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Today, it is a month since my sweet girl Charlie said goodbye to me and took the leap across the Rainbow Bridge to be with her beloved Judy and Tony, and all the other furry friends she has seen cross over. She was ready to go… I was not ready, and after a month, I am still not ready for her to be gone. She was my first baby!

Charlie had missed Judy for the 5 months they were apart. (Judy passed in February this year.) I didn’t want to see it while Charlie was alive, but I saw it clearly at the end. Her eyes had lost the spark, and her life had lost some of its purpose… Judy and Charlie were soul mates from the day they met back in 1997. They were always together. Judy was the social one and very outgoing. Charlie was the introvert and needed Judy for strength and guidance. Like Judy, Charlie was 14 years old when her otherwise very strong and healthy body had had enough. I knew something was going on, she wasn’t acting her normal self, and the morning of July 26, I knew in my heart that this was it. She went through a challenging night, unable to get comfortable and she had a trickle of blood coming from her nose… There had been a slight trickle for a couple of days, but now, it was intensifying. I was deeply worried. In the morning, I let the kids say goodbye to her, and I took some pictures before I dropped her off at Preston Park.

I was actually at the vet to pick her up in the afternoon (she had perked up during the day!) when the vet called me into a room and said that Charlie was rapidly declining. It was time. When I saw her, she greeted me with her ever so loud howling bark that was her signature sound when mommy came home… Sounded slightly like a seal… My baby - Her body was failing on every angle, but she had the strength to greet me as she always did. I told her to give my love to Tony and Judy and I could tell she was ready. It is strange. I have now said goodbye to my three beloved dogs, and not until they are on their deathbed, do I see how old they really are. Do we not want to see it or do they in fact age in those last moments? I don’t know.

She left as peacefully as can be expected under these types of circumstances. My heart on the other hand, was not peaceful. I saw 14 years of memories, with Charlie by my side, with Judy and with Tony – flashing by. Now they were all gone, and the emptiness and the hole in my soul was, and still is, almost unbearable. I felt like I said goodbye not just to Charlie, but to Judy and Tony again for some reason. They represented another time in my life, before husband and children. A different time, but yet so wonderful. With Charlie leaving, I feel that a chapter of my life closed, never to come back. Memories are all that is left.

Charlie was a velcro dog since the day I got her at 4 months old. Where ever I was, she would be. Always. No matter how tired or sick she was, she was there. The night before her passing, she made her way up the stairs, oh so slow, to be with me when I put the kids to sleep. Ever since they were born, I have had the dogs in their bedroom at night. First all three, then two, then one, and now I have none.

I have a wonderful life, in so many ways, yet I am so empty right now. She was the last of my incredibly sweet pack of three… The pain is intolerable and I don’t want to accept that she is gone. How can a dog leave such a void - in my heart, in my house, in my life and in my soul? She was with me through divorce, through moves across states, through bad times and good times. She was there by my side, always within touching distance - always just a few feet away. I feel half. I feel empty, and I feel so sad.

Charlie, I know you are happier now. Not making it outside to the bath room was hard on you and your guilt was so obvious. I think you felt your body let you down. Yet, think about it, you lived 14 years – yeah, you had ulcers, yeah you had to remove your spleen, but you didn’t miss a beat. How great was that? There was one week, when something bad inside you were spilling out so I could tell that something was not right, but you weren’t in pain until that last night. I know, one day, I will be able to think about Charlie and smile. Right now, I think about her and I cry.

My sweet baby - I miss you so, I miss your smell, I miss touching you every night before turning the light out, I miss your soft long ears, I miss that sweet look of yours with those sad Basset eyes, and I want you back. Plain and simple! My life will never be the same without you.

All my love!

Mommy

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