an ode to charlie.

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The good news is this: our friend, Paul, is back from Afghanistan safe and sound.  The bad news: Charlie’s leaving.

The dreaded time has come.  And I am not ready for it.  At all.

I knew the hardest part of fostering sweet Charlie would be giving him back.  It was Ben and I’s first thought after agreeing to do it – but we didn’t let it stop us.  Having Charlie with us this past year has been the best thing for us.  Charlie has shown us such incredible love during the time that we’ve had him.  His sensitivity to human emotion is remarkable, his love for tug-of-war unending.  I will miss his “hugs” as I come home each day and his soft, thoughtful kisses when he knows I need them most.

Our year with Charlie has been filled with trips to the dog park, hikes at area lakes and parks, road trips, and lots of cuddle time.  He has endured the chaos that Nimitz brought to the house with such patience.  As a dutiful big brother, Charlie has taught Nim how to play tug-of-war, how to run gracefully, and that ice cubes are the best treats.

It didn’t take long for us to love Charlie.  He quickly became an important member of the family – the king, really.  We’ve developed numerous plots and conspiracies to tell Paul so that we could keep him – he ran away, he was stolen, he was hit by a car.  All horrible things, I know.  We just couldn’t imagine giving him back.  And we still can’t.  Like I told Charlie on our drive from Pensacola to Oklahoma City (it was a long drive…and he was my only company), he’s going to break my heart.

As Ben has put it, there’s only one thing in this world that Nimitz loves more than he and I – and that’s Charlie.  Those of us that remain at the Hoadley house will be at a loss without our loving, faithful friend.  Charlie will always be my first dog, or as I like to call him, my first puppy love.  And he is the best first dog a girl could have.

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