On november the 11th, 2002, at about quarter to seven a.m., while Mom was driving me to school, we saw this tiny, shaggy thing walking between the heavy morning traffic. It was the smallest poodle I’ve ever seen, and it seemed to have been totally neglected. Mom bit her lip, wondering what to do. The small dog walked infront of the cars in panic as if it didn’t see them at all. (Later we found she probably couldn’t). So I decided to go get her. I got out of the car, ran between the cars, took her in my arms and returned.
She was painfully thin, she didn’t have any teeth left, her eyes were partially covered with cataracts. Her hair was al knotted and matted, with a horrible charcoal colour, and covered in grease and filth. The worst thing was the smell. Like something was rotten.
It took Mom like three or four baths and a lot of work with a pair of scissors. We tought she wouldn’t make it more than a couple of days, specially because she wasn’t eating or drinking anything. She was just sleeping there. We cried a lot. I still can’t conceive in my heart that someone can be so cruel with an helpless creature like that. Finally, after five days she started drinking water, and Mom tried to feed her. Later we learned that she was independant, and would eat the same as the other dogs in the house even without her teeth.
Mom named her Charlie. She said it was from a song, something about "founding her lonely and she cried hungry", I really can’t remember, but she said it was a perfect name for a stray. I called her "Rat", "The Rat", and lately "Mrs. Rat". (I know, I’m so witty sometimes…)
She used to sleep most of the day, she only got off the couch to pee or eat, and the person she loved more than anything in the world was my Mother. Every night when she arrived from work Charlie should bark or howl (which sounded hilarious), and once Mom was inside she wouldn’t separate from her heels.
We knew it couln’t last. Specially when we heard her cry in her sleep, or walk painfully because of arthritis. Lately she started developing this tumour like lumps in her tummy. So yesterday in the morning I left for work and returned late in the night, and even later when I went to bed and said goodnight to my Father I turned to say goodnight to Charlie, who had been worst than ever this days, and she wasn’t in the sofa. Then Dad told me that after I left from work she got really bad so he took her to the vet, and he euthanised her. "I buried her later", and even though he’s one of the toughest persons I know, his eyes filled with tears. Every animal in my house is deeply loved and respected. Every one of them is taken care for, even when most of them are strays we’ve picked up from the streets.
I’m gonna miss her. I remember after being nine months out of home I returned and felt kinda scared and confused. Olympia, who’s been my dog for ten years greeted me like if I was never gone, but when I entered the house Charlie started celebrating, and she wouldn’t leave my side the first days. I’ve never felt so welcome.
Even with that, I know it’s for the best. She’s not gonna suffer anymore, she spent her last four years in peace, living comfortably, and she died peacefully as well. But I am sad. Every being that touches your life marks you in one way or another.
Mom’s on vacation, so she doesn’t know. She returns this weekend, so I think I’m gonna wait until she’s here to give her the news.