by Risa Green
I know I’ve been a bit of a downer lately what with The Horrible Tragedy of My Father and all, but I’m sorry to say that things have not brightened up. Just because my year wasn’t ending on a crappy enough note, Chloe, my sweet, wonderful, ten year-old Wheaten Terrier, died suddenly last week. If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you may remember that Chloe had been diagnosed with a genetic, protein-losing disease about two years ago, and we almost lost her then. But we put her on medication and restricted her diet, and she made an amazing recovery. About six weeks ago, however, we started seeing signs of the disease again, and the vet confirmed that she was, indeed, relapsing. So we put her back on the medication, put her back on the stinky, prescription kibble that she hated, and we thought that she was doing better. But then over the weekend her symptoms got worse. On Sunday night she collapsed walking up the stairs and seemed to be having trouble breathing. We rushed her to the animal hospital, but we were too late. Her little heart stopped while they were examining her, and my Chloe bear (my puppy pie, my bunny, my sweetie wheatie) was gone.
It was, I have to say, one of the saddest moments of my life. My husband had given Chloe to me as a birthday present, just four months after we got married. I picked her out of the litter because she had a spunk and an attitude about her that I loved – she was definitely my kind of girl. For the next three years, we poured our hearts and souls into that dog the way that all married people without children do. We took her everywhere with us, bought her fancy dog beds and organic dog treats, made her scrambled eggs for breakfast on Sunday mornings. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I remember asking my husband if he thought it was possible that we might actually love our new baby more than we loved our Chloe. I simply couldn’t imagine it. But, of course, we did, and Chloe went from being the center of our world to the periphery of it. It couldn’t have been easy for her, but she was a good girl, and she welcomed my daughter, and then my son, into her pack without incident.
People keep asking me how my kids are doing with Chloe’s death. My kids are doing fine. The truth is, Chloe was not their dog. She was ours. She just never loved our children the way that she loved us. She tolerated them, sure, and she loved swiping their food when they weren’t looking, but that was about it. In fact, it was only in the last few weeks before she died that she had started to develop a relationship with my daughter at all. I began to notice that her tail would wag when my daughter came home, and two days before she died, she tapped my daughter on the hand with her paw because she wanted to be pet. She’d never done that to one of the kids before – it was as if she was finally acknowledging that my children were not, in fact, going to be sent back to whatever strange, annoying planet they had come from, and she’d decided that she might as well make the most of it. It’s too bad, really, that they didn’t have more time together. After all, my daughter has spunk and attitude too, and I think they would have made a great team.