When I was a little girl, I would love listening to my father’s stories of owning a poodle when he lived in Denmark. I dreamt of having a dog of my own. My father would often take me to the pet store to pet puppies. Their little faces begging me to pick them up and care for them made my little heart melt.
My mother’s exact words about getting a dog was more or less “Over my dead body“- she was not a fan of animals, especially the thought of having an animal live in her house (plus I’m sure the work of caring for it would fall on her).
We lived in NY, and didn’t have much of a back yard, so owning a dog became a moot topic.
As I got older my love for animals diminished. I didn’t care much for them, and never felt the need to get a pet. In my mind they were dirty, ruined your stuff and were way too much responsibility.
Two months ago my sister-in-law called me up and said she was bringing a dog home. She found a small stray by her work and decided to take him in.
Since my sil lives in a house right behind our house, we thought it would be good for all of our kids to have a dog. Plus, we live in a farm town, so really it was a plus.
It was love at first sight.
I asked her if I could name him, she didnt mind.
He looked like a Charlie.
And so, it was.
I took most of the responsibility caring for Charlie. I fed him, gave him love and we bonded.
My daughter Soleil was SCARED TO DEATH of him, refusing to leave the house if he was outside.
Neve on the other hand loved him.
About 3 weeks in, Charlie went missing.
We never tied him up, so really- he could have been anywhere.
We had a theory that a next door neighbor wanted him gone, so they drove him out to the fields (which btw may have turned out to be true).
I was sad and so were the kids (you know, everyone except Soleil)
I missed my little bugger.
3 weeks later- my 9-year-old nephew came racing to my house telling me that he knew where Charlie was. A family had found him in the fields and when he approached them about the dog being his, they didn’t believe him and asked for proof.
I drove my car, with my iphone filled with pictures of Charlie and explained the situation to the family.
They believed me, and brought Charlie in from their backyard.
Once he saw me he jumped on me, and peed all over the floor. He was excited. He also inadvertently made me drop my iphone and cracked my screen. I didn’t care- Charlie was found!
I immediately went to the store, bought him a bright yellow collar with a name tag so that if he were to get lost again he could be returned.
He loved his freedom, roaming around the estate playing.
I really had a soft spot for him.
It was nice having him home.
But of course, nothing is forever.
I got a call.
Charlie was hit by a car.
My heart stopped.
I had just found him 3 days earlier!!
How was he dead?
My nephew saw him laying there on the side of the road, with his bright yellow collar.
A part of me wishes that I had tied him up, but what kind of life is that?
A part of me wishes that I would have left him with the other family. Maybe his fate would have been different?
Neve keeps asking when Charlie is coming home, and I say that he’s not- that his mommy found him and took him home.
I mean, how can you explain death to a 4-year-old.
I want to protect them and shield them from the sad and unfair in this world as long as I can.
Because it is sad and unfair.
I mean, I finally bonded with an animal for the first time in my life and I got burned.
Is there something I should be explaining to my kids about Charlie’s whereabouts, or should I just continue to say his mom found him and took him home?