Sunday, January 12, 2014

I'm Grateful (Charlie Edition)

You might not be able to tell from his sweet face, but sometimes Charlie can be a total pain in the you-know-what.  Regardless of what other breeds are mixed into his DNA, he has all the best and worst traits of a Labrador Retriever: he loves food, he craves physical affection, he doesn't understand personal boundaries or the concept of "mine" as it pertains to others' belongings, he sleeps like a rock, and he always has a hidden reserve of energy ready to be unleashed on the world no matter how much activity he's already had.

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.

 photo 866de425-8336-4c63-9efd-1c4dd8bf0e62_zpsafe0d56b.jpg


  1. Oh Charlie. You are such a sweet boy. Super jealous that you have such a wonderful dog.

  2. I really hope that I can meet Charlie! He and Anabelle share a few of these, but one that I wish they shared was his affinity for snuggling. Anabelle will not have it!

  3. Ohmigod, I know what you mean about the poo! So glad that mine only likes bird, is only lickable and easy to distract from.
    I have to say, the upside of having a timid dog, is I know she isn't going to run away from me. Mine has gotten tons better (I love have something she has improved on with me!) but she still loves me best and I know I can get her to come back to me or catch her easily.

  4. I just don't think I could be as patient as a timid dog deserves her owner to be! I'd be afraid I'd push my dog too much if she were timid or scared and make it worse :(

  5. Interesting! Maybe because I have a similar personality, so I could relate? We did a lot of "shy" dog activities and I love how much she has grown!

  6. well, I know a few rescue organizations that have dogs *almost* as wonderful as Charlie who would LOVE forever homes!

  7. Charlie sounds like such a sweet dog. They really can be such a curse and a blessing at the same time. Elliot loves being with us. It makes him so so happy. Since he's a shelter dog, we dealt with some separation anxiety, but now he seems so much better. He has some other issues... like barking at and trying to chase dogs, trucks, buses, bikes, motocycles... basically anything that makes noise, and he doesn't like when strangers try to pet him. I think that's fairly normal as I wouldn't want a stranger touching me either.


  8. well, Charlie doesn't like snuggling when it's time for sleep - at least, not the kind of snuggling that's comfortable for me! if I try to hug him to sleep, he'll wriggle away at the first opportunity. but if he wants to drape himself over me, there's nothing I can do about it!

  9. We've been looking, and so far have not found the one right for us. :)

  10. I always say that Casey thinks that anyone who comes over to our house is there to play with her. She is the sweetest thing, and we are so grateful that we not only have her, but, having adopting her off of one picture from PetFinder, that she wasn't a totally needy dog. She also loves to lay on anything discarded on the floor- I caught her napping with her head on a pair of Greta's pants a few days ago. She sets squished a lot.

  11. oh man, Charlie is TOTALLY needy. we try to pretend it's because he's a rescue, but I think actually we encourage it :P

  12. yeah, we had some SA at the beginning too - hence the early months of shoe chewing - but it does get better over time!

    I'm super lucky that Charlie doesn't chase cars or trucks, I know that. But if he sees - or even just senses - a squirrel or a rabbit, all bets are off!

  13. Haha, Max does enjoy various forms of farm poo (sheep, cow, etc) as well as rolling in anything dead or decayed, and both dogs enjoy litterbox delicacies (easily managed indoors, but my neighbor's cat can stop using our pine straw mulch, thank you!), but thankfully neither of mine indulge in dog poo. Our second foster dog, however, LOVED it. I'd pick it up every day, but with Idaho's dry climate it didn't break down fast, and with my two, Jemma, and their good friend Indy (yellow lab) over frequently, there was a lot of dog poo in our yard, so as I was picking it up, Jemma would run in front of me and snatch bites here and there frantically, trying to get it before I did. Absolutely disgusting, but completely hilarious as well!

  14. I love this. :) I (as of very recently) have a lab, and she is quite the bundle of energy! "Not understanding personal boundaries" is a great way to put it, haha. Your little guy sounds awesome. :)

  15. Sometimes I have to remind myself all the reasons I'm grateful for Fifty too. I love him but heaven knows that furry little boy knows how to test my patience!

  16. Aw, I love Charlie. I feel the same way about Ollie. Good and frustrating qualities. You know before I had a dog, I said I would never let my dog sleep on the bed or the couch. Here's the thing--Ollie actually does not want to get on the bed or the couch. So of course now I want him to cuddle with me sometimes, and I actually try to get him to come up. Funny dogs.


I love reading your thoughts and suggestions! Please do leave a comment so we can get to know each other better.