how i found you

How I Found: Charley
April 2, 2009, 7:15 pm
Filed under: my dog | Tags:

I want to remember how I found you because this year  I lost you. 

I wanted another dog because Ms. Beesie the Cocker was sleeping too much during the day. She was only five-years-old and it was decided that she needed a playmate.  Watching the Westminster dog show, we noticed the Clumber Spaniel who won Best in Show: a comical  looking white dog that looked like a Basset hound with the face of a St. Bernard. There was a picture of him in the paper with three tennis balls in his mouth. We decided we wanted a Clumber Spaniel.  We researched the breed and found a breeder.  There would be a litter in 2 months.  It was so exciting waiting for you and hoping that Ms. Beesie and you would get along.

The day finally came when we would go and pick you up at the breeder’s house about 2 hours away.  We couldn’t wait to see you; until then we had only been sent pictures of you at four weeks old. We named you Charley Parker after the famous jazz musician. You were huge and white and chunky looking with light tan heart-shaped marking on the side of your back. 

I kept thinking: if we wait till the ten weeks, I will never be able to carry him.  I loved carrying my puppies.  We picked you up at the breeder’s house  and I carried you in my arms in the car the two hours home.  You had your head in my shoulder and just sat there quietly; we bonded right away.  I carried you as much as I could when we played the next couple of months because I knew you would be too heavy soon.  Our time together ran by quickly even though we lived in three different houses, a horse farm, and moved across the country 2,000 miles away.

Ms. Beesie also died last year. She was 18 yrs old.  She had lived so long, we thought you would at least have a few more years. Unfortunately, six months after her death you lost the use of your hind legs – something we always knew might happen after your back surgery.  The fact the  you weighed 58 lbs. did not in any way deter us from helping you walk in and out of the house with a sling.  I helped you out sometimes 4 or 5 times a day to relieve yourself and I carried you that way while you ate. I know sometimes that made you grumpy but I did it anyway.  After 3 months, one day you just stood up.  You could take steps and eat standing up even though I still helped you out to the yard.  But for some reason that I don’t know, one day you gave up and let me know that you wanted to go.  You stopped eating and drinking.  I spent two nights sleeping with you on the floor making sure that you were comfortable.  The day we said goodbye I was with you until the final moment when I looked at your big  droopy  face and saw your eyes close peacefully.

I get all caught up with my life with the two new dogs.  They still eat the furniture and do all the naughty things that I somehow can’t remember you doing.  Then I will be cleaning up the room and I’ll see the frame with the picture of me – a huge smile on my face – carrying you as a very big puppy.   Those days always help me remember how happy it made me to have found and shared so much of my life with you, my funny Clumber, Charley.

Liz Arias-Woodall currently lives in in Santa Fe, NM but will be moving to Austin, Texas. She is married and has 2 dogs and 2 horses. She rides and competes in Dressage. She and her husband are entrepreneurs and have owned many businesses including cafes and retail stores.


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