Charlie 

This isn’t my usual kind of thing. It’s a sad tale without a punchline. You’ve been warned. 


Our neighborhood has a Google group that we use to communicate requests and queries. “Who’s a good handyman?” “Please stop the kids playing in the road.” That kind of thing. 

When Pam and I were in Europe, an email thread started about a lost dog. A family were out of town. They’d asked someone to let their dog Charlie out. This person neglected to let Charlie back in. 

Since this family was out of town, they couldn’t do much to look for Charlie so they posted a note asking for folks to keep an eye out for Charlie. 

There were a few replies saying that folks were looking. A couple of notes said that they’d seen Charlie but he’d run off when they tried to get him. 

After a day or two, the family was back in town and they ramped up efforts to recover Charlie. They called animal control and organized dragnet-type efforts to get Charlie. 

Until this point, I’d sorta figured that Charlie had long since been coyote food. Now that I heard how everyone was on the lookout for Charlie and there were still sightings of Charlie, I thought that it was just a matter of time before Charlie was returned safely home. 

The next note I read was that the family was thanking everyone for their efforts and that the neighbors were a light in an otherwise very dark time. 

I’d obviously missed a note. 

I dug further through the inbox and found the missing note. About half a day earlier, Charlie had been hit by a car and died. 

Earlier, when I’d thought that Charlie was already coyote food, I’d felt sorry for the family, but was otherwise unaffected. But since then, I’d convinced myself that Charlie was gonna be OK. I was pretty choked up about the whole thing now. 

I’d been keeping Pam apprised of the story up until then but I didn’t want to tell her the ending. She didn’t ask for updates so that made it easier. She read about it on her own email when we got back home. 

A couple of days ago there was another notice about a missing dog. He was recovered safely on the following day. This brought back all of the feelings from the incident with Charlie. 


This is usually where I put in a punchline or some kind of moral to the story. I’ve got nothing. 

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