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My big brother Charlie has crossed the bridge | Coping with Loss

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My big brother Charlie has crossed the bridge
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16 March 2017 - 6:57 pm
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A couple of days ago Mom and Dad helped Charlie cross the bridge. His tired little body was just worn out. He wasn't happy, his tail hardly moved, it didn't wag anymore.

It was a nice sunshiney afternoon in Sebastopol so they all sat outside under the arbor. The vet came out and they talked about him and his many exploits and accomplishments. Laying in dad's arms, and with kisses from everyone including the vet, he left us. He missed his 15th birthday by 3 weeks.

He was in our family for almost 13 years, my parents rescued him on April 1st, 2004, that was also his second birthday. He was an April Fools Day baby! They enrolled him in obedience training and he took his own sweet time. He needed 5 classes, all of Charlie's friends made it in 3. But doing it his own way, he passed his Therapy/Social Dog training just like he knew what he was doing.

He started visting the public library in downtown Santa Rosa. The kids loved him, after all he was the Worlds Most Handsome Cocker Spaniel. His breeder showed us his pedigree, 80% were champions. He was so cute, and unlike most Cockers, unflapable. He didn't nip, growl, or anything. Kids could pull his ears, his tail, if they could catch it, or his paws and he would just smile. Being a Social/Therapy Dog he had to be recertified every year. The proctor for the testing, year after year would say, I've never seen a Cocker like him. He'd shake his head and laugh, Cockers are never like that! So he always passed the re-cert test with flying colors.

Charlie and our big sister Penny, the Worlds Most Beautiful Border Collie, made quite a team. In the 10 years they worked together, they visited inmates in the Sonoma County jail, seniors at day care centers, seniors at Alzheimer living facilities and helped the Sonoma County Humane Society dogs and cats get adopted. They walked in the Santa Rosa Rose parade 3 years. Penny always wanted to walk in the center of the street and Charlie always wanted to be next to the curb so he could see the kids...at least that's what we originallly thought. The reason he wanted to be next to the curb was the float in front of us was throwing candy out. Charlie wasn't seeing the kids, he was stuffing his face with all the candy he found on the street. One of the favorite stories to tell on Charlie was, even when he's sleeping, if you called his name, his tale wags.

For 6 years Charlie was a reading buddy at the Healdsburg Public Library. This was the job he was born to do. The kids from ages 3 to 16 would come to the library on Satuday morning, put their name on the sign up sheet, get their book and practice their out loud reading. Charlie would lay by them while they read, he never judged, laughed or snickered. He would listen, wag his tail and they knew he heard and understood everything they said. The librarians said Charlie was their favorite. Some of the kids drew pictures of him, brought him treats and loved him for what he was. The couple that were in charge of the program said Charlie was everyone's favorite. A couple times Charlie was under the weather so I took his place. The kids would come in, look at me and say, where's Charlie? We told them I'm Charlie's sister Shelby, and they said I sure didn't look like him!

He had hundreds of kids read to him, in fact some of the parents wanted to brush up their out loud reading and they wanted Charlie's help. The progress we witnessed in those 6 years with some of the kids was just amazing. They always had 4 by 6 autographed photo's of Charlie with them and would offer them to the kids as they finished reading. One Saturday morning one of the kids got up and went straight to his mom after he finshed and then they came over and asked, can we have another picture of Charlie? Absolutely, not a problem. He had taken Charlie's picture to his school for show and tell. He told his classmates about how he was practicing his out loud reading and Charlie was helping him. The teacher was so proud of him that she posted Charlie's picture on the classrooms bulletin board.

Heck he even did time in the local dog pound. He escaped from the back yard, put his nose to the ground and was later spotted at the elementry school 2 miles down the road eating lunch with the school kids. The dog catcher called the house and said, we found Charlie, he's a great dog but since you're not home he'll be at the dog pound in Windsor, 20 miles north of us. The next day dad stood in line and paid $138.00 to get him out of jail. Dad said when they brought him out to leave, you could hear the people in line saying, oh, look how cute he is!

