Saying Goodbye to Charlie

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe, we are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.”
    -Roger Caras

It’s been too hard for me to write this post until now. Every time I thought to, my eyes filled with tears and my head became dumb, and lost for words.

On Friday we said goodbye to Charlie, our old and faithful dog. It was his time, but he needed help to go. It happened so quickly, this sudden down hill, and though we’d known it was coming it was still a shock when suddenly we were confronted with the truth of our old friend being at the end of his days.

Last Tuesday Ben and I went down to Byron Bay for an early dinner. I’d been busy preparing for my retreat – the farmhouse was full of herbs and crystals, and I couldn’t even see the kitchen table. So we headed out to a favourite Thai restaurant.  We were only gone an hour and a half. When we came home, Charlie didn’t come to the door to greet us.  He lay awkwardly on the mat outside our bedroom door, wagging his tail half-heartedly, a look of great shame and embarrassment in his eyes.

His back legs had failed.  He couldn’t get up.  In less than two hours he went from being a mobile dog, to a crippled and helpless animal.

Ben lifted him up and we took him outside for a wee. He couldn’t stand at all.  We checked him all over for ticks, but I could see (with my damned psychic eyes that sometimes see too much) that there was a tumour in his spine that was causing all the problems. Ben brought him back and put him on our bed, and Charlie looked up at me with these soft brown eyes and I could feel him pleading.  Help me.

We patted and cuddled him and then put him down in his bed beside me, and I gave him some healing before we went to sleep. The next morning it was almost as if nothing had happened. He tottered to the door at the sound of breakfast, and then he managed to wee by himself, and bring himself to sit back beside me as I worked. Ben and I convinced ourselves he had fallen awkwardly or just strained something.

That afternoon I walked down to our machinery shed with Bert, our younger dog. Ben and I wanted to go down to the river flats and inspect some work we’d had done. As we stood talking, Charlie appeared in the shed. It was a big walk for him, and we were delighted to see him. When I opened the door to the ute he shuffled over, and we let him sit in the front with us, while Bert rode in the back.

We ended up down by the river.  Bert ran around madly, swimming and exploring.  Charlie walked gingerly down the slope with me, had a drink, and lay down near the water’s edge, a big smile on his face.  We had a lovely afternoon, and it felt just like old times – the four of us all doing adventuring things and being together out in nature.

That night we had a barbeque tea and Charlie got lots of treats. It was a gorgeous day all round, and we all went to bed happy. The next day I headed up to Brisbane very early, grateful that Charlie was resting but okay.  He had given us such a scare.

But then on Friday morning, just before I started a busy day in Brisbane, Ben rang. His voice was choked with tears.  Charlie’s back legs had gone again, and Ben had not even been able to hold him up without causing him pain.  He’d had to wee lying down, a massive indignity for Charlie, and he was whimpering with discomfort when Ben moved him.

We both knew.  It was time.  We’d always said that we would never let our dear friend suffer. So Ben called the vet to arrange for him to come to our farm late that afternoon, and I meanwhile ran around like a mad thing trying to get everything done, and feeling heart-broken and on the verge of useless tears all day, away from my loved ones when all I wanted to be was home.

It was such a strange drive from the city back to our farm. Friday was the most perfect of days.  Sunny and warm, a bright sky, a gentle breeze. The whole way I kept thinking that it was Charlie’s last day. It seemed odd to know that, and I wondered if he knew too. The knowledge sat so big in my chest that my throat was full with the grief of it.

Charlie was lying on our back veranda.  I sat down with him and he licked away my tears. I felt so much love pouring from him, and I thought it was odd that it was him who was comforting me. He and Bert kept licking each other, and the atmosphere was one of great love and calm. We all knew he was ready to go.

The vet came an hour later, as the sky was beginning to soften.  We sat Charlie on the daybed between us, overlooking the green garden and the jacaranda tree, and we held him gently in our arms as the vet administered an overdose of anesthetic.  It was a quick and painless passing.

We buried him up in the orchard, between two blue-gums that the koalas love. It looks down over the back of our cottage, and I have a clear view of his resting place when I stand at my kitchen sink. As we stood around, suddenly lonely and lost without him, some magpies flew down and sat above us, and burst into song. We felt like they were singing him home. It was a fitting end for such a wonderful friend and companion.

It still feels strange to be without him. I miss his head in my lap when I meditate. I miss him sitting at my feet, and sleeping beside me on the floor each night.  I miss his wisdom and his great presence. But oh, I am glad to have loved such a dog, and to have been loved in return. I’m truly blessed to have known him.  Goodbye, dear friend.  I love you, Charlie Dog.  Rest in Peace. ♥♥♥

58 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to Charlie

  1. Precious Nic and Ben, we know how much you loved your Charlie. We’re so sorry to hear he has gone. All our love Kimmie and Peej

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss Nicole. I sobbed as I read your story – I can feel your pain now. I am so happy you had such a wonderful dog and such a glorious time with him. I know he’s watching over you from the blue gums. Love<3<3<3 Susan and Ray ♥

  3. Oh Nicole, I am so sorry about Charlie! I can’t stop crying it’s such a great loss for you all
    RIP Charlie.. We to helped our old boy Rusty go to sleep a few weeks ago.. it is a very hard thing to go through.. Much love to you Ben and Bert. Xx

  4. I;m so sorry; it is so hard to say good-bye. I lost one of my dogs quite unexpectedly last week too. Don’t forget to turn that healing energy on yourself, Bert, and Ben.

