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This is Charlie and my story. What's yours?

Name:  Celeste
Dog's Name:  Charlie
Breed:  Spaniel/Papillion/Beagle mix
Age/Years of friendship:  14 1/2 yrs old , we have spent over 12yrs together
Where did you get your dog from:  Yolo SPCA
Location:  Sacramento, CA
Social Media Link:  www.instagram.com/ccarvin 

I’ve always grown up around dogs and cats as pets, but they were never allowed inside or really considered part of the family core. It wasn’t until I was on my own and got a kitten named Frankie that I realized how much an animal can become part of your family and heart. I had her for 10 yrs before losing her too soon to bone cancer. My boyfriend and I adopted a dog named Maggie from a kill shelter. Again she was an “outside only” dog, but I would sneak her in more and more during “bad weather”. When my boyfriend and I broke up I kept Maggie and she became my best friend. She was an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix super smart and so adaptable we could go anywhere and she would just fit right in. We would take road trips together and she became a permanent fixture next to me anywhere I went. But I worked full time, so I started to think she needed a friend while I was away during the day.

I started searching on Petfinder for a small/medium dog that would be a good companion for Maggie. I went to several shelters and met some great dogs, but just not the right one. Then I saw Charlie’s photo and thought he looks like the right size (25pds) and mix (they had him listed as Beagle). I contacted Yolo SPCA who was fostering him. I emailed back and forth with his foster mom who had several other dogs she was fostering and said he gets along with them great and cats too. So I took Maggie with me to meet him at a PetSmart in Davis. As soon as I saw him as I drove up I knew he was the ONE. I met him first on my own. I thought how cute and funny he was that he would bark at any dog walking by (I would find out later that is because he didn’t get along with new dogs). He had long feathery ear hairs and a big fluffy regal looking tail that would fan over his back, thinking this is no beagle. I took him for a walk on my own and then introduced him to Maggie. They hit it off right away and walked on leash next to each other with no problems and I decided to pay the $25 adoption fee and make him part of the family.

I brought him home the day after Thanksgiving and he and Maggie didn’t hit it off again so well. Charlie wanted to be the dominate dog, but it was Maggie’s house. After a few days of separation and trying to reintroduce them, I let them figure out who was going to be top dog and since that day they got along great. They would roll around and chase each other, share toys (Charlie would pull the stuffing out and Maggie would eat it), be my models for photos and Christmas cards and sleep on the bed with me. I got super lucky that both of them were house trained and never destroyed anything, except a few balls and toys. Unfortunately several years later I lost Maggie suddenly due to an auto-immune disease from being over vaccinated. And then it was just me and Charlie.
Charlie has become my better half. He is the most easy-going, low maintenance, treat loving dog. He never learned to play fetch and quickly becomes bored with toys after he kills their squeaker parts. He isn’t one for a lot of affection, he is sort of cat like as he only wants it on his terms. He’ll give me kisses when I get home and then promptly want to be left alone to eat and sleep. We have spa days on Sundays, where I bath and brush him and tell him he is a pretty boy. I think he knows when he looks good as he puffs out his chest and holds his head up higher after being brushed. When he sleeps he’ll fart, snores and snorts like a warthog (I call him my version of Pumba). He lost a couple of his front lower teeth but still gets his gums caught on the ones that are left and looks like he is wanting to ask me a question. I tell him it’s not his smartest look. When he begs for treats, which is often, he lifts his front paw up to look sadder to get more treats. He is easy the best $25 I’ve ever spent.

One main reason I never got another dog after Maggie passed is he doesn’t get along so well with others (remember him barking at all dogs that walked by at our initial meeting). During his dog training days, he would show up to class barking and lunging at all the other dogs in the class. The teacher even would just give him a toy to occupy his time and tell me to work at home with him. Taking him for walks would require changing the side of the street several times if another dog approached. So instead his favorite thing became car rides and sitting on the ottoman at the front window doing neighborhood watch. He is now getting older (14 ½) and recently has started having serious health issues (seizures, collapsed trachea, herniated disk, eye ulcers, kidney disease and vertigo). While these issues are difficult (and costly) to deal with, I realize it is my duty as his dog-mother to see him through them. He is losing his eye sight but sits on the ottoman as if he is still on watch. He is losing his hearing, but only makes him more enduring when he tilts his head to figure out where the noise is coming from. He still loves a car rides with the widow down and breeze in his hairs. He has been my perfect, sweet, angel, grumpy, bear boy. I don’t know how much more time we have together, but I’m determined to make the most of them and keep him happy. I recently took him to the coast and he became like a puppy, running along the water and just happy as he can be. It’s a new tradition for us to take a trip to the coast. He makes me laugh, cry and have unconditional love for him every day. I have taken thousands of photos and videos of him throughout the years. Even though they will never replace him I cherish every memory I have and will make with him.

This is Charlie and my story. What's yours?

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