One Year with Charly

May 21, 2014

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It’s hard to believe a year ago at this time, we had been struggling for almost three years with secondary infertility and in a desperate attempt to give Greta a sibling and a playmate–we adopted Charly.


I had been scrolling through the online classifieds and there was a photo of her and  I just knew that is our dog. She belongs with us. It was a a weird thing, coming from me especially. Me, who never had a dog and wasn’t all that convinced I would ever have a dog, sending this photo of this huge dog to Chris with the text, “Can we?” He was caught off guard, but by the end of the night, she was riding in the back of our car and it felt right.


I remember the first two weeks of having Charly, I worried that all 150lbs of her would suddenly turn on all of us. Charly is my very first dog and I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was a big bag of nerves. I can say now that those first two weeks I was mildly afraid of her. Now, a year later, I am confident in her sweetness and gentleness.


I have accepted that her freight train snoring and the constant shedding hair is here to stay, and really, it’s a small price to pay for all that she gives us–but especially Greta.


Charly, or Chawly as she calls her, is Greta’s best friend. Greta follows her everywhere, usually on all fours.


I thought it would be a short-lived phase, but here we are a year later and Greta still walks like Charly when they play.


Charly is her pillow and snuggle buddy.


Her constant companion.



Sometimes I warn Greta to be more gentle and you’re pushing her limits! But time and time again, Charly has proved me wrong.



I have been asked how Charly is with Faye? Having a new baby in the house has been an adjustment for everyone, including Charly. We have worried about her as she has seemed down lately, which I heard can happen to dogs when a new baby comes along or a move happens (both of which we’ve gone through in 7 months).


As we figure out life with Faye, Charly is showing her patience with us and is so gentle and protective with Faye, too–she’ll even stand guard in her room a lot of the time!


I’m so grateful that Charly became the friend Greta desperately needed, but what Chris and I needed as well. And even though we have another child now, Charly will always represent the blessing that came into our lives at the moment we needed it.


Charly is so patient and loyal and loving and sweet. We feel like we won the dog lottery adopting her. I just can’t say it enough. To many more years with our big girl!

What do you think?

  1. What a beautiful post! I’m so happy that Charly has been such a wonderful addition to your family. I love that Greta walks like him when they play! So sweet!! We got a pup last fall and I can’t believe the amount of love and joy she brings into our lives.

  2. Victoria says:

    You certainly lucked out with this lovebug. I only met her once, and I could tell she was a great protector and friend, and a perfect member of the Marcum family.

  3. Sarah says:

    What a sweet story! Love the pic of Greta having a tea party with Charly! So cute!
    Dogs are the best! We have a yellow lab and while he was a HUGE handful as a pup, and took a lot of patience and time for training, he is the best dog now. He is so good with both our girls and also very protective of them. I can’t imagine our life without him. You are all lucky that you found each other.

  4. Rosie says:

    Thank you for this post.

    I grew up as an only child with a 150lb dog myself! He was a Great Pyranees so he shed a LOT too. I grew up playing with my dog named Zeus. We wrestled and cuddled. It sounds like Greta will have a similar experience as I did (you know except now she has a sister to have group tea parties with!)

    I could walk ANYWHERE with him because who would attack a girl with such a huge dog? It helped bridge that gap of a child and a teenager because my mum knew I’d be safe wherever I walked in the neighborhood. Maybe Charly will provide that security for you when Greta is older!

    I’m forever grateful that my parents saw that I needed a best friend. I’m sure Greta will thank you for years and years.

  5. Jeffrey Sims says:

    I don’t even like Greyhounds!

  6. CarrieE says:

    Such a sweet post. It brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful that Charly found her way to your home and hearts. The picture with Charly, Greta and the tea set is precious!

  7. stephanie says:

    goodness this brings tears to my eyes. The pictures of Greta and Charley remind me so much of myself with Ginger when I was her age. My parents too struggled and I was an only child for almost 6 years :) Dogs really are wonderful and I’m so glad you were able to give Charley such a loving second home!

  8. Melanie says:

    Such a sweet post!

  9. Ashley says:

    This made me cry. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Kitty says:

    Aww, that totally made me tear up. We have three rescue cats and they bring me so much joy. Charlie is lucky to have you!

