Raising Charlie: The Lessons of a Perfect Dog

by John Lichty

What is there to learn from the life of a dog?
When their golden retriever, Charlie, was diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly before his tenth birthday, John and Nan Lichty knew that it was just a matter of months before they would lose their beloved companion. Raising Charlie: The Lessons of a Perfect Dog tells the heartbreaking story of their experience. It begins with Charlie coming into their lives as a gift puppy from Nan to John for his fortieth birthday and then flashes forward to the final three months of Charlie's life and the tragedy of his losing battle with osteosarcoma.

Charlie's story is filled with insights about dogs, life and love. A chapter is devoted to the lessons Charlie taught John and Nan through the example of his life, with anecdotes supporting each point, and a photo section contains more than a dozen black-and-white images that chronicle Charlie's life.

The influence of a good dog in a person's life can never be underestimated. To lose that companionship prematurely is cause for tremendous sadness. If you have ever owned a dog or dreamed of owning one, Raising Charlie will touch you emotionally. Charlie's spirit lives on in its pages.

"Life with Charlie gradually settled into an easy routine. He was a member of our small family and we treated him with the same love and respect that other families give to their children. Time passed, and like those other families, we were surprised to notice that our baby was all grown up. More time passed, and we were surprised to notice the gray creeping into Charlie's muzzle. He was getting older. The terrible unfairness of the difference in our life spans was impossible to ignore. Or could it simply be that dogs pack as much living into their short lives as we do into our considerably longer ones?"

Purchase Details:
Raising Charlie: The Lessons of a Perfect Dog is available for order from your favorite book store. To purchase at a discount through Amazon.com, please click here for the hardcover version, click here for the softcover version, or click here for the Kindle version.

Amazon.com Customer Reviews:
"Raising Charlie is a down-to-earth version of Marley & Me. John Lichty's book about his golden retriever will leave you laughing, smiling and doing your best to hold back a few tears. . . . You'll thoroughly enjoy this book for its honest and insightful approach. . . . The chapter called 'Lessons of a Perfect Dog' [is] full of great tips not just on pet ownership but for living life. You won't forget your time spent with Raising Charlie." —Andrew Bigford

"John Lichty's new book is a beautifully written tribute to his dog Charlie. . . . Lichty writes with compassion and complete emotional honesty. . . . The story is at times achingly sad. . . . I came to love Charlie and I am sure you will too." —John Kretschmer

"A lovely, achingly touching story of a deep relationship between a man and his dog. . . . Lichty tells the story. . . in heartfelt but straightforward prose. . . . A chapter called 'Lessons of a Perfect Dog' reveals him to be a smart, insightful dog person. One understands why Charlie was a perfect dog--and why John and Nan were perfect owners." —Dallas Murphy

About the Author:
John Lichty is an IT professional and aspiring author. Raising Charlie: The Lessons of a Perfect Dog is his first book. He lives in Grand Junction, Colorado, with his wife, Nan, and their third golden retriever, Scout. For more information, please visit John's sailing blog, Whispering Jesse.

Radio Interviews:
April 19, 2012: "At Issue with Ben Merens" on Wisconsin Public Radio
March 19, 2010: "At Issue with Ben Merens" on Wisconsin Public Radio

YouTube Video:
Raising Charlie: The Lessons of a Perfect Dog by John Lichty

Click to see full-size versions in a slideshow.

Charlie, at nine weeks, accompanies me to work during his first week with us in June 1998.

Charlie in the front yard of our home in Aspen at about ten weeks.

Charlie helping me plant the window boxes on our deck at about ten weeks.

'39 forever,' as the button says? Charlie, at eleven weeks, and me on the morning of my fortieth birthday, June 16, 1998.

Charlie's first birthday, March 29, 1999. Note the hamburger 'birthday cake.'

Charlie with the boys on top of Mount Massive, his first 'fourteener,' in the summer of 2000.
Mount Massive is the second highest peak in Colorado at 14,421 feet.

Charlie with Nan at Aspen's Annual Fourth of July Parade, 2003.

Charlie showing off how he operates his treat machine in September 2004.

Charlie at the Lincoln Park Pool in Grand Junction, Colorado,
in September 2005 for the annual 'Dog Days' event.

Charlie relaxing at our home in Grand Junction in October 2006.

Charlie at the fountain in the Seattle Sculpture Garden in August 2007.

Charlie posing in front of the Hidden Valley petroglyphs near Moab, Utah, on March 8, 2008.

Family portrait at Moon Flower Canyon near Moab, Utah, on March 9, 2008.

Plaque created on the occasion of Charlie's tenth birthday, March 29, 2008. Note the missing nail on the left paw.

Charlie at home in Grand Junction on his last day, April 6, 2008.

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