Blogs and Stories

September 23, 2020
A Holiday Wishes Story

When our beloved Duke passed away in September of 2015 we faced a dilemma shared by many: as retirees, do we make the commitment to take on another family member, or, after twelve years of being tied down (albeit willingly) do we proclaim our freedom and travel a bit?

We opted for the latter and booked our very first cruise.

Little did I know that my wife June had been quietly surfing the local humane societies and it came as a mild surprise when she summoned me to her laptop and said, “I want you to look at this dog.”

She brought up a picture of one of the most irresistible mutts I had ever seen, black with a lab-looking head, white blaze chest, and these cockeyed, stubby legs terminating in a pair of paws that splayed out from his body at ninety-degree angles, betraying just a smattering of basset hound.

Charlie, as the Flagler Humane Society had dubbed him, was on his third, and hopefully last, shot at a forever home.

“Do you want to go look at him?” June inquired, well anticipating my response.

“He looks a lot like the Duker, doesn’t he?” I said tentatively.
“But,” I warned, “you know you don’t just look at a dog like that. And we do have the cruise coming up.”

But heart over head, we climbed into the car and headed to FHS. At the desk we inquired as to whether Charlie was available. It turned out that he had been promised but the potential owner had not followed through. After a brief wait, they trotted him out on a rope leash. He immediately ran up to us and lavished kisses on us with an oversized tongue, and that was it. Whatever warts he may have developed in his checkered past were overlooked.

As luck would have it, a good friend had a dog and they both hit it off with Charlie immediately. He agreed to watch Charlie while we were away on our cruise. The cruise was great, but we couldn’t wait to get home to our boy.

Charlie was a sea change from Duke. Duke never made a peep and greeted everybody at the door with a big tail wag. Charlie was loud and territorial and could not be approached by strangers. Duke was complacent to the point of boredom; Charlie was excitable and perpetually playful. Duke could be walked without a leash; Charlie would take off at the sight of a lizard, his favorite quarry. Duke plodded; Charlie raced. I lost ten pounds the first year we had him.

But Duke never fetched a stick for us. And the first time Charlie brought my shoes when it was time for a walk, we knew someone special had moved in with us.

That was four and a half years ago. Charlie is now socialized, meets strangers amicably, and has a gaggle of dog friends. We wouldn’t trade him, or those last four and half years, for anything.

Author: Steve Doll