“Our beloved Charlie has left this world! He was our center, an introvert, yet our “always up for anything” guy. He is chasing squirrels and butterflies, swimming in lakes, jumping in snow, running like the wind and snoring after a long day once again. My poppa, my boober, my Chaz I will love you always.”

Recently, I got word that one of my foster dogs from many years ago passed away. He lived a good, long and well loved life, and even though I have fostered many animals, before and after Charlie, this news brought me to tears. Charlie was special, not just to his family but to me as well.

Fourteen years ago, two cute little puppies (are there any other kind?) found their way to Marin Humane from an overcrowded shelter somewhere in Central California. They landed in my foster home. As sometimes happens with un-vaccinated puppies, Malcolm and Margo came down with Parvo and were very sick with this usually deadly disease. They were treated by the staff at Marin Humane; sadly, Margo didn’t make it. But Malcolm did and was sent to my home to recover.

And recover he did. After some time recuperating, Malcolm turned into the rambunctious, happy puppy he was meant to be. No longer in need of fostering, he went back to Marin Humane to be neutered and made available for adoption. Of course, I was very attached to him by this point and hopeful that Malcolm would get a great home. Puppies are adopted swiftly after going up for adoption, so not surprisingly, a very nice woman showed interest in him. I thought the pending adoption would be all over when Malcolm’s swollen neuter site burst as she was holding him! But no, completely unfazed, she took him home.

Turns out, Malcolm was really a Charlie, and his forever home was truly forever. He had two parents and two human siblings, a boy and a girl. They loved him so much, just like he really was a member of their family. They took him hiking and to the snow and lots and lots of other fun places. In fact, a couple of years after Charlie’s adoption I was with my dogs at Point Isabel – a favorite Bay Area off-leash wonderland for dogs and their humans. Suddenly, I saw this far away dog come flying toward me. Yikes! Then I was surprised and thrilled to see it was Charlie coming to greet me and my dogs, his old buddies. Isn’t it simply amazing how smart and lovable dogs are? No wonder we connect so strongly with them.

Over the years, many adopters of my fosters have kept in touch with me and Charlie’s family was no exception. They regularly sent adorable family photos and best of all, I kept up with Charlie’s adventures on his Instagram page.

There is nothing better than knowing a pet you once loved and cared for has a wonderful family to love and cherish him. Charlie lived a good, long life, until 14 years of age. Sadly, he is no longer with us, but despite my tears I am so grateful for the happy life he had. I wish all dogs could have the same kind of good, well-loved life as Charlie.