When B.J. Taylor first read about rescue dog Charlie Bear, she gazed at his photograph and knew right away he was the dog for her. She just hoped her husband, Roger, would agree. Thankfully, he did, and in the subsequent year, both B.J. and Roger soon discovered that Charlie Bear was brought into their world for a very special reason—to teach them about life, love, and second chances.
Charlie Bear shares an intimate look at the first year in the life of a dog nearly labeled “unadoptable” by his foster mother due to his long list of behavioral issues. As he begins his new life, Charlie Bear ferociously guards his food and toys, throws temper tantrums, and is sensitive to touch. Although B.J. doubts their sanity in adopting Charlie Bear after he repeatedly attacks their other dog, Rex, she is determined to make it work for the sake of her husband, who has fallen in love. But when B.J.’s world begins to fall apart, she shares how time, patience, and faith helped her realize that Charlie Bear was not the only one who needed a second chance—she did, too.
Charlie Bear offers a loving tribute to a rescue dog that eventually sheds his headstrong ways, becomes a loving member of a family, and ultimately changes three lives forever.
B.J. TAYLOR has contributed more than thirty inspirational stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also writes for Guideposts magazine and Angels on Earth. B.J. lives in Southern California with her husband and rescue dog, Charlie Bear.
Visit her online at www.bjtayloronline.com.
I never would've guessed that this animated and engaging tale about a rescue dog would have doubled as a primer for dealing with grief. While the writer doesn't tell us HOW to deal with loss, she SHOWS us her deeply personal and candid journey allowing the reader to discover her own. I laughed and wept hearing the voices of both the writer and Charlie Bear and dared to explore and come to peace with my buried grief about the losses of both my four-footed and two footed friends. This book is full of surprising hope and simple wisdom about the inter-connectedness of rescuing. In the end it truly makes you wonder who is rescuing whom.
As someone who has been 'mom' to two rescued dogs, I approached this book with curiosity and to be honest, a bit of skepticism. Would the author be honest about the 'see-saw' of emotions adoptive owners go through? The many "did I make a mistake" moments? Would she understand that, over time, it is the "peeps" (as Charlie Bear likes to say) who have been rescued, as much as our animals? B.J. Taylor managed to convey these truths and many more, while taking us on an engaging and tear jerking ride. I felt as though I was on the ride with her and Roger as they embraced their newest love and grieved their departed (and soon to be departed) loves. I never expected the story of a challenging rescue dog to be so multifaceted but Ms. Taylor exceeded my expectations as she told the story about Charlie Bear's impact on an entire family. This should be on every animal lover's 'must have' list when they are wondering what to read next and it is a 'no brainer' choice when looking for a great gift.
B.J. Taylor writes straight from her heart -- a true animal lover's heart. Reading about Charlie Bear, I felt like I was in B.J.'s home with her. She's not afraid to tell it like it really is. She had me rooting for Charlie Bear from the start, and of course I fell in love with sweet Rex, her older Lab, and Diamond and Red, her kitties.
B.J. goes the second, third, and fourth mile for those she loves. Somehow she had me laughing and crying at the same time because she's so incredibly honest. She'd see the least bit of improvement in Charlie Bear's behavior and have the faith to continue. What a life lesson. Love never gives up. No matter what.
Love this book. The writer brings something so endearing to the reader that you start to feel a sense that this is your family too. I laughed and cried and felt such a sense of pride for Both BJ and Charlie Bear. I didnt want to put it down. Not to mention, I loved the way the writer added the perspective from charlie bears point of view. She gave him a voice! Well done!!!
Charlie Bear, “the ultimate merrymaker,” nuzzled his way into my heart, lifting my spirit— Taylor compassionately shows how life’s hurts can seriously stunt us and sometimes it takes a special little someone like a rescued dog, to open our eyes and remind us of the endless love we all possess.
What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend. As a confirmed dog rescuer myself, BJ's story puts into perspective the trials and tribulations of welcoming a new pet into your home and making "family" out of him. Having felt the loss of pets and family members alike, I shared the grief, tears and eventual happiness along the journey of Charlie Bear. A wonderful, inspiring read. I look forward to more tales from this talented writer.
What a sweet and heartwarming story, yet heart-wrenching at the same time. Little did we know that not only would we fall in love with Charlie Bear and his insights on life but truly experience the life-long dedication between B.J. and her beloved Rex. I could truly relate to the heartache and sorrow B.J. felt in making the dreaded decision to alleviate Rex's suffering as I, too, watched my elderly diabetic kitty pass over the rainbow bridge. I'm sure everyone reading this will book will be touched as well. Hopefully, B.J. will share many more poignant life experiences with us in her future books. Lastly, I will never pass by another mallard duck without saying "Hi Rex."
We love our pets. This can hardly be better illustrated than by B. J. Taylor’s heartwarming—and heart-rending—true tale of Charlie Bear, a problematic “rescue dog” that other, less dedicated would-be pet owners most likely could not have tolerated.
In this 200-page soft cover, Taylor lays out the year-long struggle she and her husband Roger went through in taking in and accepting Charlie Bear, annoying bad behaviors and all. Through their persistence, patience, and love, they win Charlie over—but only little by little, day by day. And there are setbacks, many and discouraging. The beauty is, little by little, we see Charlie win them over, changing them for the better as well.
As Taylor weaves her story of Charlie Bear’s growth and maturation, she also skillfully works in other situations in their lives: her mother’s illness, Roger’s struggles in giving up a lifelong smoking habit, family tensions… Simply having Charlie Bear in their lives does not necessarily improve these situations, but their struggles with the new dog do shine a light on their bigger problems, giving them perspective and hope for the future.
We learn that Taylor and her husband have lost other beloved pets before adopting Charlie Bear, and their deep grief makes them leery because another pet can mean another unbearable loss. But Charlie was never meant to be a replacement for their earlier pets; the Taylors understand all too well that pets are not interchangeable and no new pet can simply substitute for a loved one that has gone before.
No, at first B. J. and Roger take Charlie Bear in large part because they fear that no one else will, that Charlie Bear might otherwise end up in some “permanent pound”—or worse. This is not unlike adoptive parents who willingly and knowingly accept an older child with problems—physical, emotional, or psychological. They know it’s going to be hard—painfully so—yet they cannot turn their backs on a child who is so needful.
And like so many adoptive parents who ultimately find their efforts and sacrifice fulfilled beyond the best they might have hoped for, the Taylors discover the joy of love freely given returned to them tenfold in and by this furry little bundle that gave them such worry and concern on first meeting. I was deeply moved in reading this story—I could not help but be—and I firmly believe the same will be true for you. Enjoy it.