Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Charlie Lives Here

Okay, technically I'm supposed to publish part three of my home tour today to continue welcoming you to my new apartment, but I'm waiting for my mother to bring a chair over (thanks, Mom!) and I don't want to take more photos of the apartment without it.  I haven't done much to the space since these pictures were posted, so I'll wait until next week to blog about the living room and bedroom.  Is that okay?  But we can still talk about my new place!  And, to make up for the disappointment of the paused tour, let's check in with Charlie and what he thinks of the apartment.

Well, the good news is that it took a little while but he's right at home!  I mentioned before that we had been dealing with some separation anxiety at the beginning - this was actually an issue when we first brought him home to my parents' house in July, and he'd cry for half an hour after I left for work even though Dad was still home with him, so we did expect it after the move.  For that first weekend, he was almost never alone in the apartment.  Dad stayed with Charlie when Mom and I left to run errands, for the most part, but when my parents were gone I did try to acclimatize Charlie to the idea that I would always come back after leaving.  I'd go out without him for five or ten minutes at a time; sometimes I'd take a walk around the block and sometimes I'd just sit on the steps outside my apartment and listen to him cry.  It was heartbreaking!  But it had to be done.  And, of course, he'd go crazy with jumping and licking and whining when I returned.

By the Wednesday of that first week, though, he didn't cry at all when I left the house in the morning, and he didn't even get off the bed the following Monday when I went to work.  He's still more aggressively excited than I'd like when I come back, but at this point I think that's a failure of training on my part.

The biggest adjustment we had to make from a logistical standpoint for Charlie was actually during the day, while I was gone.  When I was living with my parents, my father would walk Charlie because he worked from home.  But Dad's schedule changed and he could no longer regularly commit to being responsible for Charlie which, actually, was part of the reason I decided to move when I did.  So, for the first week, I asked my friend Annie to come walk Charlie twice a day while I was at work.  Annie had stayed at my parents' house with Charlie while we were in England in April so I knew that Charlie was comfortable with her, and I thought it was important for him to see a familiar face in a new place at the beginning.  Also, I wanted him to have two walks between 9 and 5 because Charlie, like most dogs, can get a bit destructive when he's discombobulated.  I figured that the safest thing for my apartment while Charlie was adjusting was for him to get out as much energy as possible during the day!

I knew Annie was heading out of town after the first week, so I contacted a dog walking service that had been recommended by another dog-owner in the building.  Whit from Brighter Days came over to get to know Charlie and me on our first Thursday evening, and I was immediately comfortable with her.  (A few weeks earlier, I'd met another dog walker who had been referred by a friend of a friend in the neighborhood and it just didn't feel right.  I couldn't put my finger on why, but that was that!)  We arranged for her to come once a day Monday-Friday for a thirty-minute walk, and she actually already has clients in my building so I got a discount.  We ran into her on another walk the next day, and it was really wonderful to see how she interacted with other dogs - she clearly loves them, and I knew Charlie would be in good hands!

It's been great.  Charlie hasn't gotten into anything he shouldn't while I'm gone (and, needless to say, there haven't been any accidents) and Whit leaves the sweetest notes to tell me about things that happened on their walks.  Last week, as Charlie and I were heading out on our evening walk, we ran into Whit coming into the courtyard with another dog, and he was thrilled to see her - what more could I want?  I can't recommend Brighter Days enough if you're in NW DC and need a dog walker.

Actually, I can't recommend this area enough if you want to live in DC and you have a dog - it's the friendliest neighborhood!  Charlie makes at least one new friend (canine or human - he doesn't discriminate!) every time we go out.  We're also a five minute walk from a great dog park and a five minute walk from the trails in Rock Creek Park.  It's ideal.

If you can't tell from my Instagrams, this really is Charlie's apartment - I just live in it. He slept on my bed with me for the first week or so but now spends most nights on his bed just on the other side of the bookshelf.  He loves the couch so much that it takes seven sheets of a lint roller to get all the hair off. Don't worry; you're safe if you come over!  I clean regularly. (By the way, make sure to search for the comment left by "qualm" if you click on that link!)  He's made himself a little fort under the table with his toys.  He doesn't understand why I would shut myself in the bathroom without him.  And he knows the precise sound of the pantry door opening.

