Charlie was a border collie, crossed with springer spaniel and a member of the Luke family until November 2007. He died four weeks after Eileen Lucas (my gran), and had lived to around 16, or another good age for a dog. The family got him as a pup shortly after I moved out of the family home in the early 90s.
The previous dog in the previous home was Murdock, named after the Howling Mad character played by Dwight Schultz. He was my dog, mine and Graeme’s, and Charlie, was Gavin and Stuart’s. Except that Charlie had a bit more energy than just allocations could handle.
The bond probably strengthened following my hospitalisation in 96, when I went to live with my parents for a few months. The time off work allowed me to enjoy simple pleasures like throwing the dog the ball, and walking with him.
There was no reckoning the energy to him. By 2001, I’d moved back to Bangor, and a few years later a lucky set of events found me renting a property opposite my parent’s home. My brothers had all moved out and Charlie and I ended up spending more time together. Those who have had dogs (or cats), will understand just how close good relationships can be. I rehearsed my stories and songs on Charlie, complained to him about co-workers, tried to persuade him to watch Buffy with me. I must say the dancing wasn’t my idea.
Charlie’s favourite toy was “the blue”. Mere mention of it could set him of into one of his two-gallon Cola frenzies.
Living with a dog, it’s essential (as with humans), that they’re given decent exercise and quality specific time.
Charlie could keep a secret and when things were bad I’d confide in him. If I didn’t, he’d already have known something was up. He could sense someone approaching the door four minutes away. We truly loved one another, but he couldn’t possibly hope to keep his affair with the postman secret.
Phone calls from University to home were dog tales of sad. Diarrhea, blindness, bumping into things. He wasn’t the same. The energetic extremes of his life were going, I was told. I made a trip home and I was told the most remarkable change happened.
And that was the last I saw of him, the last I remembered him. My confidante, companion. The butt of jokes who suffered the shit with a smile. My trainer, my dearest friend. I know you miss him. We just gotta keep going.
What a fricking incredible mutt he was.