Real Life

Lessons From Charlie

“Come get this dog! I can’t do this anymore!”

There’s a scene in Marley & Me when Jennifer Aniston’s character tells her husband the same thing. I was done with this crazy dog, and I told my husband to find someone to take him. I don’t remember what kind of trouble he had gotten himself into that time, but it was compounded on other bad behavior, and I couldn’t do it anymore.

Charlie Dog

Charlie was our Brittany, my husband’s dove dog, and he could’ve given Marley a run for his money. I’m thankful now that my husband talked me off that ledge and didn’t follow through on my demand. I would’ve missed out on one of my best friends.

Too Quiet

His hips and back legs finally gave out on him in July 2022, and we had to make that hard decision. Now it’s the quiet that gets me the most. Of our three dogs, Charlie was the loudest and the neediest. In the end, he was deaf, but he knew how to use his voice to get what he wanted.

There are also constant reminders. Things I’m hesitant to fix just because they remind me of him – torn screens, the scratched up back door, an area of ripped up carpet. I could go on. His collar still sits on the hope chest by the back door where I put it when we got home from the vet the last time.

The Lessons

I started making a list several years ago of his antics because I knew someday, I would want to remember. So, here’s part of that list, some of the most memorable things I learned from Charlie, many of which I could’ve lived without knowing. I wouldn’t trade those lessons for anything.

  • Food doesn’t have to be chewed. Neither do sanitary napkins or toilet paper.
  • Rat poison isn’t fatal if you can get to the vet or the hydrogen peroxide bottle in time.
  • There are dog ophthalmologists.
  • Plastic picnic tables are edible.
  • The view is better from the top of those tables.
  • Fatty tumors can weigh 8 pounds.
  • Dog ultrasounds to find those fatty tumors aren’t cheap.
  • Neither is surgery to remove them.
  • Lemon essential oil removes tar.
  • But antibiotics may still be necessary after the tar is gone.
  • It’s possible to remove a 6-foot chain link gate from its hinges without opposable thumbs.
  • It’s also possible to climb over the chain link fence attached to that gate without opposable thumbs.
  • A 55-pound dog can go through a 12″ by 8″ glass windowpane with barely a scratch.
  • He can also take down the plywood that’s nailed over that window.
  • That same dog can push himself through a 10″ by 10″ hole he chewed in a crate.
  • Breaking into your neighbor’s house during a thunderstorm is acceptable behavior.
  • “Hugging” that neighbor’s leg is not acceptable behavior.
  • If you run through an invisible fence quickly, it’s no big deal.
  • Benadryl reduces symptoms from non-poisonous snake bites.
  • Rabbits aren’t easy to catch, but they sure make you proud when you do.
  • Squirrels bite.
  • Fifty-five pounds is still a lap dog.
  • Forgiveness is free.
  • Unconditional love exists.


Charlie was one-of-a-kind, but my family’s life was better because of him and his antics.

Charlie, you are missed and I love you, crazy Doodledog.

I’d love for you to share your fur baby stories in the comments.