Saving Charlie
By Marcia Bonomo
Fri, Feb 25, 2022 at 11:14AM

Saving Charlie

Saving Charlie

Dedicated to all the ones we’ve loved and lost

I lie in bed and wonder if these events really happened or did I just dream them. Could I have lived another life and come back to this one? How many times have you gone someplace and thought you were there before? Could there be a deeper meaning when we say, “I think I have been here before?” Why do people say, “Go with your gut feelings?” Maybe there really is more to it. After you read this story, you can decide for yourself.

Being a dog, it is sometimes very hard to communicate with humans. Some humans have an instant connection with us but some show no connection at all. They misunderstand us, which causes a lot of sad events as you will read about in this story.


By Marcia Bonomo, 2021


Chapter 1: My Early Life


I’m lying here hoping to get fed soon. My stomach is starting to hurt and I feel sick. They haven't let us go to the bathroom in a while. I don't think I can hold it much longer. I know my buddy next to me could not. The smell is pretty bad and the floors are wet and cold. It's getting dark out and the people are starting to leave now. There is still no sign of Joe, the old man with the limp who smells funny. I usually know when he is close by because of the strong odor he has.


As I wait, I think about my life with my human family. Charlie, the younger one, would pat my head and tell me he loved me. But when the older man Joe came home, it was different. No one would talk to me; they usually would all go in their rooms and hideout. If I didn't hide, he would yell and kick me across the room. Some days it would hurt so much I couldn't lay down on my side. But I knew enough by then to find a good hiding spot under the house with the rats.

Sometimes I wondered if I could catch one and have it for dinner, but I just couldn't stomach it. I’m never sure what I did wrong, so I always try to be good and stay out of the way. Sometimes I would get lucky and get fed when the boy Charlie knew Joe was not around.

Sometimes Charlie would share his food with me. He would put the food in his pocket and slip it to me when no one was looking. So, luckily, the day never came that I had to kill one of the rats.


I hear a lot of screaming some days and that scares me. Charlie cries a lot when he holds me; he squeezes me so tight that it is hard to breathe but I know he needs me. When I get bigger like my dad I can help Charlie so he doesn’t have to sleep under his bed crying. Many days Charlie cries because he misses his mom. When he was a little boy, she walked out of the


door and never came back. That’s when Joe started to get mad a lot and yell at Charlie and I. Now Joe just sits at the table drinking from a bottle crying, then falls asleep. If we try to comfort Joe he just chases me and sometimes even hits Charlie or me. When he hits Charlie I jump in front of him, but Joe gets even angrier.


On good days, I hear Charlie laugh and that makes me happy. He takes me outside and throws the ball for me and talks to me. But when old Joe comes home everything changes. Many times I think about running away so we can play all day and neither of us will ever be hungry again. But my dad told me I was here to protect Charlie, so that is what I try to do.


My dad was a very large and powerful dog. He would go with the older man Joe on the weekends and come back hurting. Some days his eyes were closed shut and blood was pouring from his body and he would moan all night. Joe kept my dad by the back porch with a heavy chain around his neck. My dad told me that we have to be strong and fight our way to be free. I dreamt of being strong enough to really protect Charlie and me and wish I could have freed my dad from the chain on his neck. I never got a chance to save my dad. One night he never came back after Joe had taken him in his truck. Maybe he found a better place than being tied to the porch. The same thing happened to my mother, but she was only with me for a very short time.


So now it’s all up to me to protect Charlie from Joe. Charlie said when he grows up he will take me away from all this and we will have a yard to run and play in. He said something, which I didn't understand at the time, that he wouldn't let me fight like my dad and mom.


Finally, morning arrived and my dreaming about my family life came to an end. Charlie came and let me out of the cold, wet room. He took me outside and finally I was able to go to the bathroom. Then he took me back inside and gave me a big hug and told me he loves me and that he is sorry. I noticed his face was swollen and tears were rolling down his cheeks. I thought he was going to give me some food, but instead, Joe took me.


