Happy birthday, my sweet girl.
You came to us from a backyard breeder in Mission, before I knew about animal rescues and shelters and why not to buy from a backyard breeder (Backyard Breeder: a person who puts their unspayed dog with a "nice neighbourhood dog" because "we can make money from the puppies” and, “oh!, wouldn't they make nice puppies”, and “it will be so good for the children to see the miracle of birth”.....and who cares nothing about health checks or home checks or followup. Backyard breeders just put an ad in the paper or a sign on the street or take the pups to the flea market and the first person with the money gets them).
You were the last puppy to go - the runt of the litter - the quietest, shyest, most scared pup. You were the offspring of a border collie and a rough collie – two breeds I knew nothing about. But I wanted a pup for my young shepherd to play with and so I took you.
You never really played with Sam, though you did keep her company. I didn’t have a clue about activities many border collies enjoy like herding or agility or flyball. But you took each day in stride and you were SUCH an easy pup to raise. I don’t remember ever being frustrated with you, not even for a moment. How lucky I was!
And here you are - twelve years later. You've seen a lot of changes, and a lot of doggy pals come and go in your life with me. Your older shepherd sister Sam, and our foster Isaac, and your brother Caleb, have all passed away. Emma, your pal for a year, lives with her dad. Various overnight fosters have come and gone, and dogs have stayed for a week or two while their families were away. Our own canine family has grown in size and you are now the second youngest of four.
They say that dogs and their humans grow more alike over time, and I think that might be true for Charley and me. At twelve, she moves a little more slowly, she tires a bit more easily, she grumbles a little more readily at the loud or rambunctious ones. But that’s okay – so do I. And at twelve, she has in some ways become more of a loner, preferring to slip away to a bed or comfy couch in a quiet room rather than staying in the hub of activity - and so do I. And yet in some ways she’s more social, going up to say hello and chat for a moment with complete strangers on our walks – and so do I. And she still loves her treats, especially extra crunchy nutty cookies. And so do I!
My Charley and me, we go back a long ways…..84 years in dog’s years. And I can’t think of a better companion to spend 84 years with.
Happy Birthday, my girl. I hope we have many more years together.
(I have pictures to add to this entry, but for some reason I keep getting the message "internal error" when I try to upload them. Since I likely won't get back to the computer today - my mom and my sister are visiting - I'm putting up Charley's birthday post without the pics. Charley says she doesn't mind. :) )