  11. caroline [the diy nurse] says:

    I was never a dog person either but when they’re your own … i dont know. Theres just really something to be said about their love and what they bring to our lives <3

  12. Heidi says:

    I loved reading this tribute to your big sweet girl. Charly reminds me so much of my parents’ dog, Sophie, who is half Saint Bernard (I’m assuming that’s what Charly is?) as well. She is the perfect dog for my mom, who runs an in-home daycare. Sophie is constantly being stepped on, pulled, tripped over, or laid on, and homegirl just eats it up. She is so gentle; literally the most laid-back dog I’ve ever met. NOTHING bothers that girl! Mom often says she’s the perfect Nana dog, like from Peter Pan. :) She’s super hairy as well, but like you said, it’s worth it. I love reading stories about how dogs have changed people’s lives. So glad your Charly was an answer to your prayers. Love your blog. :)

    • Rosie says:

      Sophie sounds like my childhood dog! My huge dog Zeus and I used to walk by a daycare often. The kids would come out and prod him, pick up his tail, accidentally hit him in the eye when reaching up to pet him, and Zeus ate it all up too. I always thought he’d want to skip the daycare, so I’d walk across the street, but Zeus would pull me back in that direction :)

      I suppose attention is attention, even when a kid might trip and land on you in the process :D

  13. Aliesha says:

    Thank you for this post! I miss Charly(my Tinee girl) every day! I am so grateful to you and your family for loving her the way I did. There are days when I want her back so bad my heart aches. But seeing this makes me realize how lucky I was when you replied to one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. You answered every prayer I said in looking for a better home for Tinee. A million times thank you for loving my Tinee girl. I’m forever grateful!

  14. Monica says:

    What a lovely post. Thanks for welcoming Charly into your beautiful family and home. To many more years with him.

  15. Callie says:

    It’s so heartwarming to hear such happily ever afters like this. When you find the right one, dogs can be such tremendous joy givers, protectors and they have the best ears to listen. So glad, for you(!), to have found the perfect companion for your family! Enjoy Charly and maybe give her an extra treat today. Just remember that she found a pretty winning family too…!

  16. Stacie M says:

    What a beautiful story. I have never had a dog or the desire but that post convinced me of the possibility.

  17. Allison says:

    This is such a lovely story! Thank you for sharing!!

  18. Michelle | Birds of Berwick says:

    What a great post. I wouldn’t know what to do without my dog and it’s beautiful to see Charly with your family.

  19. Blair says:

    what a sweet post with adorable pictures. thank you!

  20. Alise says:

    Lovely post!

  21. Sarah B. says:

    I love this.

  22. noelle says:

    This was a beautiful post :)

  23. Kim // Yellow Brick Home says:

    Goodness. This made me so happy.

  24. Jeanna says:

    Really loved this post! Dogs have earned the title “Man’s Best Friend” for a reason :) I heard someone say once that the reason dog’s lives are so short is because they have already learned the greatest lesson of all, and that is unconditional love. They simply don’t need to spend as much time here on Earth as we do because we still have so very much to learn. And I believe it!

  25. Evelinaf says:

    This post brought a tear to my eye. Dogs are such special members of our families. It’s so lovely to see Greta (and soon Faye) develop such a precious relationship together. I have recently lost my dog and I can attest to the unexplanatory bond a child and dog can have. Thank you for posting this.

    • Julia says:

      So sorry for your loss, Evelinaf. It’s true what you say about the relationship and bond they bring to families.

  26. Meagan Briggs says:

    This was the sweetest post! I’m about to cry!! We want a dog so badly but the timing just doesn’t feel right. Marley was a big let down for all of us and I still find myself so sad about it! Charly…do you have a distant cousin we don’t know about that needs to be adopted in florida??

    • Julia says:

      You guys need time to recover from poor Marley. Your dog is out there and I’ll talk to Charly about any relatives. ;)

  27. Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication says:

    Such a sweet post! That Charly looks like such a sweetheart!

  28. Jordan says:

    Oh my goodness, I just love this post! It’s amazing the way our furry family steals our heart. My husband and I adopted our first dog together nearly a year ago as well and we simply can’t picture life without him now. The pictures tell the whole story, what a sweet, sweet heart Charly has. So happy for you guys! XO

  29. Haley says:

    I love this! The relationship with children and their dogs are so adorable. We have a pit mix and were very nervous when we introduced our baby to her, but I’m constantly being surprised by the patience that our puppy has with our daughter.

  30. Jessie says:

    I think this is one of my favorite posts in blog land! I’m glad you have her.

  31. Kathy says:

    This post made me teary. I hope, if we ever have children, that my 35 pound bundle of energy, nerves, and quirks (aka Molly) will bond with them as much as her and I have. My dogs were my best friends growing up and still are! Best wishes to you all and Charly for many more happy years together.

