I intended to talk about the weather today- after all, it isn’t very often that Minnesota has triple digit temperatures, the highest in the country, only to plummet 55 degrees in less than two days. Unfortunately, my plans were changed this morning, due to the somewhat unexpected death of my dog, Charlie.
I say somewhat unexpected because I knew two years ago that Charlie wouldn’t have a long life. He was diagnosed with a heart murmur when he was about nine months old. The effect it would have was unknown, but it generally meant a shorter lifespan. He did surprisingly well with it, though. He never had any of the potential problems like a cough or tiring easily. Most of the time he could keep up with Dutchess, no problems. But this morning, it finally hit him. I noticed he was having trouble breathing, especially when he lay down, and he wasn’t eating. I called the vet, and they said to bring him in. I think he wanted to die at home, because he was gone before we got off our road. It was good in a way - he didn’t suffer much. He never had to watch everyone running around and wish that he could play too. He never had problems getting around.
It was harder, I think, for my younger siblings, even though Charlie was my dog. Maybe it’s because I’ve lost pets before. It’s part of life. You’re sad, and you miss them, but you learn to be glad for the time you had with them. I had to loose a lot of pets before learning this lesson. There were times I swore I would never have another, because it wasn’t worth loosing them. I know now that it better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all. These lessons carry through to life, too. We loose family members and friends, sometimes forever, sometimes just for a while. Sometimes the loss is expected, and we have time to say good-bye. Sometimes it comes as a shock. It can be tempting then, too, to say never again. It can be hard to try again. People, like pets, take a lot of work and time. The more you put in, I suppose, the more you get out of either. But people, like pets, sometimes don’t care how much you do or don’t do for them- they just love you anyhow, because you are you.
I don’t plan on getting another dog right now, because I know I am too busy. But someday I will have another, and I hope it’s a Newfoundland like Charlie. Only I will get a female next time, because it will make breeding those awesome Golden Newfie pups a lot easier on the mom. Until then, I’m sure Charlie will pop up in a few stories and maybe even a poem. We’ll see.
We buried Charlie up on the hill, under a tree, near his daughter, Lucky. One of my brothers even made him a wooden marker, chiseled in wood. Maybe we’ll make him another out of cement, too. He was a big dog, and won’t soon be forgotten.