Saturday, October 1, 2016


My name is Charlie.

I am a Retriever mix and an all around nice guy.

I wasn't always alone.

I had a family.

They bought me from a pet store when I was 4 months old and took me home and raised me and provided me with love and comfort.

I lived with them for 4 years and I loved them very much.

Three weeks ago my mother started to cry and continued to do so most nights before bed. I tried my best to comfort her but to no avail. Something was up but I had no way of understanding how it would affect me and how fast it was coming down.

Then that weekend came when they put all of our belonging in boxes. My mother and father were talking loud to one another and seemed distant. 

We went for lots of car rides from our house to another place that did not smell like our house. It was smaller and my bed was no longer in the corner of the living room by the window. My stuff wasn't anywhere.

Then it happened. My brothers and sisters kissed and hugged me goodbye and begged their parents for something but not the way they begged for candy or a friend to sleep over. It had to do with me because they surrounded me and tried to protect me.

My last car ride with my parents was to a noisy, smelly place where dogs were barking and yelping. I sensed sadness. I sensed an ending.

My parents had a long talk with a lady who gave off tired, sad vibes. She smelled the same as the place. My parents filled out some paperwork. My mother could not stop crying. I leaned against her and tried to comfort her but all she could do was hug me and kiss me - my father the same and then they were gone.

I was escorted to a small room and some guy came in and examined me. He was nice but he was short on time and also seemed ill at ease.

Then he brought me into a large room where there were all these other dogs - big - small - barking - howling - terribly unhappy.

I was placed in this pen - basically a tiny space with a dirty old bed and a water bowl and a gate blocking me from leaving.

One minute I was in the car with my parents and the next I was behind bars.

I was completely confused and felt this must be a horrible mistake and my parents would be coming back for me but hours turned into days and no sign of the people who had been my only family.

I reflected on the past few weeks trying to figure out if I had done something terribly wrong to deserve to be left at the shelter. I had destroyed a couch pillow one day out of boredom. I had barked at a stranger who was walking up and down our street late at night and that awoke my dad. I hadn't really done anything else that I could think of and I always made sure to go up to my mom and push my head into her chest and kiss her cheek whenever I was bad. 

I don't feel like myself here. I only get to go on two short walks - one in the morning and one at dinner time and the person walking me is usually on his phone the entire time. I don't get to go off leash and run around in the park and I am rarely hugged or kissed or even looked in the eye.

I don't get to play with the other dogs. We are all kept separate. I guess there is a reason for that but it is unfortunate because we are all in the same situation and could probably provide comfort and friendship to one another.

I wonder if they had families too and how they ended up here. 

I really want to go home. I want to feel the sun on my face and I want to breathe fresh air. I want to sleep in my bed and wake up jumping all over my parents - so excited to share another day with them. I want to lay next to my mom while she watches TV and pats my head. I want to go with my dad in the car to pick up burgers.

I can only hope that tomorrow will be better than today.

------------------------3 weeks later-------------------

I woke up this morning and there was this woman on her knees observing me. She was talking to me in a low comforting voice. I am not sure what she was saying but the intonation was friendly and inviting.

She left and came back with the guy who gives me my food. The best part was that he was holding a leash which meant I was going for a walk.

They both went outside with me and they were talking a lot and looking at me. We walked to a nearby park and they sat on a bench while I breathed in the fresh air and gathered as much as I could from all the action around me. I had forgotten what it was to be curious because I had not been stimulated in a while. I was so enjoying watching the kids play and the birds and squirrels. 

We walked back to the shelter and the guy went inside and me and the woman sat outside. She started talking to me. It sounded reassuring and positive although I did not know what she meant.

Then she walked me up to the same reception desk where my parents had abandoned me.

She also filled out paperwork and talked a lot to the lady there - I was sad to return to the shelter - I could not stand the smell or feel of it any longer and I really felt like giving up but then something wonderful happened.

The woman gave me a hug and a kiss and she walked me out of the shelter and into her car. She spoke in a high, excited, captivating voice and she kept kissing me and petting me.

We ended up at her house - I knew it was hers because I already knew her smell and the house had the same scent plus a million more.

She already had a food and water bowl for me in the kitchen and lots of toys including a few jumbo Kongs filled with cookies.

I had this feeling I was not going back to the shelter and that was confirmed when she invited me onto the couch to watch TV. I wasn't sure if I would be able to trust a human again after having been abandoned by what I thought was my permanent family; but I had a good feeling about her and so I chose to open up my heart and my mind.

That night we went for a walk around the neighbourhood. We stopped to talk to lots of nice people and they all knelt down and introduced themselves to me. 

Then we returned home and although I had a bed set up on the floor - she invited me to sleep in her bed. So I hopped up and we cuddled and she kissed my head and I knew everything was going to be alright.

I guess there is a reason for everything.

I realize I am lucky that I was saved from the shelter while other dogs were stuck there behind bars.

I will forever be thankful to my new mom. I will love her everyday and be there for her when she is sad or confused or scared. I will put her above and beyond everything in my life because I am a dog and that is what I do.

    My first shelter dog - Buddy - he blessed my life for 13 years and forever lives in my heart.


Other blogs by Lisa Audrey Cohen      www.lifeisyourstory.com

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