The Things We Do for Love: “I Found a Special Way to Honor My Dog’s Memory”
Caroline Golon, the human behind popular humor blog Romeo the Cat, shares stories of pet owners who have gone the extra mile for their pets in this series, The Things We Do for Love.
Dr. Katy Nelson was heartbroken when her 16-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, Charlie, passed away in 2011. But finding a special resting place for him brought her peace.
A veterinarian in the Washington, D.C., area, Dr. Nelson stays busy with her husband, two kids, a Labradoodle named Papi and a turtle named Tuck. But she’ll never forget Charlie. Nor will anyone else. “Everyone who knew him remembers him,” Nelson says with a laugh.
That’s because Charlie wasn’t the most well-behaved or friendliest of dogs. “He got kicked out of behavioral studies twice, he bit my boyfriends, and I spent thousands of dollars in training,” Dr. Nelson says. “But I loved him more than anything.”
Taking the Show on the Road
Dr. Nelson and Charlie were inseparable. After Dr. Nelson’s vet school graduation, the pair embarked on a road trip to 14 different states for job interviews. Later, they moved around for Dr. Nelson’s jobs. But she says that Charlie’s favorite place was Dr. Nelson’s parents’ home, acres of beautiful land just south of Alexandria, Louisiana.
“We’d pull up in the car, and I’d let him out and he’d be off like a shot within seconds,” Dr. Nelson says. “He’d go as far as he could to the back of the property, and all we could see was a little white streak running along the fence.”
The little white dog also loved the pond behind the house. “He’d disappear under water for 30 to 40 seconds and come up completely muddy!” Dr. Nelson says.
Because he suffered from kidney failure, Charlie couldn’t visit Louisiana the last few years of his life. “That was probably really sad for him,” Dr. Nelson says.
One Last Trip
When Charlie passed away in March 2011, Dr. Nelson knew just how to honor his memory. “I wanted his ashes to be buried at my parents' house,” she says.
Five and a half months pregnant with her second child, Dr. Nelson wasn't in a position to travel to Louisiana right away, so she waited a few months. “I wanted to be the person who brought him home,” she says.
After her daughter’s birth, Dr. Nelson took Charlie home to Louisiana and buried him by the fence he loved to run along. Dr. Nelson’s dad built a cross grave marker and carved Charlie’s name into it.
“We buried his ashes with pictures and his collar,” Dr. Nelson says. “Last year, during the hurricane, his cross was blown down. The next day, my dad was out there, making sure the cross was fixed.”
Dr. Nelson knows Charlie would have been happy with her choice. “That’s where he was the happiest.”
What do you do for love? We’re looking for the funny, sweet and special stories that will make other pet parents smile. Email us at [email protected] to share your story. Please put "The Things We Do for Love" in the subject line.