A weekend with Charlotte


Princess Charlotte on her best behavior in the kitchen.

It’s obvious to any reader of this blog that I’ve fallen hard for a furry, feisty little creature named Charlotte.

We adopted her nearly two years ago from a nonprofit here in Portland. She’s a Terrier/Pug/Chihuahua mix with a big bark and a personality to match and, lately, it seems that Lori and I love her more each day.

I suppose that’s the result of her being the only dog in our household since our beloved Otto died in late July. With him gone, Charlotte’s the sole focus of our attention. (Well, we have a cat too, but Mabel is content to hang out alone upstairs, one floor above all the daytime action.)

Lori was away for a few days over the weekend, so it was just Charlotte and me. I looked forward to it, knowing she’s easy to take care of and would appreciate some extended one-on-one time.

(Click on images to view captions.)

The blustery, stormy weather we’ve had recently put a crimp in plans for any long walks, but we still managed to get out regularly around the neighborhood. Though she’s improved greatly about this, she still reacts strongly to other dogs and we often have to change directions or cross the street to avoid confrontations.

I’m sure neighboring dog owners wonder what’s up with the little black dog that gets all tensed up and barky. I wish I could tell them. But because Charlotte is a rescue dog who was initially picked up on the street with her puppy (yes, she became a mother when she was about a year old), we don’t know her back story at all. Undoubtedly, there are some negative memories triggered by seeing other, mostly bigger dogs.

But we accept her — and love her — exactly the way she is.

Charlotte sleeps on our bed, near our feet, happy to no longer be confined to a kennel. In the morning, she crawls up between us for a head-and-ears scratch to start the day. A minute later, she’s rolled onto her back, paws up in the air, and her snaggletooth protruding from below her curled upper lip.

At times I ask myself, “Why do Iove this dog so much?” After all, we’ve had some great pets through the years, both dogs and cats, and every single one of them was easier to care for than Little Miss Charlotte.

I guess my affection for her stems partly from her size. At roughly 14 pounds, she’s the smallest canine we’ve ever had. I am acutely aware of her beating heart against the palm of my hand whenever I carry her in my arm like a football. Nothing like feeling life itself.

During the day, she likes to play fetch with any of her soft toys, growling to let you know who’s in charge. At night, she’s docile as a lamb, happy to curl up like a cat or stretch to her full length on our legs.

When we first got her, her coat was a little ragged and she recoiled if you tried to touch her paws. Now? She’s smooth and sleek and trusts us enough to massage her paws.

Lori is due to fly home this afternoon from the San Francisco area. I don’t know who will be happier to see each other. But I do know I’ve enjoyed having Charlotte to myself for a five-night stretch. She may be a rascal, but she’s our rascal.


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