When our young children named our first dog Charger, none of us knew how appropriate that would prove to be. Charger was always bulldozing ahead, never looking back to see if life or a big dog was chasing him.
We had a fence in the backyard. Charger dug under it. Once, twice, three times, more. He’d make the circuit through the neighborhood, then come back and sit on the front porch until we let him in the house.
Charger must have been a mix between a Jack Russell terrier and a dachshund. He had short hair which prompted us to think he would get cold in the winter. We bought him a sweater, and put it on him. Out to the back yard he went, and dug a new hole under the fence. His circuit that day was a little longer than usual. We opened the front door, and there he was—without his sweater.
That big dog I mentioned caught up with him one day. We didn’t see the confrontation, but according to neighbors, Charger didn’t back down. The big dog grabbed one of his back legs, and didn’t let go until Charger’s leg was broken.
Off to the Vet we went, with Charger looking at me as if to say, “Well, what was I supposed to do? That big dog is the bully of the neighborhood.”
The Vet put a splint on his leg that was about four inches longer than his leg. Later Charger went out to the back yard. Finally he would not be able to dig a hole under the fence.
Within a few minutes we heard a clop-clop-clop going down the street. It was the end of the splint pounding the pavement as Charger went in pursuit of we know not, probably the big dog he had tangled with before. I chased him, but Charger was faster than I was even with his broken leg, and his hiding places were numerous. Ten or fifteen minutes later he was sitting on the front porch, everything intact.
We moved to another house about two miles away from the old one. Charger decided even though we inhabited that house, this was not really where we lived. At least on four different occasions after Charger went out for his constitutional, he disappeared.
About an hour later we’d get a call from the people who now lived in our previous house. Charger was sitting on the front porch. Each time I went to retrieve him, and on the way to our now home, tried to explain to him we did not live in the other house anymore.
He never acknowledged my talks with a bark. He’d sit and stare at me with that long nose of his, and tolerate what I was saying. In my conversation I always included the fact he was crossing a very busy street to get to the old house, and that he was short, and nobody could see him when they were driving.
Maybe the most remarkable of his journeys came one Saturday. My wife worked for a Vet that was about halfway between the two houses. Rain was pouring down. Charger went out for a few minutes, I thought. He disappeared.
Within a half hour, someone at the animal clinic said a dog was knocking on the door, trying to get in. Exactly what knocking on the door meant I don’t know. Charger probably stood up on his back legs and used his front legs and paws to pound on the door.
The Vet was quite used to dogs and cats trying to escape from the clinic, but never had one that willingly wanted to come in. That caused everyone in the place, the Vet, the customers, my wife, and animals that could obtain a vantage point, to look out the front window. Somebody opened the door, and in came Charger, and ran over to my wife. Everybody got a laugh out of that one.
We never figured out how Charger knew my wife was there unless he saw her car. Maybe he had some bloodhound in him, and simply followed her.
Charger did have a soft heart, One day when we came home, and he didn’t hear us come in the house, we found him lying under the table that had the guinea pig’s cage on it. They were keeping each other company.
Everybody should have a Charger in their lives, the dog, not the Dodge. Then again Charger would have enjoyed riding in a Dodge Charger, as long as he had on his aviator’s cap, his goggles, and his scarf, and he was allowed to hang his head out the front passenger window.