Charlie & Amber: The Tale of Two Hearts That Beat as One

Born September 16, 2007, Amber had a destiny. Her destiny was Charlie.

We brought her home after choosing her from a litter of wild, dirty boys. Amber was lighter in color, as the boys were more like an Irish setter in color and less of my idea of what a golden retriever should look like. She came to us, sat at our feet, and melted our hearts. She was going to be the most perfect gift for our daughter, Charlie.

She sat on my lap on the drive home. And truthfully, she was a muddy, smelly mess like her brothers. On our way home, I called our oldest daughter to get ready to bathe her. This little pup needed to be perfect when we surprised Charlie.

Denae bathed that little girl 4 times to get all the mud and whatever else off of her. Denae then dried her off and wow…what a beautiful pup.

We had told Charlie she could have a golden retriever when she turned twelve. We kept that promise even though it was several days after her November 10th birthday. Our Christmas tree was up and this little pup fit nicely under it. We called Charlie to come upstairs and well…that was the beginning of a beautiful fairy tale. A tale of a little girl and a golden retriever named Amber.

Charlie and Amber somehow magically morphed into a single being. Their hearts beat the same beat. They knew what the other felt and thought. They were incomplete, lost, if separated. Never have I ever witnessed such a connection between a person and their dog. It was unique and unexplainable. It was beautiful.

I can barely recall life before Amber. It seems like she’s always been a part of our family. She was always a part of Charlie. Today, though, was the day. The day one had to let the other go. It wasn’t what either would voluntarily choose. You know…for one to walk this life without the other. But there really was no choice.

I’ve cried a lot today. I cried for my daughter who lost her best friend. As a mom, I want to make everything better. I want to be a pillar of strength and guidance and protection for my children. But the family dynamics changes as life goes on and the children grow up. And I’m not so good with change even though I know it’s necessary. I want to remove the grief that has ripped through my daughter’s heart like a dagger. But I cannot. It’s something that she has to work through herself as I have had to do on numerous occasions on my own.

My tears were shed because Amber was truly a remarkable dog. She was the kindest and smartest dog I have ever known in all of my sixty years. She carried my daughter through the best and the absolute worst days of her life. Charlie was blessed to have had Amber for over half her life.

Amber wore an endless smile. And, yes, dogs smile. She was happy in life and beyond happy to belong to Charlie. Whenever Amber greeted you, she first had to find a gift for you. It could be a leaf, an empty water bottle, a toy, a long piece of lawnscaping trim that she readily ripped up out of the earth, a piece of trash, a shoe, a sock, even a pair of underwear she gifted my son, Jet.

Charlie taught her many tricks. Amber could do the army crawl. She would sit up tall and fall still to the ground when you shot her with your finger gun. Charlie taught her to Eskimo kiss too, a trick that Amber didn’t particularly like to do so much. She did it perfectly once when Charlie had a really bad day. And then she did it today.

I could talk forever about this dog. Well, maybe not forever, but at least fourteen years worth. She was comical and bright. Once there was a rooster that came onto our property strutting his stuff for the ladies when he had a face off with Amber. She watched him as he yelled at her and flapped his wings to make himself look big and scary while the hens rushed to take cover behind a bush. One by one you’d see their heads peek around the edge of the bush to watch their man confront Amber. But Amber had no interest in hurting him. She was just amused.

I could talk about her feet. The cutest dog feet in all the world. Or her smile which was absolutely contagious. She was motherly to the other dogs and animals and a friend to humans. She was the best of the best.

I know this will be one of the hardest nights ever for my daughter. I know she feels the greatest of all pain. That of loneliness and of loss. But Amber taught Charlie so many life lessons that she will live on forever in every memory and in every beat of Charlie’s heart.

A tale of two hearts that beat as one. The most precious of all fairy tales and I was blessed to witness it from the beginning to its end. Disney couldn’t hold a candle to this true life story.

Amber is missed so much already. She was a huge presence in our family. Amber was one of our family. The greatest dog ever. ♥️


September 16, 2007 – January 24, 2022

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