“It’s too soon” (Charley’s Story)

Tuesday , 30, December 2014 Leave a comment

I wrote previously about losing our Chili dog, but I haven’t updated with the craziness that ensued right after.  The night we made the decision to have Chili put down, I told Clint I was never getting another dog.  It hurt too much losing Chili, and I vowed I’d never put myself through that again.  Minimally, it was going to be awhile–my heart hurt too much to think about adding a new family member for awhile.

Good thing the Universe had other ideas.  Here’s how that week played out:

Monday, Dec 1:
RAOKK Day.  One of the first stops my mom and I made was at the Enoch animal shelter (to drop off some towels to donate).  I immediately spied a puppy-ish black lab mix and told my mom we MUST meet her.  We were on a tight schedule, but I’ve never passed up the chance to get some puppy time with a black lab.

Enter “Bella,” a black lab/hound mix they said was about 6 months old.  She was fabulous.  Not only was she adorable, but she was super curious about EVERYTHING (that hound nose of hers never stopped).  Even when she found the kittens and the giant rabbit, she didn’t want bark or attack.  She was just curious.  When she finally stopped long enough to say hi, she turned into a puddle of sweet puppy while I rubbed her ears.  A little part of me fell in love on the spot–I even joked about taking her home right then.

At the same time, Clint was hearing from the vet that the news about Chili was bad–really bad.  He didn’t tell me that day, though, because I was flying high from the joy of doing random acts of kindness and he wanted me to enjoy the day.

Tuesday, Dec 2:
Before my parents left to go home, Clint filled them in about Chili.  My mom called him back before they even left town to insist that we got back to the shelter so he could meet Bella.  She swears that before we left the shelter, she had a feeling that Bella was going to come home with us, one way or another.

That night Clint told me about Chili, and we made the impossible decision to have her put down the next day.  My heart was shattered in a million pieces.

Wednesday, Dec 3:
We said goodbye to Chili.  I spent the rest of the day sobbing.  I knew she wasn’t in pain anymore, and that was the only thing that helped me get through the day.  Clint and I DID talk about going to the shelter to meet Bella, though…  Somehow we couldn’t get her out of our minds.

Thursday, Dec 4:
We decided to go to the shelter just so Clint could meet Bella (ha).  She weaseled her sweet puppy self into my heart before I knew what had hit me.  Clint agreed she was pretty fabulous and that we should seriously consider that she might be our next family member.  We went home to think about it and promised we’d be back that night to introduce Chaco to her.

We talked “hypothetically” that afternoon about what we’d name her.  We’ve always been CKCC, so we really wanted a “C” name, preferably a “Ch” name.  Clint suggested Charley, which I felt lukewarm about to start with.  Then he added, “Then we could be Charley and the Chaco Factory!”  Done.  Corny, but it was done.  She’d be Charley.

We went back that night with Chaco (and a friend of mine, just to get an outside perspective), and all was well.  Chaco didn’t really care a whole lot, and she was so busy sniffing things that it was hardly a meeting at all.  But, they got along fine.  Aimee agreed that Charley was the one.

I said we’d be back at 2 to pick her up the next day.


Friday, Dec 5:
Just two days after we said goodbye to Chili, we picked Charley up from the shelter and she officially became part of the family.  I was incredibly nervous about making the move so quickly, but the Universe just kept telling me you don’t say no when the signs so clearly point to yes:

  • We knew that Chaco would be lost without a new friend, so we really couldn’t wait too long.
  • We’d been at the shelter for RAOKK Day.  Katie and her canine BFF Annie were inseparable, and she knew how much I loved Chili.  Dropping a puppy in my lap, one who reminded us so much of Chili, to help fill the empty space in my heart, felt like Katie’s RAOKK to ME.
  • Charley arrived at the shelter about a month before we met her.  Her sister, who looked and behaved just like her, was adopted immediately.  They couldn’t figure out why Charley was still there (obviously, she was waiting for us!)
  • Thursday night when we went for our last visit, I noticed that Charley has a little tiny patch of white fur on her chest, just like Chili had.  That sealed the deal for me.

Maybe it was all coincidence, but I don’t think so.  I think we have family and friends, both human and furry, watching out for us.  My “it’s too soon!” and “never again!” didn’t stand a chance against all of those Universal forces.

Since then:
We haven’t had a puppy in the house in over 8 years, so we’ve had some rude reminders of the chaos they cause.  All in all, though, she’s a joy.  We THINK she’s fully house-trained at this point, and every day she learns another thing she’s NOT supposed to chew on, gets a little more reliable with basic commands, and gets a little more comfortable with being part of our family.

She’s been a snuggler from the start–her first night home she jumped right up on the couch next to Clint, nuzzled in, and fell sound asleep.  It’s like she’s always been here.  Every time she falls asleep with her sweet little head on my chest and starts snoring her little puppy snore, my heart heals a little more.

She harasses Chaco to no end, and they’re both getting better about playing nice with each other.  It’s good for him (although he’s exhausted).  She loves taking toys for runs through the back yard, can make her own fun batting balls around and tossing them in the air, and has highly refined skills at removing squeakers from toys.

It’s like she just belongs with us–like it was just meant to be.

Who rescued who?  I don’t know.  And I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter.

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