I mentioned a few posts ago that I bought David an arsenal of books for his birthday, one of them being A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans by W. Bruce Cameron. This particular book caught my eye, along with Mainstream Vegan, just as I was about to take the escalator down to pay. I couldn’t resist buying it when I saw the cute dog on the cover and how Kirkus Reviews described it as “Marley & Me combined with Tuesdays with Moorie.” By now you probably know that I am a huge animal lover and that I adore my three black kitties – I say this as my VERY spoiled brat Julius is meowing relentlessly at the bedroom door in an effort to be let out. I am not sure what it is about me, but I think I have “pushover” written on my forehead for all my animals to see.
Throughout my blog I have made my adoration for my cats evident, but I have neglected to give much attention to my first-born, Charlie. Very appropriately, Julius is now on his back begging for attention from his much larger canine species big brother. What can I tell you about Charlie? Well, he fluctuates between 65-70 LBS, he is white with light brown patches throughout his body and he is a total and utter spaz. Truth be told, I adore him more than words can say, and I know David does too.
I first rescued Charlie from Miami-Dade Animal Services nearly two years ago in an attempt to give him to my parents. Since things are never as simple as they seem, I am going to tell you just how complicated they can get. Charlie was a 43 LB ball of skin and bones when I rescued him. He was absolutely adorable and even though he was curled up sleeping at the time, he called out to me. I don’t think I walked past more than a handful of dogs before I asked to see him outside of the kennel. After I was done walking him around the open area I told the volunteer that I needed a few minutes to think this through fully. Well, it was at that very second that a supervisor passed us, pointed to him, and said that he was showing signs of respiratory infection and that he would need to be placed outside with all the other infected dogs. In case you are not aware, the sick dogs don’t have a fighting chance of making it out of there and I knew in an instant that if I didn’t take this adorable one year old pup with me, he was going to be PTS (put to sleep).
I walked out of the shelter with this poor sick pup and a bottle of antibiotics for what I thought was kennel cough. It became very evident very quickly that what Charlie had was not kennel cough but distemper. This reality was brutal and the chances of him making it were slim – distemper is usually a death sentence. The story of his treatment is pretty heartbreaking so I will spare you, but I will tell you that I spent months caring for a very sick dog with no idea whether he was going to make it or not. As you can imagine, I was elated when he started to make drastic improvements and gained a whopping 25 LBS. Along with his improvement in health, an energetic and playful puppy started to emerge. I had no idea what I was getting myself into because up until that point he had been incredibly calm. I should have known however, since he was sick and extremely lethargic that once he got better his energy levels would spike. Ohhhh did they spike!
I now have this amazingly special, albeit spastic Labrador, American Bulldog Mix that has lightened up my life and who takes as much care of me and his three feline siblings, as I do them. He is still immunocompromised and I will have to watch his health for the rest of his life. There is also the possibility that he can show neurological symptoms as he ages due to the distemper, but I am optimistic that this baby of mine will live a long and healthy life.
Charlie holds a special place in my heart and has taught me things about myself that I never knew. He keeps David’s side of the bed warm during away trips and shows me unconditional love. I dedicate this post to him for being the most amazing dog I could ever ask for.