Chapter 2: Scary Times


Old Joe threw me in the back of a red truck with a lot of garbage. It seemed like a long time bouncing around in the back before we stopped. I thought maybe he was taking me to see my mom or dad. I was getting pretty excited that I might see them. I heard a lot of barking and yelling. Then Joe pulled me out of the truck by the neck and threw me in a cage in the mud.


I looked around and there were many other dogs around and some of them were bleeding badly. The one next to me just kept growling and showing his teeth. The large red one kept repeating that he was in pain. The large white one with brown spots just stared at me. I started to tremble because I was scared. I asked them if my dad or mom were here and they just kind of laughed. The spotted white one said, “Hey kid, you won't finish the day, you're too small and weak.”

I argued, “I am not weak, I can make it.” He laughed meanly and said, “Kid, you're clueless about what is going to happen to you.”


One at a time, the dogs around me were taken away and didn't return. The last one said, “You’re bait, kid, good luck.” It was getting dark and I was really scared with all the noise. Before I knew it, someone was putting a heavy chain around my neck and dragging me out. The noise around me was getting really loud and the smell of fear was strong. I didn't like it. I was thrown in a fighting ring with another dog about my size, but he looked beaten up and was hurt badly.

Then someone threw some food in the ring. Thank God, I thought, I finally will be able to eat. But the other dog jumped on the food first. I tried to reach for it first but I didn’t stand a chance. His snarling mouth was open and his teeth were showing, and he was making a


noise that I had only heard once before when my dad was protecting me.


I was thinking he could have the food but I knew if I didn't try to get something to eat, I would not make it myself. So I powered myself on top of him but he fought back. I just hung on, desperate for survival.


He grunted, “Kid, I’m tired and hurt and I don't think I can do this anymore. It’s you or me who will survive this battle. If you win, run away and don't look back.” He was right, he was weaker than me and I knew I had to take him or die. The pain in my heart was more than the physical pain.


I got him down on his back and he locked eyes with me and said, “Go ahead kid, it's ok, I will return one day.”

I wasn't sure what that meant, but later I found out. He was right, we all return. I hope I never have to see that level of hopelessness again in anyone's eyes.

Thankfully, it was over pretty fast.


Now I knew what happened to my family. What had I done wrong for them to punish me so badly? Did I not listen when they called me, or was it because I chewed someone’s shoes? I felt so sorry for whatever I did, and I just laid there hopelessly in the mud.


Finally, they carried me roughly out of the fighting ring and tossed me back in the pick-up truck. I was so tired and sore; I just hunkered down and did not move. I just kept hearing the dog I had been fighting saying “run as far as you can.” But how could I run from a truck going so fast down a bumpy road? Then I heard a loud squealing noise and saw a car with flashing blue lights stopping in front of us. Joe got out and I heard arguing, and then the man in a blue uniform put him in the back of the car. The men walked back to the truck and


flashed a light over me and I heard them say, “Oh my God, what a mess.”


The tall one had a gentle voice and he kept saying, “It's OK, you will be OK.”

He wrapped me up in a blanket, which felt so good because I was so cold. He put me in a car and kept touching my head as he drove, repeating, “Good boy, you're OK”, over and over. I never had someone do that before. It felt safe and relaxing, and I started to feel like I would be OK. He carried me into a room with bright lights and people were looking at me saying, “That poor baby.”


There was a woman with a nice face named Skylar who was wiping something on my wounds. Skylar kept saying she was sorry and that it would make me better. I just knew she didn't mean to hurt me; I could tell by her soft eyes and kind voice. After she cleaned me up, she put me in a kennel and put a blanket on me. I never had a blanket before, and all this attention was not normal, but I liked it. I thought I could stay here forever. I fell asleep right away and dreamed of my mom and dad being with me.


When the sun came up, people were starting to come in. Skylar came in and checked on me and was happy to see me. She even brought me something to eat and drink. I never had seen so much food before. She kept telling me to slow down and not gobble the food so fast, but I was so hungry that my stomach hurt. I heard Skylar say to someone that I was at least 30 pounds underweight but that I would be OK. After I ate, someone came and walked me outside to go to the bathroom. They even patted me on the head and said I was a good boy. I really liked this place.


