Today I had to let go of my friend Charlee. She got sick and we couldn’t make her better.
I never knew exactly how old she was, but I adopted her in August of 2004 and they told me then that she was 3 years old and had previously had puppies. She had been living in a shelter for more than a year when I met her.
We met at the Fayetteville Farmers Market on a saturday morning while I was walking dogs that needed adoption from the Fayetteville Animal Shelter. What’s funny is that Charlee was being walked by somebody else representing a different shelter. As soon as I met her I knew that I wanted to take her home, so I did.
She was a bit of a walking contradiction, both confident and shy, sweet but housed a big bark and an occasional nip, both independent and fiercely loyal, and both relaxed and anxious.
In Arkansas I used to let her out my front door and let her roam the neighborhood for about 20 minutes then if she didn’t come back on her own, I would just stand at the doorway and clap my hands really loud and she’d come running.
She traveled with me as I moved all over the country, from Arkansas to Santa Fe, New Mexico, up to Maine and then down to Atlanta. She made friends everywhere and loved to mingle at parties, usually letting someone pet her until they got tired then simply moving down the line and finding the next person willing to pet her. She never really got tired of long slow strokes down her back.
She was a great travel companion and I had no hesitation taking her anywhere. However she did have one funny pet peeve… she hated the little warning bumps on the side of the interstate. So if I drifted a bit and hit those bumps she would jump over the console and cram herself into the floorboard of the passenger seat no matter if it was already full of stuff. I guess that was one of those things that made her anxious.
She hardly played with toys but in the last year or so she finally found the joy in playing with a rope pull or with a bouncing ball. She was a fantastic guard dog and definitely wasn’t shy in letting me know the doorbell just rang, even it was just on TV. She was very protective over my things too.
One time we were staying with my friend Madelyn in New York and her apartment was set up with the living and kitchen on one end and the bedrooms down a hallway at the other end. Well I had dropped my stuff near the door which was in the center of the hallway and went out to eat with Madelyn. When we got back we found some chinese delivery on the porch and Madelyn’s roommate passed out on the couch. Turns out, Charlee wouldn’t let the roommate go near the door because my stuff was sitting there and she was doing her job to protect it so the poor roommate didn’t get any dinner and couldn’t even go to her bedroom!
I never did find out exactly what kind of dog she was either. She was definitely a mutt and most likely had lots of basset hound in her, but mixed with what is open for debate. My guess is a bit of German Shepard and perhaps some Labrador Retriever.
I collected a bunch of pictures taken over the years and just wanted to post them here for those of you that got to meet Charlee somewhere along the way. These are in approximately reverse chronological order.
She was a great dog and will be terribly missed.