Our dog Charlie crossed the Rainbow Bridge two weeks ago. When he closed his eyes for that last time, I didn’t think I could bear the loss of my tough little best friend who followed me everywhere and needed me so much. I wished I could go back in time and relive those twelve short years we were lucky enough to share with this dog who taught us so much.

For the first two and a half years of his life, Charlie endured an existence of abuse and neglect, and then he and Max were rescued by the Lakeland Animal Shelter. We adopted this bonded pair of dogs who had no idea what being outside was like and who had never been given any attention, let alone any affection. It took a long time to convince them they were safe and loved, but after awhile, we earned their trust, love, and devotion. Charlie learned to enjoy going for walks and loved napping in the sun. He was a ferocious barker who chased the crows and squirrels tirelessly and at night slept on a pillow next to mine.

Max still searches for Charlie and wanders about the house like a lost lamb. I hold him close to reassure him he is not alone and put him on the bed next to me at night. Charlie, our little survivor, crossed the rainbow bridge, but will always be with us.