Dad here; a long time ago in a mobile home far, far away was a Casa with no Whackos. The trailer park was administered by two elderly sisters, an unholy combination of Nazi obbengrupenfuhrers and the nun from the Blues Brothers; they were so controlling that they were known to lurk outside the tenants trailers so that they could listen for how often the toilets would flush, and adjust the water and sewage bills accordingly.
So you can only imagine how strictly they enforced their “no dogs” policy. Unfortunately, we found a pup, a little ball of white fluff that grew into the truly legendary Uki the Wonder Dog.
The Holy Sisters of Pharisitical Judgement were not pleased, and issued an ultimatum: it was get rid of the dog and continue to have our potty habits micro managed, or pull up stakes and mosey on down the road. We didn’t even have to contact a psychic hotline to get a reading on THAT decision; even if there aren’t dogs involved, I don’t do well with ultimatums, so we shook the dirt from our feet and skedaddled.
Uki was the original Charlie, his exploits on the mountain bike racing circuit gaining him newspaper coverage on the era before the Internet, he and I camping, climbing, and hiking all over the Ozark mountains. As the years passed, his stamina did as well, and then came Beebe the King, a massive black lab who’s unbelievable hunting exploits began to eclipse the Ukester’s adventures. This was about the time that “Toy Story” hit the theatres, and I realized with an attack of the guilts that Uki and Beebe were the equivalent of Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Obviously, there were many other inmates that passed through the Casa during this time, but those two were the exception, dogs so special that they are still talked about to this day.
Then after Uki passed, there was a period where mom had her red dogs, but there wasn’t a dog that spoke to me…
Until Max E. Million.
For years, he and I went everywhere, mountains, caves, waterfalls, oceans, nursing homes, one of the most loyal dogs I have ever had the privilege of bonding with. Then to his dismay, Charlie entered the picture, and it was once again Toy Story, Part II.
Then Stevie, then Bultaco, and now The Dog Who’s Name Must Not Be Uttered. We are addressing him by his formal title, El Guapo, until he decides to tell us his story; we have been able to discover that he does have a connection to Bultaco’s former life south of the border, but when pressed, will only mutter something in broken Spanglish about “the statute of limitations” and “pleading the fifth”. I’m sure that he will eventually spill the beans.
Until then, in honor of Stevie and Bultaco’s short time at the Casa, he has given us permission to address him informally as “Yolo”.
You Only Live Once, but you can love many times.
So where does this leave Charlie? Well, you know Charlie; Charlie doesn’t get left. She’s a dog like no other, the charisma of Uki, the determination of Beebe, the loyalty of Max, the joy d’vrie of a thousand rescued dogs, all combined by the melting pot that was her crate. She is WAY too impulsive to conform to anyone’s conception of what she should be, even mine. While her eardrum-shredding, incessant CHARK!!! when she saddles up on the bike is annoying to say the least, I get it; that much joy has to vent somehow, or she would probably explode.
I’m sure we look ridiculous, a portly middle-aged guy on a yellow dirt bike, toting a goofy dog braying her enthusiasm from the pulpit of a glorified milk crate…
But consider this: don’t people in ecstasy always look and sound ridiculous?
See you on the road!