Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Goodbye, sweet girl

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Today I had to do one of the most difficult things I've done in my life. I had to say goodbye to my most loyal friend and companion, Chloe.

She had been doing much better with keeping food down after we started feeding her in her special chair, but unfortunately, in the last few weeks, her legs were getting much weaker and she was having trouble making it up and down the stairs. I was having to carry her up the stairs and up and down from the couch. She was limping and having trouble getting traction on the wood floor due to her unsteadiness on her feet. She was also having digestion problems. Due to her MegaEsophagus, if she would eat one tiny little thing off the floor, even one kernel of corn, she would get violently sick, sometimes for hours.

Awhile ago I was reading something about how to know when it is time to make the decision to say goodbye to a loved pet. It is such a hard thing to do, you just never want to let go. This thing I read said to think about the things your pet has always loved to do. When he or she can no longer do the majority of those things, it is time. For Chloe, her favorite things in life were:

#1. Food and treats
#2. Running free in the yard, chasing scents other animals had left behind

Due to her MegaEsophagus problem, she could no longer have treats of any kind. She couldn't have any solid food at all. This was very sad for all of us because she just lived for her Beggin' Strip treat every evening and a few Milkbones sprinkled throughout the day.

She could also no longer be allowed to run free (without supervision) for fear that she would find and eat something she found and get sick. Due to her limp, even just a quick outing to go to the bathroom would cause her quite a bit of pain.

Once the decision was made, I just could not bring myself to bring her to the vet clinic to be euthanized. Our vet is very nice and has helped Chloe tremendously over the last few years, but the vet's office was a place of fear for her, and I could not stand the thought of her last moments being fearful. Not to mention the condition Corey and I would be in having to wait in the waiting room.

In the end, Corey found a large animal vet who was willing to make a house call and put her to sleep here. I didn't think to ask who it would be until this morning, but it turned out that the vet was someone I knew, a client of mine back when I was working. This brought me more comfort because I knew he was a kind and gentle person. The vet came by a little after 10am laid Chloe to rest right in her favorite spot, in the corner of the couch.

We wrapped her in a pretty pink blanket and buried her on one of the grassy hills in the field behind our house. That hill was the place she would always run to when she realized that the underground fence was not working. When I would go looking for her, she would undoubtedly be there, sniffing away at the trail of some rabbit or coyote. Now she is at peace among the hills and trees and rabbits and deer. It is where she would want to be, I'm sure of it.

We keep reminding ourselves that she had a wonderful life. She was the best dog a person could ask for, and a great friend to Tater. She did a wonderful job teaching Lily about kindness to animals, too. She will be very greatly missed.

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Here are a few of my favorite photos of Chloe. They are not the best pictures, but they show the real "Chloe" that I want to always remember.

The next 2 pictures are from the day that I got her. A co-worker of mind had discovered her and her brother out in the country rummaging through trash. When she asked a neighbor about them, he said they'd been begging for food for weeks, starving after apparently being dumped. He said he said he would kick them whenever he saw them to try to get them to leave (nice!). Chloe's brother had a bit of meat on his bones, but chloe was extremely thin. From the moment I got her, she has been the most ravenous eater I have ever seen. She would jump in the air like a pogo stick as I would bring her her food. She lived for food.

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Here she is attempting to eat a waffle whole.

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Chloe's brother was a very sweet dog and I wanted to keep him, too, but knew I could not keep both dogs as I was just starting my career and getting ready to move into a small apartment on my own at the time. I decided that Chloe would be the one I would keep because she was more timid and less likely to be adopted. People have always said Chloe was an ugly dog, with her small head and muscular body, but in my eyes, she was always the prettiest dog in the world.

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We were never sure of how old Chloe was, since she was a stray, but I had her for over 8 years. Over time, Corey grew to love her too. He even managed to use her as a way to tell me he loved me for the first time. It happened when I was telling him about Chloe having to sleep right next to me in bed or she would whine all night on the floor. I said "I just don't understand why she has to be with me every single second" and he replied "She does it because she loves you, and I do too".

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Here is my favorite family portrait with the dogs.

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Goodbye my girl. I will hold you in my heart forever.

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16 comments:

Kate Giovinco Photography said...

Brook, I am so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you and your family. Chloe had an amazing life full of love and kindness with you and Corey. I bet she is eating lots of beggin strips in Doggy Heaven!

Bumble's Bounce said...

What a beautiful way to honor your beloved Chloe. Wishing your hearts are whole again, love you guys, Laura.

Corey said...

I couldn't wait, I had to read it at work....let's just say that was a mistake.

Nanny said...

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Butts said...

I'm glad you all were able to be at home and that you knew the vet. Things have a way of working out. I hope that soon your thoughts of Chloe will no longer bring sadness and pain but joy at having been her doggie momma.

Kristin said...

I am very sorry for your loss. Your Chloe sounds like a wonderful, special dog.

Nanny said...

Corey and Brook,
I felt so incredibly sad when I read about Chloe. My heart just goes out to both of you. This must have been a very difficult day for all of you. As I read your story tears just ran down my face. It's so hard to lose a pet that has been such a big part of the family. Chloe was such a dear sweet dog. We will miss her too. Brook, as i looked at all the pictures it dawned on me that the picture with you, Corey, Chloe and Tater was one of the pictures on your adoption profile.
It was not only your story but your pictures that moved "J" to decide to choose all of you as Lily's adoptive family.
So you see in her own little way Chloe played a very important role in Lily's adoption.
Sweet Chole you will be missed!

Bumble's Bounce said...

Ok, now Chrissy's comment is making me cry....

Cami said...

Hugs!

Jennoit said...

So many great photos. Thanks for sharing. I am so sorry you had to say goodbye.

Kelly said...
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Kelly said...

Such a sweet tribute. So sorry for your loss.

Susannah said...

Oh Brook. I am so sorry. I am reading this at work and trying to choke back my sobs so others don't hear me. That is very hard because I really just want to cry out loud. Please know you did the best thing for Chloe, even though it is SO hard right now. She knew it was ok. I can't believe it's been 8 years; I remember when you found her. I think I came to your office the next day. Bless you Chloe for so many good times with your family. BIG HUGS!!!!

Doug said...

Brook, Thank you for such a beautiful memoir of Chloe's time with you. I am so sorry for your loss.

She may not have been a show dog, but every animal has its own beauty and Chloe's was her beautiful, glossy brindle coat. I admired that the first time I saw her.

Thank you for sharing such a difficult moment with us.

Doug

TeaCakeBiscuit said...

Rest well Sweet Chloe, now you're a guardian angel xxx

Jennifer said...

Sorry for your loss. Truly heartbreaking. We're thinking of you all.