Jan 5, 2013

Meet Charlee!

One week ago we added a new family member to our home.  
Say Hello to Charlee!
Sporting her snazzy new leash and collar, expertly picked by four year old hands!
She's a petite little girl from the South.  A Golden Retriever, Australian Shepherd mix weighing in at around 40 lbs and doesn't even come up to my knee.  She has super soft golden hair and eyes that melt your heart.  She's six years young and just about the quietest, most gentle soul I've ever met.  The first word everyone uses to describe her is "sweet".  And that she is!
It's actually pretty hard to get a picture of her.  She's still a little camera shy.
She was an orphan.  Her previous owner became terminally ill and the breeder who took back the person's purebred Aussie agreed to take Charlee as well, only to dump her on a vet's doorstep.  Thankfully that vet found a temporary place for her in a boarding kennel and The Pixel Fund set out to find her a forever home.  We had been cautiously looking, only just starting to contemplate it 6 months after Hunter's passing, telling ourselves we'd wait a while.  We saw her on Petfinder and bookmarked her but then life carried on.  A bit later a friend posted her picture on facebook.  Turns out Charlee was being kicked out of the boarding facility because paying Holiday customers were on their way and there was just no room at the Inn.  She was going to go to a kill shelter.  And being 6 years old and VERY afraid in the kennel...she really didn't stand a chance.

So we decided to take a chance.  She was in Florida.  We are in Maine.  There wasn't any data on how she was with children but her sweet personality seemed like it'd lend itself to being fine with kids.  We knew a missing piece to our family was a dog to love.  And we knew we couldn't leave her to die.  We made the commitment and then ANXIOUSLY awaited her arrival which was nearly a month away!!!

We prepared our four year old.  Telling her Charlee would be scared at first and would take a while to get used to us and trust us.  We talked about how to behave around her and how important it was to be gentle.  We went out at bought her a new matching leash and collar with purple heart tag stating her name and new family, a dog bed, plush toys, food and treats.
Ella ADORES her!  Charlee wasn't so sure what to think of the small human at first.  But just a few days in, she decided she loved the small human just as much as the big ones!
Finally, the day arrived.  She was coming home!  In the middle of a snow storm!  The freedom ride was due to arrive at 12:30pm...no 1pm...no 3pm... nope 6pm... nope 7:30pm... and finally, after a snowy drive with the whole family, some good memories made killing time at Cabela's, a little subway for dinner, and lots of DVD's in the car...  the freedom ride rolled (...err had to be pushed by all the men) up the drive at around 10pm.  It was a crazy adventure this family will never forget.  A perfect and eventful way to mark this new chapter in our life.  And Charlee was well worth the wait and well worth the insanity of travelling in that snow storm!   
This is right when she first got home.  She's getting ready to go out with Daddy and explore her new yard... even if it was midnight... and her yard was covered in a foot of cold white stuff!

Now I want to tell you ALL about her!

Jason and I have always had dogs all growing up.  But we've always had them since puppyhood.  This adopting an adult is a whole new experience and I have to say...we LOVE it!  It is so neat spend time learning about our new love, discovering her personality and traits and quirks.

When she arrived, her tail stayed tucked between her legs.  She was timid, but curious.  She went through every room of the house checking it out.  And although you could tell she was unsure with all she'd been through...she followed us like she was our shadow from day one.  We expected her to take WEEKS to adjust and for us to really get to see who she is...but it's happened SO much faster.  She feels like she's been a part of the family forever and I think she knows she's REALLY HOME!

We have never heard her voice.  She does not bark at all.  She is calm and gentle.  She spends most of her time right here.  She has a memory foam dog bed upstairs and a plush orthopedic one downstairs but she has decided this is her spot...a thin little rug in front of the living room door.

Except for night time.  Then THIS is her spot.  The first few nights she slept happily on her memory foam dog bed... then she discovered the Queen bed in the guest room and decided THAT was her bed.  So I HAD to purchase her a plush coverlet that matched her golden fur :)  Yup, you could say she's spoiled.

