The Charlie Bravo Story

The Claire returneth

2300 hours at the Casa del Whackos ; the single tendril of smoke from a single coal of sage streams upwards before disappearing into a spiraling curve. Mom and her three wards are crashed inside the comforts of the Casa, while the rest of the posse is hanging out with me in the Cueva del Perro.

For tonight is a night for celebration, albiet a quiet one; Claire Bear has came home. I always thought that she needed a place and person all of her own, a place that she didn’t have to compete for attention with the tsunami forces of Charlie and Titus.

I was wrong.

At first I was convinced I was right. A friend of mine approached me concerning adopting Claire when she lost her dog to brain cancer, and the two just seemed to “fit”. Even though I thought it was the right thing to do, I couldn’t stand it, and proved what a total wuss I am by conveniently being gone on the motorcycle when the Claire left for her new home. It seems that I can deal with that last trip to the vet more easily than an adoption.

To most normal people, five dogs plus a house equals a madhouse, but to me, it just seemed a bit empty. At the same time, the deadbeat neighbors from across the way relocated, and much to my surprise, took Victor with them. As much as I resented them ignoring the big doofus while they were here, I hated it even more that he was gone.

Then we got word that Claire was having issues, both mental and physical. She began withdrawing into herself, and then came the diagnosis: what we thought was just a limp before the adoption was in fact a torn ACL, no doubt inflicted by the rambunctiousness of Titus, and she has a case of heartworms. The knee surgery cannot be performed until the heartworm problem is addressed, so what to do? At the same time that Claire was continuing to decline, we were experiencing our own series of “events” at the Casa, and things began to spiral downward.

I would like to unequivocally state right here that Claire’s problems are not the fault of her adoptive parents. They went above and beyond to make it work, but sometimes things don’t work out, and a girl still just needs her dad.

My favorite saint is St Jude, he of lost causes, and my favorite fictional characters are Augustus McRae and Don Quixote. Gus, because of his humor and attitude, and Don Quixote because of his willingness to confront even imaginary causes when others saw nothing but foolishness.

So when mom was contacted concerning Claire’s condition, what was I supposed to do? Hide my head in the sand and pretend that I needn’t involve myself further? I think not. I saddled up my own Rosciante, the Minivan Gogh, and headed north. I pictured a grand reunion, but Claire wasn’t that quick to let bygones be bygones, and threw a considerable amount of attitude my way. But this all changed when I rolled back the door on the van and she saw her favorite spot, the cot in the back. She immediately transformed, charging through the door then back out, again and again as if a torn ACL was merely an imaginary ailment.

Now she’s back home where she belongs. The attached video is actually three spliced together: when I first showed up with the van, when she first realized she was back at the Casa and then the chaotic reunion with the rest of the inmates. She is currently sleeping the sleep of the righteous to my left, Charlie twitching and whuffling on my right, undoubtedly dreaming of sweeping curves and mountain passes, and Ajax, Stubb and Toby curled on the floor behind me.

And for right now at least, all is right with the world.

I would keep them all had we the means, but we don’t and besides, there is a thin line between being a dog whisperer and a dog hoarder. I can’t count the times I’ve wanted to retire this page, as the chorus of “oh, you just HAVE to keep this one!!” is the mental equivalent of ripping off a scab and giving the wound a right good salting. But then a gift like tonight happens, and who am I to be so stingy not share in such a gift?

So here are again. My friend Fletch made the following comment earlier today: “some people just have the ability to meet a dog where he/she currently is”. I would hope to have that gift, not just with dogs, but also with people.

We be of one blood, ye and I

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