Charlie Brown, best known for his outrageous bark and signature limp, has died. He was possibly 12, though also possibly not.
His early life will always be a mystery, but it likely included an unkind man who walked with a stick and who remains the prime suspect in tossing Charlie and two canine companions (who either were or were not litter mates) from a moving truck in West Memphis, Arkansas.
That near-fatal event, a decade ago, turned out to be the luckiest of Charlie’s life. One of the cars whizzing past was driven by a volunteer from PAWS of Marion who was quick enough to scoop two of the three dogs into her car. From there the two mostly-Chocolate Labs found their way to a foster kennel, earned the names Charlie Brown and Callebaut, starred in an irresistible PetFinder posting, and ultimately landed in a forever home with four humans who loved them and a cat who did not.
Charlie denied the Grim Reaper at least twice more before their final meeting. Heartworm-positive at the time of his Great Rescue, Charlie had an adverse reaction to the treatment, lost the pads on his rear feet, chewed off four of his toes, and refused to eat for 10 days before deciding that maybe he’d stick around.
A few years later, during one of his Great Escapes, he managed to find and swallow a whole corn cob, stubbornly resisted healing after surgery to remove it, and then had to wear t-shirts, gauze bandages, and a cone of shame for weeks. He would be eternally grateful that there is no photo evidence of these indignities.
Charlie had, in general, a nasty habit of ingesting things unfit for canine consumption: Hershey kisses, several pairs of boots and shoes, rolls of toilet paper, loaves of bread, pens, pencils, tennis balls, baby birds, rat poison, and an unknown quantity of cat shit.
He was unnaturally afraid of thunderstorms, and his arch nemesis was the vacuum cleaner. He had soft ears, could catch two tennis balls at once, and wagged his tail until the very end.
Charlie is survived by his sister Callie, his sidekick Yoda, the cat who grew to love him (mostly), the Man in the Yellow Hat, the boy who read him Goodnight Moon, the girl who fed him potato chips in her bed, and his One True Human. They all will miss him. How sad it would be if that weren’t true.