  5. Tears flowing and I am touched to the core by your gift of expressing this to us all. Absolutely beautiful…blessed be dear Charlie..XX Big hugs to you sweetheart, Ben & Bert…XX

  6. I’m very sorry for your loss, Nicole. I’m a pet owner as well and I have had to made that very difficult decision in the past. Pets are an immense source of joy; one look at your fur baby can instantly brighten your day. It’s a hard void to cope with. I hope the memories of your time with Charlie bring you solace.

  7. How blessed are we all to share our lives with these beautiful wise souls. Blessings and healing love to you all. I feel for you.
    Xx

  8. Tears flow for our beautiful family members, a precious gift we’ve been blessed to be given. Heartfelt hugs to you, Ben & Bert and a loving thankyou to Charlie and all our beautiful 4-legged family members for the unconditional love given xo

  9. Oh, Nicole, I cried when I read this in my email, and I’m still crying now. I am so sorry. We love our fur-babies; they are our family, a part of us, and it’s so hard for us to let them go. I know Charlie had the very best of families and loved you as much as you loved him. Thank you for sharing this beautiful and sorrowful moment with us. Sending love and hugs to you and your family. ~ Love, Julie xoxox

  10. No tears today. I think I’m all cried out, although I did have a little weep last night. I know it was coming too, but I was still shocked. I also knew that a couple of weeks ago would be the last time I saw Charlie and that’s why I spent so much time with him giving him extra pats and hugs and kisses and took lots of photos ♥ Charlie was the kindest pup and showed so much love and loyalty. He will be so missed xoxo

  11. It is heart breaking to lose a wonderful trusting friend who is loyal, non judgemental, loving, always happy to see you, quietly comforting in those difficult times, knows when you are sad and sits with you and licks your tears away. I too had the most intuitive loving dog anyone could ever have. I cherish the beautiful memories I have of him. He brought me such joy and love. I know in my heart you have these lovely memories to hold onto too. As you know times heals a broken heart. Sending you lots of love

    • I’ve been so grateful for Bert, our other dog, this past week or so. He’s just showered us with love, and I still feel Charlie’s presence around us at the farm. I don’t mind my heart being broken if it has stretched to fit more love in, and that’s exactly what happened. Thank you for your kind words. xoxo

  12. I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how you feel, I lost my doggy companion of 12 years almost six months ago and I still cry sometimes. Know you did your best for him. Can you see him now, free from pain and wagging his tail at you ?

  13. Bye bye Charlie. RIP furry friend.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I’m sure a part of your heart will always be reserved just for him. We recently had a Flemish Giant rabbit that we had to put down because her back legs went. It’s extremely difficult to see an animal suffer that way. My heart goes out to you.

  14. Dear Nicole, I am so sorry for the loss of your dear friend and companion. Your heart felt sharing in this post is tribute and testimony to your love for Charlie and the love he shared with you.

  15. So sorry for your loss. Tears flow down. Love flows up. Gratitude bubbles through. So much here as I walk side by side across the world.

  16. What a lovely dog and a beautiful post you’ve written. Losing friends is very hard but what happy memories you have of him. It was sad to read this, but also very warming, I feel grateful for Charlie.

  17. I’m so sorry for your loss, Nicole. Charlie sounds like he was a great companion and had a happy life with you. Your post really touched me. It expressed your love for your furry friend so beautifully and reverently. I have tears now after reading your post. My sincere condolences to you and your family on loosing Charlie.

  18. Nicole, am so sorry about Charlie’s passing. I’m glad he was able to have you and Ben hold him as his time to pass happened. Animals are such treasures of unconditional love and solace to us “noisy” humans. It is so hard when they look at you pleading for help when they have been so independent through their lives (my cat had a similar issue with me finding her one morning aged 17yrs and unable to work – the vet thinks she had a rare cat stroke). Making that decision for them is one of the hardest I think we ever have to make. But you all knew and I’m sure Charlie with you all (including Bert). May the memories carry you through those hard days.

  19. I’m so sorry to here about Charlie. I cried as I read this post. It’s the day that I dread, when my dog passes. You were so fortunate to have him, as he was to have you! You got so much out of his relationship, because you put into the relationship. Dogs never fail us, but people fail dogs. Bless you for loving Charlie, and being loved by Charlie. Losing a dog is losing a family member and then some. They never ridicule, they never ask for much, and they are always happy to love and see you! Soooo sorry at your loss.

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