Charlie – Genghis Khan?

Genghis Khan?

Uh, excuse me -- Did you say Genghis Khan?

The conversation went very fast:

“Who do you think you’re like, Charlie?”

“Genghis Khan” (Charlie replied without missing a beat).

I was totally bowled over by this response, as Charlie is the most loving dog you ever met.

“Why, Charlie?!”

“Because he was a great lover, . . . but he could really raise hell!!!!”

Whoa-ho! Now I could never have made this up in a million years. I’m not really that familiar with Genghis Khan and don’t remember much from my history lessons about him except that he killed a lot of people. I certainly never think about him, and I didn’t see the recent popular movie about his life. So I went and Googled Genghis  and, guess what: he was supposedly a great lover who left multitudes of progeny! And we all know what he did on the warpath! Eek! I started thinking about Charlie’s response, and it made perfect sense.

Charlie is my 6-year-old Golden Retriever/Chow mix. He was found running on the road at midnight at about 6 months of age, unneutered, no collar, and I am the lucky duck who wound up with him a couple of weeks after he was found. And I do mean every word of that. Charlie walks on water as far as I’m concerned. He is love in the flesh.

This love thing is, clearly, the Golden Retriever in Charlie. I think all who know the breed would agree that that personality trait is the epitome of the Golden Retriever personality. That’s probably why the Golden is one of, if not THE, most popular dog in America right now.

But Charlie also has a really fierce side. And a thinking one (which Goldens are not famous for). We know he’s part Chow because his whole mouth is solid black/purple. But with his magic combination of genes, he is the only one of my large-breed dogs I can trust out loose with me to never run away or get into trouble. He can go on horseback rides with me and stay close and never miss a beat or cue from me. He is incredibly loyal, but not cloying. Protective but not aggressive. Happy but not stupid-silly. Charlie is beautiful and strong, regal and proud. He is all the things everyone wants when they get a large-breed dog. Boy, if someone could just produce a consistent “Charlie” breed, they’d be set for life!

So where in the heck does Genghis Khan come in? Charlie can be SO fierce he can, if he wants to, keep visitors from getting out of their car. About the time Charlie fully matured, we lost our beloved black Lab/Akita mix, Hondo, our alpha leader who had taken Charlie under his wing when Charlie came to live with us. Charlie worshipped Hondo and no doubt learned everything he knows from him (sans the Lab-getting-in-the-garbage-can-thing, thank God).  So when Hondo died I had a long talk with Charlie and told him that he was now to move into Hondo’s position of head honcho/protector. He took over with a mighty will and never looked back. And he did things I had never seen him do before.

You can see why this dog walks on water for me. I adore all my animals, but Charlie is the one I can take with me anywhere and feel safe and protected and yet know he won’t cause a heap of trouble. He’s who I know will run out at dawn and chase off any errant coyotes who are lurking around the chicken yard. And yet he’s the one who lets our new Chihuahua pup, Frida, romp all over him, using him as a ski slope and tug toy. I mean, how much better can you get than that?

So, upon reflection, I think his choice of a parallel in Genghis Khan is right on. The only difference I can think of at this point would be that Genghis probably WOULD have bitten whoever got out of that car!

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