His sticking his nose to ground and following it was something they could never break him of. Once someone offered him a treat or some food, his mind was no longer capable of thinking. He wanted that treat or cookie and forget everything else. Being food driven stopped him from doing other forms of social/therapy but that was OK. He was a Reading Buddy and he was great at it.

I miss my big brother, he didn't sweat the little stuff. He took lots of naps, loved cheeseburgers, fries and ice cream, usually had a good time anywhere he went. Charlie went to Doggy Daze at Sonoma State University with me once, he was a ladies man. He just walked in like, OK, I'm here, let the party begin!!

The night sky has a new star, a bright one, that twinkles, as fast as his tail did. Charlie made a difference in the kids and old folks lives, he loved them and they loved him. The world is a better place because he was here.

Shelby, the broken hearted Princess

Livermore, CA
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16 March 2017 - 10:54 pm
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Jack and Cindi I'm so sorry!

I know Charlie had a great life in your pack, it's hard to shine when you are around The Petite Princess but I know Charlie was a star in his own right.

We will need to hear more stories about the World's Most Handsome Cocker Spaniel in May.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Virginia
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17 March 2017 - 10:10 am
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First of all, without a doubt, ALL your dogs could NOT be more loved and more adored! Through the years I've so enjoyed seeing pictures of your crew at various Tripawd Pawties and other events. And they are always happy!

I know your heart is shattered right now and we are all so very, very sorry. We understand.

I am sooooo glad you shared so much of who Charlie is and how he touched the lives of so many. He and Penny were a powerful team.

Charlie is definitely an enlightened Soul who came here to enrich the lives of everyone who had the privilege of being in his light. Yes, Charlie's life mattered! Yes, Charley's presence here has made Such a positive difference in so many lives in so many ways.

And yes, when he headed to the Bridge, Penny was there throwing a trail of candy for Charlie to eat as part of his celebration dinner for a job well done here on earth! A d all the Bridge occupants were in awe to meet the World's Most Ha dsome Cocker Spaniel! He's already a Legend there, just like he is here!

Thank you again for sharing Charlie with us through this beautiful tribute. I cried and I laughed and I smiled. Mostly tbough, I applauded a life well lived and well loved.

Surrounding you with Charlie's eternal light

Sally and My Chunky Spiritual Being Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie

 photo Screenshot_2017-03-17-11-43-55_zpssz6amtfg.jpgImage Enlarger

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

The Rainbow Bridge

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17 March 2017 - 10:46 am
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Oh Shelby, Dusty, Jack & Cindi, we are very, very sorry. I can't believe Charlie went to the Bridge. He was supposed to live forever! At 15, he earned that right, darnit. Our hearts are broken here.

Your tribute and reflections about Charlie are just beautiful. I loved the way you showed how many lives he touched in this world. What lucky kids, that's so neat that he taught so many to read. And the parade memories....too cute! Thank you for giving us a peek at his unforgettable life. I hope you are able to share some photos so we can keep smiling and celebrating his legacy.

Yes, there is another star, and it's bright and beautiful and adorable, just like him. He will always be loved and treasured.

With condolences,

Rene, Jim, Wyatt Ray & Spirit Jerry

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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17 March 2017 - 10:49 am
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Wow what an amazing gifted boy Charlie was!  You probably can't even count the number of people Charlie touched lives with throughout his life and made them better for it.  I think it's especially hard to loose a pup after so many years because they have been such a big part of your lives for so long.  I'm so sorry for your loss!  Treasure all your memories of that sweet boy and know his light will be shining down on you from the heavens.  Fly free new Angel!

Linda & Spirit Mighty Max

Los Angeles, CA
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17 March 2017 - 11:12 am
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WOW.... just wow..... What great gifts Charlie gave to the universe. Thank you for sharing his story, his adventures, his escapes and his experiences with us. Thank you for letting us get to know him better. 

I am so sorry your  home has a void and emptyness without Charlie ... it definitely will be sad for a very long time. 

