Last night, Charlie stole a piece of pizza. When we discussed with him that we needed to take it away, or at least some of it, he told us in no uncertain terms that that would not be possible. Charlie growled. Charlie glared. Charlie would have done anything to keep the pizza.
Charles Nelson Riley Kripke is a one-and-a-half year old terrier/schnauzer with human eyes and a fourteen-word vocabulary. Fourteen words that we know. My daughter spotted him on a doggie-finding website last fall. His left foot was bandaged up to his knee. He had been on the streets for some time, and was picked up by Animal Control when he was found injured. The best guess is, his foot got stuck in something, a gate, a fence, a hole of some kind, and when he pulled it out, the outside layer of skin was ripped off. They call it “de-gloving,” the way a glove or sock turns inside out when it’s removed.
Charlie had the good fortune to be discovered by a man who knew a woman who runs a foster care organization. He called her and told her that he had a puppy, about four months old, who was really adorable. But no one would adopt him with his injury, so he was scheduled to be put to sleep. The woman, Trish, had just a few hours to get to the city shelter. Immediately, she took Charlie to a veterinarian who would take care of him for a month, at no charge. They called him Conor. By the time my daughter saw him on the computer, his skin had grown back and his hair was just about coming through. He was ready to find a family.
We met him at an indoor dog park, where he and other dogs had come to be adopted. We saw him in a cage at the end of a row. He picked us, the moment he came out. Trish let us take him home that day, instead of waiting the customary 48 hours. We changed his name to Charlie in the car.
It took a while for him to come to us when we called him, or to sit on our laps, or to realize that we human people were just like him. He seems to know that he is staying here, in this house with all sorts of soft cushions and toys and love. And pizza. We give him the pizza whenever he wants it.