(AKC "Good Grief Charlie Brown")
April 27, 1998 - November 7, 2006
Charlie was our first dog, our first baby. He was diagnosed with Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph node system) about 2 weeks ago, and we had to put him down last night. It was not an easy decision, but it was what was right for him so he wouldn't suffer and be in pain any longer.
The Lymphoma was a horrible disease, because early detection doesn't really buy you anything. We took him to the vet because his throat was swollen and his eyes were red. We thought he had an allergic reaction or infection. We weren't prepared to hear the doctor say the "C" word, especially since Charlie was acting completely normal, looked normal, was still playing and happy, wagging his tail, eating and drinking, and just being himself.
Charlie was a great dog. Even when we had children, he took to them very well and welcomed them to the family. He soon became very protective of them, like they were his own. He would sleep in the hallway outside their doors at night. If someone he didn't know came to the house, he made sure to be between the girls and the stranger at all times. When they cried in their crib, he would go investigate and come barking at us so we knew something was up.
(Left: Charlie and Morgan taking a break from playing)
He was of course every bit a terrier though, we can't forget that. He was smart, but stubborn. When training him, he would reach a point where he would get bored and just wouldn't cooperate. He was big enough to do his share of "counter surfing" -- getting up on the counters to steal any food that wasn't bolted down. He had no use for other animals, especially strange dogs. Sure he played with the dogs he knew, like Morgan, Pongo, Sage, Wolf, etc. But any other dog he would go nuts barking and lunging at them. As a very small puppy, he actually started barking and "picking a fight" with a full grown rottweiler. That's terrier attitude for you.
(Left: classic example of Charlie being in the middle of the action during Taryn's birthday party)
When we first went to get Charlie as a puppy, we were "just going to look". I liked Airedales from what I knew about them, but had no real intention of actually getting one right then. I was still in an apartment that didn't allow dogs, but I was closing on my first house in a few weeks. Plus I was going to ask my girlfriend to marry me. I wanted it to be a surprise, so I kept telling her I didn't have the money for the ring. Well in her mind, I had no money for a ring but I just dropped $500+ for a puppy. I just couldn't resist once I saw them. There were about 4 puppies left when we got to the breeder's house, and Charlie was running around with a little purple ribbon tied around his neck like a collar. For some reason we gravitated right to him, but he kept running under their porch. The breeder spent a good 15 minutes or so trying to get him to come out so we could take him home. We're glad he finally came out. And my wife has since forgiven me for the ring incident once she found out I had already purchased the ring.
(Right: Upside-down Bear)
If Charlie was laying down, and any of us walked near him, he would roll over on his back with all 4 paws up in the air. We would say "Charlie's upside-down" and then rub his belly. After getting used to this behavior, he would sometimes "go upside-down" even if you weren't near him, knowing you would go over and rub his belly anyways. We even taught our daughters that any time he was upside-down, they had to rub his belly.
He was never much for the game of Fetch in the traditional sense. Throw a ball or frisbee and he would run over, grab it, and then lay down to chew on it. So we turned it into a game of "I'm Gonna Get You". We would run after him, and he would grab the toy and run away, purposely getting himeself into situations where we could corner him and grab the toy, but then running past us in the other direction.
Sometimes Charlie would kind of sigh in his sleep, so it sounded like he was "leaking" air. Another strange thing he did was he would lick my head when I got down on the floor to play with him. It was funny when he would get done eating or drinking, then walk the length of our bed rubbing one side of his face on the comforter, then back the other way rubbing the other side of his face, like our bed was a giant napkin just for him. Speaking of napkins, he would go on one his marathon water drinking sessions, then come up to you with his terrier beard dripping wet and put his head on your lap (usually when you're wearing shorts!).
We will miss Charlie a lot. I didn't really feel ready to say goodbye, but I wouldn't have been any more ready next week, next month, or even 8 years from now when he would have been "old". We did the right thing for him instead of being selfish and keeping him around in misery. We'll always remember him and love him. He was our first baby.
(Left: "You lookin' at me?")
(Below: Just hangin' out)