December 14, 2018 (by Jimmy)
Chewie Angus Johnson (Nov 2006 – Nov 2018)
The best dog I ever knew has gone to doggie heaven. I can think of no better tribute to this fine animal than to write about his life with us. These are my memories of Chewie.
I will never forget the day in March 2007 when I got a call at work from Angela. She asked if it would be okay for Nathaniel to have a dog. At the time, Nathaniel was finishing his senior year in high school. Nathaniel had never asked for a thing, but this was a big decision. We were going to have a dog in the house. My first thought was this will be an adventure, and I said yes. Little did I know the adventure it would be.
Nathaniel was great with the dog, and I was so happy that Chewie was such joy for him. How Nathaniel came up with the name Chewie still eludes me. He did chew on a few things like any puppy would do, but it never was a big thing.
It didn’t take long for Chewie to grow pretty large, but he still thought he was a puppy. This led to a number of funny situations. He thought he was a lap dog and would climb up in Angela’s lap.
When he saw something he wanted, he would lunge for it or run after it. If you didn’t have a good hold of his leash, you could find him pulling it out of your hand. The next thing you would see would be Chewie running around the neighborhood with his leash dragging behind him. This happened a number of times after Nathaniel started dating Rachel. I got to thinking after one such episode, “Why does he even give that girl the leash?” Even if he didn’t pull it out of her hand, he was as big as she was, so he pretty much pulled her around the yard. At the time, it was frustrating trying to get Chewie to come home, but I learned something about him that came in handy. Most of the time we could find where he went but getting him to come to us was near impossible. What I discovered was that he loved to ride more than he loved to run around the neighborhood. So I would go out in the car, find where he was, open the car door, and ask him if he wanted to go for a ride. In no time, here he would come, jump in the back seat, and look at me like – that was fun; can I do it again?
He always had his place in our home that was his favorite. He had a favorite place for ruling the house and another for riding out storms. In the house, he stayed halfway up the stairs, so he could watch both upstairs and downstairs and bark at the little white dog that came from across the street to pee on his trees. In the RV, he laid in front of the sink, so he could watch all areas in the RV, and he would go to the foot of the bed to hide from the storms.
As Nathaniel got older and started graduate school, he lived in different places that didn’t allow dogs as big as Chewie. This was their problem because they couldn’t have a better tenant than Chewie. Anyway, Angela and I started watching him more and more. Nathaniel would watch him when he could, but about that time is when I learned that Chewie was now my dog.
Also about this time, we started living in the RV full time. Chewie loved going for trail walks, and we would do that whenever we had a few hours in the day. We have an app that shows local trails, and we would take him to them. Having our RV in or near state parks or parking near some trails always provided a venue for that enjoyment.
One of my favorite moments was when we visited Lily and Noah, our grand kids in IL, and took Chewie with us. Lily asked if she could sit in the car and play with Chewie. We were talking to our son Jim at the time and told her that would be okay. There was a jar of treats in there, and we told her that if she wanted, she could give him a couple. We finished talking to Jim and got ready to leave. That’s when we found out that she have given him the whole jar of treats. She leaned down and told him, “Now, you won’t be hungry on your way home.” Chewie looked up at me with a grin that said, “What? She gave them to me. I’m supposed to tell her no?” Needless to say, he didn’t get supper that night.
He had his favorite toys as a puppy; he had his favorite places wherever we lived. He enjoyed taking walks. He was gentle with kids but protective when he sensed that “his people” needed protection. He loved to travel. If you look through our posts, you will find him in virtually all of them. He was the best dog anyone could have ever hoped to have. I will miss him, but his memory will live in me. When I’m walking a trail or visiting a new place, I will remember him, and it will make me smile.