I Choose You

Dog With Paws Crossed Heeler Siberian Husky Mix Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Choice” today, I chose to make a little sketch of my dog Elliott as his first birthday is coming up next Thursday, and he’s officially becoming an adult. Beyond growing over five times larger than when he first came home, he’s also developing quite a fun and interesting personality. And thankfully, clocking in at just under 60 pounds, the vet says he’s likely done growing. But, he’s a bit too large to be considered a lapdog now, and is twice as large as our previous dog Phineas. Of course, this doesn’t stop him from still occasionally trying to hop on our laps, though rather unsuccessfully unless Philippe and I happen to be sitting next to one another, doubling the amount of available lap space. Yet, when I look at him today, I still see the same little soulful, imploring eyes that made us choose him out of all the other dogs at the shelter. It strikes me that the choices we make in life that come purely from a place of peaceful tenderness and universal compassion are always the most rewarding.

That’s not to say that it hasn’t been quite an adventure for us. Neither Philippe nor I had ever raised a puppy before, so we had no idea what to expect. I remember once when Elliott first arrived and Philippe suddenly jumped off the couch and checked on him as he was sleeping. “It looked like he wasn’t breathing!” he exclaimed. As it turns out, Elliott is simply a very sound sleeper. Yet, there would be many times along the way that we merely hoped we were doing the right thing and would question every decision that we made. “His ears aren’t symmetrical now. Is that a problem?” I asked on another day. The vet assured us that it wasn’t and that it was just a side effect caused by the cocktail of his 14 various breeds. For his part, Elliott never once had a concern about anything at all. He developed a wildly delighted and extremely social demeanor and has never been truly bothered by much. As long as there are enough toys, food, and love to go around, he’s always perfectly content.

And, I’ve been reminded that those are pretty much the only things that I require in life as well. Yeah, even the toys. Though these days, that includes art supplies. Yet, Elliott still has it much better than I do. He’s shielded from the hatefulness and toxicity that’s creeping up through our human culture. Mostly, because he has no interest in the news or the opposable thumbs required to use a smartphone. He instead focuses on his actual needs, which through all of our early fears turned out to be surprisingly few. Though, thinking back to that first day when we met him at the shelter, it always felt like we all knew what we really needed. It was one of the easiest decisions that I’ve ever made. It was a choice born out of pure optimism and love that made it impossible to second guess. There’s a beautiful rarity in that level of certainty. So, on this day, I’ve decided to take a moment to let my heart reminisce and enjoy that extraordinary, singular moment when Elliott and I first looked into each other’s eyes and silently said, “I choose you.”

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Dog With Paws Crossed Heeler Siberian Husky Mix Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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34 Comments
  1. Zoie McIntyre 4 weeks ago

    Oh Charlie, that is so very beautiful and I love the sketch of Elliott. He so looks as though he has some Doberman in him, which would make him gentle and loving. Your writing reminded me that the people who live the longest, the people who live to 100 and over, all have one thing in common – they all (at least the ones I have been privileged to talk to) just focused on their actual needs rather than being obsessed with the world and things. Rest and loving yourself are important and that just gives you more love and more time to go around. We can all learn a lot from Elliott. <3

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Indeed! Thanks so much, Zoie! 😃💕 I think we all end up needing much less than we realize when we stop and think about what matters.

  2. scrittoralinda 4 weeks ago

    Charlie, not to worry about human culture as the world does not end til God tells it to. Take care and keep loving just like He told us to.

  3. Mary Roff 4 weeks ago

    Elliott would be very hard to resist! I know that feeling of knowing a pet is right for you, love at first sight, and it always seem to be true when it comes to pets. They just somehow know how to choose us.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      They do!! Elliott pushed his siblings out of the way to focus his eyes on us. Didn’t even pay attention to the other people who came into the room after that. 😃💕

  4. Louise Primeau 4 weeks ago

    We have much to learn from our dogs! How to relax and enjoy a patch of sunshine, how to make the most of our daily walks, …. Our Rosie is nearly 10 pounds and was a year old in May. She certainly has us wrapped around her little paws! I think the same might be said of Elliott!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      He definitely has us wrapped around his paws. Though they’re bigger paws… hehe. Elliott likes to sit in the grass and seems so content while we’re thinking it’s time to head back home… we definitely have much to learn! 😃💕

  5. Sandra Strait 4 weeks ago

    if only everyone would learn about life from dogs, we’d be a happier society for sure! Elliott’s a lucky dog to have found you and Philippe!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 Yeah… dogs should just run the world… I’m sure they’d do a better job! hehe

  6. memadtwo 4 weeks ago

    Wonderful Charlie. Love is a beautiful thing. (K)

  7. Fanna Turano 4 weeks ago

    I loved this story, Charlie, and hadn’t realized Phineas was no longer a part of your daily lives, and I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my precious kitty, Buster, recently, and it’s a daily pain, especially finding a recording of his “swan song” near the end. It broke me today. But you have really captured the emotion in Elliot’s eyes. I could really feel his emotions, desires, hopes, but mostly love. Thank you for sharing your touching story.

