The story of Charlie, the dog

For nineteen days, he brought a new kind of joy and amusement to the house.  Always seeking affection, he would lick us crazy everytime we walk past his corner.  And whenever we return home from an errand, he is like a child expecting some treats.  Of course, I spoiled him that way and he just couldn’t stop jumping up at my shopping bag in case I have something for him.

He’s at his best when we take him for walks in the field, running up and down the undulating farmlands  as fast as lightning.  Such energy he has. Just over a year old, he’s still much like a puppy, just came out from a large breed.  He’s  stubborn at times, unheeding when we tell him to stop  barking at every passerby, but cowering when we give him a stern look.  Our two lovely olive wood salad bowls became his food bowl and water dish.  Our shopping list started to include dog food, chews and biscuits.

At the end of his first week with us, he was allowed to sleep in the hall as the outside winter cold might be too harsh for him.  This was followed by relaxed evenings in the sitting room, he on the carpet and us on the settee, all three enjoying the sight and warmth of a  roaring fire while listening to the music of Brahms and Verdi.  He would fall asleep instantly, snoring like a bear, only to be sent back to the hall to spend the rest of the night.

Charlie’s presence in our lives has taught us great lessons in life.  No human, except a mother perhaps, could give us unconditional love like him, he never complained, never frowned, he just accepted his lot and yet, never failed to show us playful affection.

We would have kept him, but with our constantly moving lifestyle, it is just not possible.   We cannot even stay in our own home for one month in a row because there is always a reason why we needed to go away and with H working in different cities few months at a time, staying in hotels or short-term accommodations would be too stressful for Charlie.

So with our months-old planned travel itineraries already going berserk because of his sudden arrival, we had to spend a lot of time contacting dog shelters and animal rescue organizations to find him a home.  Zsanett, a Hungarian lady who manages a charity-run dog rescue center  was heaven sent to us.  She found a  family for him, but first, he had to go to a temporary foster home while waiting for the adoptive family to come from Germany.  They would have to get him  a passport, subjected to anti-rabies vaccination, and, sadly, neutered to prevent unwanted litters.  Charlie is such a lovable dog, we dearly hope that this desexing operation won’t  change his behaviour.

 

We named him “Charlie” because he looks exactly like the dog of a friend whose name is also Charlie.   How did we find him?  One day, when we came home from shopping, we found him waiting for us at our doorstep. Somebody dumped him at us.

In Hungary, there are many unwanted dogs.  Animal shelters are literally refusing to accept any more strays so these poor fellows are just left in somebody else’s backyard, if not left on the road to wander aimlessly. In one of our driving trips to Budapest, we saw four small dogs, probably siblings as they all look alike, abandoned on the  motorway, two on the left side and the other two on the right.  They looked very scared, narrowly missing speeding cars.   What a heartbreaking sight.

By walking Charlie every morning, we get to discover more the beauty of our area.

As new arrivals of the village, we instantly made friends with our neighbours’ children because of Charlie.

These children are so fond of him, and he, to them.  These photos became very useful when the adopting family requested as many photos of Charlie as we could provide them.

We tried dropping him at the dog boarding house, supposedly just for 2 nights while we went to Budapest for an appointment, but we could not produce an anti-rabies certificate so he was refused entry.  We had no choice but to take him with us for the 2 1/2 hour journey to the capital.

We had to book a hotel that welcomes dogs.  I thought there is a common room for all the pets to sleep, but I was mistaken.  “Dogs allowed” means you can let your canine friend to sleep in your room!

Here’s Charlie being reassured by H that everything will be alright.  We can  understand if he feels claustrophobic inside a hotel room, what with the wide open space he is used to at our home in the Zala.  I had to buy him a toy and the toughest chew bone I could find so he doesn’t get bored.  He didn’t like the toy (as you can see it behind him) and the bone lasted only overnight!

 

Barely a week after his first trip to Budapest, he had to travel there a second time to go to his foster mum.   Unfortunately, the veterinary-student foster mum lives in a 3rd floor apartment in the center of the city and the nearest park is a children’s playground with a large sign at the gate saying, “No dogs allowed” (in Hungarian).  Oh boy!

 

That sad moment when we had to say goodbye to Charlie, but he was excited actually because a bitch called Bella was already flirting with him. Might it be the start of a canine love affair? We think not because he will soon be sent to the castration table before he goes to  Germany. We hope his name won’t be changed into Klaus…

After dropping him off, we took a leisurely walk around the block and discovered that the area is actually a “chic-mistress-walking-the-dog” neighbourhood.  So from a peasant dog, our little fellow is about to be transformed into a city dog!

 

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