Charlie and Me

I wrote an essay about our dog Charlie for a forthcoming anthology about dogs. I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship!, edited by Wade Rouse, will be published in 2011, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Humane Society of the United States. All kinds of incredible writers are contributing, including Merrill Markoe, Rita Mae Brown, and Jen Lancaster. I'm honored to be included.

Charlie is one of my favorite topics to write about, as most of my friends have long grown tired of me jabbering about my dog's velvety ears and I have to get it out somehow. We adopted Charlie shortly after we got married, and when my mom saw us with him she rolled her eyes and said, "You two need to have a baby." The implication being that once we procreated, we'd calm down about the dog and stop, say, kissing him on the lips. Well, guess who was wrong about that? You were, Mom! YOU! So there! Now give your other grandson a kiss.

I needed a picture of me with Charlie for the book, so my pal Amber of The Amber Show graciously volunteered her photographic talents. The essay is about Charlie's insistence on sleeping in our bed, between me and Scott, under the covers. Amber took some boudoir pics. I wore my nightie!

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You can't really tell that it's a nightie. But oh, it is. It's from Target. Mrowr.

Charlie hates getting his picture taken. I don't know who beat him with a camera, but someone clearly did, because the minute he sees one his ears go back and he tries to lick it. That's Charlie's tactic. If you upset him in any way, his defense is to wag his tail violently and lick you. He'll love you right into submission.

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This is him pleading with me to make the clickety-click sounds stop. Oh boy, do we need a headboard. Someday, my friends. Someday.

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Here I am, pointing. I'm saying, "That's a dog. That's Charlie!" I can identify my pets.

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I'm holding him down. The moment I loosened my grip he'd scurry to the next room. But oh, we got him back! Dogs are not bright.

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I was trying to look vaguely unhappy with him being in the bed with me, and yet swayed by his canine charms. It was a complicated series of emotions. My face was breaking under the strain.

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I am absolutely covered in dog hair, here. The crazy heat wave we've endured has caused Charlie to shed like he's getting paid for it, plus he sheds when he's stressed out, so during this photo shoot, he unloaded approximately 30 pounds of dog hair on me. And Charlie only weighs 25 pounds, so this took some effort on his part. Fur was raining off of him, causing Amber to observe, "He's Pig-Penning!" Which I thought was adorable. And accurate.

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Charlie is now 13 years old. His face used to be mostly black with a white stripe running down the center, but as you can see, he's faded somewhat. His eyes are cloudy, but he can hear a slice of cheese hit the ground from across the apartment. He's still spry, and leaps and cavorts the moment we head outside.

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I'm sure, fellow dog-owners, that your dogs are fine, but Charlie is pretty much the greatest dog who ever lived.