I Didn’t Rescue My Dog, My Dog Rescued Me (From Immense Danger)
Before I rescued Charlie, I was lost. I know that’s a cliché, but it’s true. I was lonely and didn’t know where I was going … it was a truly miserable time in my life. And I’ll be the first to admit that my early impressions of Charlie weren’t good. His size and growls intimidated me, and I think I scared him, too. But when Charlie dragged me out of that metaphorical pit and literal crevasse we knew that together we were stronger and we needed each other’s help to survive the challenges life had thrown at us, both emotionally and in snake form.
I’d always heard that having a dog in your life changes you, but I’d never really believed it until Charlie. I just never thought of myself as an animal person. I figured that all I needed to survive was myself and the first aid kit from the plane. But it’s almost like the universe connected us for a reason, and I’ve never looked back. I consider myself a dog person for life now.
But I’d never say that I own a dog like Charlie, or that he’s something as base and simple as my pet. He’s my friend and companion, and together we’re a team. Sure, I do a lot for Charlie, like keep his fur clean, boil water to make it safe for him to drink, and carry him through the near-constant brush-fires that dot this region and keep us moving, always moving. But he gives back to me tenfold. Whether it’s scaring away a potential threat, smelling out food scraps, or just keeping me warm through a cold night under the few stars that can still be seen through the smoke, I literally don’t know what I’d do without him.
Oh, sure, we’ve had our growing pains, just like any human and dog team. Sometimes he wants to play even when I don’t have the energy after a long day of hiking, foraging, and cowering from beasts. Sometimes training can be difficult for both of us, especially when he struggles to understand the difference between “Fetch” and “Kill That Grizzly.” And sometimes, when we’re walking at night, he gets too enthusiastic and bounds off into the endless dark, where I hesitate to follow because that’s how the other members of my corporate retreat died. But all those struggles are worth it when he shakes a paw, brings a fresh kill back to camp, or sniffs out a suitcase that I can loot for supplies. In moments like those, you can really sense just how much we’ve bonded.
Even though Charlie is a rescue, he’s still young, I think. So once we’re through this rough patch I look forward to spoiling him with all of his favorite food and toys for years and years to come. I just hope that we get back to civilization before I have to resort to eating him.