My heart is with you and I send you love, support and hugs .... lots of hugs!

Alison with Spirit Shelby in her heart (and little Jasper too) heart

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

Orange County, CA
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17 March 2017 - 1:16 pm
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Jack & Cindi, I am so sorry to hear Charlie has gone on.  John and I never had the chance to meet your handsome boy, but as with so many other very lucky people in Central California, we still have a personally autographed photo of him.  

Charlie was such a special boy, helping children and adults alike!  He accomplished more in his 15 years than most humans do in a much longer lifetime!  Thank you for sharing him with us, and more importantly, for sharing him with so many others that he helped through tough times.  I don't have any doubt that as all those children grow to adulthood and have children of their own, they will always remember the handsome little dog that made them feel so special.  How wonderful!  

Diane & John & Linda & Bernie

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17 March 2017 - 7:36 pm
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At Shelby's request, we would like to share these wonderful photos of sweet Charlie with everypawdy:

Charlie-really-close-up.-1.jpgImage Enlarger

Charlie-Close-Up-1.jpgImage Enlarger

Ohhhh what a sweet face. He is unforgettable. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia
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17 March 2017 - 9:23 pm
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Ohhh yeah.....if that isn't THE MOST HANDSOME COCKER SPANIEL IN THE WORLD, I don't know what is!!

Can we add THE CUTEST COCKER SPANIEL IN THE WORLD too?:-)!

We have to add THE MOST SMOOCHABLE MUG IN THE WORLD too! 🙂

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

Michigan
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17 March 2017 - 10:02 pm
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I am so very sorry for your loss.  What a wonderful tribute you wrote for your beloved Charlie.  Shelby, I can see why your heart is broken, surely Charlie was one of a kind.  Thank you so much for sharing just a little bit of him with us.  He was a beautiful boy.

heartDonna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy  http://murphyh......pawds.com/

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  

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Los Angeles, CA
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18 March 2017 - 3:31 pm
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Oh Charlie ... you were a handsome fella!!! I thought you were wearing a wig in the first photo!!! Such great eyes .... you can see the pure love in all of them!!! XO

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

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19 March 2017 - 1:14 pm
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I am so sorry to hear about Charlie's passing.  Thank you for sharing his story with us. 

Hugs

Michelle & Angel Sassy

Sassy & MichelleSassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.

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25 March 2017 - 6:37 pm
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Today we went to the vet and brought Charlie's ashes home. They are in a beautiful Mahogany box with a brass name plate.

Losing Charlie has hit me pretty hard, it's nice that he's home again. It's a holllow feeling of our family being together again.

I'm happy he doesn't hurt but it's hard not seeing him laying in his spot or sleeping on the bed with us at night.

We'll continue to love on Shelby, Emmylou and Dusty and time will take care of the hurt.

The chauffeur.

Virginia
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25 March 2017 - 9:37 pm
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I know, as bittersweet as it was, I felt comforted having my Happy Hannah "back home with me".

Yeah, the routine, the 24/7 routine after all those years, does, indeed, leave you hollow and swimming aimlessly in a dark void. And then you have all those "firsts without Charlie" t deal with. Yeah, it's a rough, rough time.

And that's when all.of those happy memories you and Charlie shared will help pull you through. You KNOW Charlie doesn't want you to be sad (he sure isn't) and it makes him happy when those memories bring a smile to your heart.

Has Charlie sent you a sign yet that he is, indeed, feeling terrific AND very much still with you? He will if he hasn't. I bet Shelby and EmmyLou, and maybe the "new kid" Dusty, have felt his presence.

Glad you touchy base with us today. P@ease know we continue to hold you in our hearts.

Love and hugs

Sally and My Chunky Spiritual Being Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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26 March 2017 - 2:28 pm
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Awww. Yeah that is truly a bittersweet day. It's an important step in healing, but coming to terms still hurts. May those sweet furkids keep on surrounding you with lots of love, and we will too. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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