Andy pops out of the car with his young owner and runs around the yard. Charles takes to him immediately. They run around together and Charles is conscious that he doesn’t want to look too excited. But I can tell it’s a done deal. Andy will be our dog.
Andy dog is four. Charles is 15.
Years prior in middle school, Charles had made a soul-wrenching appeal in an English paper for a dog. Anyone with a heart would have adopted one in ten minutes after reading it. But I kept my boundary. I had a new business, two kids, one of which was becoming unhinged emotionally. Wasn’t there enough on my plate?
Charles was a lot to handle. Constant event planning, a revolving door of activities and friends, parties, get-togethers, trips to theme parks. Charles was always “on”and demanded a lot of me. He made me laugh. But he also frustrated me. He just never let up because he could never get filled up. His sleep issues meant he was often awake late at night, too and we were seeing drug use and knew he was struggling though we had no answers then. Even at 15, he took a lot out of me. By now, I wondered about depression although he denied it. His anxiety, though, was very obvious and he would admit to that.
For his fifteenth birthday, I shocked everyone by saying that we’d get Charles a dog. I regretted I had not done it earlier. There are people who need a dog. Charles was that kind of person.
Lured by a facebook post of Andy that described him as low maintenance, I reached out to my friend Diane. Her daughter had to move and the new apartment didn’t allow dogs. She had been the third owner. When I showed the picture to Richard and Charles, Richard stormed away from the table in anger, and said, “He’s ugly, I don’t like him.” It was so different than what Richard thought a dog should look like. Where was all the fur? And those pointy ears? I looked at Charles and asked if he still wanted to meet Andy and that it was up to him. (Richard would fall in love with Andy later.)
Andy fetched balls, sleep in Charles’s bed, provided him comfort when he struggled and I believe kept him alive for many years. I’m so grateful Charles didn’t leave this earth without having owned a dog.
On the night we got the news Charles had taken his life and we arrived home, it was Andy who felt our despair and hopped in the middle of our pain as we collapsed to the floor. It was Andy who brought us comfort in the wake of the most devastating loss of our lives.
The dog grieved. We grieved. Any time I was sad or cried, there was Andy with his head on my knee looking up at me with his soulful eyes trying to lick my tears.
Andy’s decline in the last month has been rapid. At over 14, his breathing was erratic, he was incontinent, and dementia left him staring at walls. He could barely hear and his sight wasn’t much better. We scheduled euthanasia and the day of he was inpatient and paced on his wobbly back legs. After my husband fed him a steak which he had to eat lying down because he could no longer stand, he laid at my husband’s feet and stared at him with a look that said, “I’m done. I’m really done.” This was an hour before the procedure.
How did he know? As crazy as this sounds, I believe he was grateful. I have no guilt because our animal was hurting. He was ready. But it’s still hard to say goodbye.
The George Clooney of dogs, the animal who gave love as selflessly as Charles, is now in heaven with my youngest son.
14 thoughts on “The George Clooney of dogs has joined Charles in heaven”
I am so very sorry. Pets have played such a major part in my life and they are the best at comforting. My heart goes out to all of you.
Thank you Leigh. I know all of your family loves their animals.
We are at a similar crossroad with our daughter’s dog. Myles is 11 and he’s still playful and seems pretty healthy and happy but some issues are coming up. I know it’s like losing Charles again and for me, Sumner. I dread the day because it will really feel like the biggest part we have left of her is gone but I’ll be happy that they are reunited.
Sending hugs of understanding.
I will say that the anticipation of the grief was harder. His decline over the last seven months made us more prepared whereas losing Charles was so abrupt. Thank you for sharing your story and about Sumner. I love that name by the way.
Gosh, so tough, Anne Moss. But I am thankful that Andy knew it was time and truly let you all know that it was OK to make the toughest decision for him. He truly was the perfect dog, wasn’t he? Hugs to you all as you grieve his loss.
He was a great dog. He was on “hospice” for a while. And fortunately we can allow our pets death with grace.
That unconditional love is so needed…sometimes more than we know and sometimes we acknowledge the blessing they are. So glad he was where he needed to be…to get love, give love and help you in the last years since Charles death. Prayers of comfort sent.
For my husband particularly, Andy was part of our healing. Thank you Sandy.
I’m sorry you’ve experienced another loss with Andy but I am glad that he and Charles are together. ((HUGS))
Thank you janet
I’m sorry that the comforting Andy has passed on, especially given his strong connection to Charles. My daughter Ryan and I talk about your family and Andy from time to time. We’ve always been so grateful that Andy found a loving family and important purpose in life. Sometimes, it feels that the universe connects us when we most need the connection. I can’t help but believe this is true in the case of Andy. Much love, gratitude and praise are due to all of you.
It’s a good story and we’re grateful it worked out. I often think back to when I saw your post. It always makes me smile. Thank you Diane.
Anne Moss – I am so sorry for your loss. I am feeling it with you.
Whitten wrote a paper about having a puppy as well. We got Toby for him when he was 11. He loved the dog and took good care of him, but after he left for college, Toby became my dog. Toby was a good little man and was my cuddle bug, when I was grieving Whitten. But only for a few months. He was 13 and having trouble. One night he wandered into the next door neighbor’s yard and died. They brought him to me. It was 3 months after Whitten died. I went into a steep decline.
It’s very hard to lose a pet, but it’s extra painful when it’s an extension of your son, and the only living part of him that’s left. I’m sorry Anne Moss that Andy is gone. It is nice to picture them together again…💙
Three months Gray. That’s so heartbreaking. We had years to adjust and it’s still hard. Thank you for sharing that story. It helps to know others feel the pain from losing that tie to our child who has died.