(treasured photo by Laurie Erickson)
One of my favorite stories is Fat Charlie Went a-Running! , (thanks to Whippet World for the online hosting). The story tells of Fat Charlie's return to run in a race after a long injury lay off.
The top photo is of my dear, late friend Carolyn giving Fat Charlie a cool sponge bath and a kiss after that very race.
May I tell you just a bit about this dog? He is twelve now. His is a mush, my softest whippet. When he was born he was a big fat white marshmallow. If another dog in the house has done something Against The Rules, sweet Fat Charlie looks mortified.
Leave a thawing London broil or an entire loaf of ciabatta bread on the counter? Fat Charlie appreciates that I left such a fabulous treat just for him. He rewards me mightily for this good behavior, with dancing kisses and happy wags.
He rarely asks for anything, and when he does, he does by staring handsomely at me. About three times each morning he hops down from his spot on the couch. I look up from my typing or sewing and see a Fat Charlie with the exact expression you see in the red-bordered photo. It is up to me to determine what he needs. Usually he only wants a scratch, a kiss, and a return to the couch with his blankets re-arranged. Sometimes a drink. Occasionally a trip outside for a sunbath in the papasan chair.
Fat Charlie is a very good dog.
He was getting slower and slower on our morning walks. And then he stopped going altogether.
At walk time he would get in his crate, looking at me. "I don't want to go," he said.
This dog who would stay in our big yard at the farm for hours, lying in the sun, scanning for squirrels and fun, loving life. I would call him inside and he would look at me and wag just the very end of his tail. "Must I?" he'd ask. "May I stay out here a little longer?"
This dog who would turn inside out when he heard the word 'walk'. Who could spell w.a.l.k. and o.u.t.
Now he didn't even want to go.
I blamed the city. Sidewalks are hard on arthritic feet. Stupid City Squirrels: all evil temptation and no fun. Horrid cats everywhere. And it has been so hot.
Again, this morning at walk time, he put himself in his crate and got his biscuit. When I got to the kitchen door with Mama Pajama and Easy, I did what I've done every day since he stopped going - I tried once more.
"Fat Charlie, want to go for a walk?"
Well, he changed his mind. He came flying out of the dog room (I never shut the door on his crate) with a big grin. And we went for a walk. Lots of time dawdling, lots of sniffing, lots of soaking up the sun in this glorious unusually cool morning weather.
I think I started calling Giacomino Very Old Dog when he was twelve.
I can't imagine calling Fat Charlie Very Old Dog. He's just my big, fat, marshmallow puppy.
(how lucky am I: Laurie Erickson photo)
hug your hounds