What a difference a year makes. Last year we were confronted with the decline of our beloved four-legged son Charlie. After eleven wonderful years of love and devotion (he turned up in our driveway when he was about three), our boy was struggling. When the doctor suggested that we put his affairs in order, we knew that he wasn’t ready to throw in the towel quite yet. We weighed the options and decided to celebrate his life and allow him to have the best summer imaginable. We moved him to the country where he spent every possible moment outdoors surrounded by friends and neighbors of both the two and four-legged varieties.
Charlie was a special boy, charming, gentle and funny. He was a joy to be with and the glue that held our family together. His arrival on our doorstep that cold 1st night in December 2001 was the greatest gift we had ever received.
For months our boys had been pleading for a new dog, but we were still recovering from the loss of our last dog and weren’t ready to take the plunge. When we returned to our house in the country from an afternoon of bowling on that cold dark evening and our son’s friend exclaimed that there was a dog in our driveway, we thought he was joking. But this was no joke. There was a large black dog waiting by our side door. Since our home is on an unlit dirt road, we had no choice but to invite him in.
He immediately found a place under our kitchen table and soon after, in our hearts as well. We scrambled to find his owners, but repeatedly came up empty. He had tags issued by a local veterinary practice, but when we finally reached them, they told us that the numbers on his tags did not match any of their issues. By this time it was Sunday afternoon and we needed to head back to the city. We knew that we could not leave him or deliver him to the local shelter so with us he came, tic larva and all, and by the time we reached the city, he had a home and a name; Charlie.
The irony of Charlies arrival did not go unnoticed; he arrived on December first, the day after what would have been our first dog, Danny’s birthday.
Irwin and I were not even married six months when we happened upon Danny in a pet store on our way to pick up some last minute things at Bloomingdales before embarking on our belated honeymoon. When Danny was placed into Irwin’s arms it was truly Kismet, and before we know it, we were making arrangements to have the pet store hold him until we returned from Jamaica. Unable to stop thinking about Danny (whom we originally were going to name Dondi), we returned thirty minutes later and took him home.
With our vacation in less than a week, we did what any other young couple would do, we called Irwin’s parents and congratulated them on becoming grandparents, and left them with a new puppy and a large supply of wee-wee pads. What were we thinking?
A week and an entire kitchen’s worth of grass cloth wallpaper later, we were full time puppy parents. And so began an eighteen year love affair with Danny, his Shitza- Poo significant other Maxx, and there three puppies, Moo Moo, Lu Lu and DJ ( Danny Junior). A graphic group of black and white bundles of joy that filled our lives with love and lots of repair costs.
Danny's significant other: Maxx
Danny and Charlie were polar opposites. Danny was a dazzlingly white Bichon with incredibly short legs, while Charlie was large, regal and black with long legs and a smidge of white on his chest and fluffy paws. Danny was cerebral and was given the nickname "Einstein" (he could even talk) and Charlie, when asked where grandma was, often brought us a shoe or sneaker instead.
The one and only: Our Little einstein: Danny
What the two did have in common, besides our boundless love, was a red collar.
Charlie left us as he had arrived on our doorstep with humor, grace and love on a beautiful evening in August under his favorite tree.
By the middle of September, we were surfing Petfinder.com looking for a new addition for our family. We had agreed to wait until spring because with the exception of three years, we had had a dog (or dogs) for our entire married life (thirty-two years). And after Charlie’s rear leg issues and our increasing ages, we were thinking about a smaller dog (max 35 pounds) that could easily be picked up should it become infirmed. There were lots of cuties, but we always seemed to be drawn back to Flat Coated Retriever mixes.
Irwin came across Charlie on Petfinder, (yes, his name was Charlie) back in November, he said that something about Charlie spoke to him, but we had agreed that were not quite ready for another dog. Besides, I thought that it was more than a little weird considering another black, Flat Coated mix dog with the name Charlie.
When Irwin saw that Charlie was still on Petfinder in February, he knew that he had to call and find out more. When he called he was told that Charlie had just been placed in his forever home. While he was disappointed, he was happy to hear that Charlie had found a good home. Four days later, Irwin received an email from the woman at the rescue, telling him that Charlie’s adoption did not work out and that he had been returned.
Well, Irwin was beyond happy and made arrangements for us to see him the following Sunday. He told EVERYBODY…..but me. I was told that we were going to an auction for Mid Century lighting on the way home from the country.
When we pulled into the driveway of the non-descript split level home, I told him that it couldn’t be right and to please get proper directions. When a woman came out walking two dogs, I realized that I had been punked.
And so it was. Charlie, a beautiful black mix of what we believe to be Lab, & Border Collie, with warm golden brown eyes, a tuxedo shirt of white on his chest and fluffy feet tipped in white, came home with us on that blustery February day with two days of food and…a red collar. Some things are just meant to be.
When Irwin decided to participate in IFDANY’s Take A Seat Event, where twenty-four metro NY designers would be creating up-cycled chairs to be auctioned off on Thursday May 16, 2013 with all proceeds to benefit relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy victims as well as for local IFDA chapter professional development, he could not help but be inspired by our Charlies, past and present and the never ending connectivity of life.
Irwin purchased this a chic 40’s lounge chair with sinewy lines several years ago. Despite its condition, he recognized that it had enormous potential. He put it in the gallery storage room and forgot about it. When Irwin signed up for “Take a Seat” he went into his storage room to see if he had any appropriate chairs and discovered this beauty. While he knew it needed a total overhaul, he also knew that good bones are good bones no matter the condition and that this was “The Chair”. Irwin had it lacquered in the bright red color of “The Charlies” collars and upholstered the chair in a graphic black and white pattern representing “The Charlies” colors their many points of connectivity and lightning, that CAN strike twice.
The kick off event took place last night in the TOTO showroom where we had the privilege of viewing several of the IFDANY chairs ( ours included) and join the other 2 IFDA groups (S. Cal & Japan) live via Skype to celebrate this momentous occasion.
Sam Simon and Tamara Stephenson at the Kick off event
The chairs will be on display in the Lillian August store windows and floor from May 8-21. If you are going to be in NYC, please stop by and visit the Take a Seat exhibit and vote for your favorite chair for the People's Choice Award.
AND...Please be sure to join us for what promises to be an extraordinary evening on Thursday May 16th, when MC/Host, Designer Jamie Drake, and Karl Green, auctioneer and director of Furniture & Decorative Arts, Bonhams NY, auction off these amazing one-of-a-kind up-cycled chairs. Enjoy great company, live music, delicious hors d'oeuvres and fashionable drinks.
The Gala Auction will be held on:
Thursday May 16, 2013
Lillian August Furnishings + Designs
12 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011
$20 per person