Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I have had many, many pets. Chloe however has been by far my favorite. She was a Border collie mix that we got from the shelter as a puppy. She picked me.
Chloe has always been unconditionally loving. Not just of me or our family, but of everyone. Our other dog, Reese is a chow mix and she loves Cathi and me, likes our kids and everyone else can take a hike.
Chloe was a big, walking stuffed animal, our very own panda bear.
She had always been fragile. She had a urinary problem when we got her. She had a weak stomach and then she developed arthritis in her hips and back knees. And through it all she was a happy, silly, loving dog.
I would walk the two dogs and all of the neighborhood kids would come to pet and hug Chloe. We would go to sidewalk sales together. Chloe would pick out stuffed animals, “her babies” and then carry them home in her mouth.
It was clear the last year that our time together was limited. Last October she ran to me and her back leg gave out. I was sure that was the end but the vets said she needed rest and she would be able to walk again. They were right. However, her movement and range became smaller and smaller.
I would carry her up the front stairs. For the last four months I have been carrying her up to the bedroom at night. She would wait for me to pick up this 80 pound dog and she was never anxious about my possibly dropping her. Instead she would reward me with kisses when we got upstairs.
She loved kids. When my nephew Andre would visit she would lick his face like he was vanilla custard on an August afternoon. She loved to nap with any member of her family.
My relationship with her was intensely intimate. I never went into medicine because I was easily grossed out. However, at the end I had no problem wiping her nose or washing her back side. I would hold her face in my two hands and kiss her between the eyes and she would wag her tail and give me a kiss. She was wonderful.
I am sorry my daughters had to help her on her final voyage. I am also glad they were able to do it. I am especially pleased that Kerri stayed with her past the end. Kerri was struck by how there is life and then it is gone. It was clear to Kerri that we are more than our shells. I am proud that acting out of love Kerri can do difficult things. I am also glad we all had Chloe’s model of unconditional love. I can never pull that off and yet I know it is important and now we all know what it looks like.
I am not confusing this with a tragedy. My specialty is disaster mental health. I am not confusing the death of my dog with trauma, untimely death or a disaster. I am also not confusing it with “just one of those things”. I know we are all grieving now. I know we will move on and remember all the good things about having Chloe in our lives. But not today. Today we just know that a beloved member of our family is gone, there is a hole in our home and we are sad. We miss you Chloe, thank you for giving us so much joy, we love you.