Charlie: A Love Story

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Acceptance, we all want and need it. Unconditional love and understanding are vital to becoming who we are and developing long lasting relationships with others. But, sometimes where and how we get this acceptance is not in the usual place or from the usual source.

Children are precious but not everyone wants to be a parent. Others fall in love with their pets and find they fill the spaces in their hearts with more love and joy that can ever be described. One woman shares her journey, her diary, journal and inner most thoughts and revelations as she helps the reader understand her love and happiness with her golden retriever Charlie. This review is dedicate to his memory and to the other entire special dogs Barbara loved and cared for all her life.

The journal or diary begins on June 13, 2001 a year that we will all remember. Charlie was 11 years old and had developed numerous health problems. In order to smooth her fears and be able to handle the stresses, the operations and much more Barbara found solace in her gardening, her plants and her floral arrangements. Along with Charlie she spent a lot of time watering her garden, running with him outside and working along side her master gardener, Jesus. Throughout the months of June and July she relates to the reader all of Charlie’s physical problems, how she and her husband David cared for him and the support given to her by David to be able to handle everything that was ahead. Charlie and Barbara have the same birthday, August 12. My mother in law’s dog Randi and my mother in law had the same birthday too. Randi lives with another family since my mother in law or as I called her Mom Lewis passed last September but she and Randi were inseparable too. This story is special and will help others understand just how important it is to have the right person, family and friends caring for a special pet. Charlie, Sabrina, Arthur and all of Barbara’s dogs were blessed to have her and David. As I read the story and got to know Barbara I began praying and rooting for Charlie’s recovery each time he endured another test, procedure or operation. As each one became more serious I hoped and prayed that he would survive and bring more joy to Barbara and David.

When Sabrina has an ear infection the family rallies to make sure that she is okay. The author shares how this special dog came into their lives, the picture of David and their cat Pippin is precious and you can see the love in his eyes for this special cat. Throughout the journal you hear the author’s voice, share her inner turmoil and understand her feelings for each of her special pets, her garden and the changes that occur in both.

The following year would be 2 years since Charlie survived his serious surgeries. Barbara felt blessed with every extra moment, second or year. Charlie now 13 was truly a miracle dog who loved life and fought to hold on to every second of it and enriched the lives of everyone he knew.  But, Barbara and David were special and they opened their hearts to Charlie but Sabrina, Arthur and I just love Barney too. In a near death coma, the doctor predicting the end, Charlie proved him wrong. The pictures of the dogs, Jesus and Barbara and their special gardens really bring this story to life and make you feel apart of Charlie’s life journey.

Sabrina’s loss hits the family really hard as the spunky, vivacious and curious Princess Sabrina Brittany Lampert is laid to rest. November 6, 2002 would be a day they would never forget. The author then recounts what she and David went through in order to add Barney to their family. How could they not keep this special dog that someone just left on the highway. How could anyone leave a dog? She then flashes back to when she and David took Charlie and Barney to Rose Cottage to celebrate their anniversary.

The year 2003 was a difficult year for Charlie as he had many serious illnesses and surgeries to endure. Happy Birthday Charlie as he celebrated his 14th birthday celebrating with a party, the cards, singing, the other dogs and many friends.

But, tragedy strikes again as a lump is found in his neck and from there we have to hope he will survive. If she could ask Charlie what he wanted I bet it would be to live. So, Barbara decides to allow the doctor to operate and remove the tumor. This amazing dog pulled through and would not give up on life or leave his family. Not only that they were going to try an experimental vaccine. Improving, spending time in the garden and fighting having his good days and some bad days and hoping the vaccine would work.

September 29, 2003 Charlie closed his eyes one final time. Fighting three years with a melanoma, other surgeries and never giving up, Barbara spent his last minutes and seconds talking to him and making him understand it was okay. September 30th she said her final goodbye to Charlie along with David and Barney. Charlie was her life support, made her feel whole, special and complete. For fourteen years this dog was blessed to have been loved and taken home by this family. How lucky for Charlie and for Barbara. The memories come flooding back and the author recounts her true feelings about this dog, how much she misses him and the spirit that he had that kept him going for so long. Charlie had a special glow, energy, strength that most of us wish we had in times of illness, strife and stress. Charlie was and still is a great example of how to embrace and love life. He truly lived his to the fullest as you read this journal you will hear Charlie’s bark, his voice, see him hug and his affection for Barbara on each and every page of this outstanding memoir, journal and diary to this dog who will live in her heart and her life forever.

This story is a tribute to everyone who has a special dog, cat, parrot, bird or any animal that has enriched your life and has added that special something to it that would not have been there without them. Told with love, vividly describing and sharing her emotional journey from start to finish the story embraces the reader from the first page until the very last. Charlie is now a part of more than just your life Barbara, many others and mine who will read his story.

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