Yes, this is a book about Charlie, my extraordinary Golden Retriever and our beautiful relationship. So it fits into the “dog memoir” genre. In Charlie’s story there are many messages, some subtle and some not so subtle , not only about relating to a dog and what a dog can bring to your life but also about life in general. Besides providing a blueprint for getting older and portraying a wonderful attitude in dealing with life’s challenges, Charlie’s story contains many other interwoven messages. Here are a number of them:
A good relationship is hard to find, and when you do find one, make the most of it, cherish it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a person or a dog, or a cat, or a bird, or any other animal: it’s finding and keeping a good relationship that matters. It’s the feeling of connecting deeply with another being. It can give you confidence and heal you. It can make you feel whole.
Don’t take life or time for granted. Both are limited. Make the very most of your time. Live in the moment fully.
Have things you do that make you happy. They help when there are troubles. Loss is universal and is something we all must deal with, but there’s beauty in life, no matter what.
Don’t take no for an answer: forge ahead, no matter what. Don’t give up until the very last door closes.
Little twists of fate can make a huge difference in your life. Be grateful when something unexpected and magical happens that makes your life so much better.
There’s so much that’s unknown and uncontrollable, but often things work in ways that only make sense when looking back.
Listen to your heart and your instincts.
Love is essential and has great power to heal.
Home and family are paramount.
Don’t be afraid to give as much as you can. Giving is at the heart of a good life.
Take really good care of those you love, including yourself. The rewards are endless.
Take really good care of any animal you bring into your home. They are dependent on you. Dogs, in particular, are pack/family beings. Most dogs want to be part of your family. You are at the center of their life. They will give to you unconditionally, and they so appreciate it when you give to them in the same way. Dogs are the only species that has made friends with our species. They deserve the best!
Try to have fun with your beautiful dog, pet, animal, no matter what’s going on. Dogs are joyful, and they love happiness more than almost anything. Mostly dogs are all about love, one of the main traits that make them so special.
I think many of the key principles of life and how to live it well are encapsulated in Charlie’s story, which makes it a story that can be read on many levels. While I was writing it, many of these messages were not apparent to me, nor was I attempting to make them apparent. It was only after Charlie: A Love Story was finished that I began seeing more clearly what it had to say.
Barbara Lampert is a Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in relationships. She’s been in private practice in Brentwood, California for over twenty years. She considers her work a calling and loves what she does. She has a doctorate in medical sociology and two master’s degrees – one in psychology and one in sociology. Barbara has adored dogs her whole life. They’re her passion! She notes that for a lot of people, their dogs are their best friends. She loves helping people know that’s ok – that a soul-satisfying relationship may be found with any being and needs to be treasured. Besides her love of dogs, Barbara is an avid gardener and finds herself gardening in much of her spare time. She sees her garden as a work of art. She loves being in nature – the miracle of growth, the ever-changing landscape, its beauty. Today Barbara lives happily in Malibu, California with her husband David (married twenty-eight years!) and their six-year-old Golden Retriever, Harry. Barbara hopes that Charlie: A Love Story will be a tribute not only to a magnificent dog but to all dogs everywhere. You can visit her website at www.charliealovestory.com.
ABOUT CHARLIE: A LOVE STORY
Charlie: A Love Story tells of the beautiful love between Charlie, a Golden Retriever, and the author, Barbara Lampert. It takes place in Malibu, California. When Charlie turned eleven years old and started having some health problems, a journal Barbara was keeping about her garden quickly became mostly about Charlie. Charlie: A Love Story is an intimate look at an incredible connection between a canine and a human. And as a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships, Barbara brings that sensibility and understanding to Charlie’s story as well. Charlie was Barbara’s loyal confidante and best friend. He was indomitable, had a zest for life and an uncanny emotional intelligence. Charlie: A Love Story is about devotion, joy, loss, and renewal, about never giving up or giving in. But mostly it’s about an extraordinary dog and an extraordinary relationship.