I volunteered at a local shelter in Detroit, Michigan. One day while I was attending an event, my eyes locked with a Beagle named Sam. When I asked what his story was, I learned that he was found on the streets by a police officer on August 17, 2010. He was malnourished and clearly homeless. Coincidentally, on that same day, I unexpectedly lost my beloved dog Sammy. At that moment, I knew it was a sign and I was going to change that Beagles life. I named him Charlie and our journey began. We grew together, did everything together and became one.
Throughout the 10 years that we had, he became my rock and my emotional support dog. The one who held me up as I endured the passing of my mother, the loss of a baby, being sick myself and numerous trials and tribulations. Charlie also experienced all of my achievements along with life with me. I realized that I was given the grandest gift in the world, for he taught me patience, strength and gave me the the realest love that I had ever felt. At 43, I had it all until he fell ill and the time came to say goodbye for now. My heart shattered like so many of us pet lovers. I thought, how do I go on now when he gave me so much purpose? I could not have children of my own but Charlie filled that void. I cried for months straight until one day the dark pain turned into light. I was reflecting back on my time as an Ombudsman with the United States Coast Guard and all the families we helped of those deployed. All of the events that we did and delegation of services. It clicked, “TURN MY PAIN INTO PURPOSE!". Keep his memory alive by being a liaison and advocate for animals. Charlie had a gift of inspiring all that knew him with his perseverance to adapt through change, his sweet nature, loyal and loving disposition and the will to fight until the end. Charlie was my best friend and the hero that I needed. I didn’t just save him, he saved me. He forever changed the way I view love and life.