Charlie joined our family right before Thanksgiving, 2007. We heard about him just in time. Born with an apparent brain abnormality that affected his sight, hearing, and coordination, he was barely 4 months old and looking for a home.
Charlie quickly made friends with the other special needs cats and dogs who live as a family in our home. Maggie, a dog whose spinal injury affected her ability to use her back legs, adopted Charlie, licking his face and trunk clean every day, then nuzzling him asleep. Charlie also created a special relationship with Emma, an elderly dog who has had several cancer surgeries -- he would seek her out, lie down with his head on her back or paws, and fall asleep.
We took him for a brief stay at Tufts for an MRI and other tests. They found that Charlie had moderately severe hydrocephalus. An excellent neurologist inserted a brain shunt to relieve the pressure that had injured major parts of his brain.
Charlie made the most of his brief life. He loved going outside to play in the yard, as shown in the photos on this page. His discovery of the leaves blowing around the yard filled him with joy and energy. Though his hydrocephalus had left him barely able to take more than 2 or 3 uncertain steps at a time without tumbling over, he would begin trotting through the leaves, zigging and zagging without falling.
He was lovable and affectionate, nuzzling into your hand on the bed as you rubbed his back. If you took your hand away before he was ready, he'd roll over on his back and wave his legs in the air to get your attention until you returned.
He loved lying quietly on your chest in bed, raising his head every once in a while to reach up and lick your chin until he fell asleep.
He lived with us just short of 2 months. One morning we woke up to find him barely responsive. One eye was dilated, the other a pinpoint. Something had gone wrong in his brain. He was gone within hours. He brought such joy to our family, and we miss him terribly.
Please follow this link to the family of special needs dogs and cats who live as a family in our home.