Next they put me in a kennel with a small white dog. He was lying in the corner trembling, saying over and over, “Please don’t hurt me.” I asked, “Why would I hurt you?” He replied, “Because you’re a pit bull.”

I didn’t even know what he meant by that, so I asked, “What is a pit bull?”


He explained that pit bulls are mean dogs that kill other dogs and even bite their owners. I told him I was not a pit bull, but then I remember I did hurt that one dog the night before in the fighting ring, but I had no choice. I had no choice but to protect myself; it was either him or me. I would never have bitten Charlie, but I realized that I would go after big Joe if he tried to hurt Charlie again. I told the little dog, “I guess I am a pit bull but I won't hurt you.”


Then I asked the little one why he was here. He explained that we were in a dog shelter, and that the people came and got him after his owner Joanne died. He had lived with her all his life and she took really good care of him. She had fed him, cuddled him, and taken him outside every day. Then she began to have trouble walking, and started coughing all night. Finally, one day she never woke up. He didn't know what to do, so he just laid next to her, kissing her and trying to get her up. It was days before someone came. The little guy was so sad as he told his story. He ended by saying, "I have no reason to live anymore without Joanne. I could not save her at the end. She kept telling me she loved me and would see me soon. I just want to lay here and die. No one will love me like Joanna. People come in here all day long and look at me but they say I am too old. Nobody wants an old dog.”


After I listened to his story, he began to realize he did not need to fear me. So he told me his name was


Mickey, and asked me my name. I was a little confused by the question, so I just answered, “Hi Mickey, I'm not sure if I have a name, they usually just called me Dog.”


Mickey laughed a little and said, “OK, hi Dog. I hope you have a better life then I am having right now. But the truth is that nobody really wants to adopt an old dog or a pit bull. The ones who adopt a pit bull usually bring them back or try to use them as fighting dogs.

Hardly any families will want you. I’m sorry to tell you that, Dog.”


But I have hope and a plan, so I reply, “Don't worry about that, Mickey, because I’m going back to save Charlie from that mean guy he lives with. I will find a way one day to save Charlie. I need to protect him from the cruel man who makes him cry.” Meanwhile, I protect Mickey from the other dogs at the shelter, and we keep each other company.


A few days go by, and the man, Ben, has been taking care of us everyday. He smells a lot but he doesn't hit us, although sometimes gets upset and yells when Mickey can't hold it and goes on the floor. People come and go but they all pass us by. I heard some say the little one is old and ugly which makes Mickey feel bad. When they look at me they read the card and shake their heads and say they can't have a pit bull.

One young man fell in love with me but explained that he was sorry but his landlord wouldn’t let him have me. I try to tell him I’m good. I tell him that I don't bark or make a mess. I don't understand why he can’t take me. One day I heard Skylar talking to Ben in front of our kennel and she said we have to make more room for other dogs. “I hate to do this, but the little one has to go, Ben.”


Ben said, “I am sorry to see that happen, but we have no choice. The older one has to be put to sleep; no family member has come in to claim him.” Mickey heard what they said and he understood. He knew his time was up soon. He wasn't sad about it because he knew he would see his owner Joanne, and that she was waiting to take care of him again. Mickey was just surprised that Joanne's daughter Jamie never came for him. He was more upset because he thought that I was going to be next to go.


Mickey said, “Dog, you will be next to be put to sleep. You have to make a run for it as soon as possible.”

I didn't understand why. Mickey explained that if a family doesn’t adopt a dog within so many days he will be put to sleep. I wasn’t worried because I thought that if I go to sleep, maybe I will see my family.


Mickey said, “No, you have to be strong. It’s not your time. You have a calling to save Charlie, remember? Then it will be your time.” They came later that day and took Mickey away.


