Happy Birthday Charlie!

It's his first.  Our puppy is one today!

Charlie spent his first four months on a farm with his Labradoodle siblings in Lancaster County before we won him at a benefit auction. (I told that story here).

He now has a quasi-urban life.  It is certainly not hay-filled, but I hope full of human and canine companionship, and lots of love.

Maybe he dreams of his early puppyhood sleeping in a barn with his brothers and running free on his land.

Now, he has Harry, a crazy, Cairn Terrier brother, who welcomed him with play upon arrival in September.  Harry is his protector, modeler of bad barking habits, and chew-toy partner.  They nap side by side on the couch, looking so cute, we forgot we didn't want them on the furniture in the first place.

Charlie has his humans with him most of the time to rub his puppy belly, find his chew bone, give him three meals a day (although I think he would prefer food made from scratch...) and remove coveted items from his mouth that we would prefer he not chew to bits.  Note:  At one year, he seems mostly oblivious now to our shoes and pants.  (He consumed one pair of each of mine).

Charlie has Leo, a best friend across the street, who is an Irish Goldendoodle.  Their playdates are filled with romp and chase, sitting on each other and digging for buried bones from Leo's predecessor.

It's great to live in a neighborhood and have a best friend.

A few months ago, Charlie earned the privilege to run free in the woods and hike with us off leash. He gallops along, his ears bouncing up and down like he's the Easter bunny.   It fills me with such happiness to watch Harry and Charlie run together on the trails, all of us taking in the air and exercise.  He's the first of our three dogs to be a swimmer by nature, although Harry is increasingly becoming bolder in the water.  (A little competition, perhaps?)

Charlie is a hug-able dog, just big and patient enough to wrap your arms around him and press your cheek against his soft, floppy ears.  Then his paws give way on the slippery wooden floor, and he's on his back again, belly up, and Olivia and I are stretched out on the kitchen floor right beside him, wondering what we're doing down there yet again, dinner not prepared and homework not finished, ignoring all that in favor of filling our hearts and faces with puppy fuzz.