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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Sleep Is
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Chicago Review Press

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

Lets-Panic.com → 

« In which I complain about summer camp | Main | Bang. Bang. Bang bang. »
Monday
Aug022010

Charlie and Me

I wrote an essay about our dog Charlie for a forthcoming anthology about dogs. I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship!, edited by Wade Rouse, will be published in 2011, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Humane Society of the United States. All kinds of incredible writers are contributing, including Merrill Markoe, Rita Mae Brown, and Jen Lancaster. I'm honored to be included.

Charlie is one of my favorite topics to write about, as most of my friends have long grown tired of me jabbering about my dog's velvety ears and I have to get it out somehow. We adopted Charlie shortly after we got married, and when my mom saw us with him she rolled her eyes and said, "You two need to have a baby." The implication being that once we procreated, we'd calm down about the dog and stop, say, kissing him on the lips. Well, guess who was wrong about that? You were, Mom! YOU! So there! Now give your other grandson a kiss.

I needed a picture of me with Charlie for the book, so my pal Amber of The Amber Show graciously volunteered her photographic talents. The essay is about Charlie's insistence on sleeping in our bed, between me and Scott, under the covers. Amber took some boudoir pics. I wore my nightie!

IMG_0082 (orig)

You can't really tell that it's a nightie. But oh, it is. It's from Target. Mrowr.

Charlie hates getting his picture taken. I don't know who beat him with a camera, but someone clearly did, because the minute he sees one his ears go back and he tries to lick it. That's Charlie's tactic. If you upset him in any way, his defense is to wag his tail violently and lick you. He'll love you right into submission.

IMG_0116 (brighter, cropped)

This is him pleading with me to make the clickety-click sounds stop. Oh boy, do we need a headboard. Someday, my friends. Someday.

IMG_0032 (alice brighter)

Here I am, pointing. I'm saying, "That's a dog. That's Charlie!" I can identify my pets.

IMG_0157 (brighter)

I'm holding him down. The moment I loosened my grip he'd scurry to the next room. But oh, we got him back! Dogs are not bright.

IMG_0152 (orig)

I was trying to look vaguely unhappy with him being in the bed with me, and yet swayed by his canine charms. It was a complicated series of emotions. My face was breaking under the strain.

IMG_0019 (brighter)

I am absolutely covered in dog hair, here. The crazy heat wave we've endured has caused Charlie to shed like he's getting paid for it, plus he sheds when he's stressed out, so during this photo shoot, he unloaded approximately 30 pounds of dog hair on me. And Charlie only weighs 25 pounds, so this took some effort on his part. Fur was raining off of him, causing Amber to observe, "He's Pig-Penning!" Which I thought was adorable. And accurate.

IMG_0113 (brighter)

Charlie is now 13 years old. His face used to be mostly black with a white stripe running down the center, but as you can see, he's faded somewhat. His eyes are cloudy, but he can hear a slice of cheese hit the ground from across the apartment. He's still spry, and leaps and cavorts the moment we head outside.

IMG_0165 (brighter)

I'm sure, fellow dog-owners, that your dogs are fine, but Charlie is pretty much the greatest dog who ever lived.

Reader Comments (84)

Wonderful pictures. You and Charlie look very happy together :)I'm always on the verge of grabbing both of my cats and lifting them up and snuggling them to within an inch of their lives. But I always have to decide before I do this: Do I want to have to change my clothes right after doing this? The hair! So. Much. Hair.Really, though, you look terrific!
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie
LOVE your hair. Charlie's hair is pretty awesome too.
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSCJ
You look beautiful, dahling! And I am with you on the whole "I had a human baby but I still make out with my dog thing"...wait, you're with me on that right ;)?I also, also, don't have a headboard yet!Have you done a post on your bedroom decor yet? I think the people are demanding it.
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJ Sweet
You're really photogenic. Also, nice, and smart.
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervictoria
Victoria, WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Bradley
Charlie is a lucky dog and Scott is a lucky man.
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErol
there's something very audrey hepburn about you and these photos. truly. not kissing up.
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGreta Koenigin
The pics are fun (last one is my fave), and love your comments as always. My family and I still talk about our beloved 3-legged chihuahua Gracie (lost her leg after being struck by a car-but that is how she came to our home as well-I rescued her from the crazy lady who hit her and took her to my vet-long story for a comment post-sorry) and it has been more than 2 years since we lost her to a brain tumor (it was quick and tragic and heart-breaking). We still have our first chihuahua (age 10-he was the 1st child before those pesky human children came along) and I am afraid we will be quite lost when his time comes. Anyway - long way to say that doggies can really add to your life.

