It was December 2003, the last day of work before Christmas, and we were having a management meeting in the conference room of ACNielsen Unisearch. My phone beeped signaling an incoming message. I opened it to find an MMS from Ariel showing a photo of a yellow lab puppy, and a poem. It was followed up by another message before I realized what Ariel was trying to say. He got me a puppy for Christmas – our first pet as a couple! A yellow lab. It’s in the office and we were taking it home with us to our new home.
Charlotte was so tiny at two months. I did not imagine how big she’d be as an adult. Even as a puppy, she was so playful, and very intelligent. She loved to play and knew where we kept her toys. As soon as she hears us stepping out of the house, she’d quickly run to get her toy and shove it to our hands so we could throw the ball for her to fetch. And we could never leave her in a leash. She was clever enough to get off her leash. We’ve tried different kinds and she managed to get out of all of them.
We thought she’d mellow down a bit as she gets older. But even at 7 years old, she was still as hyper as ever. In fact, that’s probably why we never detected something was wrong with her. She never showed any sign that she was sick. Up until last week, she greeted us enthusiastically when we got home, eager to play with us. She also never showed signs of losing her appetite. She loved to eat. After finishing her meal, she would check out if our other dogs also finished their meals. Otherwise, she’d be happy to eat their leftovers.
Charlotte was also our friendliest dog. She would excitedly welcome anyone into our home, and she was kind to other dogs as well. She was very gentle to Sam’s puppies, even protective of them. She was never agitated to see other dogs when I walk her around our village even when other dogs showed aggression towards her.
Last Friday, my brother texted me that Charlotte is sick. When we got home, I knew something was wrong when I didn’t hear the familiar welcome bark. She could barely walk but still seemed happy to see us as she enthusiastically wagged her tail. On Saturday morning, we took her to the vet who diagnosed her with urinary tract infection and gave her antibiotic shots. She suspected kidney stones and asked us to bring her to Animal House in Alabang for a proper diagnosis. By Sunday morning, Charlotte has weakened considerably, not having eaten anything all Saturday. She was diagnosed at Animal House to have a kidney stones that obsraucted the flow of urine, resulting to bacterial infection and severely swollen kidneys. She died Sunday evening from multiple organ failure. The hospital gave us the option to let them take care of burying Charlotte. Ariel wouldn’t hear of it. He took the afternoon off today to retrieve her body and bury her in our yard. Ariel wanted to give Charlotte a proper burial in her old stomping ground, near the mango tree where she would usually hang out on a hot summer day.
I will miss Charlotte. I’ll miss her playfulness and her wet kisses. I’ll miss being covered in drool whenever she plays with me. I’ll miss walking around the village with her. I’ll miss those beautiful, kind brown eyes and how she uses them to get her way (all she had to do was look kawawa with those eyes and we’d easily give in to what she wants!).