Sunday, August 3, 2008

Charley


When I sent my entry to Camera Critters this week, I included pictures of our family dog, Charley, and one of my oldest daughter's dog, Harley. Neither dog is with us any longer. I got so many nice comments that I decided to do a little post on Charley today.


Charley came to our family in August of 1969. I was about eleven months pregnant at the time (not an exaggeration - but that's another story). He was the sweetest puppy ever. We soon found we had to nurse him through puppy distemper. The vet didn't think he'd make it, but we were determined, and somehow we managed.

My daughter, Kitty, was born on August 12th. Charley wasn't jealous. He just loved her as he loved everyone in the whole world. He used to bring his chew toy and drop it on her wherever she was if she fussed. I never knew him to growl or bare his teeth at any but two people. The first was our next door neighbor, who was the meanest old man I have ever known. Charley knew what he was like. He never did anything except growl and bare his teeth, then walk away from the fence. The other was a teenage boy who came sometimes to play with my son and his friends. Not too often, thank heaven. This boy teased the dog constantly, so we could hardly blame Charley for getting a little cranky.

I've mentioned that he was afraid of water, and we used to call him "Charley, Chicken of the Sea". That started when we took him to Cape May with us to visit my mother. We drove down to Poverty Beach, fastened the leash to his collar, and thought we'd have a run along the edge of the water. After all, he was a lab. He went with us happily enough until we reached the edge of the water. One tiny wave came lapping in. He freaked! He backed right out of his collar and went tearing back up to the car and jumped into the window.

Everyone loved Charley - except the new mailman who didn't know what to expect when the dog came gallumping up, put his feet on the man's shoulders, and licked his face.

A family story is told about Kitty when she was still very small, sitting beside him one day, rubbing his head. She said, "We get a lot of use out of this dog."

He was bought for me, and was supposed to be the family dog, but in reality, he was Ralph's dog. He decided that for himself. They were great buddies. The night Ralph died, Charley knew when it happened. And he never looked for him again out door or window. He just knew, and he was very sad. He remained a companion to me for a long time, but we both knew he was just putting up with me to be polite.


16 comments:

Dianne said...

what a stunning Charley photo

I love all the stories about him and I got such a kick out of kitty's comment - she was a very clever girl even back then :)

Deborah Godin said...

Wonderful story, he sounds like a special friend indeed.

Lily Hydrangea said...

There is nothing better than a beloved pet. I love my dog and couldn't imagine life without her. She is like a living breathing beanie baby with a human personality.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories and photos Bobbie.

kenju said...

Good post, Bobbie. My uncle's dog knew when he died (heart attack) and howled all that night and half the next day. He shut up when my aunt put some of my uncle's clothing on the floor. The dog curled up on the clothes and never howled again.

Bear Naked said...

What a wonderful story about Charleyand you can tell by the photo that he was a happy dog.
Do you have a dog now?

Bear((( )))

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Good Morning! Charley was a very handsome dog. It is amazing how one creature can offer so much love. Lisa

Judy said...

I am so glad you did this post and told us about the nickname. He sounds like such a wonderful dog. I love the name Charley, also.

nonizamboni said...

Bobbie, what a wonderful post about your beloved Charley. . .and I am sure you did get 'a lot of use out of him'! Reading this he gets my vote for the quintessential 'dog'--their finest qualities. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful memory.

the teach said...

It's sad to lose beloved pets, bobbie, I know. Great pictures of Charley and the family.

Crayons said...

that's a wonderful portrait of a very special being. I love the way pets become such great friends.

I also enjoyed your post on China (more recent). I agree that China has a terrible human rights and environmental record. Sometimes I think it's good to visit places like that because it keeps them on their toes. But on the other hand, it could be seen as condoning their criminal behavior.

Kelly said...

I'd be interested in knowing how much Kitty weighed in at since you were pregnant for eleven months!!(lol) I know how you feel though, two of my kids were born in August and it was sooooo hot to be pregnant...

My second child did weigh 10 lbs 2 oz. 23 1/2 inches though! He was a May baby though, thank Goodness...

If you can tell the story without embarrassing her too much, tell us about the 11 month :) pregnancy!!

Kelly

bobbie said...

Well, Kelly. In the 60's we had to wait a few weeks for the dr to ell us we were pregnant. He told me the end of Sept. She was born Aug.12. You do the math. She weighed 8-12, same as the date. Didn't look like a newborn.

Kelly said...

Bobbie,

How neat 8-12 (August 12th) and that was exactly what she weighed!!! Wonder what the odds are on that? I think you need to play the lottery on her birthday 8-12-08!!!

My first born was born on 8-10-80 and 8 x 10 = 80...and, now that I think about that, I think I'll buy a lottery ticket on her birthday Sunday, August 10th! and ooohhhhh, Wow, (August 10, 1980 was on a Sunday too)...

OK! Maybe one of us will hit it big at something on one of our daughters birthdays! I'll give it a whirl! (If I win, I'll share with ya)!

ratmammy said...

what you wrote about Charley knowing when Ralph had passed.. i think that is so true.. when animals bond, it's almost psychic, be it with humans or other animal bonds. i've seen it happen with cats and with pet rats. they just know.

Shelly said...

Love those Charley photos, and of course the story...what a great dog. Our new pup is completely enamored with my husband, it's pretty funny how crazy she is about him.

me ann my camera said...

This is a wonderful story. And Charley was a handsome fellow, that is a wonderful portrait.