It is with an absolutely broken heart that I write this post. In fact, I've waited a week to write it because every time I try to, I start crying again.
Last Monday night our sweet Charlie passed away.
While I know I am biased, I can say with absolute certainty that Charlie was the best dog. He was sweet and gentle. He loved our kids. He listened. I could go on and on listing all the good that he was.
We brought Charlie home 12 years ago. We had been dating almost two years. We were both still in college. We were so young. Everyone said we were crazy. They said, "If you get a dog together, it's a guarantee you'll break up." But we went to the pound and we knew, without a doubt, Charlie was our dog.
He lived with us in our tiny, two bedroom apartment for a few months. Technically it was me and my roommate, but we also had S staying with us, and two other friends. So five people, in a tiny two bedroom, and then a puppy. We used to have to take him out on the leash in the early morning hours to the patch of dirt outside our front door to go potty. S was waiting for the house we were going to move into to finish being built, and when it was taking longer than we thought Charlie went to live with S's dad for a few months. We hated leaving him, but he loved that big yard and his other dog friends.
When the house was finished Charlie came back to us and lived in that house for a year. It was S and I, and several of his fraternity brothers for roommates. So Charlie was basically raised in a frat house.... it's pretty amazing he turned out as well as he did! In the time we were in that house we adopted our Stella. And by adopted I mean we spent way to much money on her at a pet store. But she was a damn cute puppy and, like I mentioned early, we were young and dumb at this point in our lives. Charlie and Stella became the best of friends, and our little family of four was complete for the time. They were our "fur babies" and we loved them so much.
And then life kept moving on. Charlie (and Stella) moved with us to Phoenix. We finally had our own house with no roommates! They were there when we got engaged, and then when we bought our first house. They were there when we got married, and then when we brought home L from the hospital. Our first "real" baby, after the dogs. We worried about them being jealous or acting out, but they loved L. Especially Charlie. The kids could pet him and play with him and sit on him and occasionally try to ride him and he was so patient and loving to them. And when we brought home two more babies, he loved them too. And then we sold our first house and bought our dream house and bounced around for a month or so while we did work on the house, and he just went with the flow. Because that 's the kind of dog he was. He was just happy to be where we were.
And then we started to notice he was slowing down. His legs were obviously hurting him, and he didn't move as easily as he used to. He occasionally wouldn't want to eat. I was pregnant with C, but we start to prepare ourselves that the end might be coming soon. And then, just a week or so after C was born, he had a really bad night. And we thought he may not make it through the night. We cried and said our goodbyes and I was so happy he had held on to meet baby C. But then, he bounced back. He was still moving slow, but he seemed ok. And we took a deep breath and were grateful we still had some time.
But, this last Monday night, our sweet boys time came. He went to go outside and his legs gave out, so we carried him out to the grass. He was breathing very deeply, but he dint' seem to be in any pain or distressed. And we knew this was it. So we laid with him in the grass out back. We held him and pet him and told him what a good boy he was. We told him he had been the best dog and that he didn't need to hold on for us. And, by morning, he was gone. I can't explain how broken our hears are. It almost seems silly, because pets die and we all know that. But Charlie had been with us from the very beginning. He grew up with us. He was there for every life event. And we will miss him so much. But, we were so lucky to have had him. I will say again, he was the best. We love him so much and we are grateful for the time we had with him.
Goodbye our sweet, sweet boy. You will be missed forever.