I tried jumping and barking at them but it didn't do any good. Mickey reassured me, “Don't worry, I will be ok. When I see Joanne we will try to help you. You need to save yourself so you can help Charlie.” The kennel was so very quiet after he was gone.


A few lonely days went by and then they came for me. I knew it was my turn to go. They put a collar on me and brought me into a big room. Then I heard Ben say, “You’re just in time, they were ready to put him down.”


I looked up and there was this pretty lady who smelled really nice. She walked me out to the car and told me that I would be fine. She said I would have a new home soon and that she was sorry it took so long. I didn't


understand what she meant by that. When I looked out of my window in the field there was Mickey standing next to an older lady who was waving good-bye. When I closed my eyes and looked again they were gone. I guess Mickey was right, Joanne had come for him and they saved me.


Chapter 3: Life with Jamie


The pretty lady took me to a nice house with a lot of woods around. She introduced herself as Jamie and said she would be taking good care of me. I wondered if I was just dreaming all this or if I was really here. I looked around and there was a big yard to run in and toys to play with. Inside the house I had a nice dog bed and more toys to play with. I kept thinking something is wrong here. Mickey should be here. He was a nice dog who deserved a good home. I was a pit bull who hurt another dog and did bad things at my other house and that’s why Joe hit me all the time.

Jamie just kept telling me I was a good boy and was loved. I could not believe someone actually loved me.


I started to look around the house and on a shelf, I saw a picture of Mickey with an older woman. I walked up to it and just stared at it. Jamie walked over and said, “That was my mother and her best friend, Mickey. I was out of the country with the military when my Mother died. I didn't get the notification until days after. It took me days to get home and by then Mickey was already put to sleep. They told me he was in the kennel with you and that you protected him from other dogs. I knew my mother and Mickey would want me to take you home. I hope I did the right thing.”


Now I understood why Jamie had picked me. I was so grateful to Mickey. Then Jamie said, “You are called Dog, and that is not a good name. I think I’m going to call you Stevie. That was my dad's name and I know my mom would want that.” I liked the sound of Stevie. I felt really proud that I was named after someone's loved one.


I knew I would enjoy living with Jamie. But as soon as I thought that I was safe, I heard this weird crying noise


in the background. Then around the corner came this orange long hair critter with green eyes. The orange monster stood on its hind legs and made a loud hissing noise and swiped at my nose. That’s when I ran for cover. Then I heard Jamie yell at the orange monster. She was calling it Mr. Kitty. She kept saying, “Mr. Kitty, its ok, Stevie is our new friend.”


Mr. Kitty moved closer to me and just gave me a long look and said, “Stay out of my way and away from my food. We will get along as you do that and never hurt Jamie.” I just looked at Mr. Kitty and shook my head yes. I didn't want to mess with Mr. Kitty.


Jamie smiled and said, “I’m glad you two are getting along now.”


Jamie was really nice. She even had a special food and water dish for me. Our routine was great and even Mr. Kitty wasn't all that bad. Sometimes he would curl up next to me when Jamie was away. I loved it when Jamie took me for walks. I even got Jamie to walk me without a leash. I always came when she called and followed all her commands, then I got a special treat. It was pretty easy to do all this because she was a kind, gentle person who truly cared for me. I watched her before she would leave everyday. She had a routine of putting on this dull green outfit with big boots and a hat to match. She always took me out then gave me a big hug goodbye and told me to be a good boy.


But one time things were different. She put a leash on me and took me with her. It took awhile to get there but she kept telling me how smart I was and everything will be ok. Something didn't seem right. When we finally stopped, someone came out to the car and she handed him something. The person called her Captain and let


us in. Every one had on the same outfit as Jamie, which was odd.


When we stopped again she got me out of the car and brought me to another building, where I could smell other dogs. Now I was getting nervous. Could this be the same place I was in before, the shelter? I thought Jamie loved me. Why would she do this to me? I didn't want to go. I put my foot down on the ground and wouldn't move. Jamie kept saying, “It’s ok. You will be ok. I love you but I have to go somewhere far and I won't be back for a while.”


