The Charlie Bravo Story

Four years done gone…

Dad here; I need to be getting ready for that four-letter word known as work, as it is Charlie Bravo Day and as such, Charlie should be doing the post herself this morning. It speaks volumes for this relationship that the tactics she uses so effectively on me to coerce me to do her bidding doesn’t seem to affect her in the slightest when I use them on her, so here she lays, an immovable, snoring pile of black dog flesh.

As last weekend was the four year anniversary of Charlie’s exit from the crate, it has caused me to pause and reflect a bit on our current situation. The pressure at work is ramping up to the point that it could potentially squeeze the joy out of the story, and that can not be allowed to happen.

But then I think back to that day in January 2014, and how many things went wrong and could have potentially derailed the story. First, I should not have even been alive to take that little ride, as most people don’t survive a ruptured colon and the resulting sepsis, especially when it occurs in the back country.

Then who, less than two months later while sporting a colostomy bag and collection of still-moist wounds, decides to go for a motorcycle ride on a cold, drizzly winter day? I’m not sure who fits this description, but I’m sure that mental illness is part of it. Not only that, but that person has a son who is similarly afflicted; they say that insanity is hereditary, as you get it from your kids; I think that in this case the mental defect is found in BOTH ends of the gene puddle.

Then when we first found her, we passed without stopping; we had seen some rabbit hunters a few fields back, and when passed her crate at such speed that we didnt catch her condition, just thinking that the lone crate was somehow connected with the hunters. Then we did something we never do, especially on a day as cold as it was: we switched bikes for a second pass. This time we realized that this was not a hunter, but a dog in severe distress.

I remember the first word that sprang to my mind when I saw the dog’s angular hips, her scabby hide, but most of all, her hollow, hopeful, eyes. That word?


But what to do? I was in no shape to carry her, and she was in no shape to be carried; I honestly think that she would have broken in twain like a dry twig had I even attempted it, and I’m sure that I myself would have started leaking like a rusty bucket with the strain. Besides, what was I even considering, introducing sarcoptic mange and parasites of Biblical proportions into a houseful of dogs? Oh well, it is what it is, and besides, they sell Pine Sol by the gallon down at the Family Dollar.

Then it got fun(not). On the way home to get the truck, my 1989 Honda CB1(which I miss terribly, daddy still loves you, darling) ran out of gas. So I had to borrow a gas can, bungee it to the back of my CB500X, leave Zach with the CB1 and ride to one of the worst areas of town to get gas, then back to fill up the old Honda, then to return the can, then home to get the truck, all the while frozen like a short blue popsicle and torturing myself with doubt: what if she wanders off? What if she doesn’t make it, and we find a dead dog when we return? What if the booger-eaters that dumped her in the first place have a change of heart and decide to come back and get her? Or they’re there when we arrive, and we have to go all “Gunfight at OK Corral”, cause they ain’t gettin’ her back?

I know it sounds stupid now, but stress and fatigue often make sense of the nonsensical. When we finally made it back almost three hours later, I was a ball of nerves, but you know the rest of the story. Although she had returned to her crate and initially appeared lifeless, she was not beyond hope, and here she is now, a self-entitled, flouncing diva who seems to think the world was placed here for her enjoyment.

When we were facing all of those apparent roadblocks to our destiny on that day, it would have been so easy to determine that it was not “meant to be”, or it was “someone else’s mission”. Sometimes time is the greatest enemy, as it grinds away at our resolve while we wait for that “thing” to happen, while insulating us from the very thing that prompted us on our mission in the first place. The trick is to let time heal the wounds but never weaken the resolve; easier said than done, I know, but it’s always easier if you have your own personal Charlie, whatever that may be.

See you on the road.

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