Charger may have lost his battle, but his legacy will live on...

Charge Against Cancer
October 20 at 3:01pm



To me Charger was more than an agility dog, more than a name associated with cancer research. He was Chargee – my companion and teammate, my heart dog, my blanket whenever I was cold (which was quite often). Charger was the 1st pup born from my first ever litter. He stood out from the moment he was born – delivered butt side first and standing on hind legs trying to crawl out of the whelping basket. I was hell bent on NOT keeping a male but Charger had other plans. When he pushed himself up to a sit for the first time, he stretched and regally circled his head around; it was pretty much a done deal right there.

Another special golden had been born around that time – Terri Everline’s Tag. Let’s see, Tag weighed like 5 or 6 lbs; Charger weighed 12. Because of his size, some thought Charger wouldn’t do well in agility. HAH! But handling this big, powerful dog didn’t come easy. I had to learn how to run a speeding semi that didn’t corner well:). I credit Connie Appling and her big male dobe for showing me how it could be done. We always started our runs together with me asking, “Ready?” and him replying with a “woo-woo-woo”. And he always let me know when I was interfering with his run. I remember my handling sent him to an off course tunnel. When he came out I raised my arms and asked, “What are you doing down there?” He stood his ground and gave me an earful! My fellow competitors burst out laughing. “He sure told you!”

I still consider my proudest agility moment running Charger in the state competition at the AKC National. WI made it to the finals in 2009 and to my surprise, Charger was part of the 5 dog team. The 5 states’ team members were called out before the competition started – 25 dogs, mostly black and white, some brown and white, and an 87# golden retriever! I wish I had a picture. The following year we came so close to making the 24” class finals at the AKC National. Eighty some dogs ran but they only took 5 into the finals. Charger sat in 5th place until the very last dog ran and pushed us to 6th.

And two months later I found the lump that started the biggest challenge he would face. What an amazing dog Charger was! There were so many times I questioned whether I was doing right by him, forcing him to go through all the tests and treatments. The night after the biopsy was done, he sneezed and the wound started leaking blood. After 2 hours of trying to get the bleeding to stop, I finally drove to emergency with his head in my lap so I could keep pressure on the wound. Pressure had to be applied all night; he never moved and lay quietly for 8 straight hours.Charger would have his “bad” days when the chemo would affect his white count but he always rallied and went to his appointments with a happy tail and a smile. The vet students and doctors came to love him because he was such a good patient and willingly tolerated the challenges.

Just two weeks ago he gave me one more gift as we travelled to the Golden national. People urged me to enter Charger in the Parade of Titleholders, but being unsure of his health, I held off until the deadline. He wasn’t moving as well as he used to, but he strutted around and soaked up all the glory. I am so blessed to have that memory.

But there always needs to be an end to a story and unfortunately, Charger’s story ended Monday. He wasn’t doing well over the weekend, having a hard time getting up and refusing to eat. I had to help him out Sunday night and noticed he was in pain. Then the labored breathing started and an occasional moan. I swore it was his back or pelvis so I woke my husband to carry Charge to the truck, and off to Madison we went…for pain meds. By the time we got there Charger was almost in shock. His bp had dropped, his gums were almost white, his oxygen level was at 60, and then the punch to the gut – the tissue around the heart was filled with fluid. It was time. He had fought so long and so hard but there was nothing to do but finally give him the peace he deserved.

Five and a half years ago when Charger entered into the clinical trial, I signed a paper saying upon his death, his body would be donated to the university for research. Today he met his final obligation. Yes, my heart is breaking but I guess some of yours are too. I truly didn’t realize the effect Charger had on everyone until the tributes came pouring in. His legacy will live on forever with the Charge Against Cancer fund. I never expected it to grow as it has but just maybe, it will help some other dog so no one has to hear the words, “Your dog has cancer” again.

Chargee, I will miss your sweet and gentle soul, your pushing through my legs so you could stand under me, your woo-woo-woo’s. I picked another boy puppy because of you. Rest well and run now with Pecan. My A-team is together again at the bridge.



Charge Against Cancer is a project of AgilGold Kennels, Burlington, Wisconsin

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