She tried to explain she was a pilot in the military and had to go away for a few months. I wondered why I couldn’t go with her. I didn't understand; I did everything she wanted me to and never bothered Mr. Kitty. Jamie got down on one knee and hugged me, and begged me to please listen to this young man, Jimmy. She told me that Jimmy would be training me to be a special dog that will help people. After she said that I felt much better. Maybe after the training I would be able to go get Charlie and bring him to live with us. This must be what Mickey meant when he would help me get Charlie back. I was so grateful to Mickey again and knew I would repay him one day.


I watched Jamie leave and she had tears in her eyes. She had large bags with her as she climbed into a plane. I knew it was a plane because Jamie used to sit down and talked about flying at night. She loved flying, but she always got a little nervous during storms. I knew because when it stormed outside we would both hide under the covers. It never bothered Mr. Kitty; he just seemed to laugh at us.


Chapter 4: My New Job


The next day Jimmy came and started my training. I already knew most of the things he was going over but I let him think he was training me. That way I got more treats. The one thing different was a smell and find game that I had never played. He would let me smell an item then he would hide it someplace. It wasn't too hard to find. Jimmy seemed very excited about it. Then he tried hiding the item inside another item that had a different scent. This took me a few minutes longer to find, but I could still do it. I loved the game we were playing.


Now the hard part-he made me stay and not move when he was putting food down in front of me. It took a while for me to catch on but I could tell by his look that if I didn’t move, he was happy, and if I moved he made a frown. I finally caught on and then I got all the food he had in the dish. That was the best I ever had. Jimmy was so happy that he took me home with him for the night. I thought it was a good thing but walked into his home and there were two large dogs at attention. I froze in my spot. It brought back memories of the fight I had with the older dog in the fighting ring. Terrible memories of hurting that dog flooded my heart and I wondered if I would have to fight again. I didn't think I could fight these two large dogs. They looked young and strong. But before I knew it, Jimmy told the other dogs to stand down. Then just as he said that, the two dogs came up to us wagging their tails and looked happy to see us. He patted both of them and called the one with black spots Bandit and the red one Red. He said, “Bandit and Red, meet Stevie, our new friend.”


It didn’t take long before we were all playing together and making friends. Jamie knew I would enjoy being


with Jimmy. I knew then that she did care for me, and had left me in a place where I would be happy.


For the next two months I was training with Jimmy and sometimes Bandit would come with us. Red never came because he had a health issue and could not run fast enough to jump over the items we had to do.

Bandit could jump but he had some problem finding the items Jimmy hid for us. That was my best skill, finding the items he hid. Jimmy would get so excited about it.


I loved being with Jimmy, but I missed Jamie and wondered when she was coming home. I knew now I had the ability to find Charlie. I could never forget his scent and it was always wrapped up in my memory of him.


Just when I started to wonder when she was coming home, Jimmy was talking to someone on the phone and Jamie's name was mentioned several times.

Jimmy did not look happy. He seemed upset and said he would be there in the morning. Jimmy came over and sat down and told me that Jamie was in trouble. Jamie's plane had crashed and they could not find her. She crashed in an area that was in enemy territory. He was so serious as he told me, “Stevie, we are going to find Jamie, you understand?” I knew this was the most important job that I would ever have and I was determined to do it well.


In the meantime, Jamie had ejected out of her plane after being shot down. She hit a few trees on her way down but was still alive. Jamie couldn’t move but she knew the team would come for her. She only needed to hold on long enough so they could rescue her. She was surrounded by a lot of brush which made it hard to find her. She cut away her chute and tried to stop the bleeding. She laid there thinking of her mom who she


never got to say goodbye to. She felt sad for her mom’s dog Mickey who she could not save, but happy that she did save Stevie. Jamie knew that would have been what her mom wanted.