One last thought/my 2 cents-I would recommend re-thinking your donation agency, Humane Society of US is a HUGE corporate entity that rarely gives back to protecting the ones you think they protect. Giving to small animal shelters is much more helpful.
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermlcwildlifepr
mlcwildlifepr, I'm not in control of the book proceeds, but I am donating my fee to a local shelter.
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Bradley
Terrific photos of you and Charlie! I have a beagle who also loves to sleep under the sheets - I think it's a hound biological imperative. My guy is a big beagle (about 35 lbs with long legs) and he likes to stretch all the way out and practically push me out of bed. But one touch of those velvety ears or a look from the melting eyes, and I cannot stay mad at him. I love people who love their dogs!
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKim
Awww, coming out of lurkdom to say how gorgeous these photos are (and hilarious captions).
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl P
Tip... consignment store for the headboard.. seriously I got a gorgeous 40's headboard for $60!!
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSimon Salt
I love the last picture of you two. So you. So Charlie. We just got a puppy. I love her. Why? I don't know. I'm normally so rational and cold, but I can't keep myself from loving that dog. So. I can relate.
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJael
You are so beautiful! I cannot believe you are over forty. Not that over forty is old, but you just look much younger. If you wrote a post detailing your secrets to eternal youth and beauty, I'd be much obliged.
August 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRose
I LOVE your hair - mine always looks like dog do & it's just about the same cut... WHY??? : ) Lucky you.
August 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary
Oh Charlie is a very good boy! My 12-year old puppy, Watson, also sleeps under the covers. I am pregnant with our first human baby & am going to use this post as evidence to my husband that Watson can stay in the bed! p.s. your hair looks cute.
August 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterclaire
All great pics, though the one...third from the bottom is my fav. Y'all are both cute.
August 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJRM
I must say...you are such a natural beauty! I mean it in the best way. These photos with Charlie have captured your beauty inside and out!!
August 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpaula
dude, you are gorgeous! so's your dog.
August 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commentershenanigans
Great photos! Charlie is adorable. He totally deserves to sleep comfortably - who cares if he pushes you out of bed? :)

We lost our siberian husky last October. He was 13, and was my darling for 12 years. I knew we were getting near the end when he stopped coming upstairs to sleep with us. He used to curl up at the bottom of the bed by my feet, and sometimes he'd use my ankles as his pillow.

When my husband traveled for work, he'd sprawl all over his side of the bed like "at last! The interloper is gone!" He had a great sense of humor.

August 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
These.are.awesome! How could you make me choose between Charlie and Chuck?

Swayed to Team Charlie...
August 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbevskid1
My Beagle is doing the same cloudy-eyed, white face hair trick. I DO NOT LIKE IT. She is not allowed to get old. I forbid it.

I only just got a headboard (after 'losing' the previous one in THE GREAT DEEVORCE O' 99) and I'm 53, so you've time yet.
August 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDawn
As someone who loves my own camera shy beagle, I love this.
August 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergeeky
love this ... darling pics! we love our dog dearly as well. also LOVE your hair. making me want to chop mine off! off to make an appt.
August 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
On any given night we have 3-4 of our 5 dogs sleeping in bed with us. Even during the summer they like to under the covers between my husband and me. He has started saying that if we want to have a baby, we need to begin weaning them off of the bed because we can't have a baby and 4 dogs in the bed. We can't even get to the baby part with 4 dogs in the bed because intimacy? What intimacy?
August 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebekah

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