Charlie Bartlett was born in the spring of 2007 and died on May 28th 2020. The whereabouts and circumstances of his birth are unknown. Legend has it, as a young pup he was challenged by a bigger dog over a bowl of kibble and a mighty brawl ensued. When the dust settled, he was still standing, but his left eye was mangled. He was taken to a vet where the remains of his eye were removed and the skin sewn over. Days, weeks and months passed but no one returned to pick him up. He was eventually turned over to a local dog rescue where he charmed the staff with his goofy personality, carefree spirit and pirate good looks.
One fateful day, a young couple toured the rescue having planned to just “look around.” They were introduced to Charlie and the rest was history.
Charlie came home to live with the Bartletts in the spring of 2008, joining big sister Mabel Jane the belligerent cocker spaniel/basset hound. Mabel had intended to be an only child indefinitely, so her initial welcome was not…warm. Eventually Mabel resigned to her new reality and they grew to be quite close. Mabel and Charlie enjoyed patrolling the perimeter of their yard together, lounging in the sun, competing for space on dad’s lap and conspiring to obtain obnoxious amounts of treats. When they were young, they enjoyed (er…were forced into) dressing up for Halloween. When you have one eye, you can’t not be a pirate.
When Charlie was two, his life changed abruptly when a human child came home with mom and dad. Initially this squirmy, squeaky little baby was quite perplexing to Charlie, but he quickly took his place as guard dog and companion to baby Louisa.
Two more babies followed and Charlie excelled as a playmate and protector. He was always ready to eat the kids’ food scraps that had fallen on the floor…or food that was still on their plates…or food that was being prepared on the kitchen counter. He was always ready to eat….well….anything. When valuables went missing, Charlie was often the culprit and said valuables could generally be found in the backyard a few days later…in one form or another. Shoes, pacifiers, underwear, diapers, onesies, cotton swabs, dental floss, cardboard boxes, crayons, money, books, keepsakes, Christmas ornaments and puzzles were never safe around Charlie. Even in his final days, when he could barely walk or bark, he managed to find a cardboard box and annihilate it. Of course it was the one cardboard box (of several in the house) that we actually needed.
Charlie was stinky, slobbery, messy and (with only one eye) had absolutely no depth perception. He pooped, unabashedly, on every single walk he ever took. He loved riding in the car and would find and eat every last scrap of food or trash the kids left in the backseat. He preferred car rides on sunny days as he was terrified of the windshield wipers. Charlie had a tough act and when people or animals passed by his house, he would bark like a rabid maniac, ready to tear trespassers limb from limb. But if anyone got close enough to pet him, he turned into a big love-muffin, his butt wiggling so fast he could barely walk straight. If you found that special spot on his shoulder, he would thump his back leg uncontrollably and be your friend forever.
He chased bunnies and bugs and dug holes in dirt, doors and vinyl floors. He had a keen sense for timing and would wait until his mom had just fallen asleep after night call, or just slipped into a warm bubble bath to start barking like a murderer was trying to break into the house. His urgency to be let outside was only outdone by his urgency to be let back inside 30 seconds later. And then to be let out again… He loved finishing his lunch and then pawing his metal dish around the sunroom, clanking it into anything and everything, making an epic racket.
Charlie had cancer but it hadn’t really slowed him down until the middle of May when the effects became painfully obvious. He spent his last two weeks getting lots of love from his family, snuggling by the fire and eating whatever he wanted. He took one last car ride, his head gently helped out the window so he could sniff all of the sniffable things as he cruised by…ears and jowels flapping joyously in the warm spring wind. Sadly, it soon became apparent that existing had become exhausting for Charlie and the decision was made to send him off with all the love and gratitude he deserved. He died at home with his family by his sweet little side, stroking his velvety cheeks. More tears were cried than we ever thought possible as the rain fell steadily outside. Mabel, while sad, seems to be adapting to her reclaimed position as an only dog-child well. She is expertly playing the bereaved card which has resulted in the consumption of an obnoxious amount of treats.
The family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the staff at Roeland Park Veterinary Center (especially Dr. Cindrich and Jill), Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice (Dr. Lindsey) and the Amos Family Pet Companion Crematory.