Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful, thankful, thankful

As I spent the better part of a day preparing a variety of traditional Thanksgiving delicacies (how the heck did the Pilgrims manage to make butternut squash soup?) and shooing a super sniffy Charlie from the kitchen, I started to think about just how thankful we are for so many things.  This being a blog about Charlie, I'll resist the temptation to give an Academy Awards type speech, but I do think it appropriate to spend a few lines here expressing our gratitude for Charlie.

Top 5 Reasons We're Grateful for Charlie

5.  The countless photo opportunities presented by this dog and my kid (this is perhaps the most selfish of things to be thankful for but I really do love snapping pix of these two together!)

4.  Charlie's unrestrained joy in receiving a scratch, pat, or snuggle from any of us;

3.  The opportunities to meet new people, whether in person or virtually, simply because they're interested in Charlie and his impact on my A Club boy;

2.  The motivation that Charlie gives Tim to speak; (Some might be surprised to see this in the #2 spot on this list.  After all, language is Tim's primary deficit.  We moved across country to put him into his current language based program. We've seen dozens of doctors, psychologists, neurologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, audiologists, technicians, teachers and other "magicians" all with the hope that they could make Tim speak.   We've changed how we speak to Tim and to each other all in an effort to help him turn on the part of his brain that creates speech.   And then along comes Charlie and Tim talks to him like an old pal.  Yes, we are definitely grateful for Charlie's impact on Tim's language.  But rather unexpectedly we discovered that we're most thankful for something else...)

1.  The friendship that Charlie non-judgmentally bestows upon Tim.  Until Charlie came along we were singularly focused on teaching Tim to speak thinking that this would be the ticket to normalcy for him.   But as we spent more time with Charlie, we discovered that Tim was getting something we hadn't bargained for ... a friend.  More than that ... a best friend.   I know that no matter how long Tim lives he'll always remember Charlie fondly because he loves him.  And when I think about all the things we want for Tim, we most want him to love and be loved.

So, Thanks Charlie.  (...there might just be a little turkey in your bowl later!)


Monday, November 24, 2008


See this little sucker?  Histiocytoma ... that's right.  A big fancy latin-ish word describing a benign tumor that appeared on the neck of our beloved Charlie.  After a full-on panic attack, I raced into our vet's office where they quickly dismissed my concerns and advised that this little blob will likely dissipate, without treatment, in the next 60 days.

Of course, they couldn't tell me anything about the blob without giving Charlie a quick little shave.   Charlie was not amused.  (See photo below.)   We're keeping a watch on the blob and will be certain to update Charlie's fans on his status.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pose Practice

It will come as no surprise that I've been plotting a particular photo set up for a holiday card photo this year and of course it includes Charlie.  We took some practice shots yesterday after Tim dutifully selected an appropriate chapeaux for Charlie at our favorite local pet shop.  (Tim's particularity in selecting items for Charlie always takes me aback.  We just about came to blows in the store when it momentarily appeared that Charlie's size was sold out.  Fortunately, a single large hat was tucked behind a row of mediums and thus, the meltdown was averted!)

Once again, Charlie demonstrated his mettle and graciously tolerated the humiliation.  For anyone expecting a holiday card this year, don't fret:  I'll be using a different photo!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Charlie with a Twist

One thing I've really enjoyed about California is the abundant agriculture - literally, surrounding us.   My absolute favorite thing about my overpriced California house is an enormous lemon tree that produces hundreds of lemons for us each year.  One thing I've really enjoyed about Charlie is watching him discover things for the first time.

Now that we're entering the lemon harvest season, Charlie's had an opportunity to discover this delightful fruit.

This little piece of citrus became a momentary plaything for Charlie until he picked it up in his mouth and then promptly spit it out.  (Apparently Charlie didn't care much for the tart sensation on his tongue!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Owwweee for Charlie

Each week I happily post tales of Charlie the amazing hiking beast along with photos of him effortlessly conquering each pass, ridge, and stream.  Well, I'm sorry to report that Charlie's conquests have not been without a price.  On Monday night we discovered one of these on the wonderdog:

That there is the Brown Dog Tick commonly found in Northern California.  (Latin:  tickus-NASTY-cus;  Greek:  tickus-DISGUSTUS!)  Words cannot adequately describe exactly how vile this little creature is, particularly when embedded up to its armpits in the neck of your dog.  (I'm throwing up in my mouth as I re-live this.)  

Upon discovering this repugnant pest, an immediate search was undertaken to learn how to relieve Charlie of this parasite.   Within minutes we discovered an on-line video depicting the removal of a tick using a circular motion, culminating with the insect releasing the dog and "popping out" of the animal.  (Oh boy, here goes that gag reflex again ....)  

The voice on the video assured us that if we followed this procedure, Charlie would be bug free post haste.  However, the voice warned that it was imperative to remove the entire pest and not to leave the poisonous head in the body of your dog.  (... gag here ....)

So, armed with my best pair of eyebrow tweezers, Andy and I began the procedure with me wrestling a perplexed and very annoyed Charlie while Andy undertook the business of dizzying the bug.  After more than 5 minutes of massaging that little pest, Andy gave the body a little tug and out it came ... that is, out came the body.  (...gag ...)  The head (... gag ...) was still in Charlie.  (GAG, GAG, YAK!)

I spent the better part of that evening worrying about the damage I had done to Charlie first, by not locating the tick earlier, and second, by decapitating the pest while embedded in his neck.  However, a visit to my vet left me feeling relieved when he advised that there did not appear to be any infection and that the bug's head (... gag here ...) would work its way out.

Moral of this story?  Check your dog for ticks after every hike and if you find one, DON'T ask us for help in removing it.  

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Most Accommodating Dog Ever

Among the countless other things I love about Charlie, I have to say that his willingness to tolerate every bit of indignity we throw at him has to top the list.   It seems that he'll do just about anything for his pal Tim.  Only the best of friends would do this!