Charlie is my dog. He is one of three who live at my house, along with a cat and various injured wildlife who need nursing at any given time.
But Charlie is mine. His old owner died and he ended up at the pound. He was only around five years old, but looked a lot older. He was obese and moved like a codger. Seems like his owner was elderly and never exercised Charlie while feeding him too much junk.
The shelter put him on a diet and exercise regimen and he lost about 12 pounds. He regained the spring in his step and the gleam in his eye. He looked forward to coming out with the staff and volunteer handlers to play and run up and down the trail.
Now, being one of said volunteer handlers, I got to take Charlie out a few times. This was before my old dog Murray passed away. I loved Charlie (everyone did) but was busier and busier with Murray and his issues. Murray left us fairly suddenly and the hole in my heart seemed to cry out for Charlie. So one fine day this past winter, he came home with me. He was a little stressed at first, wondering where he was, pacing the perimeter of the house and panting loudly. But after only a couple of days, he settled down and settled in.
Charlie is now at fighting weight, light and fast. He charges up and down the ravines that lead to the local stream where he loves chasing geese and ducks. Charlie comes home with muddy paws and a big smile. He sleeps on my bed and sidles up to me whenever I am within reach.
I knew Charlie was home for good the day I got him. As I watch him snoring now up against my leg, I know he knows it too.