I have a dilemma, and could really do with some help, so please, please feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post.
It’s all about my dog Charlie, some of you will know him personally, some of you will have got to know about him through this blog, either way you’ll know that we adore him. Although this hasn’t always been the case!
We took Charlie on when he was 8 months old, he was as black as pitch with just four white paws and a white flash on his chest. He had already had three previous homes and came with a little bit of baggage, (like a trunk, a couple of suitcases and a backpack full of issues)! He was a skinny, wriggly little thing. He was aloof, he wasn’t interested in people or other dogs, the only thing he wanted to do was run, and run he did, he could run for Britain, we should’ve called him Forrest! He would run until he collapsed in a heap, gasping for air and sometimes that could take hours! I was a regular ‘Billy No-Mates’, he’d go off on his own and I would be terrified that he was lost and would never come back. I would go for my daily walk armed with a flask of coffee and sometimes I thought I should even take a sleeping bag … just in case! Not one week went by without me ringing the Hubster, in tears, blubbing that I had lost the dog!
Charlie wasn’t the most pleasant dog, he didn’t like cuddles, he didn’t want to listen, and ‘come’ just wasn’t a word he understood, along with many other commands. We actually questioned whether he had ever lived with an English speaking family. He wasn’t the most endearing dog, although quite handsome, everything about him was sharp, his nails, his elbows, the bones in his bum and above all, his teeth and I felt those on a couple of occasions! I took to either carrying an empty washing basket around the house for protection or wearing a wax jacket as armour, he would leap up in the air and lurch at me (for no apparent reason) and hang off my collar by his teeth! I have been known to hang out my washing with a rabid. snarling, dog hanging down my back! On one occasion he actually threw himself at me and literally ripped off my tee-shirt (and bra) with his teeth, leaving me topless! Unfortunately I was chatting to a (male) neighbour over the fence at the time and found myself livid, embarrassed and a little afraid!
Trying to create a bond with him took a good four years, he had absolutely no intention of becoming my friend! He refused to even look at me, he wouldn’t wag his tail when I came down in the morning and greeted him with soft talk and a bowl of food! I took him to Agility Classes in the hope he would realise we were actually a team! Bah, what a pain that was! He was brilliant at agility, I was rubbish, the instructor took an instant dislike to me and so it was never really a enjoyable pastime. I would leave exhausted each week normally with bite marks on my arms (and very often in tears). Money well spent eh?
I knew it was because he had problems, but getting him to settle took years and there was more than one occasion when I wished we hadn’t chosen him, I knew we would never give up on him, as he would surely have been put down had we returned him to the dog’s home. He tried my patience to the hilt and the tears I shed over those years would have filled a fair few buckets!
To be quite honest with you when I read the book Marley and Me, I thought ‘I can beat that!’ Marley was a pussy cat compared to this little devil that had moved into our house. I should’ve written a book and now Charlie would have a silver water bowl and an ermine lined basket!
However, I’m a great believer that deep down, there is a good dog in every dog, and damn me if Charlie hasn’t turned out to be an absolute cracker, he’s now 14 years old and a true little gentleman. I honestly didn’t think he’d make it past 14 months!! He is truly my little angel and I adore him, the fact that we’ve worked so hard to get him to this stage makes me love him all the more.
Over the last couple of weeks Charlie has been itching, we couldn’t even stroke him as it would set him off on a mega scratching session, he wasn’t sleeping – in fact nobody in the house was sleeping, as all we could hear was the thump, thump, thump of Charlie scratching through the night. We were all getting a little tetchy. He had been treated for fleas before coming to France and had been shampooed too, I had scoured his underside, which is white and not too thick and there were certainly no uninvited guests. So off we went to the vets. On arrival, we sat in the waiting room, I don’t know if dogs speak in different languages or if they know there’s a foreigner in their midst but all the dogs that were there, were very interested in Charlie’s arrival, maybe they thought he was famous!
A male vet came to the waiting room and called my surname, I jumped up grabbed the lead and followed, he walked down a long, airy, wide corridor calling my surname every so often, I thought this was rather strange, he hadn’t even looked at me, or looked back to see if I was even following, it was on the fifth time of him calling my name that I realised it wasn’t my name he was calling at all! ‘Aurelie’, ‘Aurelie’ he called again and again, I then realised Aurelie was his veterinary nurse and Aurelie sounds exactly like my surname, I turned on my heel dragging poor Charlie behind me and returned red-faced back to the waiting room, explained to my sister what had happened – fits of giggles ensued much to the amusement and bewilderment of the French people waiting with their dogs!!
Eventually, a lady vet came out, called ‘MY’ name, shook my hand and led me to a consultation room where poor Charlie was manhandled and laid on his back while she looked at his tummy, one injection, a tablet, a course of cortisone tablets and 65 Euros later we were back on the road to recovery. However, it seems to have taken it’s toll on Charlie, he doesn’t want to walk, he has been panting and to be honest we had one little fit a couple of days ago, where I actually thought he was going to leave us. As I stroked him and tried to keep him calm, my tears just welled up and overflowed, it was a stark reminder that I must get myself ready for the worst. However let’s not dwell on that … and so now dear blog reader I need your help;
this is my dilemma, we are going off in our motorhome in a couple of weeks time for a many months, we want to explore new places and enjoy a little bit of freedom and adventure. Now then, imagine the scene, we pull up in a lovely town in France, it looks interesting, we want to get out there and have a good root around, aha we have a problem! We have a dog that wont walk!!! We can’t leave him in the motorhome as it may be too warm for him and to be perfectly honest we wouldn’t enjoy ourselves if we knew he was on his own. He is old, he’s tired and to be totally honest I don’t think he has that much time left. So what do we do? My sister has a colleague who has kindly given us a Pushchair!!! Don’t laugh, please!!!
A red one, a bright red one, no a really, really bright red one! I have even got Charlie to get in to it and he is really quite relaxed and I know with a little more training he would be more than happy to have me push him around. BUT, is this the right thing to do, ok so my street cred will go right out the window as for the Hubster … well let’s not even go there! So do we take the push chair and let Charlie walk as far as he can and then pop him in the pushchair or do we simply leave him behind in the van? I can already imagine the looks and comments we’ll receive from passers by!
This is certainly not how we envisaged our adventure, but I’m afraid that Charlie is a priority so I leave it to you, tell me what to do!!!