She lay there, going in and out of consciousness. Jamie closed her eyes and whispered, “Please come and find me, Stevie.” If he did, she would know that her mom had sent him to find her. Jamie knew she had to keep her faith. Jamie was starting to hurt but knew her military family would never leave without her. Jamie prayed to her mom to send help.


The night went by slowly for Stevie as he kept thinking over and over again, “How am I going to find her?” He finally fell asleep next to Jimmy and dreamed about the older dog that he had hurt during the fight in the ring. He would never forget the old fellow telling him it was ok and that it was his time to go and to save myself. In the dream, the dog kept saying, “You can do it. Just remember Jamie's smell and concentrate.”


Stevie kept dreaming, and he asked the other dog, “Why are you helping me when I ended your life?”


The old dog answered, “It wasn't your fault, Stevie, my life was over already and you had to do it to live. And I know you have an important purpose.” The dream finally ended, and a fitful sleep took over.


Morning came and Jimmy and I were still on the plane. He was telling the other man that I was the best and that I could find Jamie. Jimmy gave me a hug and whispered that he knew I would find Jamie. I then knew that I had important work to do for Jamie, Jimmy, and myself. The plane ride was a little scary but not as bad as when we landed. There was a lot of loud noise around us like thunder. Jimmy put something over my


ears so the sound wouldn't hurt my ears and over my eyes. It did help but it was uncomfortable. I heard one of Jimmy's friends ask, “Are you sure this dog can do the job? He’s never has been around all this gun fire, he might run away.”


Jimmy told him I trust him because Jamie told me he was a special dog. He told the other man the story of how she got me from the pound. Jamie told him how she had a visit from her mother in her dream after she had passed away. In the dream, her mother said she had to save this dog because he was here for a noble reason and it was her job to make sure he was saved. Jimmy told the man, “That’s good enough for me.”


When I heard that I looked up again and sent a big thank you to Mickey, because I knew it was Mickey who had told Jamie's mom about me. I was not sure exactly what I was supposed to do on this job, but

I knew I would make them proud of me.


After we landed he told me to not be afraid and that I would be ok. I believed Jimmy and I wanted to do everything I could do to help Jamie. Jimmy explained to me that it was time to find her. I knew what he meant. Jimmy had me smell a piece of clothing and right away I knew it was Jamie’s. He took off my leash and walked next to me. I was a little afraid at first to go too far from Jimmy, but I put my nose to the ground and started to make my way. There were so many other strong smells that I never smelled before.


I was worried that I would not be able to pick up her scent with all the noise and strong odors. It was hard to see in the dark so I had to depend on my hearing and the scent of Jamie. I made sure that I kept my nose to the ground. It was very difficult to get past that awful smell in the air but I needed to focus on Jamie. I just


kept walking in larger circles around Jimmy and my legs were starting to hurt from the rocks and sharp objects all over the place.


Just when I thought I couldn't hold on, I picked up a faint scent of Jamie. I started to get excited and Jimmy noticed and came running up, calling out, “What is it Stevie, do you smell her?"


I kept moving more, but I lost the scent so I turned the other way and it got stronger. I ran faster and faster, the smell got stronger and stronger. Then I saw Jamie lying on the ground with something wrapped around her. I ran up and started to lick her face letting her know to wake up. Jimmy ran up and called her name but there was no answer. I was so worried and wondered why she wasn’t moving or waking up. Could we be too late?


Jimmy was touching her all over and then he said, “Good job Stevie, she is still alive!” Jimmy quickly got the other man from the plane to help carry Jamie back. When we got back on the plane they laid her down and started to put something in her arm. I got very upset and started to growl at the person who was putting something in her arm. I thought they were going to hurt her more. If I had to protect her I would, but Jimmy kept saying, “Back down, Stevie, it’s ok, he is a medic, and they are trying to help her with medicine.”


I let the medic put the medicine in her arm, but I kept a wary eye on him. I lay down next to Jamie, and when her hand fell down on me I snuggled in closer to her. A few more moments went by and I felt her fingers touching me and she whispered, “Thank you Stevie.” I had never heard sweeter words, and I knew I had done a good job.


