|Chuck at 1 year old.|
Mr. Chuckles was found on the street in 1997 in Perth Amboy, NJ by my then-boyfriend's brother. Both my boyfriend and his brother were living at home at the time. His brother, who we'll call White Trash Teeth (WTT for short), brought the puppy home and decided the very next day to move out with his crackhead (literally, I'm not even kidding) girlfriend, leaving the puppy with his parents, who did not want him and refused to take care of him at all. Because you know, I'm sure they didn't want anything to get in the way of the 5,000 cats they had.
|Sleeping under the Christmas tree, 2011.|
I did pretty much everything for Chuck, even though I didn't live there. When AR went out of town to wrestle in some hillbilly state for $35, I'd take care of Chuck. When AR was just a lazy fuck who couldn't be bothered to give him a bath or take him for a walk, I did it. I took him to my mom's and let him run around the backyard as often as possible. I took him to his vet appointments. AR claimed he loved Chuck, yet he wouldn't do the most basic things, like make sure he had enough food when he was alone. At the time, I had yet to realize that AR wouldn't know what love was if it punched him in the face.
|Chuck at a little over a year old.|
|Come on Mom, throw the Frisbee!|
In 2003, AR and I broke up for approximately 8 months. I was absolutely heartbroken that I would not see Chuck again. In retrospect, I realize the thought of never seeing Chuck again was worse than the thought of never seeing AR again. That probably should have told me something. Anyway, I took him back after about 8 months, when he came crawling. Yeah, yeah, I know, I've heard it all. Colossally stupid life move.
|Going for a car ride, yay!|
Somewhere around 2004, I went on a road trip to Tennessee with AR and his friend, Fat Fuck (who we'll call FF for short). Yep, one of those $35 wrestling gigs. I don't remember why I even went. Anyway, on the way to the show we stopped at a gas station and AR and FF when inside while I sat in the car. While I was sitting there I saw something moving by the dumpster. When I realized it was a tiny black puppy trying to hide, I got out of the car and, heedless of fleas, picked her up and brought her back to the car with me. It was pretty obvious someone had just left her there, as they had scattered some kibble on the ground in front of her and she had a tiny little red collar on, but no tags. And you wonder why I hate people?
|The happiest dog in the world.|
A little aside for you...
Christmas came and FF brought the puppy home to his wife, who named her Miracle, as in Christmas miracle. However, they soon made me regret allowing them to take the puppy. For a while it seemed like they genuinely loved her. Then they began to keep her caged all the time and rarely let her run. They were always telling her to shut up. They only really trotted her out when they had a party and one of their friends brought a dog with them. And then they had a baby, and the poor dog was almost never out of her cage. I think she was about 2 years old when one day she chose just the right moment to bolt out of the slightly ajar screen door and run down the street. They looked for her, but never found her. I can't blame the poor thing for running away after the way she was treated. I would've too. I like to think that someone found her and loved her the way she deserved to be loved.
|He tolerates her. :)|
In 2007, when I finally decided to leave AR, I did so in grand fashion, leaving him with nothing to come home to. No apartment, no car, no dog, no fiance (as we were engaged for the second time by then), nothing. I had his brother, WTT, come and get his shit after I'd taken what I wanted from it. Don't judge me. WTT said he'd be back for Chuck. Yeah, because I was going to let him take Chuck from me. Idiot. With the help of my family, I broke my lease and moved while AR was out of the country for 3 months. Chuck, Trixie, and I got our own place, untainted by AR's douchebaggery, and we've been very happy here.
|Chuck loves the hose.|
I was so happy that Chuck took to Josh while we were dating, and quickly moved from "hey, who's the new guy?" to "I love him I love him I love him." And Josh loves Chuck, and Trixie, like they've always been his. Which of course makes me love him even more.
|He loves this Frisbee. Can't destroy it!|
Chuck made a friend named Haley, a pit/shepherd mix. He loved Haley, and I loved watching him play so happily with another dog. He was very sad when she moved away. His friend Mikey, who lives next door, isn't as much fun as Haley because he's older. But then again, Chuck's older now too and probably wouldn't have as much patience for Haley's antics as he once did.
Chuck is not fixed, which was AR's decision, under my protest. He thought it would change his personality and he wouldn't be as much fun. Keep in mind that Chuck was only about 6 months old when we discussed it. He would've been fine, but whatever. Technically, he wasn't my dog, in AR's eyes, so I didn't have a say. Let's not get into that whole can of worms.
|Chuck at the Bark Park.|
At least when we took him to the beach for the first time there was nobody else around. I was also determined that he experience the beach at least once, and so he did. And he loved it. He jumped at the waves, he tried to dig in the sand under the water, he chased the birds. That was a good day.
|No pictures, please!|
|My very favorite photo of Chuck & his smile.|
|"But Mom, I HATE this thing!"|
This past year (2011), I began to notice the arthritis in Chuck's back legs getting worse. He has a hard time getting up sometimes, but not always. Stairs are no longer his friends. Car rides aren't as much fun because it's so hard for him to get in the car. His vet (the vet he's been going to since we left his old vet) is wonderful, and is a senior dog specialist. She wanted to put him on anti-arthritis medication, which I was all for once she explained how it worked and how much better he would feel. However, she needed to do his blood work first to make sure he was still a good candidate for it. Turns out, he no longer was. His liver levels had spiked, so this became a whole new concern. They did an ultrasound and saw that his liver was inflamed. They also found a small "nodule" (their word) in his liver, which they didn't believe to be cancer due to the lack of crystallization. His prostate is also inflamed, which they say is most likely because he's "unaltered." Goddammit AR, still a douchebag all these years later. Anyway, they put him on antibiotics and liver meds, and he was doing well on them. His liver levels all went down. Not back to totally normal, but enough that the vet decided to keep on the meds a while longer. This past weekend they did his blood work again, and his levels have gone back up. Not all the way back up, but up all the same. They've consulted a specialist, and I have two choices right now. I can keep him on the Denamarin, which is a liver function support supplement, and keep him happy and comfortable, but in that case I always run the risk that he'll get worse. Or I can put him through more tests, and more trauma, because the other choice is to do yet another ultrasound AND aspirate (stick a long needle into) his liver. And there's no guarantee that they'll even get clear results. This is yet another hard choice I've had to make for my Chuckles, and it's tearing me apart trying to figure out what's best for him.
|Matching red bandages, 12/31/11.|
He still has so much life in him. Sure, he can't do some of the things he used to do. He can't run around my mom's backyard anymore, he can't jump up on the bed anymore without a considerable amount of help, he can't really chase squirrels anymore (though he does try). But none of it has changed his personality or his outlook on life. Some say the fact that he's such a happy dog is a reflection on me, and sure, I believe that to some extent. I've given him the best life I knew how to give, the best life I could give, and I've given him all of my love, unconditionally. But let's face it folks, I'm pretty neurotic. And being that Chuck has always been so closely tied to my emotions, he's somewhat neurotic as well. Happy, but neurotic.
|Happy happy snow dog!|
Happy Birthday, my Chuckles. You are my heart.
|By Rick Schreck, House of 1000 Tattoos|