My First Baby: The Dog.

My dog, Chloe, is sick. If you have a dog, then Chloe’s story will probably sound familiar to you. Michael and I got Chloe as a puppy almost nine years ago, right after we got married. We got her from a breeder – a very nice but slightly kooky, single woman who put us through a rigorous application process before determining that we were sufficiently competent to take care of one of her dogs. Chloe was, technically, my birthday present that year, so when we went to see the litter and pick out the dog we wanted, it was my choice. A Wheaton Terrier, she had a pink ribbon tied around her neck, and it was clear almost immediately that she had an att-i-tude, with triple snaps. She was feisty, she was fussy, and she did not suffer fools. She was definitely my kind of girl.

 


Chloe immediately became our baby. She was the focus of our lives, and we treated her as if she was a child. We were constantly snapping pictures of her, buying her toys, giving her treats, and taking her everywhere we went. My mother-in-law even took to calling Chloe her grand dog, and spoiled her rotten whenever she took care of her for us. I can vividly recall lying in bed one night shortly before Harper was born, Chloe curled up beside my huge belly, and remarking to Michael that I just did not think it was possible that I would love this child more than I loved Chloe. I really, truly, did not.

 

Well, we all know how that story ends. Of course I loved Harper more than I loved Chloe. My love for Harper wasn’t even in the same universe. Within weeks, Chloe went from being a child, to being a dog. When I got home from work every day, I no longer spent half an hour petting her and kissing her and telling her what a good girl she was. Instead, I gave her a quick pat on the head – Hi, Chlo, I would say – and then I’d run upstairs to Harper’s room. Chloe handled it pretty well. She was curious at first – jumping in the bassinet, sniffing Harper’s diaper – but when she realized that this thing wasn’t going away, she just pretty much ignored her. She seemed displaced, maybe a little depressed, but I didn’t have time to worry about it. By the time Davis came along, she had accepted her place at the bottom of the totem pole, and she took what attention she could get from us, which, admittedly, wasn’t much.

 

In the last few weeks, however, I’d started noticing that she was acting even lazier than usual, and when I gave her one of my quick pats on the head, I could feel her bones. The dog walker – we gave up on walking her long ago – was also leaving me notes saying that every day, Chloe seemed to have diarrhea. So I took her to the vet, who took blood, and a few days later it was suggested that she have an endoscope to see what was going on in her intestines. When the procedure was over, we were told that it doesn’t look good. She either has a very bad gastro-intestinal disease, or she has cancer. The disease we can treat, the cancer we probably can’t.

 

We won’t know which it is until the lab results come back.

 

annabananasmommy
07.02.08

I too relate to this article. I got Haley the year prior to marriage (we will be married 10 years this March). Haley was definitely our baby! Nothing was too good for her either! Then the real baby came along. Poor Hayley just looks at you with a pitiful face. No more time for doggy walks or playtime. All is devoted to our daughter. Not too long ago Haley was sick and we actually pondered putting her down. I could not believe that I was even pondering the thought. But, at the time the bad outcome was a great deal more probable than a good one. Plus, the cost for the remote good outcome was astronomical. However, we chose to do it. I know the day will come again to make that choice. I dread it with all of my heart. The worst part is knowing that even though my priorities have changed hers have not. We are still her "parents" per se no matter how many human children we may have!

chamab
04.03.08

This makes me so sad, as I can totally relate. My dog is getting old, but she was my first baby, and I feel I learned so much from her. She is the most loyal dog, and ever since I had my two kids she has been so neglected, and the guilt is huge. With work and the kids, walking her, even petting her, never makes it to the "to do" list, even though I make mental notes that I should spend even a few minutes acknowledging her, it's so hard. The thought that one day she will be gone is so scary, because my kids are also very close to her. Thanks for sharing your story, it's good to hear I am not the only one with this guilt.

CEO
04.02.08

There is a book about a dog in heaven looking down at the little boy he lived with.  I am not sure I even believe in heaven -- but this book is worth the suspension of disbelief for the comfort it provides to kids that have lost or may soon lose a beloved pet.

freuten
03.28.08

Oh wow. Yep. I can certainly relate.
JC came into our lives about a year and a half after my husband and I got married, and yes, she was our first baby too.
Six years later Alek was born and JC became 'just the dog'. She also took it in stride (unlike my cat). Eventually Alek was old enough to appreciate her, and they would play a bit - though at this point JC was getting pretty old and creaky.
When Alek was 3 JC was hit by a car and killed. Suddenly we were heartbroken. We'd forgotten how much we loved her.
We found a great book at the library (I'm sorry I can't remember the author / title - prehaps your librarian can help) about a little boy who looses his dog to old age. The boy is heartbroken and his beloved dog watches him from up in heaven and sends him dreams to let the boy know that he's ok...phew...getting misty just thinking about it. It's a lovely story. Your family might find comfort in this story. My thoughts are will you guys.