Jimmy and the medic were talking and they said she needed surgery right away and that she had lost a lot of blood. The medic said he knew there was a great surgeon at the base who would help. He said the doctor had just started a few months ago. He had come from a great hospital but for personal reasons he volunteered his service. He went on to explain that there was a tragic story about him. Jimmy wondered why the doctor had come to such a remote area and asked him to tell the story.


The medic told Jimmy that on Christmas Eve, the doctor was driving home when he was hit by a drunk driver. The doctor was in serious condition, and actually his heart stopped beating. The driver of the other car died, but the young boy who was his passenger in the car was still alive. The boy was put in the same ambulance with the doctor. While the doctor was having his heart restarted, the young boy put his hand over and held his hand. In his hand was a picture of himself with a dog.


The tragic part of the story is that the boy didn’t make it, and he died in the moment he reached over to the doctor. But the doctor’s heart began to beat just as he received the picture. Jimmy asked the medic if he knew the name of the young boy. He explained that they only knew his first name, Charlie, because it was written on the picture with the dog.


When the doctor recovered he seemed to have changed and for whatever reason he volunteered to serve at the base, which turned out great for us. Lying next to Jamie, I could feel her body temperature getting warmer. I heard Jimmy talking about a doctor and I heard the name Charlie. I heard him say the young boy died in the crash. It just couldn't be my Charlie. I was


so worried but I knew I needed to keep my focus on Jamie for now.


Soon we were landing and going into a large building with a lot of people dressed in blue outfits. They rushed Jamie into a room and started to put bright lights on with a lot of equipment around. The door closed and I wanted to go in to help, but Jimmy had a tight hold on me.


Chapter 5: The Circle is Complete


It seemed like hours went by and finally the door opened and out walked a doctor in all white, wearing a mask. He walked up to me slowly and stopped in his tracks. He bent down and took off his mask and stared at me for a few minutes and called out my name, “Dog” which is what Charlie used to call me. I went running up to him to sniff him and then I sensed Charlie. He did not look like Charlie, but his eyes had Charlie’s light, and there was a faint scent of Charlie. I knocked the doctor down and couldn't stop kissing him. Jimmy came over and yelled, “Get off, Stevie!”


The doctor said, “It's OK, I think we are old friends. Don't worry, Dog, or is it Stevie?” I felt a special, warm glow like all my work on Earth had come together somehow. I didn’t understand it all, but everything just felt right.


The doctor told us that everything went well with the surgery, and that he thought Jamie would have a complete recovery. He said that she was a brave young lady and very lucky to have a dog like me. As he walked away, I saw him pull out a picture and he looked back at me and smiled, and I knew he was my Charlie’s spirit, right there when we needed him.


One year later, I was walking into a large church behind Jamie and at the end of the walk there was my Doctor Charlie. When Jamie came back home, he had started to visit Jamie and me. They would stay up late talking and hugging, and they always let me stay around. Now we are all together again, even Mr. Kitty. One day I will repay all my good friends like Mickey and the old dog for helping me find my new family.


I lived a full life with my family and saved many other people who were lost. I was well known in the military, and I even received a medal for my work. Jamie and the doctor had two children during that time who loved me so much, and I loved and protected them. I hope I changed the reputation of being a pit bull dog.



Many years later, on December 1, Stevie passed away in the arms of his family. It was a very sad day for Jamie and the rest of the family. On the other side of town, just at that moment, a young man woke up from a coma after 18 months. When he woke up from his coma, he looked around and said, “Charlie, you there?” The nurse assumed he remembered his name but he said he was just calling for Charlie. When they asked him if he remembered anything he said, “No, just Charlie.”


You can believe what you like. But do we really know what happens? Think about how many times you looked into a dog’s eyes and felt something you cannot explain.


Dedicated to all our loved ones we have lost.

By Stevie, AKA Dog


Marcia Bonomo

Edited by Elizabeth Heeren and Jamie Turner Illustrated by Claudia Quesada













Saving Charlie

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