I am sitting opposite my lovely Blenhiem King Charles Spaniel as he snores away loudly on the sofa as I type, and realise how lucky I am to have him in my life. I was brought up with a crazy chocolate labrador called George, he was completely insane, uncontrollable but the best kind of dog to have as a child. My poor parents had a nightmare trying to train him and in the end they gave up. George was such a great dog, so intuitive and very emotionally aware, just a bit mad when off the lead!! He loved Weetabix and milk as a special treat and once he sneaked upstairs into my bedroom, very exciting for both of us as he wasn’t allowed upstairs, until he weed on my bedspread much to my disgust….
So when we moved to France to live by the beach it was my mission to find another dog. I love spaniels, and many a day was spent searching the internet. I started to lose faith, as puppy’s go for around 500euros here. However, I finally came across an advert in the French classifieds. There was a posting from a lady who needed to give her dog away due to health reasons. I emailed her with baited breath, asking how much she wanted for her dog….and waited. Unfortunately she had already found a new home for the little girl dog, but she said she had another, a boy who was 5 years old. Brilliant, we arranged a rendezvous at McDonalds (I know, there are a few!!) that afternoon. I was so excited but nervous as I was unsure as to how much she wanted for said dog.
We waited and waited in the car park for her to arrive, and I was becoming more and more agitated. At one point we saw a car drive up with a dog in the back, and both of us thinking it was her began waving frantically. The couple waved back and we didn’t see them again, obviously not the right people, they must’ve thought we were rather strange!!
After an hour, she hadn’t turned up and I was on the verge of tears until James saved the day, he called her and we arranged to go to her house, she’d had car trouble. An hour later and we arrived at the address. Two words….trailer trash. My god the house stank, it was full of animals, cats, dogs, birds, rodents no doubt, oh and children. It turned out that the woman was pregnant again and couldn’t keep the animals due to her health and probably sanity. Our little dog had been kept in the back bedroom and he was so excited to see us when he was allowed to come out, the first thing I noticed was the heart on the top of his head, and I knew he was for us. He loved James immediately which also helped as he was a little wary about getting a dog. My lingering memory of that day was the dark, smelly house, we had to get him outside for a walk and both our minds were made up.
Still nervous about the price, we went back inside and agreed to take him. There was no talk of money, we were given his papers, a lead, some food and off we went. The woman and kids barely said goodbye to him. It was all a bit strange. It turns out that it is illegal to sell a dog in France if the vet visits are not up to date, and he hadn’t been in years. It still amazes me that she was able to have all those animals in her house, the French tend to be very strict on animal cruelty and it’s upsetting that all those animals lived with her in conditions like that. Our little dog was dirty, he had fleas, ear mites, worms and all manner of problems. So we got him checked out, chipped, got his passport, rabies shots and gave him a bath, much to his dislike, he hates water!
We changed his name to Charlie, original I know!! but he was initially called Viuopy (I have no idea what it means nor could I pronounce it) so we needed something that sounded a bit like that. He settled in with us straight away, not a peep, and has been happy ever since.
He loves to go for a run on the beach, the first time he was a bit scared as had never seen the sea, so turned and ran as fast as his legs would carry him off the beach and towards the road. However with some gentle coaxing he realised that he could enjoy the beach and that the sea wouldn’t swallow him up if he stayed away from it!! He loves ball on the beach, and is also a brilliant footballer spending many happy hours playing with James and me.
When he isn’t running, he is sleeping, snoring, eating, or drinking. He comes everywhere with us, he sleeps in our bedroom on a rug next to the bed and used to be a mascot in the bar where I worked. Everyone loves him, he is the most docile, good natured animal I have ever seen, and he has a lot of fans here in Biscarrosse and the UK. He even met Kelly Slater the other week. I am so happy that we rescued him from his previous life and allowed him to really enjoy life. Charlie our gorgeous King Charles, we salut you….