Fran and I were living in County Durham back in 2010 when Charlotte came into our lives. We'd not long since lost the lovely 'Ben', a beautiful oldie that we had adopted from the Oldies Club. Not having a dog in our lives was a void we simply had to fill.
We went to quite a few dogs homes in the area. For those that have never been to a dog rescue home, it is the next most heartbreaking ordeal you can experience to that of a pet's death. It may be a conversational cliche but you really do wish you could adopt every single dog. I will take this opportunity to request that you adopt rather than buy from a breeder if you are considering getting a dog.
I sat on the floor and waited for her to come to me. This took quite a few minutes but eventually, she came to me and curled up against me as I stroked her. I had told the people at the home that I had a thing for Boxer dogs and Charlotte is a Staffie/Boxer cross. A fly on the wall observer might hazard a guess that when Charlotte curled up against me to be stroked, this was the point when I'd decided that she would be our new dog. I'd actually decided in the first second that her little head came into view through the doorway.
However, as much as Frances loves animals, she is a much more practical and patient person than I. This was a matter to be discussed and not a decision I could make without consulting her. That afternoon, we set off back home and I set the ball rolling with "she's the one!" By the time we got home, we had decided that there was nothing to discuss. I rang Coxhoe and we picked up our new family member the following day.
Charlotte has been the reason that I've had to get out of bed every day, even in my darkest periods of depression. She comes over and nuzzles me when I'm down or stressed. At the same time, she has been a very difficult 'pet' in that she is not friendly towards other dogs which has made dog-walking and socialising with other dog-walkers very difficult (not that I am an overly-social human). It became very clear to us at an early stage that the dogs home were holding back on telling us that she had been mistreated badly. Her attitude to other dogs and her protective nature towards myself and Fran reflect this.
She has been a regular visitor to the vets throughout her life for various issues and so has been a constant worry. She is not greedy for food in general but is exceptionally fond of human food.
Did I mention that she farts? A lot? Well, she does and if you were to visit our home on some evenings, it reeks like a farmyard.
Of all the, dare I say, 'qualities' that she has, she definitely loves us and loves being the star of our little family. We are now in the 'later years' of her life and it seems to have arrived all too quickly. She walks very slowly and suffers from arthritis. On the one hand, it pains me to see her in her twilight years, a shadow of her former self yet, on the other hand, I think about the life we've given her (not to mention her impact on our lives) and this makes me happy.
To end on a less melancholic note, I haven't told Fran that if we get another dog in the future, I will be offering Zipo Bibrok 5x10⁸ as a name suggestion.