Charlie was our beagle who lived for about 14 years. She was the best beagle in the whole wide world. (But even the best beagle is extremely wild and is untrainable).

There are stories upon stories that I could tell about her. For example, when she was young and if the door was open even an inch, she would escape and then run for hours. She’d return covered in filth, smelling for days.

Once she got out and we got a phone call from the local Catholic Elementary School up the road. Charlie was running through their cafeteria and our neighbor recognized her, fortunately.

Another time we were on vacation and our neighbors were taking care of her. She got out, of course. Charlie ran into a pipe about 1 foot wide in diameter that carried our little creek under the road. At the end of the pipe where it opened back up into the creek again, it was completely blocked with sticks and rubble. There was no way out. My neighbors panicked as they thought about what they would tell us when we found out Charlie got stuck in the pipe and died.

Triumphantly, Charlie ran out (head first) from the way she entered. Somehow she maneuvered herself all away around even though the pipe was so small.

We would dress her up, pretend she was Sam’s wife, cover her with a sheet and call her a ghost, and rub her soft ears all day long. Everyone who met her loved her, even Peetie 1, who really hated everything and everyone else. When Charlie was excited she’d run up and down the hall. Her nickname was “Katana” (which then led to my nickname as “Katana”). She’d chase and howl at the vacuum. She would beg for food, even climb all the way on top of the kitchen table. She’d race you up the driveway. She’d hog the whole bed.

When she was dying, Charlie wouldn’t eat any dog food, so we fed her our own meals. When she wouldn’t eat those anymore, we fed her steak dinners. I honestly think she was just trying to milk us for all that we were worth and prove that she could get anything she wanted before she left us. It worked.

Charlie became very weak, very fast, at the end of her life. She couldn’t walk too well so I carried her out to the front yard for her to go to the bathroom. At the time, the following experience was petrifying. Now, I kind of laugh/cry when I tell it. Anyway, for you all who don’t know, our front yard is just a giant hill. Charlie was going to the bathroom but she couldn’t balance very well so she fell down and starting rolling down the hill. It was awful, I tell you. I couldn’t look. I starting screaming like bloody murder because I thought she had died. My parents ran outside and my dad knew it was time.

As my mom drove to the animal hospital to put Charlie down, my dad held Charlie in his arms. My dad promises that Charlie looked up one last time, and then passed away.

After Charlie died, I told myself I would never get a dog again because losing Charlie was just too hard. But as time has gone by, I’ve realized all the great times we had with her outweigh that hardship.

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