New Friend, New Lease On Life

Butch Ewing and his dog, Chewy, were known for their adventures riding on his Harley-Davidson and sharing joy and fellowship. Since Chewy passed, Mr. Ewing has a new friend, Charlie, who has taken over the duties of his departed pal. Here Mr. Ewing and Charlie pose for a photo at a recent charity event.

Puppy saved his life

After losing his best four-legged friend Chewy, Butch Ewing started to slip into the depression he had fought valiantly with the dog’s companionship. Then a meeting with another dog helped end his slide.

For more than a decade, Chewy and Butch were side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder and face-to-face best friends.

“If anyone’s interested in the relationship Chewy and I had or what Chewy and I did, Chewy’s book actually got published on Dec. 2,” Mr. Ewing said. “His book is called ‘Tongue in the Wind: Chewy’s Pawtobiography’ and it’s written mostly from Chewy’s perspective.”

Chewy passed away in April of 2017 and left Mr. Ewing without the four-legged friend with whom he had shared so much.

After Chewy’s passing, Mr. Ewing admits he began to enter back into the depression which had haunted him since childhood when he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It wasn’t until he and his wife, Joy, were out for a drive near the Petco in Holly Springs that they ran into a puppy which would ultimately help put Mr. Ewing back on the right track.

“My wife saw this dog from a distance when we were getting close to Petco,” Mr. Ewing said. “He was at an adoption event, he wasn’t even supposed to be there. She said he looked like Chewy and we went and took a look and it felt like he was gravitating toward me.”

Charlie is a rescued Australian shepherd who is helping his human buddy, Butch Ewing, cope with PTSD and depression. Charlie is seen here on the back of Mr. Ewing’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle the two ride together

At the adoption event, the puppy’s foster mother recognized Mr. Ewing and told him he was approved to adopt the dog.

Since the puppy was still on a hold for medical reasons, she would have him for another two weeks before Mr. Ewing could take him home, which left another issue to be resolved in the meantime.

“She asked me what I wanted to name him so she could start calling him by name,” Mr. Ewing said. “The only name that came to mind was Charlie Mike which stands for Continue the Mission. So we named him Charlie and about 10 days later he came home and the rest is history.”

The 8-week-old Australian Shepard has quickly taken over the role of best four-legged friend and appears to be headed down the same pawprints as his predecessor.

“He is continuing what Chewy did for me,” Mr. Ewing said. “He’s a different dog, a different personality. He keeps me occupied and that’s because of the energy level.”

Mr. Ewing said the distinct difference between the two is really the energy level a puppy brings compared to a laid back dog like Chewy was.

“Charlie tends to have a little bit of ADHD, at least the doggie version of it,” Mr. Ewing quipped. “His attention span is like Dora The Fish on ‘Finding Nemo,’ two seconds and then that’s it.”

Anyone who ever met Chewy will remember him for being Mr. Ewing’s sidekick on his motorcycle. The dog, which Mr. Ewing says took to it right away, was a fixture on the saddle.

It wasn’t quite the same for Charlie. Being a puppy it took a little more time for him to get used to riding.

Over the course of about two months, Mr. Ewing got his new friend acclimated to riding.

“There’s a big difference because Chewy rode instantly,” he said. “It took a while to get Charlie accustomed to just being in the saddle, he is a puppy. There was a big difference.”

The differences between the two dogs were never more obvious than when Mr. Ewing enrolled Charlie in dog obedience classes to prepare him to be a service dog.

Charlie is a rescued Australian shepherd who is helping his human buddy, Butch Ewing, cope with PTSD and depression. Charlie is seen here on the back of Mr. Ewing’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle the two ride together

Because of the nature of service dogs, petting by outsiders is not recommended. Charlie failed the course five times and Mr. Ewing finally decided service dog wasn’t going to be Charlie’s calling.

When the trainer suggested using a command collar on Charlie — or a shock collar as some call them — Mr. Ewing decided it would be up to him to train his new pal.

“I know he will wear my patience thin, but in the long run I think it will be worth it,” Mr. Ewing said. “He’s already making an impact. We took him to Read Across America at the Sandhills Veterans Cemetery. He was well behaved, he did great. He just loves people.”

As for the future of Charlie and his taking up the role of helping Mr. Ewing in his Christianity-based mission of helping and reaching out to people, there’s no way to tell how far Charlie will go.

“He’s still young so all I can say is he’s continuing in Chewy’s pawsteps,” Mr. Ewing said. “But I don’t know if he’s going to follow those pawsteps or if he’s going to follow his own path.”

-Dunn Daily Record