So long Char­lie, we’ll miss you

Char­lie, our Van­guard greeter, was loved by our staff and cus­tomers, as Eric Bourque writes


This is a sad time for us here at the Van­guard, as we’ve had to say good­bye to our beloved Char­lie.

For those who don’t know, Char­lie was the big orange-and­white cat that lived in our of­fice the past few years and spent much of his time out­side the front door of our build­ing.

Char­lie didn’t seem to be feel­ing well lately so Cor­rie Bain, Char­lie’s owner, and I took him to the vet last Wed­nes­day. At first it looked like he would be okay. They were go­ing to keep him for a cou­ple of hours, do what they needed to do and then call me to let me know when I could pick him up.

I came back to the Van­guard of­fice around 10 a.m., let my co­work­ers know what was go­ing on and as­sumed that by lunchtime or so Char­lie would be back in our of­fice, that he would be fine and that ev­ery­thing would re­turn to nor­mal.

But then Cor­rie ar­rived, say­ing she had heard from the vet. It was bad news. A closer ex­am­i­na­tion of Char­lie had re­vealed that his prob­lem was, in fact, se­ri­ous. Char­lie was suf­fer­ing, the vet said, and there was lit­tle hope he would get bet­ter. We didn’t want him to hurt any­more. The de­ci­sion was made to put Char­lie down.

It’s heart­break­ing to think Char­lie won’t be around any- more. He had be­come an un­of­fi­cial mas­cot of sorts for the Van­guard. Judy, who works at our front desk, would de­scribe him to peo­ple as our greeter.

Char­lie – who would have turned eight years old in June – first came to the Van­guard in 2013. Cor­rie had just re­cently moved next to our build­ing. Char­lie was out one day and found us. Our ed­i­tor at the time, the late Fred Hat­field – a long­time lover of cats – would see him hang­ing out­side his of­fice win­dow. He in­vited him in for a visit.

Char­lie quickly be­came a reg­u­lar here. We would give him treats. He would find a chair in our of­fice and have a nap. When the day was over, we would put him out and he would go back to Cor­rie’s place to spend the night.

For the first cou­ple of years, we wouldn’t see much of Char­lie dur­ing the win­ter since he would stay in­doors at home, but when it started get­ting warmer he would be­gin show­ing up once more. See­ing him visit our of­fice again was a sure sign of spring and it was al­ways great to have him back.

Even­tu­ally Char­lie moved into our of­fice on a full- time ba­sis. Cor­rie re­mained his of­fi­cial owner, but she said we could keep him if we wanted him. She was mov­ing out of town and knew Char­lie liked hang­ing out here. She still runs a busi­ness not far from our of­fice.

On more than one oc­ca­sion, my col­league Tina Comeau said Char­lie seemed to be the most pop­u­lar “per­son” on the block. Tina be­came our ed­i­tor af­ter Fred Hat­field’s re­tire­ment and even­tu­ally moved into his old of­fice. From there, she could con­stantly see peo­ple stop­ping by to say hi to Char­lie, to pet him, to rub his tummy.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, peo­ple would come into our of­fice and drop off bags of food for Char­lie. One Some pho­tos of Char­lie hang­ing around the of­fice. He would of­ten take naps in the news­room, sit out­side the front door and hang out in the re­cep­tion area. woman also re­cently had given him some toys. To them – and to every­one who took an in­ter­est in Char­lie and was kind to him – we say thank you.

It’s ob­vi­ous Char­lie was well liked by the pub­lic. We posted some­thing on our Van­guard Face­book page to let peo­ple know they wouldn’t be see­ing Char­lie around any­more. As of Fri­day af­ter­noon, the post had 79 shares, there were 80 mes­sages from the pub­lic say­ing they’ll miss him and an­other 370 peo­ple had re­acted to the post.

On a per­sonal note, Char­lie was the clos­est thing I ever had to a pet. I’ll al­ways re­mem­ber how – es­pe­cially when it was stormy or too cold for him to be out – he would of­ten curl up on the chair next to my desk, close enough that I could reach over and pet him, which I of­ten did. On week­ends, year-round, I al­ways made a point of com­ing in Satur­day and Sun­day morn­ings to check up on him.

The week­end rou­tine will be dif­fer­ent now, of course, but it’s the empty chair next to my desk that’s go­ing to be harder to get used to.

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