When she wants attention she does the Golden thing.  She comes over to you and gently puts her paw on you or nudges her nose under your arm.  She does not get on the furniture (except for beds) even if you invite her.  So she likes it when you sit on the floor, then she snuggles right into you.  Or she just sits beside your chair and lets you rub her chest forever.  When she's hungry she goes to her food bowl, takes a few steps back and cocks her head.  At dinner time she came to beg and we simply said, "ah, ah.  Go lay down."  And she's not begged since.  She lays under our feet or off to the side.  At Ella's bed time she follows us upstairs and snuggles herself right in for story time.  She's also so good with the baby.  She just gives him a little sniff from time to time, and perks her ears and cocks her head when he makes his giggles.   

Although in the rescue world, she's considered a senior at the ripe old age of 6, she's got so much life in her!  She knows the word "walk".  When you say it, or when you put your socks on, or when you put your shoes on, or when you put your jacket on her ears perk right up and she trots on over.  When it's confirmed that she's going out she jumps her front legs down to the floor and sticks her butt up in the air, tail just a waggin', then she sits like the little lady that she is and patiently waits for her leash to be put on.  
Did I mention Ella ADORES her!? :) ... we all do!
 She walks very well on the leash.  Not pulling much at all.  Ella has even walked her a bit in the yard.  She does have her personality quirks.  If she's out for a walk and you turn to head home but she's not done, she literally plants herself and won't move.  It's really funny.  She has no interest in coming.  At all.  She might know her name...but if she does, she doesn't let on... because she does not respond to it :)  She won't eat treats.  Just doesn't take them.  We're not so certain how great her first home was because whenever you have something in your hand that resembles a stick (like when I have the broom... or Ella came downstairs she other day waving her fairy wand around) Charlee tucks her tail, drops her head and finds a place to hide.  Poor sweet thing!  She still shies a bit at unexpected noises.  So we just give her tons of love and take it nice and slow and gentle.  You can tell each day she's believing more and more that this is a safe place!

4 or 5 days in we started seeing her more playful side as she opened up.  Today, one week in, she JUST showed interest in toys.  She got all excited and chased after the plush toys we had gotten her.  Then I busted out the tennis balls.  She's quite good at catching them.  When she's interested she doesn't miss a one.  She also LOVES chasing them outside.  She bounds after them, chases them down and pounces and paws at them.  She doesn't so much have the "retriever" part of the Golden.  She just leaves the ball wherever and expects you to come get it and throw it again...which of course we do!  

She really feels her oats outside, doing what we've always called "spazz time" where she hunkers real low to the ground and whizzes back and forth, round and round.  We live on a dead end dirt road so we go for lots of walks and jogs which she loves.  And she pees like a boy... marking her territory along all the snowbanks.  The snow does not phase this southern girl one bit!

I am serious.  We could not have asked for a better dog.  We committed to her sight unseen and it was the best choice we've ever made!  I am a convert.  I will never buy again.  I will ALWAYS rescue!

By the way...the organization we adopted her through is The Pixel Fund.
They are a small non-profit run by amazing people who are SO very passionate about saving animals!
Rescuing animals is not inexpensive work....nursing dogs back to health, getting them vetted, transporting them etc. etc.  Please check them out.  PLEASE don't breed or buy while shelter dogs die!  Rescue one if you can.  And GIVE if you can't rescue.   No amount is too small! 


Cheryl said...

Charlee is indeed a love! Such a sweet girl. I'm glad you decided to give her a home.
You know I miss my Weimie, Cooper, to pieces. Well, I just started following a Weim rescue group in OKC on facebook, and decided if I can't HAVE one, I will support their rescue efforts instead. I guess it's the next best thing. :-)

Debra Gordon said...

This is Deb, the VP of The Pixel Fund. Thank you so much for giving Charlee such a wonderful life! Things happen for a reason.. dogs know when you've rescued them and they will forever love you for it! What a wonderful tribue to your other dog! Thank you so much for your support of our organization. We will never stop rescuing these dogs!

Diane said...

Charlee sounds perfect! We cannot wait to meet her & she is so lucky to have all of you!! Thank you for sharing..we love her already!!

Christine said...

Thank you so much for the great introduction. I am SOOOO very happy for Charlee.... If she hadn't had golden fur, she may have been ours. I'm really glad she has that golden fur though, because she is your meant-to-be furry family member :)

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