  32. Caitlin says:

    What a beautiful post. My husband and I have two dogs they are the world to us. I can’t wait until the day we have a baby and they can have a little best friend.

  33. Rachel says:

    Beautiful story. Dogs are simply amazing. I’d never had one either – until we got our Sophie nearly 3 years ago. Now I don’t know what I’d do without her.

  34. Amanda says:

    This was a beautiful post. My husband wants a dog this size, and after reading your story, I’m a little more comfortable with the idea. I’ve just always worried (and have been warned by some friends) about how a large dog would affect my cleaning routine. Was it a hard adjustment?

    • Kathy says:

      Amanda, Look into retired racing greyhounds. They are truely gentle giants. Great with kids, but love their naps, too! They take retirement seriously. They are short haired dogs so the spring is the only time they shed the most. Best dog that has ever owned us!!

      • Steph Nelson says:

        I agree to look at retired greyhounds if you want a large dog. Essiebuttonvlogs on youtube has one and it has made me fall in love in with them. She did two vlogs about adopting a greyhound.

        Julia~ I can’t believe it has been a year!!!! Charly is beautiful and I am so glad her and Greta are the best of friends. I love the pics of her looking out the window. She must do it a lot! :)

    • Jennifer R. says:

      Hi Amanda :)
      I have two dogs and a cat. My smaller dog is 30 lbs and short haired. The cat is short haired too. They get brushed about once a week and it is no big deal. My other dog is a 60 lb golden retriever. Still about 1/3 the size of Charly and actually thin coated as golden retrievers go. We brush her daily and use a ferminator every few weeks. Still, if I’m being honest, the house is coated in hair. I vacuum almost every day and feel like I sweep up a whole dog worth of hair a few times a week. It is seriously astonishing. So definitely if you cleaning is important to you, consider a short haired dog like a greyhound.

      All dogs should be monitored with children. We raised ours from puppies and have done formal obedience training. Neither have ever so much as growled at a stranger. Still, children aren’t to be left alone with animals no matter how much we love and trust them. It is really for the dogs safety. Tolerating being pulled and tugged does not mean enjoying it or not being on edge. As dogs get older many get more irritable, and many times there are no signs until a bite happens. I used to volunteer with the local animal services and I can not tell you how many dogs were turned in for biting with the owners saying “she has never done this before!” So better safe than sorry. Dachshunds are the most aggressive breed, FYI. Very nippy and hard to train…. but they are teeny tiny so no one ends up seriously injured (not hating on dachshunds, my smaller dog is 1/2 doxie and he is our baby!!). Just do your homework and monitor your dog, and everything will be a-okay.

      Few things bring more joy to your home or children than a dog!!

    • Julia says:

      There is hair everywhere! I am not going to lie to you. But as I said in the post, it is a small price to pay. Our new wood tile floors make sweeping a breeze and I vacuum area rugs about every other day. Charly isn’t allowed on furniture so that isn’t an issue. I don’t remember adjusting my cleaning routine too much, because I generally swept everyday with a toddler anyway. Although now I am sweeping up heaps of dog hair (they generally stick together in little tumbleweeds around the baseboards) in addition to dropped cheese. Haha!

  35. Lindsey Marson says:

    OMG! Best post ever! I often get so excited to see how our boy will act whenever our first child gets here, and this has me even more giddy! Thank you for this beautiful post!

  36. Jennifer R. says:

    This just reaffirms a strong belief I have held my entire life – every child should have a dog friend! They teach so much love, compassion, responsibility, and you have to learn to empathize with something that is not even human. I had dogs my whole life, and don’t really understand how people live without them :) It’s all about finding the right dog for your family, which Charly clearly is!

  37. Becky says:

    Awww… she is so beautiful and sweet! Although make sure to teach Greta and Faye that not all dogs they come across will be as tolerant of the laying on and huggin as your gentle girl is.

  38. Kirsten says:

    What a great post. Charly is a beautiful dog!

  39. Amanda {NoDak Nest} says:

    Oh my goodness, I’m sitting at my desk crying! Dogs become a part of your family so quickly and we soon forget how we ever did without them. Love this post!

  40. Sophie says:

    So lovely – what a beautiful dog! She really does seem like a blessing for your family and especially sweet Greta.

  41. Lisa says:

    What a lovely story. So nice to see a happy family of five work together.

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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