Sunday, August 3, 2008
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.