Now, the thing you might notice about all those traits is that they can be either the best or the worst depending on how you look at them. In fact, they can be both concurrently! So, to remind myself how much I appreciate about Charlie even when I just want to squish him - which can be a loving thing and a frustration thing at the same time - I thought I'd write out a list of reasons I am grateful for this dog.
I am grateful that Charlie doesn't allow me to be lazy about my kitchen.
Any wooden spoon used to stir a dish must be put in the dishwasher immediately; if it's just rinsed and left in the sink, it will be destroyed. Leftovers must be put in the fridge as soon as I've served my meal; leaving food on the counter is an invitation to Charlie to take a taste.
I am grateful that Charlie will help me clean up any food I drop on the floor while cooking.
Who needs a vacuum or a mop when you have a dog?
I am grateful that Charlie reminds me to put away all clothes that I've taken out but discarded, and that he has no interest in chewing shoes.
He loves sleeping in things that smell like me and will make a nest of shirts and sweaters I heap on the bed, covering them with dog hair. Charlie did gnaw a few shoes in the first months after we got him, but that was an attention-seeking thing. I can leave shoes out now and they'll be safe even if he's left alone in the apartment for a few hours!
I am grateful that Charlie appreciates stopping to smell the roses.
Seriously, this boy pees every 10 steps on our walks. I have no idea how his bladder holds it all! It forces me to be aware of our surroundings and to enjoy the fresh air.
I am grateful that Charlie doesn't eat other dogs' poop.
If you have a dog who eats poop, you know what a big deal this is.
I am grateful that Charlie has a stomach of iron.
As you know, he gets into everything and eats it all, whether or not it's actually edible. His tummy has been more or less immune to everything he's ingested so far!
I am grateful that Charlie thinks everyone is a potential friend.
I can't imagine not having an outgoing dog! It must be so hard on the owners of dogs who are aggressive or timid.
I am grateful that Charlie demands I be active.
To be honest, I probably would't have kept up my running if it weren't for him. A few miles in the morning wears him out for a few hours, though, and I feel less bad about leaving him alone during the day!
I am grateful that Charlie can fall asleep anywhere and in any position.
Sometimes this is a curse more than a blessing - because it means he'll make himself comfortable on me in the most awkward ways when I'm trying to go to bed - but it definitely makes life easier when we travel.
I am grateful that Charlie loves to cuddle.
It's wonderful to have a dog who enjoys being squished. Even if he hasn't instigated the snuggle and he'd rather be stretched out, he'll always indulge me - especially when I'm lonely, which he can always sense.