Charlie, Pointer Mix

Charlie at Vallecito Creek

Name: Charlie

Owner: Marilyn Stevens

City: Phoenix, Arizona

Breed: Pointer Mix

Likes: His pool & sliding in the grass/when Lily steals his stuff

Favorite Toy/Treat/Walk: formerly stuffed reindeer, bones are his favorite treat and his favorite walk is Castle Hot Springs Canyon

Best Tricks: Charlie’s best trick is being cute!

Arrival story/bio:For ten years, our gentle Golden, Buddy, was a central part of our family. A rescue himself, he welcomed Lily the Shepherd mix into our home with opened paws. Although Lily tormented him when she was a youngster, Buddy was always sweet and patient.

Last fall, we lost Buddy to an acute brain disorder shortly after he’d had surgery to remove his eye. All three of us, Lily, my husband Paul and I sank into a deep sadness. Lily curled up in a chair in the living room, totally disinterested in anything. I felt the same way.

So began a new obsession: cruising the online rescue websites for a new puppy. Not a replacement for Buddy; there could never be a replacement. More, I was looking for something positive and joyful to focus on. Charlie became that something. A 16-pound puddle of puppy pudding when we adopted him, Charlie amazingly melted Lily’s normally anti-dog heart. She quickly became Charlie’s adopted mom and we all focused on turning Charlie into a fine young adult.

That meant training. After interviewing several companies, Lily settled on Sit Means Sit, feeling it would give Charlie the structure he needed, while focusing on positive reinforcement.

Was she shocked when she found out that she, too, was going to the training!! She was so unhappy at first, she had to be muzzled because all her anti-other-dog behavior came out.

Charlie, meanwhile, could not bear having his mom ALL THE WAY ON THE OTHER SIDE of the training circle, and cried loudly through most of the first few classes.

Fortunately for both pups, they learned quite a lot in their first few months — enough that they could go on an extended camping and visiting trip with us this summer. Charlie,now 40 pounds, folded himself into the tiny floor space behind the passenger’s seat as his “spot” and traveled there for the whole trip.

Some highlights: chasing away a raccoon (or might it have been a bear?) the first night we were camping when we left the dog food out. Splashing in Vallecito Creek and gopher-digging on Middle Mountain. Finding out how cool it was to stay in a motel after all that tent stuff. Being outstanding house guests in Little Rock, Arkansas. And coming back home to the comfy king bed and fun splash pool.

Charlie brings joy to us daily. Whether he’s chin-sliding across the front lawn while we have our coffee, chasing the sprinkler, playing “Where’s Charlie?” every day when I make the bed (he hides under the covers), or whining pitifully because once again, Lily has hidden his toy.

We’re also proud of his progress in Sit Means Sit class. Just this week, he showed off his superb heeling skills to some of his newer classmates.

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