On April 11, 2016, we laid to rest our dear, sweet dog Chuck. He’d been with us a long time — and was a mature dog when we got him — so he was an old fellow.
Chuck’s story is largely unknown… Before we met him, he was brought in to one of the local animal shelters to be euthanized because he had large masses growing out of his ears. However, Leland, one of the animal shelter employees, saw something in Chuck and, instead of euthanizing him, brought him to Wendy’s hospital for treatment.
I don’t think it was love at first sight when Wendy saw Chuck. He was an unremarkable dog — black, skinny, with long gangly legs. Not particularly handsome nor particularly ugly or goofy looking. Just a black dog. Wendy worked on Chuck to surgically remove the growths from his ears and in doing so, found a spark between them.
As Chuck got healthier, Wendy’s fondness for him grew. So we adopted him into our home.
Chuck was, in a word, meek. He never got angry and took delight in simple things like laying in the sun, stretching out just as much as he could to take up as much of our bed as possible, and curling into as tiny a ball as possible when cuddled up on the couch. He enjoyed running with Wendy. But mostly wanted to chill out. Chuck was steadfast in his love for us — his whole adopted family — enjoying the cats as much as the other dogs. He escaped from the back yard a couple times, but came to the front door instead of running away.
Occasionally, he would race around our back yard at great speed. We thought he was a greyhound. When Wendy ran a DNA test on him, we were surprised to discover that Chuck was a mix of Dalmatian and Poodle! His nicknames were “Chuzzle” or “Chuzzlebutt”.
Such a gentle soul. Wonderful to have around the house because he was solidly present and interested in whatever you were doing, but never nosy or insistent. He just wanted to watch.
One time, Wendy came into our bedroom to find Chuck positively frolicking with a toy — tossing it into the air and catching it (well, trying too — Chuck was never good at that), play bowing, jumping around, and generally having a blast with the toy. Wendy went to see what toy was giving him such delight, she discovered it was a shard from a tennis ball that had been chewed up. Just the tiniest speck of a ball, and Chuck thought he’d won the toy-lottery. We named the top “Speck” and treated it with reverence (until our cleaning lady eventually swept it up with the vacuum).
Chuck was laying on our bed on which I’d tossed some plastic hangers. One of the hangers got hooked around Chuck’s collar in front, acting like a hobble as it bounced against his front legs. Chuck was startled by that, but just sat there, still, because he was confused. I had the time to take a picture of it while he waited patiently for me to rescue him!
His health declined and he was “circling the drain”, losing weight (his last several months he wore a doggie sweater to help keep him warm). Wendy and I went out of town briefly and put the animals into Wendy’s hospital for care as we normally do. Sometime during that stay Chuck “crashed” and, while he held on long enough for us to get back and be with him, we knew it was the end of the road for our dear sweet boy.
Chuck was a wonderful companion and a great dog. Rest in peace, faithful friend.
This was a difficult eulogy to write because Chuck is difficult to capture in words. It is hard to express how loyal, loving, and just-plain-nice Chuck was in a way that does justice to it. He was a pleasant dog, and a good boy.