Seven years ago we adopted Chuck, my fluffy muffin. Since we don’t know when he was born, we celebrate his birthday on the anniversary of the day we brought him home.
I have always wanted a dog. But my Mom can’t stand to be around animals, which meant no dog for me. When Dave and I bought a townhouse after we got married, I thought I could finally get a dog. Wrong. Dave was against getting a dog. He worried our new house was too small and yard-less. Also there was that being responsible for another living creature thing.
My longing for a dog got so bad that I would sometimes cry if I saw a cute dog when we went out. I held firm. Dave simply needed to be convinced.
I had been looking at Petfinder for a couple of months already before Dave finally agreed to meet some dogs (“How convenient! I happen to already have a list of possible dogs!”) in 2004. All spring and summer, I searched, filled out applications, got friends to serve as references, and promised a kidney to various rescue groups and shelters. The requirements to adopt a dog here were unbelievably stringent. There were home visits.
I wanted cute and fluffy and for some reason cute and fluffy seemed to correlate with separation anxiety issues. We both work full-time. After months of rescue groups and shelters saying no way to our adopting the cute, the fluffy, the separation anxiety-ridden, and several meetings with dogs who could take or leave us, I finally found Chuck.
The pictures were poor quality, but in them the sun lit him from behind and he looked like a fluffy angel. Key phrases popped out from the description: “…barely tops 30 lbs (including the fluff)…beautiful brindle coat and thick mane…uniquely gorgeous….infectious smile…barely a year old…good humor…foster says “to know him is to love him”…excellent for a first-time dog owner…moderate energy…non-destructive…housebroken…no signs of any separation anxiety.”
I stayed up until 1AM filling out the application. When the woman who had rescued Chuck came over for the home visit, Chuck’s Foster Dad brought Chuck along too.
Chuck was charming. He seemed happy to meet us. He had clearly been learning to give paw, because he continually pawed at us while we pet him. It was super cute. He soaked in our attention like it was his job.
Dave is not a very demonstrative person. He was petting Chuck, but I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. I was relieved when the rescuer suggested we take Chuck on a quick walk to discuss things in private.
When Dave didn’t say anything, I asked, “What do you think?”
Quintessential Dave, he replied, “About what?”
“About Chuck,” I said with exasperation.
“Oh, I love Chuck!”
So it was settled. We were adopting Chuck.
When we first got him, we spent a lot of time staring at him, doting on him, and being blown away by how cute he was. I thought it was the newness of it, that we’d get over it. But we’re both still overwhelmed by how adorable he is at least once a day. When we’re out walking him, people often stop to comment. In fact, Chuck seems surprised when people pass him by without doting on him.
Even my Mom is a closeted Chuck fan. When we visited her last Christmas, I know she thought I couldn’t hear her, but I totally overheard her tell a friend on the phone that Chuck “is a beautiful dog.”
Over the years I have taken a boatload of Chuck pictures. Here are some of the best photos of our first seven years with Chuck. Happy birthday, Chuckle Puppy! We love you!