen yet today. I know I’m going to have to go in there to fix myself something to eat and to get myself something to drink, but I’m going to miss you standing at my side waiting for a piece of food to drop onto the floor. You will forever be my favorite sous chef. I’ll forever remember having you at my feet as we ate around the dinner table, or having to tell you to “go lay down” when you’d get too close to my tv tray when I’d eat supper in the family room.

I couldn’t bring myself to look at the photo albums today. I will do that often in future days I am sure. But I don’t need photos to remember your sweet little face from the time we took you home at 8 weeks of age. I still remember picking you from the litter at that Casco woman’s house and how you’d never spent time inside until we brought you home. You were so nervous and jumped at the study window trying to get back outside. You would spend the rest of your nearly 17 years anxious to be let back inside after going out. You never wanted to be away from us for too long.

I remember all the mischief you got into, stealing the Maker maid’s shoes from their garage, running away only to be thrilled to see our car coming to retrieve you, destroying Sydney’s rag doll, barbies, and brand new skiis. I remember the one time we brought you to camp as you were just a puppy and how Daddy and Grampy had to repair all those water floats that you bit into. I remember all the bulbs you dug up after Daddy had spent an entire afternoon planting them, and I remember how much you disliked certain people, such as that teacher friend of mine and a certain handyman. You always were a good judge of character.

I remember the football throwing and catching, the toy monkey and later the duck you loved to carry around--if it squeaked it was even better--and how much you loved pig ears and other treats from the pantry. I remember you loving your spot in the dining room, soaking in the sun’s rays, and how the cat would swat your face for no reason other than because you were there.

I remember our dances when your legs were strong to hold you up, how the children would laugh to see you and I paw-in-hand dancing to the music on the stereo. I remember your playfulness with the children, your stance as you’d challenge us all to run around the house chasing you, and how you’d bark and we’d giggle with glee at the chase. I remember our little “fights”, our little “boxing matches”, how you’d playfully bark and “talk” and I’d gently push your face back and forth to “egg you on”. You were always such fun and yet always so gentle.

I cried for you today as I’ve cried for you often these last two weeks. I think I did right by you though sweet girl. I prayed over you. I asked God to help me know what to do. He did. I gave you hours of whispers and head rubs overnight. I gave you days to make the transition. I gave you weeks of understanding and patience as your body failed you. I gave you months of special loving care when you had a hard time finding your way. I gave you years and years of my heart. But you did so much more for me my dear Charlie. I thank you for trying so very hard to hang on. I know you know it was time for us to part. I know you love me and Daddy and Sydney, Emma, and Paul. And I know you know how my heart is breaking today because I love you. So so so much.

I’ll be seeing you in all the most familiar places, that this heart of mine embraces all day through...I’ll be seeing you in every lovely summer’s day, in everything that’s light and gay, I’ll always think of you that way. I’ll find you in the mornin’ sun and when the night is new. I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.


  1. That was really nice, Anne, but I'm sorry you had to write it.

  2. Dear Anne,

    I'm not even a dog person -- but I have tears streaming down my cheeks. I think that is why I have never wanted a pet -- the heartbreak would be too much for me. I will be thinking about you and your precious Charlie.