LIVING WITH PETS – LIFE WITH “SILENT CHARLIE”

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Living with pets is one of the most enjoyable things I’ve chosen in my life. Now that my nest is empty, my fur baby gets all of my attention, like it or not! Since August is his birthday month, I thought I would write a post all about “Silent Charlie”.

How We Got Charlie

Our family has lived in three states with Florence, SC being our last stop so far. In 2010, with a one teenager and one tween, I decided that it was time to get a dog. This was a well thought out decision, because we already had a cat named Dot/mean ‘ol kitty. Let’s just say Dot was not nice.

Knowing how many animals need adoption, I began searching “rescue” facilities for just the right puppy. I hit gold when Homeward Bound in Columbia, SC posted a picture/profile of the cutest Chihuahua/Jack Russell puppy. This was the “one”.

After being approved for his adoption, Robby, Victoria and I traveled to Columbia to meet and bring home our new baby. We all fell in love when we saw him. He had already been named and knew it well, so Charlie left in our arms for his forever home!

Baby Charlie

New Puppy Adjustment

We were so excited to have Charlie in our home. He was so tiny and cute that it was hard not to just smother him in kisses. Our cat, Dot, did not think he was cute at all. In fact Dot tried to kill Charlie several times. Poor Charlie was terrified of him and unfortunately it caused him extreme anxiety.

And so began the real struggle to keep them apart and yet still give both the care they deserved. We all worked with Charlie and taught him to sit, lay down and shake hands. He also succeeded at potty training with pads inside and “going” outside as well.

He loved to run and play and his most favorite thing was to “stalk” one of his toys. It was so funny to watch him use his Jack Russell skills to hunt his prey.

Unfortunately while Charlie thrived, Dot the cat did not. He became very aggressive and attacked and bit me twice. This was a difficult situation. Robby took him to the vet and it was discovered that he was not well and that is why he had become so mean. In fact, he had not been well for some time. The hard decision was made to put him to sleep. Doing what’s best is often the hardest thing to do.

Living with pets is sometimes difficult.

Daily Life With Charlie

Over the next year, Charlie grew and proved to be one of the smartest dogs I had ever seen. He was also super sweet and loved to follow me everywhere. One of his favorite things was to nap with anyone who would share a spot on the couch. Between me and the girls, he could usually find someone to snuggle.

Charlie napping

Charlie became very attached to me since I spent the most time with him. He was my first fur baby! He was very good in the house and only barked when someone came into the driveway or onto the front porch. Let’s just say the UPS guy never needed to ring the doorbell! LOL

The only negative with Charlie was his anxiety. He hated being alone and had tremendous separation anxiety when I left the house. We tried many things, but he just couldn’t overcome his anxiety. This was when I began to consider getting another dog. My thinking was that if Charlie had a companion, then he wouldn’t be so anxious.

Chiclet Enters the Scene

A friend of mine knew I was considering getting another puppy and she had a coworker that was in need of homes for unwanted puppies. The breed was Chihuahua mix of some kind and I agreed to see one of the puppies.

My oldest daughter and I met this woman in a restaurant parking lot and took possession of the smallest little black Chihuahua puppy I had ever seen. It was a female and of course we fell in love. I said yes, and that was that. A new fur baby was coming home.

Charlie wasn’t too sure about this strange little creature. He was even jealous at first. It only took a few days to realize that this tiny tiny little black puppy was a “fireplug”. She was super sweet but full of spunk. This is how she got her name. She reminded me of the gum I loved from my childhood and so I named her Chiclet!

Chiclet was a little more difficult to potty train. She definitely had a mind of her own and if she was mad at you, an “accident” could be expected!! Charlie was 2 years older than Chiclet but they became best friends and only occasionally had kafuffles.

Charlie & Chiclet

Even though Charlie was larger, Chiclet ruled the house. Unlike Charlie, she barked at everything and I do mean everything. Leaves blowing, children riding bikes, people walking by, cars passing, the mail carrier, garbage truck and of course the UPS guy. And, she loved to get Charlie to bark with her. Again, there was no need to ring the doorbell, I always knew when someone was at the house!

As Chiclet got a little older, we were able to identify that she was a Chihuahua/Minnie Pinn. This explained her temperament which was super loving and a “fireplug” all wrapped in a tiny package.

Living with pets was now twice the work, twice the clean up, twice the noise, twice the fun and twice the love.

Things Change

Life the Charlie and Chiclet went smoothly along for 8 years. I am a very disciplined person, so we had our routine for feeding and going outside. Chiclet was a “runner” and could fit through the fence, so I always had to supervise the trips outside. That little dog had everyone wrapped around her paw – even Charlie.

In February of 2021, Chiclet began to have some trouble breathing. I was aware of a heart murmur but it had never caused any problems in the past. Unfortunately, her condition quickly became unmanageable with meds and she was suffering. I once again had to make the most difficult choice and have her put to sleep.

Sweetest Chiclet

I was devastated. Our family was devastated and poor Charlie was alone and confused. We all grieved. Charlie would howl and cry for her. I was his only comfort. Our routine had suddenly changed and now everything was different.

Living with pets can be painful!

A New Season

It took some time for everyone to adjust, especially Charlie. I could tell he was sad but I continued to stick with all the things we used to do before. Slowly Charlie began to enjoy having all the attention.

He began following me everywhere I went in the house and I let him. One of the first things we noticed was how quiet it was in the house. Without Chiclet’s influence, Charlie only barks if someone comes in the driveway or porch. The stark difference in the noise level is how he got his current nickname of “Silent Charlie”.

This little guy follows me all day, listens to me talk to him all day and never makes a peep. Even when he needs to go out or wants something, he just sits and stares at you until you do it!

When Robby would come home and ask about my day, I would fondly respond “Oh me and Silent Charlie just hung out together!” The beauty of this new season is that if Charlie barks, then I definitely need to take a look out the window!

Final Thoughts

Silent Charlie is now 11 years old. His face is a little more grey and he moves a little more slowly. He doesn’t like steps and sometimes I have to carry him. I think he does it just to “boss” me around a little bit.

Charlie is very protective of me and the grandchildren. He can’t stand it when we are in the pool because he needs to make sure everyone in his pack is OK after every jump. Also, he let’s me know when someone is at the house and he almost never has any “accidents”.

He listens to me talk to him all day, every day and never talks back (good thing). Our cabin in the woods gives him all kinds of new things to smell and do. He has been and still remains a great companion.

Me & Charlie at cabin
Cabin Walks
Charlie’s Best Life

Living with pets is still the best decision I ever made. Happy Birthday Silent Charlie!!!

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