I'll never forget the first time I met Charlie. I was working the Wolves game and getting ready to do the Adopt-a-Dog promotion. At that time I believe it was Dally's Dogs. We (the Wolf Pack) had brought 3 dogs into the arena at Section 114-115 and Charlie was one of them. The Wolves scored and the fireworks went off. That poor dog dove to the ground and buried his face and every piece of fur on his arms and body stood on end. It was love. I had to have him.
Knowing I would need help watching him as I work a lot of hours, I called my parents and they said they would baby-sit when I needed. So Charlie found not one home but two. His birthday has been celebrated on November 16th ever since as that was the day he was born to me.
The first night I brought him home I will never forget. You never realize how stressful being adopted is to a dog. First they are in a shelter which is loud as there are many dogs and are seen by so many different people each day. The shelters try to make life somewhat consistent and routine, but it is impossible to do. Then these poor creatures are brought to this loud arena with tons of people looking, poking and coming straight at them (which is a sign of aggression to a dog). Then they are adopted and going to yet another new and unfamiliar place. We know they are now safe but they don't know that. They are worried about their survival and next meal.
I was living in my apartment at the time and had some things in the car I needed to bring up so I put him in the bathroom with a baby gate at the door so he could see but not get out when I came back in. That was an epic fail. I opened the door to the apartment and Charlie flew out. It was now a game of chase up and down the hallways of my building. Thank GOD the halls were closed off and with double doors to the outside. I caught Charlie and got him back inside and he has been my angel ever since.
We have had many laughs as I have learned that I had to hide the garbage and anything that could remotely be thought of as food. They say a dog's tail wags from his heart but Charlie, well, his tail wags from his stomach. I'll never forget a day when I came home for lunch, made a frozen pizza, took him out for a walk, ate and then went back to work without doing the dishes. I didn't think anything of it when I came home from work and the pizza pan was not in the sink...until I went to go sit on the balcony and found that he had taken it from the sink, licked it clean and hidden it in the blinds.
I have never had to strike him as he learned if I said, "What is this?" that he had not been a good boy. If I say that his ears droop, he slumps, and you can see "I'm sorry" written all over his face.
He is my protector, but not in the way you would think. I have had to do much laundry because I am his girl. If we would be out for a walk and I would stop to talk to another person walking their dog and the other dog got too close, well, Charlie would get in the middle and claim me as his. (Use your imagination)
Charlie loves his walks. Any time he hears his leash or you grab his harness, he starts bouncing around. Sunday mornings used to be his favorite since I didn't have to go to work, I would let him lead and we would sometimes be gone for over two hours. If I even tried to lead him back home he would turn the other way – he knew where he was all the time.
He has attended many races with me and would run the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot with me. After all, being a November baby, Thanksgiving is his day. But his favorite is the PAWS Run for their Lives race. He gets so excited for that one and makes the funniest sounds ever.
Another great moment with Charlie was the day we moved into the house. There is a closet with full-length mirrors for doors. As I gave him a tour of our new home and we saw the bedroom and the mirror he got so excited to see another dog that he ran straight for that dog, not realizing it was himself until he went face-first into the mirror. I left that nose print on the mirror for the longest time because it was so funny.
Life has been good to my boy and even better for me since he is my buddy. It's hard to imagine life before he was there. It is indescribable how much joy this beautiful creature has brought into my life. I write this with tears in my eyes as I prepare to say goodbye to my perfect angel as age will soon take him away. But I will have him in my heart forever. And I know he would want me to give another precious dog the home he will have to leave. I am really not sure who saved who.