Getting to know Charlie Some things we learned while traveling
by Linda Settles
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The trip to Arkansas could not have been more fun. Charlie settled down between the girls in the back seat for all the world as if she had been with us all her life. I don't think her tail stopped wagging the whole sixteen hours. Except when she had to get out of the car--something she was reluctant to do. I could almost read her mind, "What if they abandon me, too?"
I don't blame her. All those hugs and kisses, cuddles and treats from the girls in the back seat must have warmed her canine soul. She would have been content to spend the rest of her life right there-- parked between two adoring girls.
But I had other plans. I pulled into a PetsMart and dragged our reluctant pet out of the car. "You are getting a real bath, little girl." I insisted. Doggie cologne. The works. "You have to make a good impression on my mother. What if you get stuck with her?"
That seemed to cheer her up a bit and she walked right in step with me, like the lady she was, as I headed for the sliding glass doors of Pets -Mart. We had made it all the way to the threshold, when my newly acquired canine child did what every parent dreads. She pitched a fit! She started whining and whimpering and thrashing around on the leash. She seemed terrified by the idea of going inside. The only way I was going to get her into that pet store was to pick her up and carry her --and so I did.
She wiggled and squirmed but made it through the traumatizing ordeal of bathing and brushing. I was so proud of her when the groomer returned her to us. What a little beauty. I determined then and there that Mother would never get her hands on Charlie. Michael would just have to fall in love with her. But, in case he wasn't as smart as he ought to be, I took Charlie to meet my mother. She had to have a home.
Of course, Charlie wowed my mom. She walked in Mom's front door as if she owned the place. She let my mother pet her. Good grief, she even bowed to her. My kids insist she was stretching, but I swear she bowed. Mom was smitten. "I'll take her." She announced.
Wait a minute, we aren't at that part yet..
"I mean, if Mike won't agree to let you keep her." That was when I realized--my mother wanted my dog. My dog.
"I even have a chain-link fenced back yard!" Mom gushed.
I grunted. You don't have to sound so eager. That thought was instantly followed by another, Why am I being so ornery? Isn't this what I want? Someone to give Charlie a good home in case I have to give her up? My heart rebelled, But I'm not going to give her up!
This was not going well.
Then all the relatives showed up and the food was ready and we forgot about Charlie. She was doing fine.
Suddenly, my mother said, "Oh, my gosh. Where did the turkey breast go?"
Uh-oh. Charlie was lying on the floor looking innocent as an angel. The platter was right where mother had placed it on the counter top, licked clean as a whistle. Charlie was the talk of the day. How did that little mutt stretch high enough to reach the turkey, and how in the world did she manage to lift that big piece of meat off the platter and suck it down without anyone seeing her?
We were to learn as time went by that a good dog never forgets old tricks. Unfortunately, we humans sometimes forget about our dogs tricks. I'll tell you more about that later.
First, you've got to hear about Charlie's recovery. Oh, you didn't know that animals sometimes get abused and have to work the steps to get back on track? Some of you know.
To my friends in the den,
I wanted to write this episode in the life in Charlie days ago--but found my time stretched beyond the limit. Mike and I are in the process of moving--and you know how consuming that can be!
I am tired tonight, but I just had to write about Charlie because I am missing her so much. Moving away from this place, where we shared so many memories, makes me feel sad.
So, I have reached into my back-pack of happy memories and pulled out a few of them to share with you. I hope you enjoy reading about my beloved Charlie.
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