Love Story: My name is Charley

Lynnette and Charley at Lake Placid, N.Y.

Today’s Love Story winner, and recipient of an Our Furever Family mug, is Lynnette Benner. The flutist from Millerton, N.Y., shares how she came to find Charley, a border collie/golden retriever mix.

When I lost my beloved Hooch, my companion of 15 years, it took me quite some time before I was ready to adopt another dog. I was not in a position to have a puppy so I started asking around about adult dogs needing a home.

I called a friend who raises and competes Border Collies and she told me about a young adult dog who’d been found wet, hungry and frightened on the porch of a mutual friend. I was still on the fence about inviting a new dog into my life; it still hurt to think of Hooch but I went to meet him anyway. When I entered their fenced yard I saw this fluffy yellow streak racing around the yard from person to person and toy to toy. His joy and love of life were immeasurable but I was unsure I could handle a dog with so much energy! At the end of my visit when I sat down cross-legged on their deck, this dog came up to me and pushed his head into my lap in essence doing a headstand in my lap and just stayed there. This was the same move that the Collie I had as a child would do to me!! Oh, how it warmed my heart even more than his verve!!

Before they could let me take him home they wanted to have him checked by a vet and see if he was micro chipped. Well, I got the dreaded call; he had a micro chip. I’d fallen in love and he had a family who was probably worried sick about him. The contact number was a shelter in Albany, NY about 1 1/2 hours from where he was found. We called and they gave us his information. His name was Charley. He was 18 months old and had lived 6 of those 18 months in a cage at the shelter. His breeding was Border Collie/ Golden Retriever. He had been adopted 2 weeks before he turned up on my friend’s doorstep. He was up to date on all of his shots and health care.

The shelter provided the phone number of the adopter so we made the call. The person who answered the phone insisted that he DID NOT own a dog. We called the shelter back thinking we’d written the number down wrong but we had not so the shelter called the adopter. He insisted to them that he DID NOT own a dog! Could it be true?? Could he really end up living with me?? I could only hope! The shelter asked to have Charley returned to them but when they learned that I was ready to give him a new home they agreed to let me adopt him!!


Our first night together was his first night out of a cage (my friends had to crate him to keep him safe from their dogs) and my first night in a new apartment and my bed had yet to arrive so I was sleeping on an air mattress in the living room. Charley was so happy to be free he snuggled up to me and didn’t move all night!

He was quite a bundle of energy and having lived in a shelter for so long he had very little human-dog connection. I became concerned that I wasn’t ready for him after all. When I would talk to him he had no clue it was directed at him, but he was VERY smart,he was housebroken in 2 days, so I stuck it out. Besides he was SO cute!!

We went to local trainers and training classes to teach him commands and to try to socialize him (he can be a little testy with new dogs) but we ran into a really big problem. He was so smart that he knew when he was on leash and off leash. He had perfect recall on leash, but off leash? Well … he had NO recall!! Multiple local trainers told me he would never have a dependable recall off leash but he was so smart I refused to believe that as truth. Finally I sought out The Monks of New Skete who breed German Shepherds and train dogs to support their Monastery. They’ve written books on the subject and are leading dog trainers in the US. It took my life’s savings but Charley spent 3 weeks there in their intensive training program and now has a dependable recall off leash!!!

Charley has been with me since July 2007 and is now 6 years old. Once he came home from New Skete we began learning a little agility which we both enjoy immensely. He requires at least a 2 mile walk daily which is great because it gets me out and moving. He is still a bundle of energy and love and he completes my heart. I really think the events that brought us together were not random … they happened so we’d find each other.

Our Furever Family wants to hear your Love Story, whether it was through adoption, an accidental meeting or another way of finding each other. How did you fall in love? Learn more about the Love Story contest.

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10 thoughts on “Love Story: My name is Charley

  1. He is indeed so cute. My wife has a rescue dog mutt and they’re completely inseparable. Bella (the dog) is only completely trusting of my wife, and while frustrating at time, I’m ever so slowly getting her to fully trust me. Its worth the wait, she’s and awesome dog.

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