My Charlie Brown

For my whole life, until 10 years ago, I never had a dog. I had been attacked by a dog as a kid—Maybe ‘attacked’ is too strong of a word, but when you are learning how to ride a bike on a gravel road at your parents’ cabin and a half blind St. Bernard comes running towards you and takes you down, ‘attack’ is the word that seems to describe the drama. From that point on, it wasn’t that I didn’t like dogs, I was just very nervous around them and such was life moving forward from that point.  

40 years later, I was dating a man with a Golden Lab, Max. I took one look at this animal and thought, “Well, I gotta figure out how to get along with this thing!”. And that was my start to loving dogs. To me, Max seemed half human. He seemed to understand everything he was asked or told to do. He loved to be loved and I did so in return. Not long after, I got my first dog, a chocolate Lab I called Charlie Brown. I wasn’t just a Snoopy and Peanuts fan, but he was brown in colour as well. From the minute he came home, my feelings about dogs did a complete 180. I never realized how much I missed out on having a dog until I got one.

Fast forward ten years to last Summer when my kids and I noticed Charlie had not been eating well. In fact, it seemed as though he didn’t like any kind of food. At first we thought he was becoming a fussy eater, so proceeded to try a whole bunch of new brands, both wet and kibble, but with no change. Of course, he loved a can of salmon—who doesn’t! But we needed to get him eating regularly. Our visits to the vet revealed the problem. Charlie had a large tumor attached to his spleen. We were faced with the choice of leaving it be and just trying to make him comfortable or having surgery to remove it. We opted for the latter with many tears leading up to the big day. They ended up removing the tumor and his spleen, all weighing more than 4 pounds. It was hard to see the staples along his pink tummy. We took him home, kept him calm, and watched him carefully. A mere TWO days later he was running around like he was six months old again. We couldn’t believe it!

After a week of feeling validated that I’d made the right decision about having his surgery, we got the call. The tests were in. Charlie had Hemangiosarcoma: a word I couldn’t even pronounce, much less absorb. Cancer of the blood was the verdict and a remaining clock put on his life was implemented by the vet at 2 to 3 months. “Keep him happy. Let him do what he wants. Have fun with him. Let him just enjoy life”. Many tears followed, then we quickly realized we had to show a brave front so he wouldn’t sense there was something wrong. I thought I loved him before finding all this out, but wow, how I look at him and feel such overwhelming love now really puts things in perspective. Why do we sometimes have to have a bad thing happen to make us truly realize what we cherish? 

Now, still considering myself a new dog owner (even though Charlie is 10 now), I’m still dealing with the firsts.  You know, like the first time we got him to sit, the first time he went in the car—you know the list. Anyway, now we had to figure out how to take care of him. What do I do first? Well, of course you go on the internet and read, read, read—and then you get scared about what you read! I gave my head a shake and thought “Wait a minute. I work for Modern Dog. Look on OUR site!” I believe strongly in our publication and the content we put out there for our massive dog-loving audience.  I calmed down and started reading and thinking of questions to ask.  

I looked at our abundance of books and came across The DOG CANCER survival Guide by Dr. Demian Dressler. I was told to put Charlie on a raw diet which brought me to finding out about Stella & Chewy’s. I learned how oils can help the healing of his scar. I discovered how CBD can not only help him when his symptoms get worse, but certainly help him through Halloween, New Years, and other festivals full of loud fireworks. Even when the noise is across a body of water, unless you have a dog, you’d never know how much fireworks can affect their demeanor.

To Be Continued.

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