Posts Tagged ‘Your Puppy (Complete Pet Owner’s Manual)

He is charming, handsome, captivating and for the most part, totally boss.  He is my dog.   I love and adore him now but there was a bit of a time when he tormented me.

I got him from a website that promoted recycling by giving unwanted items away to those who wanted said items.  I was looking for household items for a friend of mine when I stumbled upon a post reading FREE PUPPY….MUST GO!  Surprised to see this, I told my friend what I saw and she insisted I call and see what this was about.  She had a daughter who wanted an animal and this seemed perfect.  I didn’t want to get involved but after the guilt set in, I called, set up a meet and greet (or at least that’s what I thought) with the owners of this soon-to-be homeless animal.  I had no intention of taking this dog home.  I didn’t have a husband or children; I was alone and I liked it that way.  I didn’t want to get involved.  I was simply going to see what kind of people would just throw a dog away so quickly to complete strangers.  I should have known what I was getting into when “Henry the dog” was packed, waiting and ready to go when we arrived.  These people wanted rid of him quickly and it was obvious.  My friend didn’t think her husband would “appreciate this dog” and was ready to go.  I was walking out the door when I saw his sweet little face staring up at me as if to say “I’m ready, let’s get moving!”  In a brief moment of weakness, I decided that I couldn’t just leave him there.  God knows what kind of people they were and what they would do to him if their offer of a free puppy was rejected.  At that very instant I just knew that I was a proud new owner of a “whatever he is.” 

My first task as a new pet owner was to give him a new name.  He was too young and clumsy to have such a distinguished name like Henry.  It had to go.  I couldn’t picture myself introducing him to everybody as Henry.  I thought of what seemed like ten thousand names.  Each one would have some reason not to stick.  Finally, I thought of my favorite cartoon and came to the conclusion that “Charlie” would be his new alias.  It fit him better and grabs his attention quicker than any of the others.  Charlie rolls off the tongue better.  It’s only when he is in trouble that he is called by his full name: Charles Brown Holmes, which I picked. That in and of itself was the first in many emotional battles that have revolved around this small yet brutal terrorist. Maybe I should have called him Napoleon.

The first couple of weeks were horrific.  I would lie awake at night while the screeching whimpers of a lonely, kennel-bound puppy echoed throughout my apartment as  if to alert the masses that I was abusing him without mercy.   He would quickly hush as soon as he saw my face.  I was convinced that this dog was just a delinquent with a bad attitude.  At one point, I swore that I saw him flip me “the doggy finger”.  It was horrible.  Eventually it became easier to let him roam free and clean up whatever he destroyed in the process than to subject both of us to that kind of terror.  I tried to “tough it out”, as my mother called it but when my neighbors saw me they scowled.  I was becoming hated among the community.  I would take him outside they would watch me to see how I would interact with my new-found pet.  They all were  judging and criticizing when he squeezed out of his collar and ran from me.  Most would offer tips, hints, training books, and videos.  One guy even offered to take him “off my hands for the right price” but I refused.  Instead, I did what I thought was best for all of us and came up with a Plan B of sorts.

I gave into Charlie’s demands.  He was free to roam about the house unsupervised but conditionally, of course.  We came to the agreement that he would wait until he was in nature to do “his business”  and he wouldn’t run from me as long as I gave him ample time outside without a leash.  He wouldn’t chew my things (unless he was mad at me) if I provided him with the proper teething equipment; chew toys, if you will.  He would alert me if rapists, killers, strangers or anyone else for that matter were knocking at the front door as long as I would coddle him during thunderstorms and allow him to sleep with me at night.  After all, he was still afraid of the dark…I concurred.  Eventually our time together wasn’t so bad as long as both of our wishes were being respected.  I was a pro at this!

I flash forward to today and look at him as he flaunts his long legs and short hair while prancing about.  Charlie is almost 4 yet is perpetually a puppy.  In these years that have passed, I have given him a few nicknames and he answers to them all but he likes “Chawee” the best.  He is still afraid of the dark and hates thunderstorms but he has all of his adult teeth so (unless he gets mad at me) he doesn’t chew and destroy everything in sight.  Also, Charlie has learned to live with the leash if we go anywhere but most of the time he doesn’t have to wear it.  He stays by my side where ever we are.  I find it kind of funny just how much we understand one another.  He can keep a secret, too!  As time goes on, I consider him part of the family rather than a public nuisance.  We have been through a lot and he is much more loyal to me than any human I know. 

It used to get on my nerves when pet owners would dress their dogs in human clothes and treat animals like people.  In fact, I would almost go as far to say that I took personal offense to people behaving that way.  It really irritated me.  It doesn’t anymore; I get it.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dress Charlie up or substitute him for human contact but I would venture to say that I love him dearly and really couldn’t imagine my life without him.  I don’t know why I chose this topic today.  Maybe it’s the haunting ASPCA commercials that I always see or perhaps it’s my vegetarian guilt.  I can’t quite place why.  I just know that I am a lucky gal to have a friend like Charlie.  I hope I have impacted his life in as positive a way as he has mine.  

Now I want to hear about your four-legged friends, training nightmares or other pet related stories!  Who is your Charlie?



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  • lesa with an e: TJ front of photo-Jazz back seat in photo
  • lesa with an e: GREAT blog you have here! I have a story about one of my two family memebers of the dog kind. Training dogs my whole life has allowed me to meet a l
  • sarahndipitee: Yay! Casey, you gave my FIRST EVER comment. You get ten coolness points to you from me! Maybe we can have a "play date" with Maggie and Charlie some