Charlie's a lot more vocal in this apartment than he was at my parents' house; I think it's because I talk directly to him much more than I did before because I usually don't have anyone else to talk to!  He's actually barking less than before, probably in part because he doesn't have direct access to squirrels or rabbits from a ground-floor vantage point, and it only took him a few days to realize that not every door closing in the building is someone coming to say hello or to attack us.  But we do have a lot more grumbling for attention, many more satisfied grunts, and more conversational whines.  That's okay, though, because he's the best company!

Charlie rolling down the hill behind my building last week after trying to scratch his back on the grass.
I had to cuddle him afterwards and explain how gravity works. 
Then we shared an apple as part of the lesson.


  1. I love it that your dog is named Charlie, mine is too! Though my Charlie is a chocolate lab mixed with a German Shepard. Also, when I lived in DC I used to work for DogCentric (which covers just NW DC, Georgetown-my route, and parts of Maryland). It really made me see how popular dog walking companies are in DC, they're everywhere! And such a great business idea. Best job I've ever had, hands down...if only they could pay a salary.... But glad you found a good one in DC!

  2. true - I need to take my own advice and own my blogging decisions! but photos of Charlie are always a good option :)

  3. Charlies are the best! I wish I lived close enough to work to be able to go home in the middle of the day, but since I can't... Whit is a lifesaver! though I doubt Charlie always is easy on her with all the squirrels in the neighborhood :P

  4. he was a rescue! we don't know much about his life before he came to the organization so I don't know if there were separation issues from the beginning, but he's a champ :)

  5. I LOVE Charlie posts. That face in the first picture. I would melt.

    We have had our dog 3.5 years, and he still unfortunately has separation anxiety. I think that's just what you get when he spent a year in a horrible situation and a year at the rescue. I keep trying to tell him that we ALWAYS come home (whether it's 5 minutes or a weekend), but he doesn't seem to get that. One time when we were home for Christmas, we left him with my sister (who he loves), brother-in-law, and my parents while we went to hang out with some friends. They texted us that something was wrong with Ollie because he kept pacing and wouldn't sit still. Unfortunately that's just his usual behavior when we leave him from what everyone has reported. So sad! But yay for giving dogs good homes. :)

  6. It's wonderful to hear that Charlie has realized it's his apartment after all! ;) Joking aside, it's good that Charlie is settling in well to his new home.

    Thank you for doing a post on how moving can affect the behavior of pets; not everyone realizes that when an animal becomes used to a home, it's difficult for them to get used to another, just as it is for humans.

  7. I love Charlie posts! No need to apologize :)

    hahaha, that comment by qualm is great. Tyler's favorite spot to lay is on the dining room table. No matter how many times he's picked up and put on the floor or told no, he still makes his way up there. It's crazy just how much our pets truly own us lol.

  8. Aw, I'm happy he's doing so well in the new place. :) Poppy shares Charlie's views about bathroom privacy. I guess because we're always with them when they go to the bathroom, they want to return the favor! ;)

  9. Yay for him figuring out apartment noises! I think that's the hardest, or at least it is for our two whenever we are hotel-living (which is usually 1-2 weeks when we move).

    And when we were faux-househunting it most definitely was in your area. Duh.

  10. That last picture - well, really your caption - CRACKED me up. Ike and I have conversations about important things like gravity all the time.

    Also, I'm so terrified that I'm the smelly house friend. This is why I have more candles and reed diffusers than is probably advisable.

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  12. Oh man I've been jonesing for a pup of my own. When A surprised me with a fish earlier this month I think he anticipated that this would calm down the dog ownership dreams, but instead, it's just exacerbated them. Whoops! This guy looks happy as a clam in your new home.

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  14. I love that Charlie has taken over your place. Typical man :)

  15. so true! it's funny to see him say hello to his old couches when we go back to my parents' house :)

  16. DUH! he's okay now with the doors and things, though I wonder if he knows it's me every time I unlock my door or if he waits there every time he hears the main door open :/

  17. it was a serious conversation! we discussed Sir Isaac Newton. Obviously. (I may have bounced the apple on his squishy head before giving it to him to demonstrate the point...)

  18. HAHA. that's... very sweet of him. but it's a slippery slope, my friend, from fishes to doggies!

  19. haha duh. also typical toddler. and typical teenager, depending on Charlie's mood :)

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  24. That last picture made me totally awwww! You're totally making me want to move to DC.... I would love to have a dog walker for Anabelle during the day!


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