I met Charlie three and a half years ago while I was attending grooming school. She was one of the dogs I was assigned to groom that day. Like many people who met her, I assumed Charlie was a boy. My instructor introduced me to Charlie’s family because they were looking for a dog walker.

Charlie had a unique situation. She lived in two places. She lived part time with her pet parents and part time with their grown daughter, Jackie. Charlie was her childhood pet and when Jackie moved out, she wanted to bring Charlie with her. However, that left Charlie alone for much of the day.

That’s where I came in. I walked Charlie three days a week and the other days she was with either with Jackie or her parents. They were amazingly organized. Every six weeks, they would sit down with their schedules and figure out who was traveling, who had meetings, etc. and when they needed me to cover Charlie. They would then give me the list and tell me the dates and place that I would be needed to walk Charlie. Thankfully, we all lived in the same town. This went on for the last three years and worked well for all of us.

Charlie was a sweet dog. She wasn’t like a typical Yorkie. She didn’t wear cute sweaters or fancy collars. She wasn’t carried around in a cute bag, nor did she have a fancy bed that read “princess”. In fact, Charlie had a record. She once bit a delivery man who reported her to the authorities. She really didn’t like men in hats after that.

So Charlie and I walked together for three years. She was already 11 years old when I met her, so she never walked far or very fast. It gave me the opportunity to take time out of my rushed schedule and slow down. Instead of going over my mental to do list, I found time to day dream. Instead of being inside all day, I got to enjoy the sunshine (or rain or snow) for a few minutes each day. I don’t think I would have taken that time, otherwise.

Charlie started to fail quickly over the last few months. She lost a lot of weight and her walks got shorter and shorter. Some days she wasn’t interested in walking at all so we just hung out together. She got to the point where she didn’t hear me come in and had a hard time getting up when she saw me. It was hard to watch.

Yesterday I got the call I had been dreading. They took Charlie to vet and there was nothing that could be done for her. Her kidneys were failing and she wasn’t eating. They put Charlie to rest that afternoon. Although I knew this time was coming, I cried when I heard the message.

She was like one of my own dogs. And like one of my dogs, I expect her to be waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. RIP Charlie. You will be missed!

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown…

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