In 1972 a little 4th grader, named Rochelle, and her mutt dog Charlie won the Top Junior Exhibitor dog obedience title at the Humboldt County dog show. This was an exciting day. I had been diligently training Charlie all year long in our local 4H dog obedience chapter under the tutelage of my best friend’s mother, Mrs. Nichols. I trained for hours and hours, trying to get in at least a little everyday. During the final show performance I felt we had done a great job. They called out honorable mention…. nope… then 3rd place…. not us… then 2nd place runner up…. my heart dropped. I thought we had done at least well enough to get a ribbon. Then they announced the 1st place winner… #23. It was us! We had won 1st place!!! Wow, what a day that was.
Top JR Exhibitor
1972 Humboldt Dog Show
The trophy was proudly placed on the mantle in the hallway of my childhood home on Elk River Court, on the outskirts of Eureka, California, until I moved away at 18. It has been on display in my own homes ever since. But the tail was broken off before it came to rest in my sole care. (See larger image on Flickr)
Below are a couple of photos I found of Charlie (who we fondly nicknamed “Pooh Bear”) and I growing up. He was my dog, my friend. He slept with me, shared an occasional Reese’s Peanut Butter cup with me, and loved to run along side the car as we got closer to home. (I now know from direct experience that the chocolate and running next to a car were not good ideas.)
Sadly, Charlie only lived to be about 4 years old. On our way home from a trip to town we let him jump out of the car window as usual to run. But this time he didn’t land correctly and rolled under the car. I held his trembling body in my arms as we rushed him to see Mr. Lochtie, the vet. But it was too late. He was dead. I was broken hearted and cried and cried. My dad and I buried him down by the Elk River creek under the tree house you see below.
The trophy photo was taken with the Camera+ app on my iPhone for DS106 Daily Create TDC 751: “Take a photo of something that is sentimental. Explain your choice.” I apologize for the poor quality of the childhood photos. They were scanned many years ago by my sister when the technology wasn’t so great.