The Dog Days of Summer

We have been promising our first child a fun outing with Mom and Dad for a while now, and this past weekend, we finally delivered on that promise. Charlie has been hands down the best training for parenthood that we could have had, besides actually caring for a real baby. In addition to giving us something else to care for and be responsible for, he has challenged us and opened our hearts in ways we never thought possible. 

Charlie was the first major purchase we made as a couple when we moved to South Carolina almost 4 years ago. With a wedding back in Michigan and the buying of our first home only weeks away, taking on the responsibility of getting a puppy was probably a bit reckless of us, but when Kevin saw his picture on Craig’s List under “puppies for sale” (a site he shouldn’t have been looking at in the first place, but never mind), we decided to “just go check him out.” Famous last words. And of course, once we saw those sad eyes and that pudgy belly, we were hooked. We took him home, fleas and all, and our lives were changed forever.

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Charlie has been an amazing dog. He loves us so much. He loves EVERYONE so much. Anyone who has met him can attest to that. His spirited personality and abundance of energy have been both a challenge and a joy for us. He has shown us that with a little patience and understanding, we can handle anything that comes our way. And he has also taught us to embrace what we are given. If you had asked me 4 years ago what kind of dog I envisioned Kevin and I having, I would not have said a skinny, raccoon-eyed, broken-eared dog with so much energy that Kevin would have to be pulled down the street by him on roller blades just to wear him out. But that is what we got. And I wouldn’t want anything else.

I think that as soon to be parents, we should go into it knowing that we can’t control what our baby will look like, act like, whether she will be easy-going or high maintenance. But we can control how we react to whoever she chooses to be, and we can embrace her unique qualities that make her who she is. Because no matter what she is like, she will be perfect. I am so glad that Charlie has helped us to realize that.

I hope that he will continue to know how loved he is and how much we appreciate all that he has taught us even as things become hectic over the next several months. While we still have some calm and normalcy in our lives, however, we are trying to give the first one who stole our hearts some extra special love and attention.

And so our date with Charlie commenced. Our Saturday started with breakfast enchiladas, followed by a trip to the Farmer’s Market in downtown Summerville. Charlie happily accompanied us, strapped into the backseat with his head out the window, smiling the whole way. I have no doubt that he felt the market, with it’s array of smells and excellent people-watching opportunities, was the perfect place to spend a beautiful Saturday morning.

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After picking out some heirloom tomatoes and juicy-looking peaches, we strolled down the street to our favorite lunch spot, The Eclectic Chef. Mom and Charlie sat under an umbrella in the shade while Dad ordered some yummy sandwiches and salads, and before long we were sharing  a very nice little lunch. Charlie of course got to sample some of Mom’s chicken salad- something that only happens on special occasions, and was well worth the wait. The walk back to the car afterwards was enjoyable for all- Mom got to browse in some antique shops along the way, Dad enjoyed looking at the charming homes, and Charlie got attention from people who couldn’t resist that goofy face. We were asked, as we always are, what kind of a dog Charlie is, and Kevin responded with his favorite line, “What kind of a dog isn’t he?”

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When we got home later that afternoon, Dad threw the frisbee in the yard (Charlie caught 30 out of 32 throws- not bad!), and then we all took a delicious nap in the sun porch. The perfect end to a perfect day.

We look forward to many more perfect days still to come. While they may look and sound different that what we have been accustomed to in our tiny family of 3, one thing will always be a constant- that goofy, smiling face in the background of a dog who is happy just to be a part of it all.

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