Thing #17 – Charlie Day

Dear Charlie ChoochooTrain-
A year ago today we brought you home. You were a scrawny guy with a patch of poop crusted onto your hip. You had no attention span and even fewer manners.
I was at yoga when papá went to meet you. I couldn’t do it. I refused to visit another shelter unless I knew we were coming home with a dog. It destroyed me to see all those precious faces wishing for a home, and walking out without granting a wish. When I got the text saying I should come meet you, I knew I was in trouble.

You came bounding into the play area, giving me a quick sniff before ignoring me to investigate a ball. You weren’t the most affectionate or playful, and preferred to hang around the perimeter doing your own thing. I get it. That’s my instinct with new people, too. Nonetheless, your head was so big and face was so sweet, we knew you had to be ours.

I drove behind you guys the whole way home, watching you pace the backseat, window to window. I worried we made a mistake. How would we take care of a dog? We’d have to completely rearrange our lifestyle. Being selfless isn’t my thing!

I remember watching you walk through the front door and creep around the house, cautious and slow. You stayed in the kitchen, refusing to walk on the hardwood floor. You’d extend your neck into the dining room like you were going to take a brave step onto the wood, only to shrink back to the safety of the kitchen tile. Hopefully all the towels we scattered across the wood floors made you feel safer.

We fell in love so quickly, and the past year has been packed with the most special memories. Sure you’ve been in a near-constant state of worms, racking up vet bills and piles of diarrhea. Sure you yanked me so hard that I fell, resulting in a trip to the ER to get staples in my leg. Sure you ripped up all my magazines before I could read them, chewed up the furniture legs and ate half my hairbrush. I still never found the other half of that brush.

In spite of this, our lives are so much better because of you. You swooped in and softened the spots in our life that grew sharp and prickly. You show us love in your special ways, like wiggling so hard when you see us that your body might break in half. You run to my side if I hurt myself or cry, and look me straight in the eye to make sure I’m ok. You even lick the tears off my sleeve (you’ll eat anything salty though). Your intuition kinda freaks me out.

Now that a year has passed, you’re 25 pounds heavier and only slightly more responsive to our commands. We’ve created dozens of names and songs for you. We now know you’re a mix of Great Pyrenees, Mastiff, Chow, Husky and other stuff. I spent a bunch of money on a fancy bed for you, but since we’ve broken our own rules and allow you on the couch, it’s like that bed doesn’t even exist. It doesn’t matter. I’m just happy to make you happy.

I think back to driving behind you on the way home that day. The nervous girl in sweaty yoga clothes, who had pristine hardwood floors and could wear black clothes without the threat of being blanketed in dog hair. A lot can change in a year. And once again, my theory is correct – the things that make you nervous are the things most worth doing.

Happy Charlie Day to my big, stinky, fuzzy-faced friend. Thank you for making our world so much happier than I could have ever imagined.


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