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At the Rainbow Bridge: Charlie Brown

Charlie (WayToMe Midsummer Knight, HIC) came from Terry and Jody Workman of WayToMe Beardies in Bennet, NE. He was born on May 17, 1997, and for more than 15 years he was king of our household. He watched over his domain like the benevolent royal he was; he would tell wild turkeys and deer, the neighbors' chickens, joggers, and pedestrians to get off his lawn. He brought up the youngsters with typical patience, but they quickly learned that they needed to follow his rules. He was especially proud of his brownness, and spent as much time as possible enhancing his coat color with the finest brown dirt — or mud, better still. Like his father Jamie, he had a fine appreciation of all things aromatic, and enjoyed a good roll in the smelliest thing on the beach or in the woods. (The all-time prizewinner was the dead seagull that washed up on the beach at low tide.)

Charlie loved practically everybody, both human and canine, and everybody loved Charlie. He schooled unnamed numbers of other Beardies in the fine arts of Dirt Appreciation and Archaeology. Little puppies would follow him around at Beardie bounces. He could sometimes be found playing "Brown Beardie Clubhouse" under the tables with all of the other brown and fawn Beardies. He flirted with Rough Collie girls, and liked to pick up "big women" (Leonbergers, Newfies, and Great Danes) on the beach.

I had high hopes of his being my next performance dog after Duncan retired, but Charlie had other ideas. He preferred to be "Good Time Charlie," and he would always rather party than work. Instead of herding the sheep, he went swimming in the stock tank. He quickly discovered that people would cheer and applaud loudly when he clowned on the agility course, and then ran directly to the kiddie pool and jumped in. He loved tracking, but he loved jumping in ponds and swamps more than he did following the track.

He loved to take long hikes, dig holes in the backyard (his Big Dig was completed on time and under budget), jump in puddles and swamps, chomp on knucklebones, and tour around town in the car. He especially loved charming fans everywhere he went — sitting at traffic lights, in the post office parking lot... anywhere where he could attract an audience of admirers. He was the consummate party animal; he enjoyed every Beardie Bounce and doggie party, but particularly any that had kiddie pools, soft loam for digging, or both.

About the only creature on the planet who didn't love Charlie was our cat, Persephone. Persephone had felt the need to teach Charlie a few lessons about cat-chasing, and he bore a set of very fine pink lines down his nose as reminders.

When Doogie went off to the Bridge, Charlie became depressed. Doogie had practically raised him, and had spent the better part of Charlie's puppyhood with a brown puppy attached to an ear, his tail, or a back leg. That was when we brought Seamus home to be company for Charlie. Charlie also did a fine job of helping raise Dinah.

Fifteen years is a good long life, but still, he left us too soon. On September 28, 2012, he went to be with his old friend Doogie. Our household will never be the same.

More photos of Charlie