52 Weeks - Week 19

Nearly five years ago, I decided that my little girl, who was nine months old at the time, needed to grow up loving a pet.  My husband had both a cat and a dog growing up, and I had two loving, loyal dogs.  My hubby thought a cat might be easier to manage with our busy schedule, and I advocated for a dog, so naturally, we got a dog! LOL Once we decided to go forward, I immediately got down to business.  Within a few days we had a puppy picked from a litter and were ready to pick her up in a couple of weeks.  Long story short, we had the puppy for about a week, realized we couldn't care for a puppy and a baby, and we ended up giving her to a family friend who had recently lost her dog and was looking for a puppy.  From what I hear, she is now a healthy, happy pup who lives out in the country and runs around like a maniac!

Crushed after this tough decision, we stepped back to re-evaluate the pet situation.  We gave it some time and finally several months later agreed we would look into adopting an adult dog.  I contacted a local animal rescue group and signed up as foster caregiver. This was right around the time of Hurricane Katrina and there were dozens of animals arriving weekly form all over the US.  I scoured their site daily, watching for any dogs that caught my eye, hoping that if we found the right match, we could move right into adoption, rather than just fostering.

The one day, I found a handsome, golden-red lab mix named Charlie.  He was in an Ohio shelter and was due to come to Ontario in a few days.  I made the call, only to be told that I could not choose my foster, I would have to take whichever animal was given to me.  Diappointed, I resolved to be open and excited for any animal.  A few days later, when the rescue team got to our door, Charlie bounded out of the van to greet us.  What can I say, the universe knew that he was right for us.  Gotta love happy endings!

Needless to say, he quickly became the most adored dog in the world, a loving patient companion to my girls, a ball-retrieving dynamo with my dad, and generally my waking shadow.  He is unquestionably my dog, and my husband often jokes that Charlie is only happy when his nose is glued to my butt.

As he gets older, I begin to dread the coming years and his decline.  Right now he is getting lots of white hair and taking longer naps, but still has enough energy to go for a bike ride and play fetch for hours.  I love him to pieces and cherish his place in our family.  He is best dog I have ever known (okay, maybe I am a bit biased).  Here is an image of my Charlie-boy, which I have entitled Companion.