RIP Charlie

RIP Charlie Beagle

Charlie the Beagle

Sitting down to do a little summer homework at Starbucks.

He was supposed to live forever. I felt sure he’d live to be 15 at least. That meant I’d have him another four years minimum. And heck, Butch—the oldest beagle on record—was 27 when he died, so I figured if Butch could do it, so could my Charlie.

Charlie and I found each other one September afternoon in 2003. I’d been looking for a dog since my youngest child, Margaret, went to kindergarten a month earlier (the house had become way too still). I prayed about it all the time, asking God to guide me to the right dog for our family. I had in mind an adult female mixed-breed rescue; but despite visiting several shelters, I had not found one with whom I felt even a slight connection.

It was my husband who suggested a beagle puppy. I checked the classifieds and of all the beagle listings, one ad stood out to me.

“Three month old, tri-color beagle puppy. 
Male. Full blooded.
Parents on site. $100.”

(The ad might as well have said, “The exact opposite of what you think you want.”)

The children (5, 7, and 9 at the time) buckled up, and we followed the back road directions I received when I called the number listed. We rounded the last bend and the address came into view. As we drew closer, I saw a woman out in the yard with a blur of black and tan at her feet. I pulled up and shifted into park. The blur settled into a brown-faced, floppy-eared, saddleback beagle, his white-tipped tail waving to me. Instantly, I knew. I knew because I felt deep in my spirit that all-to-rare feeling of being perfectly in sync with God’s will. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was truly one of the high holy moments of my life.

I bent down and held out my arms. He came to me. And in less than 20 minutes, we were on our way back home with the beagle I’d already named Charlie. At puppy school a week or so later, the trainer remarked, “Wow. Charlie is definitely bonded to you. It’s unusual for such a connection to exist so soon.” Unusual? Shoot; it was downright supernatural.

Fast-forward 11 years to June 7, 2014.  My oldest daughter would be 20 in a month; she was living and working in DC for the summer. My son was about to graduate high school and Margaret, 16, was finishing her sophomore year.

She was the one who called to me, “Mom! You need to come here! Something’s wrong with Charlie!” I went upstairs immediately  to the kitchen where I found Charlie standing, awkward and immobile. He seemed stunned, confused, afraid. I scooped him up and Margaret and I took him to the closest vet. Still, it absolutely did not occur to me that my sweet baby could be dying. That was unthinkable.

By the time we got out of the car ten minutes later, Charlie had begun losing hair by the fistful.  He could still walk, but he trembled all over, his tail sagging and his steps unsure. In the exam room, we held him close, telling him what a good boy he was, so handsome, so brave. When the vet came in, I lay Charlie on the table, continuing to stroke him while I told the doctor what had been happening. After the briefest of exams, the vet told me it didn’t look good. He could barely get a blood pressure and Charlie’s heartbeat was weak.

My husband, my son, and his girlfriend arrived and crowded into the exam room with me, Margaret, the vet, and the vet tech. My beloved beagle lay in the midst of us, fading away. “There’s nothing more we can do for him,” the vet said, “As best we can tell, he’s had a stroke. The humane thing would be to let him go.”

I think I screamed.

Seconds later, his heart stopped beating and he was gone. It hadn’t been forever. Not even close.

When he was alive, Charlie did not actually follow my blog (Google Translate™ doesn’t do Beagle), so I’m pretty certain he’s not reading this now. But if he were, if I could tell him just one thing, it would be this:

“Rest in peace my Sweet Baby. And thank you. My heart is better for having been shared with you.”

(To read more of Charlie's story, click here, or paste http://aileengoeson.com/?page_id=1597 in your browser.)

 

About the Author Aileen Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.

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15 comments
Anonymous says August 10, 2014

I'm so sad for you. Thanks for sharing all the amazing and funny stories about Charlie. I'm going to hold you and the loss of Charlie in my prayers and close to my heart.
love you
Amanda White
ACA spring class2013

Reply
    Aileen Lawrimore says August 10, 2014

    Thanks so much Amanda! Watch for stories to come about Isabella--our beagle puppy. She isn't Charlie, but she is a real joy bringer!

    Reply
Jason says August 10, 2014

I am sorry to hear of his loss. Remember, he loved you when he was alive, and as I am a believer in the Rainbow Bridge, he is waiting for you, and loves you now.

Reply
    Aileen Lawrimore says August 10, 2014

    Thanks so much Jason! I'm learning more about the Rainbow Bridge concept and find great comfort in it. Watch for stories to come about Isabella--our beagle puppy. She isn't Charlie, but she is a real joy bringer!

    Reply
      Jason says August 10, 2014

      I plan on it now 🙂

      Reply
Patty Zajac says August 10, 2014

Oh my gosh, my eyes are leaking right now,=( What a beautiful tribute. My heart aches as I sit here and watch my beautiful Roxie sleeping at my feet...15 years I've loved her. Every day is a blessing. I hope your wonderful memories of Charlie helps your heart to heal 🙂

Reply
    Aileen Lawrimore says August 11, 2014

    Thank you Patty. Treasure sweet Roxie. Such a pure love, isn't it? We are comforted by dear memories but also by our new puppy who gives us sweet joy. Thanks for reading Patty! And thanks for your kind words!

    Reply
Anonymous says August 11, 2014

well done, Aileen, and a very appropriate tribute to a very special member of your family. love, mother

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Anonymous says July 8, 2015

well, thanks, now you made me cry. what a beautiful story. I lost my baby Casey this past February after only 4 years....I think of her often.

Reply
    Aileen Lawrimore says July 8, 2015

    Thanks so much for reading. I'm sorry for your loss. Pets are such treasures, aren't they?

    Reply
Anonymous says July 8, 2015

They sure are Aileen! And after swearing we could never go through that loss again (twice now) here we are with a brand new "rescue" beagle!

Reply
    Aileen Lawrimore says July 8, 2015

    Yes, I never thought I could go through it again myself, but within a month we had a beagle puppy. My daughter was home for the summer break and was struggling so with the loss that she pleaded for a puppy. We tried to find a rescue close by but then came across a fellow who had beagle puppies (not a breeder) so we took one off of his hands. She is a delight! Thanks for reading and for the work you do with rescues!

    Reply
walrus34 says October 21, 2015

I'm so sorry for your loss Aileen. Charlie was a real beautiful spirit. I lost a Dachshund, Doxie was her name, almost two years ago and my heart still aches for her. She passed away suddenly of a bad heart valve a week before her 13th birthday.

Reply
    Aileen Lawrimore says October 21, 2015

    Thanks and same to you. It's just horrible isn't it? We have another dog, also a beagle, and she's very sweet, but not my sweet baby Charlie. We were connected from moment one. I think I will miss him forever . . . Thanks for reading and for your comment!

    Reply
Inconvenience, not Tragedy | Aileen Goes On says November 1, 2016

[…] Loss of a pet, though not at all on the level of some of these, is a form of tragedy all the same, and certainly far worse than laptop woes. […]

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