Human: Derek Spiewak
Canine: Charleston Chewpacabra III
Location: Southeast Michigan
It was a stressful time in my life – my wife and I had lost our beloved black Lab, Guinness, about three weeks before. It was a devastating sudden loss due to hemangiosarcoma. We had also lost a Rottweiler a few months before to the same condition. To make matters worse, my dad was in the hospital recovering from heart surgery, and coming home to an empty house was almost unbearable.
My wife kept trying to convince me to visit shelters and adoption events, but I was not ready. I would go to placate her, but I was terrified of having my heart broken again. She finally got me interested in going to meet another black Lab she had spotted on a rescue organization’s website, and I was willing to go to the pet store adoption event to see for myself if he was a good choice.
Unfortunately, he was not a good choice. He was way too frantic and jumpy for us – we are both busy during the day, and cannot offer constant supervision to a nervous dog. But there was another dog there that was absolutely beautiful, and we could not stop looking at him.
He was in a crate by himself, in an aisle to himself. His name was on the crate: “Emmitt.” I had never seen a Plott hound before, and his coloring was really striking. On a whim, I asked the rescuer if I could meet him outside of the crate. She agreed.
I sat down next to the crate. When I went to open the wire door, he threw his head back and looked me in the eyes, and he pawed at the latch. When I let him out, he circled around and planted his behind firmly in my lap.
I turned to my wife. “I think this means we should take him home,” I said. We swore to ourselves we would never have a hound (too many bad experiences with beagles) but we couldn’t sign that paperwork fast enough. I was sure that we had a gem on our hands.
Did we ever.
“Emmitt” eventually became our Charlie, and he has grown in my heart every single day. I have learned to love the Plott bark (“Yort! Yort!”). I treasure his goofy sense of humor and the way he frequently shows affection by throwing his head back and sniffing my forehead. He was a skinny 9-month-old when we brought him home, but he grew into a magnificent creature who gets attention wherever he goes.
He hasn’t just helped us to get past the pain and stress of last autumn – my dad also loves him and always asks me when we will bring him for a visit!