Kid Charlemagne

On no particularly special day in October 1991 my girlfriend (at the time) came to my home crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said she had met a girl with a little black puppy in the parking lot of the mall where she worked. The girl related a story of a “terrible pound” in Newark, NJ where she got the pup. The girl said there were 2 more of the litter there. I promised we’d go the next day and if the pups were still there we’d get one. The next day we drove to Newark; the pound was near the Budweiser Brewery. My girlfriend wouldn’t go in because she would “want to take every dog she saw home”. I stopped at the front desk and spoke with the attendant and described the little black puppy, she asked her partner if any of the “little black pups were left?”. Neither were sure. So the young lady led me to the puppy cage (I had to pass what seemed like 100 adult dogs in cages – it wasn’t easy).

I looked into the puppy cage and didn’t see any black pups. Then what seemed like a dozen or so other puppies saw us and they ran right to us. They were big and brown and fluffy. Then I saw this tiny black puppy looking off into space not even aware of our presence. I told the young lady that was the one I wanted. She got the dog and put her in my hand, she was barely bigger than my palm. She was dirty and seemed almost unconscious. I signed the papers and took the pup outside and put her in my girl’s lap (who never left the car). We stopped at my mother’s house which was closer to Newark than my house (I didn’t think the little thing would make it). My girl bathed the dog in the bathroom sink as I went and got some puppy chow. I mixed the chow with warm water to soften it and this lathargic; tiny black puppy wolfed down the food. That pup grew into my best friend, never leaving my side. I never had to use a leash (except at the vet’s), I never even put a collar on her – she never left my side. I’m a police officer – I’ve seen death in alot of different ways. I’ve lost family members and friends. However on June 22, 2007 at 3:15 p.m. I had to put Kid Charlemagne to sleep. It was the worst day of my life. I don’t want to bore you with all of the wonderful things that great little dog (with the big heart) taught me so I’ll just say this: “If dogs don’t go to Heaven when they die, I want to go where they go”. I’m not sure who first said that, but all I can say is…amen.

P.S. the pound in Newark wasn’t awful, it was great; full of caring people.

Joe From New Jersey

One Response

  1. AC Sakal Says:

    You are not the first person to say that. Albert Payson Terhune stated the same in “Lad a Dog” in 1919. His stories popularized the Collie Breed for decades. It is exactly the way many of us feel. You were very lucky to have this friend with you as long as she stayed. Only too well do I understand your loss. Not long ago two very mature veterinarians, speaking within a restaurant about their cases, broke down in tears while their resspective wifes and other patrons looked on in dismay. I also would rather live in their world than in mine without them.