Charly stopped eating last night. This morning he was too weak to go for a walk...even though Tom had the day off and would be joining us. So I stayed behind and petted him until Tom and Max returned, not wanting him to be alone.
I had hoped it wouldn't come to this. I had hoped he would go peacefully in his sleep before he began to suffer more than just the aches and pains of old age. But life can be sweet...and it can be sour...and there are times we don't get what we want. Given the choice of him suffering for days and dying while we were at work,(and it was obvious he was beginning to suffer), or drifting off to join his brother Chewy and his "Mama" Maggie while Tom and I hugged him and whispered how much we loved him...well, it was still a tough decision to make, but we chose being there with him.
So we made the appointment...the latest one possible. Tom spent his day off being close to Charly - much like I did on my day off last week. This afternoon Charly actually rallied for a walk, and I began to have doubts about our decision, until I watched him trying to make his way down the road, so painfully slow that I ached for him.
Back home I brushed him and brushed him...and then it was time.
It was over so quickly - there had only been a few strands of life left in him, but he was hanging on tight to those and I know it was because he was such an awesome dog, so bound to his duty of taking care of us that he couldn't, he wouldn't, let go, no matter what.
"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." - Josh Billings
We buried him near Chewy's grave and marked it with a beautiful iron cross I had bought with the intention of placing it near the other pets' graves. I'm grateful for my procrastinating ways at times.
It was dark before we finished piling rocks on top of the dirt, to protect him from the grave-robbing varmints out there, and wandered back up to the house to let Max out of the laundry room. He promptly tucked his tail, laid down his ears and slunk into the dog house. Any other time, he would have gone looking for Charly. He knew.
I'm going to miss Charly, especially tomorrow morning. We've been walking together almost every morning for over six years. The walks before that don't count - they were leash-walks. Now we walked as friends connected by love and companionship, not leashes. I dread walking out in the morning and not seeing his big brown eyes looking up at me and that white tail wagging, hopeful.
Yeah, I'm going to miss him. Damn, he was a good dog.
In one of C.S. Lewis' books about Narnia - "The Last Battle", I think - he offers his idea of what heaven will be like - a bucolic place with green fields, lots of trees, clear streams...and animals or pets that have passed from this life. That image has become my own picture of heaven and in my mind now, I can see Charly, filled out like a butterball like he used to be, his ears flopping as he runs through the grass, playing with Chewy...
That helps a little. But I'm still going to miss my Charly.
Charly's baby pics...with brother Chewy...with "Mama" Maggie...
Last pictures taken, Thanksgiving weekend, with the boys...
Run and play in peace, Charly Dog.