The story of how an adoptee became the center-piece of our everyday life.
Charlie may look ordinary to those who don’t know him, but looks can be deceiving when one’s quietly over achieving. At various points of time my best mate has been the only reason any of us could get out of bed. His unassuming nature knows how to works its way into broken hearts and fill a void, like only a best mate could. His story is one of hope, endurance and unwavering love. At the time when Charlie came into my life I was suffering ill health. Unable to work days were long, boring, painful and lonely. The first time we met, it was clear this would be a blossoming friendship but I don’t think anyone could have predicted the incredibly profound impact that he would have on the lives of those around him.
Charlie’s parents couldn’t keep him. Then again, they would never have a clue what they were giving up. My family was fortunately in a position to adopt him and from that moment on our lives changed for the better. Our adventures together were vast. We enjoyed walks down Melbourne’s iconic Chapel St, and enjoyed family outings. For me he was a godsend, giving me a sense of purpose. Someone I could take under my wing, and show the family ways too. From rough and tumble beginnings he developed impeccable manners in no time.
Charlie was fiercely loyal, and happy to partake in all family outings including fortnightly visits to my Nana in her nursing where he endured compulsory cuddles without a fuss. He charmed the children and adults in our family alike. When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal lung-cancer Charlie intuitively stayed by her side while she was on bed rest. He always knew where he was needed most. When my mother-in-law devastatingly passed away we were all broken, including Charlie who mourned the loss significantly. Charlie elected to stick close to my Father-in-law’s side as he soldiered on without the love of his life. They found new best friends in each other and started a gruelling fitness regime together, including lengthy daily walks.
At the time I was volunteering my services visiting psychiatric patients. Charlie joined me when I realised his company was more uplifting than my own. He became so popular that residents counted down the days until Charlie would visit them. For some it was the only reason they’d leave their room. Charlie’s advocacy skills made him a minor celebrity around those times and he spent the better part of his teenage years looking after others. Therefore it seemed ironic when Charlie fell extremely ill in the prime of his life, struck down by insulin dependent diabetes. Charlie required insulin twice per day- exactly 12 hours apart. On top of this he required blood, glucose and urine tests as well as a special diet and there is still a high risk he could lose his sight.
With unwavering loyalty my father in law undertook the fairly life changing commitment to providing ongoing care for Charlie to ensure his welfare. Committed to seeing Charlie’s treatment through it comes at a large expense both financially and physically. It would to Pete, seem unjust that the one in all our lives who has given so much care to other not be afforded the same in his time of need. In the darkest days of our lives he’s been there for us, all our best friend, and a large part of our family. Marilyn Monroe once said diamonds were a girl’s best friend, but I forgive her, because she was never blessed enough to meet our Charlie. As I mentioned earlier, other than his looks to an outsider, there’s nothing ordinary about our Charlie. And there’s very little wonder that a little white dog like Charlie could be considered man’s best friend.Donald Lee Pardue/Flick