  8. Brenda Sommerville 4 weeks ago

    Awe Charlie what a wonderful story, our dog Pepper is 11 today we rescued her 9 years ago and she is amazing

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Brenda! 😃💕 And awww, Pepper sounds like a sweetie!!

  9. Mireya 4 weeks ago

    Happy Birthday Elliot

  10. Nellie Nellie 4 weeks ago

    ELLIOT! Happiest Birthday Ever, you lucky dog! Enjoy your lovely family!

  11. Gary Middleton 4 weeks ago

    That’s a beautiful painting, Charlie.

  12. Varsha Koli 4 weeks ago

    Beautifully written, Charlie! And a lovely painting of Elliot..<3

  13. Marisela Delgado 4 weeks ago

    Hola, Charlie! Chicken Fried Steak for Sunday dinner and it was delish! I thought of you.💜 No, he won’t be an adult. Elliott will be a teenager! Well, that’s how I see it. 😂😂😂😂
    You’re right. When we were kids we didn’t worry about who our next governor would be, outside of a parent angrily cursing and saying that the country was doomed. 😂😂😂 We didn’t worry about politics or taxes or bills due. We were just out riding our bike, playing with pets and friends or coloring or watching cartoons. Such a simpler time. I’m not really sure if I would go back. For me, childhood had its own scary risks and issues that other kids never had so, while my present isn’t exactly where I would like to be, I am my own person and can fight back. I feel that I finally reached a breaking point in my recent journey, where no one, absolutely no one, is going to treat me bad again nor will I let anyone try. I have faced a lot of rejection and abuse in my life, always being told that it was my fault. I had a bad attitude, a bad temper, a big mouth, I was a bad person. Turned out it was bullshit. I’m a good person and, as corny as it may sound, I CHOOSE ME! No one else may pick me or treat me the way I deserve, but that’s what the toilet is for. I drew the line in the sand. You’re either for me or I will fight you back if you’re not. I CHOOSE ME! I love me! 💜💜💜 And I love you, too, Charlie.

    • scrittoralinda 4 weeks ago

      Hi Marisela, Not fun for sure so when my life did not work out I decided to let God take over. Wow! That truly is Amazing Grace. Stay well and be happy.

      • Marisela Delgado 3 weeks ago

        Hi, Linda! I hope you are well. I wasn’t clear about your message. Were you agreeing with me? Or just had a differing view? Just curious.
        Yeah, I have learned a lot on my journey. Having to leave offenses and betrayals in His care. It got too heavy for me to carry. I was caring too much for people who didn’t care about me. They were just taking and abusing and I had enough. The Lord told me one day to let go and leave it all to Him. He said that I needed to move on and be free.
        Before, they would do and say hurtful things to me and I said nothing. I took it. Well, no more. No one else is standing up for me so I have to take care of myself. It feels liberating.
        Great hearing from you. Sending you hugs!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Hola, mi amiga! 😃💕 Yep… we refer to Elliott at a teenager now at home. Not sure why they jump from puppy to adult… he’s clearly in his teens by the way he acts! lol And, yes! You should choose YOU! And never let anyone make you feel like you are a lesser person. That always says more about them than it does about you, anyway. 😉 Much love to you!! ❤️

  14. Mugdha 4 weeks ago

    Charlie!! Looks like you got tricked! You’ve been feeling like you chose Elliott but since the day you introduced him to all of us, I’ve felt like HE chose YOU!! And it’s a great choice he’s made. I can imagine him looking you over the first time and thinking to himself.. “My Woofness! Look at these two poor poor humans. They seem to have got it all wrong. They think getting up early & rushing to work and being disciplined is important. They need someone to guide them – to teach them how to laze in front of a fire, drool at treats, ask for treats and jump into piles of leaves… the one with the blue-rimmed glasses looks like he’ll learn quickly… .” So he probably sent his thoughts to the shelter guys and told them he chose you. And here you are today. What do you think?

    Love,
    Mugdha

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      We were definitely tricked, Mugdha! 😃💕hehe… Elliott decided what he wanted and still tries to do that even now. He’s very sweet, but super willful and doesn’t like to wait for things. He also herds us and tries to keep us together when we’re on walks. That guy in the blue glasses still has much to learn, but he’s ready to enjoy the lessons! Much love to you! ❤️

  15. Marion Monz 4 weeks ago

    Was für eine wunderschöne Geschichte mit Happy end und einem sichtlich glücklichen Hund 🐕 ❤

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