I got Charlie in 2002 from co-workers at my last day job, just a few months before I was laid off. These people were going to get rid of him and take him to the pound. This woman with two daughters had him originally and loved him, but the woman was getting married and the new husband did not like dogs, and was frankly afraid of Charlie who at that point had a different name.
On the day I drove to pick up the little dog, I saw him running wild in their narrow backyard, and the doggie itself was overgrown and shaggy and wet from the cold morning dew, since he was relegated to live in the garage on an old sofa and with an old towel that he used as a security blanket.
At first the dog growled at me, and then I sat down on the bench and tried talking to him, but he was still a bit "wild." Eventually the man used a baseball mitt to pick up the dog (that's how afraid he was to touch him!) and put him in my car on the front seat next to me.
I, of course, was wondering at that point, what did I get myself into? But as I drove off, talking to the doggie gently, he slowly inched closer and closer to me, and eventually ended up sitting on my lap! So I was pretty nervous to be honest, afraid to make sharp moves, driving with this shaggy mop dog on my lap all the way from Simi Valley to Winnetka, and he was just sitting on me, wet fur and all!
The first days were somewhat difficult. He would growl a lot, and got very territorial about his food and treats, and even the sleeping padding (security blanket?). We had to use the vacuum cleaner ( which he feared) or broom to get things away from him. But eventually he calmed down and we got ourselves a very SMART, sharp, attentive, little Lhasa Apso that got along well with the other dogs and cats, and was a lively member of the family. We now had two Lhasas, Charlie and Tarasik and they ran around together like buddy twins.
About 4 1/2 years ago, Charlie was diagnosed with diabetes, after he suddenly lost his sight in a matter of a week. So the vet put him on insulin, twice a day injections, at first the animal pig kind, then the human kind.
Charlie was a trooper through all of this, he patiently conceded to getting this shots every day, and in fact ran happily when I called with a special "song" just for the injection time, because he also got this favorite treat (Beggin' Strip, bacon and cheese flavor), so he loved the injection time! That split second of pain was made up by a tasty delicious treat! He would even remind me every day around the right time, if I forgot, by coming and staring at me meaningfully. Smart boy!
Over the years, he was overall sturdy healthwise, and got some abscesses and ear infections but nothing else serious, but the last years were the toughest, and even so he was doing okay, more or less.
He survived the long drive from California, and he just LOVED the new forest front and back around this house here in Vermont, and he ran around loose, happy in the grass, all summer, and was a very good obedient boy. When I had to have Robin the chow on a leash, Charlie got to walk without a leash, because he was actually walking alongside us, perfectly "trained" and obedient -- and I never even trained him!
Whenever I was gone from the house, mom tells me, Charlie would cry and whimper, waiting near the door, and also when I came downstairs every day, he would be very happy and relax most when I was there.
The last few weeks were tough -- we finally found a decent affordable groomer (after another groomer here actually died) and so both dogs got washed at last after all these months. Then I was worried if Charlie maybe caught a cold, but he was basically already getting sick, not eating well, more lethargic and not as attentive when called.
These last three four days it got bad, he really did not eat except on the first day or so he had scrambled eggs (a special treat) and baby food, and then I smeared his nose with this high-calorie animal vitamin formula every hour or so, and then even that didn't work. Yesterday at 4:00 PM, after I smeared his nose, he threw up, and started throwing up bile and just having trouble moving and even walking to the bathroom down the porch stairs to the yard (though he made a valiant effort. The last two times I carried hm up and down the stairs.
Yesterday was Sunday but we sensed it was time to take him in. The local vet was out yesterday, but this morning they referred us to an emergency vet clinic in Williston, so this morning I drove Charlie there. He sat in his old wool blanket on the back seat, obedient and lethargic... He threw up once on the back seat.
The vet did a blood panel and gave me an estimate for hospitalization costs, and it was way beyond what money I had, and also there was little hope for improvement, especially considering he was a 12-year old dog and with diabetes. His blood sugar was super-elevated and other things too, showing poor kidney and other organ function.
And so I made the difficult decision to put him to sleep.
While we waited for the vet again, poor Charlie threw up on the counter.
The vet came in.
I bawled as always, and was there with him, holding and petting him as the vet did the procedure.
Charlie died on his favorite wool blanket. I stayed with him a bit, then the assistant helped me take the blanket while I lifted Charlie's little body for the last time, golden-blond tan fur, and then she took him from me and carried him to the back.
I took the blanket and drove home.
Rest in peace, sweetheart, Charlie! As we call you, "Charming Charlie, oh Charming Charlie!" (the beginning of the "song" which he knew so well, to come running, for his injection and yummy treat.)
May you run in green fields of sweet eternal summer grass, with perfect eyesight, and have infinite treats like the rainbow!
Until we meet again.