My Dog Charlie

My Dog Charlie

Charlie, came into our lives the same month I got married. He was just 2 weeks old when one of my relations handed him over to us and he adapted to his life with the new surroundings. There was our Tom cat whom we used to call Mani with us for the last 2 years before the little dog arrived.

Initially Charlie used to play with Mani, but somehow the cat was not very amused to see the attention getting diverted to the new visitor. Once he tried to put his paw at Charlie, and from thereon the dog was careful in his interaction with Mani. Mani as tom cats do, slowly used to disappear and would come back once a week and thereafter his frequency decreased to a month and then he never came back again.

Within leaps and bounds, in a matter of a year Charlie grew up and was seen in almost all corners of our one acre land. You could see him smelling something at one corner, and the next minute he would be standing just next to you. He was a dog seen in all places within the well defined boundary walls of the compound that had a pond and many palm and arecanut trees and a few cashew and jack fruit trees.

When we used to call him, he used to run across to us in a fluid motion with his mane flowing. Most of the time he would collide with me as he rarely could bring himself to a complete halt.One of our past time was me putting my hand in his mouth an he trying to bite playfully with the right amount of pressure applied.

In the initial stages, he loved to take a bath especially in the summer days, but as he aged, it was a bit difficult to entice him for the bath. Sometimes he would run away before the first cup of water was poured over him, and sometimes he would vanish after the  soap was put all over. But somehow I would manage to grapple with him and bring him back to the bath stand and because of the love he would stand still and take the bath, maybe, because he did not want to hurt me or any person in the family, who was trying to clean him.

In the night, he was left to roam the compound and during the day, he was sent to his kennel, the only way to entice him to it, was to either bring his breakfast or his lunch. He would run from wherever he was, the moment he heard the sound of his steel container, as that meant, his food was ready.

Dogs rarely like anybody touching their plate, once it is handed over to them, and this was true with Charlie too, as he would growl and show his teeth, if your hand went anywhere near his tiffin once he had started eating.

Dogs also know who is the real master of the house, and that way, he first respected my father and mother and then us in that order.

He was vaccinated only twice in his entire life of 13 years with us. Once I remember, I had to close his barking mouth, since he was not very keen to get the injection the first time when he was around 1 year old. But I could see the trust in his eyes, as I closed his jaw, saying silently to me, “I am not bothered what the doc does to me, as long as you are close to me and wish me well”.


The pond in the compound would see him standing at the edge and looking into it, maybe looking at the tortoise or the fish that used to come near the edge. He rarely was engrossed for long in any particular thing and would move on to the next thing that interested him.

While my father watered the plants and the palm trees, he would run around or stay around, but would rush with great speed towards the gate, the moment he heard someone touching the latch on our gate. That way we used to keep our gate closed and had to take him to his kennel before letting our guests in.

Since he was seen strolling freely most of the afternoon times especially in the summer, all visitors would call out to us at the gate just to make sure that Charlie was not anywhere near.

One day, I remember, I came home late in the night, and my parents had locked the gate as I had told them, I will be sleeping at the office and be coming in the morning. As I came near the gate, Charlie made those funny squeaky noise especially when he spotted a loved one. But I wanted him to bark at me, so that my father would be alerted. But he just lingered for a few moments and vanished and finally I had to climb over and jump into our compound. I was a bit worried though, as to how he would react to me  scaling and jumping over. But then, he had disappeared into the darkness..


After the first few years, myself and my family moved to the middle east and would see him only once in a year, and you could see the joy as he saw us when ever we came back. Leaving him after the vacation was heart wrenching for me, as was to the whole family.

My parents took good care of him, and he turned out to be their second son in my absence and mother would say to me, “taking care of him, sometimes would neutralize your absence “. The last years, was not good for him, as my parents had to leave him alone at the house with the care taker coming twice a day to feed him. The absence of his loved ones for one month or so in the last 2 years left him a bit gloomy and depressed. Though I came back, 2 years before he breathed his last, because of relocation to the city, my visits to him also went down.

My parents had gone to meet my sister and during that time, he contracted some illness and stopped eating for 2 days, and on the third day, I reached and gave him medicine to help him recover from his ailment. He was also running a fever. I knew he was going through his last moments. Dad arrived that evening without my mother as she planned to stay for a few more weeks at my sister’s place.

Dad gave him some food in the evening which he took, he must have been really overjoyed to see him back, the master of the house,  despite his illness and happy that he could rest in peace. That very day, during the night he passed away leaving a vacuum in our lives. My mother was really sad but in a way consoled herself that she was not there, as it would have been heart breaking for her.

It has been around 5 years since he left us, but to us, he was, a great pet and shall ever remain etched in our memory till the very last…

31 thoughts on “My Dog Charlie

    1. Oh God Suni u made me cry….. I feel I was responsible for his illness n depression n passing away.T his tym when I went to Kerala I told mom this….She misses him a lot now than before because both of us are away…😭😭😭😭

  1. Sunith, so sweet. “But I could see the trust in his eyes, as I closed his jaw, saying silently to me, “I am not bothered what the doc does to me, as long as you are close to me and wish me well”. Thank you for a wonderful post!

  2. We have Arnie, who we love so much. He’s been ill with cancer recently. The whole family took turns to comfort him and hold his paw after his operation. Thank goodness, he’s,on the mend now, and we think we have given him another year of life – we hope.

  3. This post has been haunting me for sometime now… they come as pets but they end up becoming the most adorable member of our family and their loss becomes a void that cannot be easily filled…. We had three of them …the last one died in my arms on our way back from doc’s place….it was just the two of us and I still remember her looks when she bid adieu……her love and helplessness for I wanted her to be back on feet very badly and kept talking to her…..My mom said no more pets after her …the pain was too much for all of us!! May be writing is one good way to get it all out! Your post brought back some of the most cherished memories!

  4. Lovely post Sunith. I never had pets but I realize the connection these loyal creatures have with their keepers.

  5. Having had animals all my life I know what anguish is associated with losing a dog… Dogs are some of my very best friends and losing them has actually been more difficult for me than dealing with the deaths of many relatives. All these animals want is to be with their loved one or family. I have two tiny Chihuahuas now – the reason I have little dogs is that they can be with me almost anywhere I go. I am so glad that Charlie had you and your father around when he died… one never forgets losing an animal…and many people cannot go through that pain again. For me though it has been different because I know that I need dogs in my life more than they could ever need me.

    1. same thoughts here Sara, I am happy to have a friend across the oceans who befriends the animal kind so well, also read your article on the lizards and it was really touching.

      1. I too am happy to have a friend who is so sensitive, bright, and creative – so glad you liked the lizard story – do you have them there?

      2. 🙂 We have the house lizards the skink in the gardens that look like a snake but not as long as them, and other lovable passive varieties, who sulk in the sun.

      3. Oh how neat! I am glad that you live around lizards. I just went back to this lizard story and realized that it was a mess! I had written the draft and then put it on the computer without editing it! Oh gosh – I had to go back and fix everything so the story would make sense!

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