Monday, 31 October 2011

R.I.P. Charlie Dog

Today is Hallowe’en, 'All Hallows' Eve' or the ‘Day of the Dead’. This time last year we were in Slovakia, walking round a cemetery at dusk, discussing how the hundreds of lit candles made such an evocative sight and how the atmosphere was peaceful and contemplative rather than sad. It seems a fitting day to post about our travelling companion, Charlie, the ‘dog who came too’.

Charlie at Happisburgh - one of our favourite camping places

Just one week after moving into our new home in Cambridgeshire, we had to say goodbye to our lovely old chap. He had accompanied us on our travels around Europe, viewing the journey from his very own seat, on one occasion causing much annoyance to a Romanian peasant woman who couldn’t understand why our mini-bus wouldn’t stop for her, but had a dog as a passenger.

Before the ‘big trip’ we knew Charlie had a lump growing on his leg. We discussed it with the vet, and although we didn’t know for sure what it was, we came to the conclusion that an operation would be invasive and risky for an elderly dog and that quality of life was far better than quantity. Over the year away it grew larger, so that by the time we reached Greece and Italy it was quite a talking point and Rob had to learn the vocabulary to debate it with interested passers-by.

The lump didn’t bother Charlie at all. He was lively, loved his food and his walks, was the most loving of dogs towards us and his usual cantankerous old self to the occasional dog who didn’t take his fancy. However, it continued to grow, and a couple of days before we moved he somehow grazed it, and the graze soon turned into a nasty wound.

We dressed it, but dogs just won’t leave bandages alone. We put a large conical collar on him, and took him to the emergency vet as soon as we moved into our new house. This led then to a specialist clinic near Newmarket, where the worst was diagnosed. Poor old Charlie dog did indeed have cancer and although we looked at all the choices, there was little prospect of a happy outcome.

We could not put our old chum through that, and with the wound clearly not going to heal we took the hard choice of euthanasia for our beloved pet. We hugged him to the end and though making the decision was truly awful we know we did what was best for our lovely dog.

Charlie at the Cregennan Lakes, North Wales, another of our favourite places.


  1. I cry. I read all about your long trip with the dog. We also have a motorhome and can bring the dog with us. Next spring we will go to Italy with the dog. It is because of the dog we bought a car to live in. So...

  2. Thanks Ulla. It's the big downside of having pets. Charlie was our second dog, but it is always so hard to say goodbye.

  3. Hi Lesley and Rob. We're so very sorry to hear about poor Charlie dog. It's so hard when they get old and you have to make a decision like that, but you've done the right thing. Nobody wants to see their pet in pain or discomfort, but it's such an upsetting thing to go through. We hope you're OK. Alex and David (the boys from motorhomo)

  4. I am so sorry to read about Charlie, I have tears in my eyes now and typing is difficult.

    However Charlie had a good life with you both and such wonderful adventures. You did what was best for Charlie in the end.

    It is hard now but in time you will be able to smile when you remember things you did together or things Charlie did that made you smile or laugh. Take care.

  5. Lovely Charlie, what an adventure he had with you and Rob xx I remember sitting with my lovely cat when he was put to sleep, a sad day. Sending you lots of love