Craigslist Dog, sit. Craigslist Dog, wait. Craigslist Dog, quit hitting the baby with your tail.
The thing about Craigslist dogs is that they are special. Especially the one I re-homed. Charlie’s original owners were dog people. They bred Dobermans. Yet when I asked her why they were getting rid of him, she replied that he was too much for them. That should have been my first clue. The second clue should have been when she asked if I had read anything about the breed.
When I think about it, she was very lucky that I was the one to drive an hour to take him off their hands. I think about all the people who could have taken him home and how most of them would have been in way over their heads.
Craigslist Dog requires a lot of patience and a lot of exercise and a lot of food and water. Craigslist Dog prefers to be working rather than letting people pet him. Craigslist Dog does not like to be stuck inside all day. Craigslist Dog refuses to get into the car 90% of the time. Craigslist Dog hates when people enter the house without his consent.
I’m a patient person and I was prepared to be particularly patient and work hard on his training because, one, I want him to retrieve waterfowl and two, I want him to be a really well behaved dog. Maybe, other breeds would have been easier, but I doubt they would be as loyal as my Horse. Lucky for me, I know nothing else but what Charlie’s training has been like.
Maybe one day I’ll have another dog and I’ll think, “it’s true what they say about Chessies.” They’re big brown goofballs and they are the most stubborn retrievers of them all.
Here’s the thing, my Craigslist Dog greets me every time I come home. My Craigslist Dog wants nothing more than to lay with me in my bed. My Craigslist Dog thinks the greatest thing in the whole wide world is going on a walk with me.
When I come home from a long day at work, Craigslist Dog is there to make everything better.
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It’s hard to write with a dog on your chest.
I turned the lights off the other night with Charlie’s head on my chest, and I suddenly felt very aware of the 100 pound animal sharing my bed. I had originally put off letting him on my bed. In the morning, he would put his front half on the bed to nuzzle me and wake me up. Then he started jumping up on it in the evening or during the day when I was at my desk. After that, he slept through some of the night on the bed, but the past few nights he has slept the whole night with me.
I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I do love hugging him. I at least push him to side when he’s taking up the whole bed though.
Anyway, I was thinking about him being in my bed, and it made me remember when I first realized how weird it is to have such a big animal share our houses with us. I was probably ten when I looked out into the backyard and saw my childhood dog, Casper, and the beagles running around and thought, “There are animals in the yard!”
It was an interesting thought. I still love seeing deer in a field even though I see them all the time. There’s something about such a big animal being free in the woods. It’s like they are a secret. Dogs aren’t as free; they belong with us, or, at any rate, we like having them around. Still, when you forget the context of pets and see them in your yard, they look wild and free again.
Saturday was Charlie’s first big social outing. The Saint Paddy’s Day parade/town-wide festival was this weekend so my Aunt and Uncle opted to invite people out to their land instead. Charlie is still sort of touchy about other people. He gets defensive and concerned when other dogs approach me. Plus he’s nosy and wants to get in everyone’s business.
I’m pretty sure he will grow out of this protective nature, to an extent, as he gets used to my big family. He still gets homesick when we are gone too long. He’s a homebody, but he’s a sweetie too.
Luckily, we only had one mishap with another dog. He had fun swimming and running around with a couple of other dogs though.
Last night, Charlie and I took our routine walk along the river dike amidst a consistent wind. As we walked along, we came up to cement blocks with poles coming out of them. I assume they provide access to some sort of piping or markers. The wind rushing around them created reverberating whirring and moaning sounds through the poles. Charlie was confused; I was entranced. Then, looking past the poles, I saw a pair of eyes looking at me in the shadow of the dike. When we walked closer, it ran towards the river in the dark. I thought it might be a coyote, but I suddenly heard loud crashing through the river, too loud for a coyote. We walked a little further, and I saw the white tails bouncing into the woods on the other side of the river. Charlie and I kept going, and I wondered if anyone hunts the woods along the bank.
This is a Charlie Horse.
He’s a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
He’ll be 11 months on January 24th.
Last I knew he was 100lbs. He’s probably more now.
I’ve had him for about three and a half weeks.