It’s no secret that I am a dog lover. I have given my heart to several Dachshunds, to several German Shepherd Dogs, a Doberman Pincher, an Old English Sheepdog, even a Chihuahua. One or two were second hand blessings, the others took a bite out of our wallets. Our lives today are enriched by a slightly overweight Jack Russell Terrier with a grand sense of adventure.
Charlie first became an entity by way of daily e-mail photos from our late son-in-law who claimed this puppy, brother to his pup, was “cute as hell” and we would do well to come to Southern California and see him. We named his picture “Charlie” after a brief naming process, and at seven weeks we were his.
Slow moving tender-hearted Sheepdogs sleep where they are pointed, eat when you get around to it, come when they are called, seldom bark, and generally simply want to please. Nothing is a hardship for them and they plod along with or without restraint for miles at a time, casually checking out the occasional squirrel or rabbit on the trail. Another astonishing and marvelous attribute, at least in the case of Panda—in spite of dense, curly fur; she did not shed. Leaves and dirt clods came in contact with her feet, but she left no hair. Not so with a JRT as those who own one will attest. It’s a credit to tight follicles that they have any hair left. We lasted two months without a dog when Panda left us, and it is difficult not to have something on the end of a leash.
My father was a no nonsense dog lover who came from the age when most dogs ate table scraps and slept outside. He would not have understood our anthropomorphizing a tiny seven week addition to our family, but things are different today. Dog food comes in many varieties, even for different breeds and sizes. Pets feel their natural place is on our beds, even believing it their right to push their owners to the edge.
There were six puppies in Charlie’ family, and our daughter found homes for all of them. Soon afterward, she hired a trainer and gave a puppy party for the pups and their owners. It’s a Southern California kind of thing. The puppies didn’t learn much and neither did the owners, but presents were exchanged and food consumed and it was fun.
Charlie is now eight, and his description as a seeker of adventure is well known to neighbors who now and then raise the alarm “Charlie’s out!” He has never seen an open door which has not called to him. Ours is the only house I know of in which a kennel sits by the front door where Charlie is funneled when the doorbell rings.
In the privacy of our house and rather large garden, Charlie responds to the slightest summons in jig time, but once out, the world is his oyster, and it’s a game of “catch-me-if-you-can.”
Charlie isn’t perfect, but neither are we. He has given us eight years of his life, filled with amusement at his antics, interspersed with keeping a close watch on all the doors opening into the neighborhood. He has the rare quality that some of us lack, the ability to make friends immediately.