Tag Archives: Charley

Sparkling Eyes

IMG-3876As I reflect upon this anniversary, it occurs to me that I failed to mention one of the most important aspects of my relationship with Boxster. In a world filled with supporters of the Yankees and the Mets, Boxster shared my fondness for the Pirates. Miss you, buddy.

I had three dogs in my life during the past couple of years. Until today.

I love dogs. Tippy. Ember. Barnabas. Charley. All have come and gone through the years.

When I moved to New York, I traveled too much to have a dog of my own. Through the years, I have become attached to the dogs of others.

Three dogs.

Henrik belongs to my son Sean and lives in Chelsea. I see him now and then. I get to walk him. I stayed with him one long weekend when Sean was in London.

Bentley lives in Maryland with my son Eric and daughter-in-law Essie. I don’t see him as often as I would like. The last time was last fall.

Boxster. A pug, Boxster belonged to my friends Nicole and Desi. He lived in the same apartment complex as I do. Of the three dogs, I met Boxster first. Nicole is a massage therapist, trainer, and nutritionist. I went to her apartment for my first massage. Boxster greeted me as I came in. I got on the table, put my face in the face cradle. I heard something moving on the floor. When I opened my eyes, there stood Boxster, his sparkling eyes looking up at mine.

Nicole freaked, just a little bit. She apologized and told Boxster to leave. I reached around the face cradle and scratched him under his chin.

We became friends at that moment.

The friendship spanned a number of years. In his younger years, Boxster would recognize the sound of the elevator and be standing at the door when I knocked, eyes sparkling.

As he aged, Boxster celebrated his 16th birthday this year, he did not get around as nimbly. But whenever I came by, he would get up to see me, his eyes sparkled, and he would have me have me pet and scratch him. Except his butt. I have standards.

When I ran my first 5K, Sean ran with me and Nicole, Desi, and Boxster, his eyes sparkling, greeted us at the finish line.

He had a wonderful celebration of his 15th birthday. I was delighted to be there with family, neighbors, and friends and Boxster T. Man with sparkling eyes. He patiently allowed himself to be dressed for his birthday just as he had allowed himself to be dressed for Halloweens and the Pride Parade.

Over the last year or so, I became one of Boxster’s substitute walkers. Some days he did better than others. Always, his eyes sparkled.

Today at 1:47 PM, my phone rang. It was Nicole. I assumed she was calling to set up a time to go to the gym in our apartment complex.

When she started to speak, I knew it was not about the gym. Before she could tell me, I knew it was about Boxster.

Boxster had visited the vet. And the vet had said it was time. Nicole and Desi were bringing him back for one last visit at home. They put me on speaker phone and I spoke to Boxster. My voice cracked a couple times as I did.

IMG-2262Then Nicole offered me the most incredible gift. She asked if I would like to meet them in the parking lot as they went back to their apartment. Of course, I said yes.

We talked. We cried. I held Boxster. I scratched him under his chin one last time. At one point we made eye contact and those brown eyes sparkled up at me.

A couple hours later, a couple hours ago, Boxster crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. There Tippy, Ember,  Barnabas, Charley, and all the pets that people loved met Boxster, welcomed him, loved him. And there Boxster waits, with sparkling eyes, for Nicole and Desi.

You are loved, Boxster. You will never be forgotten.


Filed under Friends, New York, Photo

An animal I am thankful for


To represent many – Charley

Traci Smith, author of Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home has provided a gift of the November 2018 Gratitude Every Day calendar. I am using it as an opportuity to revisit photos and post them as they speak to gratitude.

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Filed under Cleveland Heights, Family

Charley III

As Jules places his head in my lap


I remember Charley



And, after all these years,
pain tweaks my heart,
my eyes leak,
love dances in my spirit
and a smile plays across my lips.

8 October 2014
Louisville, KY

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Filed under Cleveland Heights, Family, Louisville, Photo

Walking – without Charley

CharleyI am in Cleveland Heights for a week of vacation with Tricia. Eric is here; Sean will be in town for a few days as well.

My walking has involved the streets of Cleveland Heights. Often this takes me places where I used to walk with Charley.

I walk. I remember. And I smile.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Cleveland Heights, Exercise, Family

Grief compounds grief

Grief compounds grief.

Each new loss, however profound or simple, touches old losses, however simple or profound, however raw or well-healed.

The losses need not be ours. When a family member – someone we love – even a friend – endures a loss, it sets the spider web of our emotions trembling. It touches our soul.

Each new loss tears at us, raking the scars and the scabs we carry – sometimes causing minor irritation – sometimes a bit of seepage – sometimes opening afresh old wounds – sometimes inflicting new ones.

Grief compounds grief.

I have shared that insight with family, parishioners and friends.

I have known that intellectually.

I have lived that.

Grief compounds grief.

In recent days, a number of my friends have experienced the death of dogs – faithful pets, beloved companions.

I have grieved for each friend – I grieved with each friend.

And in that grieving, I have come to realize – that I still grieve for Charley – who shared life with our family – who shared life with my brother’s family – for many years. On a pretty day at the end of April, Charley was put to sleep following a period of illness.

With a heart that aches for many reasons, I say to my friends who grieve the loss of a pet – peace. Peace be with you. Remember. Shed a tear. And rejoice.

Grief compounds grief.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Family, Photo

Charley II

Tricia’s brother Woody is an artist who specializes in portraits of pets using pastels on suede board.

For Christmas we had him do a portrait for each of the guys – one of the best presents we have ever given.

With many fond memories . . . RIP Charley.

See you along the Trail.

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He’s grown some. He’s a bit bigger now. This was taken long ago – the day he came to live with us.

He is Sean and Eric’s dog – their first dog. Eric and Sean picked him thoughtfully and carefully, working so well together. They loved him well. They love him still.

When Sean and Eric left home for work and school, my brother and his family adopted Charley. We met in a park and shared a meal. Then they said, “Come Charley,” and he walked off with them and climbed into their car as though he had known them forever. My heart twinged when Charley never looked back and happily went off with Paul and Cindy, Billy, Greg, and Tommy. And well he should have gone – for they love him – he has found a good second home.

Yet he remembers us – always remembers us – always remembers Eric – always remember Sean – always remembers Tricia. You can tell in his eyes and in the excited way he greets us whenever we see him – which is, not as often as we might like, but often.

Now Charley ails. Seriously ails. An older bigger dog (did I mention that he grew and that the picture is from long ago) he faces health challenges. But come what may, he is loved and he is receiving good care and he will receive good care. And I am grateful to my brother and his family.

As I ponder what may be, tears well in my eyes. I bite my bottom lip to hold them back and memories flood over me. A smile dances in my heart and gently crosses my lips – a smile for Charley – for my sons – for my family – for love that never dies.

See you along the Trail.

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Christmas Day 2010

After we opened presents at our home, we made our usual trek was made to Solon to celebrate with much of my family. A great deal of overeating and laughing was done.

Fun to watch the cousins interact. They have always gotten along well -but they seem to be getting even closer as they grow.

Gifts this year included pictures of our dog Charley created by Tricia’s brother – Woody Dykers. They are wonderful!

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Cleveland Heights, Family