A man brought his sick, elderly dog to an Atlanta veterinarian’s office to make the journey over the Rainbow Bridge. He also brought the tribute letter he wrote to his cherished family member of 15 years.
Charlie, I called you my friend for 8,028,000 minutes of my life.
Minute 1: I took you out of the cage on May 9, 1998. You jumped into my arms and kissed my face. I thought I chose you but I was wrong… you chose me.
As I was signing the adoption papers I asked the lady how they found you and she said you were put on the side of the road on interstate I- 285 and Cobb Parkway.
I put you in my car and you were so nervous you peed all over my back seat. The truth is Charlie, I was just as nervous to take care of you, because I could barely care for myself.
Minute 10,080 – Finally naming you: I still didn’t have a name for you yet. So I decided to take a few days and call you by each of the names I was thinking of calling you. This way I could hear each one and decide if I could really hear myself calling you that name for years to come.
I thought about Barker…for Bob Barker… Greatest game show host EVER!!…I thought about FRED for the basset hound in Smokey and the Bandit…..and I ALMOST called you FLASH for the basset hound in THE DUKES OF HAZZARD!
But, you got really sick and I didn’t know what to do, so I took you to the neighborhood vet. That’s where we met Dr. Mathews. Dr. Mathews walks in and she said, “We need a name for this dog!” I told her my choices and she said “NO, NO and NO! Tell me where he was found.” I said, “285 and Cobb parkway.” She said, “This dog has had a rough go of it….. choose a name that you will never forget where he came from.”
“Let’s use the C for Cobb Parkway and call him Charlie for the Basset Hound in the movie “ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN” And his middle name will be Parkway. So from then on you were always known to her as CHARLIE PARKWAY BLONDHEIM!
Dr. Mathews saved you from Par that day!
A week turned into a month, a month turned into a year and our life together began…AND what a journey we had.
Car rides with you always riding shot gun, our nightly walks… I loved our nightly walks… letting you run off leash at Piedmont Park and every few minutes you would look back to check to make sure I was still watching…..(that was my favorite when you did that)….. sleeping with me in my bed… until you were ready to jump down and get into your bed… except the time the power went out during the ice storm of 2000….. it was soooo cold and I knew you were cold too because you slept, UNDER THE COVERS, the whole night and didn’t move!!! Going to Montgomery and being free to run on 30 acres… you always came back CRAZY tired… it took you two days to recover from all that running to playing with the other dogs in the neighborhood… SAM AND LUCY
Minute 1,834,560 – Michele enters our life: We met Michele, on a beautiful November day at Piedmont Park, for our first date. I brought you along because if she didn’t like you…she was out! We were there six hours and she was a Charlie fan from the start. And as we left the park on the fateful November day, I turned to you and said, “Uh-oh Charlie, we’re in trouble now.” We had LOTS to talk about that night, didn’t we?
Minute 2,096,640 – Happy Tails Pet Therapy beings: Over the course of 13 years for you being a therapy dog you helped thousands of kids be happy and motivated. But my favorite story was the when we returned to the swimming arena for Special Olympics of GA and all the athletes were so excited for your return. The coach told me how his kids love to swim but this year they trained hard so they could take their picture with you on the medal podium! You made a difference in all of their lives.
Minute 3,144,960 – The Wedding: This was the day you put on your doggie tuxedo and came to the Four Seasons hotel for the wedding pictures and you allowed Michele to be your new mommy! You stole the show that day but Mommy didn’t mind sharing the spotlight with you. She really loves you buddy!!
Minute 5,322,240 – Max is born: July 31, 2008 Dr. Mathews told me when we change Max’s clothes to bring a shirt with his smell on it home for you to sniff. Mommy and I were very concerned about how you would react to a new person in the house. I brought a shirt home and you followed me upstairs into Max’s room. I laid it on the floor and told you he was going to be in this room. I’ll never forget what you did next….. after you sniffed the shirt you picked it up with your mouth and carried the shirt to YOUR bed and laid your head on it. That to this day and forever will be one of the sweetest things I ever saw you do!
Minute 6,572,160 – Zac is born: On Dec 27th 2010, I once again brought you a shirt and laid it onto Zac’s floor of his room. I was very curious; was it a fluke the first time, or did you really understand what was going on? I put the shirt in the middle of the room and you went to town sniffing it and then you turned in a circle and laid your head right on top of the shirt.
Both Max and Zac truly loved you. They loved walking you and feeing you and they fought, in the car, every day as to which one of them would get to let you outside. You protected them and never got mad with them. I hope one day they will realize what a great dog they had!
Charlie, we’ve now reached the 8,028,000th minute and it’s time to say goodbye but before you leave us I want to tell you…..when you walk through the gates you make yourself known…bark your name loud and our other great family dogs & cat & the friends that you made along the way will come to greet you…. MOLLY, HONEY, Mommy’s dog SPIKE, BEAR, FLUFFY, PEPPER, KATY, ZACH, JJ, SAM & LUCY. You belong with them buddy… because you ARE one of the greats!
I am going to send you off the same way I found you but instead of you kissing me we are ALL going to kiss you. Thank you for the love and joy you brought to all of us.
Good bye my friend. We ALL love you and will miss you.
Michele, Max, Zac and me…the one who pulled you out of that cage!
Note: Some corrections were made on this letter for grammatical errors.