As the Disturbance at Foxwood Court revisits favourite characters and a familiar setting, it seems fitting that it should be dedicated to one of my all-time favourite dogs. In fact, I had to go back through the previous books in the series and check that I hadn’t already dedicated a book to Charlie. He is that good a dog—though admittedly, he is getting somewhat cheeky in his old age.
I’ve known Charlie for over a decade. He belongs to my brother-in-law, and played a major part in bringing him and my sister together. He even played a special part in their wedding.
He is a black Labrador with grey hair speckling his muzzle and stomach. He’s one of the gentlest, chillest dogs you will ever meet. My brother in law has raised him from a puppy and trained him well. When I first met Charlie, I was amazed at how friendly and well behaved he was. He does have a few quirks though. Like any Labrador, he is obsessed with food.
His other quirk is that when you arrive at his house, Charlie will bark and run up to you in greeting, and then he will go, grab a shoe and bring it to you. Occasionally, he will grab one of my sister’s bras, but more usually it’s a shoe. This is because when my brother-in-law was training Charlie, he thought it would be really cool to have a dog that would bring him his slippers in the morning. Charlie somehow decided that people like shoes, and so he will do his best to give you a shoe. He does this so often that when my niece was really little, she thought this was just what you did when you had visitors, so arriving at my sister’s house, you’d get presented with unmatched shoes by a toddler and a dog.
The night before my sister’s wedding, I slept on the sofa at their house. There was quite a sharp earthquake in the night. Charlie got scared, and decided to sleep on top of me. As a Labrador is quite a big dog, this wasn’t exactly comfortable, but I didn’t have the heart to tell him ‘no.’ I think Charlie worked out that I was a soft touch, because when I dogsit him, he does things he knows he will never be allowed to when his family is home: sleep on the beds and climb onto the sofa. In fact, my sister and brother in law recently got rid of his dog bed because Charlie has starting ignoring it and sleeping on the sofa even when they’re home. The sofa is his now.
He’s very elderly now, and has had several close shaves with death—both times due to eating things he should not have eaten and getting very, very sick. He spends most of his day sleeping but never passes on the opportunity to go out for a walk around the block. When you drop food on the floor, he is the best clean up crew, and if you’re cooking, he has a knack for lying in the exact most inconvenient space.
In short, if he is not the best dog ever, he is definitely a top contender. Good dog, Charlie. Good dog.