You might be wondering where I have been. Believe me, I would have rather be here chatting about health and wellness as opposed to what I have been doing.
For the past week, I’ve been dealing with the loss of my best friend… my first baby. My 15+ year old pup died last week. As I sit here writing this, tears are streaming down my face. It has been over a week and I still can’t believe that I will never see him again. I have a Spotify playlist on that I have made for him and can’t help but wish that he hadn’t left me. The fact that I’m sobbing is probably one of the reasons why I have delayed writing this but a tribute from his momma right here on this blog feels right.
Charlie came into our life as a rescue dog at a little over a year old (or so we think). I called him our “pound puppy!” He did have some issues as many rescue dogs have… mainly separation anxiety, and little man complex (he was a small 30 pound pug mix but he showed all those big dogs what he thought of them. His personality was much larger than him)!! Despite his issues, we loved him right away and dealt with his unique needs the best we could.
Charlie was our only “child” for 3 years. When we began taking trips just for him, I knew it was time to start thinking of having kids. I had never really wanted kids until I got Charlie. He really brought out my maternal instincts and, since he not only survived, but thrived, with me as his momma, I knew that my human babies would be just fine!
Charlie welcomed not only one, but two babies in July 2007. He was a little jealous when he no longer was getting all the attention but he quickly fell into a loving and protective role over the twins like they were his own babies.
Charlie loved running in the fields and hanging with the cows on my dad’s farm so he was happy when we moved to the country in Central NY in 2008. He loved his daily long walks and more trips to the farm to visit his black and white girlfriends (the cows)!
Charlie lost sight in one eye 7 years ago and then went completely blind 6 years ago. Did that stop him from enjoying life? No way! His sniffer just got a lot better! And we were so cruel to move into a new house without him ever seeing it (they recommend you not do that to a blind dog but we had already bought the house before he went blind!) Did that stop him? Nope! He figured out his new digs in no time! Honestly his blindness affected we humans more than him. He kept on trucking along!
Then Charlie developed some weakness in his hind legs last year and we found out he had an old tear in one of his knee ligaments. Tough old dog! We never knew he had an injury! Then followed the onset of some bladder issues so a diaper became part of his daily routine! Still no big deal and not anything that we couldn’t handle! But, little by little, he was losing his doggy dignity.
Over the past few months, Charlie’s weight drastically dropped and we suspected some type of cancer but we couldn’t find it so we just kept enjoying life with him while we still had him. He was still very happy and living his best life!
Charlie had always slept in our bed at night. He used to sleep by our feet but then moved up between my husband and I over the past year since we feared him falling off the bed. There came a point in January where he could no longer sleep in our bed since his risk of falling off the bed was too great. So hubby and I took turns sleeping on the couch next to him so we could be with him all night to change his diapers and so he wouldn’t be alone.
Then came the day we had to rearrange the house, protecting him from all of the furniture that he could hurt himself on. He wouldn’t sit still and blindly wandered around the house all day (and night) long, bumping his head frequently! Honestly, our house looked like we had a 2 year old toddler again with all of the barricades and chairs up! Was he worth the sleepless nights and the house looking like it’s in shambles? ABSOLUTELY!
My little 30 pound solid dog dropped down to a frail 19.5 pounds. Looking back at pictures, it was drastic but we saw him every day so he just looked a little skinnier. Something was taking over my boy’s body.
Charlie stopped eating his boring ol’ dog food a few weeks ago but did enjoy some of his mommy and daddy’s chicken and rice. I knew there would be a problem if he stopped eating that! And he did ! He also preferred eating snow over drinking water but that, too, stopped!
On the morning of March 13, Charlie and I were alone and he made it quite clear to me that he was done being the strong boy that he had been for almost 16 years. He was tired. And it was time for him to go.
So, as a family, we had to say good bye to him that day. I held him in my arms, telling him how much I love him, as he went into his eternal sleep. Our hearts are broken and the tears won’t stop flowing but we are comforted knowing that he has regained his eyesight, bladder control and strength and is now free to go and play with all of his ol’ buddies at The Rainbow Bridge. He is back to being a puppy again, loving his life and waiting for us to be reunited one day.
If you’ve made it this far through my story, I have no doubt you love (or have loved,) a furry little soul mate. This is such a confusing time, learning how to move forward without our little boy, while embodying a healthy grieving process for our kids. I believe in my heart that we gave Charlie a warm and loving home, and he gave us the same in return. I hold so much gratitude in my heart for his wet little nose, his warm snuggles, and his endless energy.
I’d love to hear from you, have you lost a fur baby? What helped you heal? Your kids?