Another Death.

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.

 

MelissaChapman
12.24.09

I have ten year-old Shih Tzu who we also got at about three months old right after we got married. She is really all mine- I love her in such a special profound way it's hard to express- but certainly like one of my kids. I am so sorry for your loss Risa, it sounds like she lived a very charmed life;)

geekymummy
12.20.09

So very sorry for your loss. Our animals just don't live long enough. Our dear sweet dog is only six, but I see her muzzle greying and dread the day when she leaves us. She was our first "child" too.

mbpol
12.16.09

Bless you, Risa.

gypsy_luna
12.15.09

I'm so sorry for yet another loss in your life. It's so hard to lose part of one's family.

jflynch
12.15.09

I'm so, so sorry -- for the double-whammy, which is just totally not fair, as if losing your dad or your good girl were not enough. When my Emma died, I lost my best friend of 12 years: the dog who got me through writing my dissertation, who got me out of the house every day when I was suffering from major depression, who nursed me through two miscarriages, and the only creature in my house who never talked back and loved me unconditionally. I also lost one of the few remaining connections to my pre-mom life. "Pet" doesn't begin to describe the relationship I had with her, and 18 months later, I still cry when I think of her. Hearing from friends, and even strangers, who understand what it means to lose a bond like that was really the only thing that helped. So, I hear you, and I'm sorry.

MyHormonesMadeMeDoIt
12.14.09

I loved your post, but what I adored and what will stick with me is the story your son created. His little words are so filled with hope, after all that would be the scenario to warm your heart.
http://www.myhormonesmademe.com

SweetMelissa1019
12.14.09

Dogs are most definitely like another child. They are excited to see you even when you've only left the room for 2 minutes. That's more than you can say for children or husbands unless you enter the room with food or a chilled beverage. I cannot imagine life without our lab, Bailey. She cuddles with me after my husband leaves for work, loves having her belly rubbed without expecting anything in return, and eagerly greets me at the door even if I have only gone to check the mail. She is my 75 pound, super affectionate baby. <3

SweetMelissa1019
12.14.09

Dogs are most definitely like another child. They are excited to see you even when you've only left the room for 2 minutes. That's more than you can say for children or husbands unless you enter the room with food or a chilled beverage. I cannot imagine life without our lab, Bailey. She cuddles with me after my husband leaves for work, loves having her belly rubbed without expecting anything in return, and eagerly greets me at the door even if I have only gone to check the mail. She is my 75 pound, super affectionate baby. <3