Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Goodbye, sweet girl
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.
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.
Here she is attempting to eat a waffle whole.
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.
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".
Here is my favorite family portrait with the dogs.
Goodbye my girl. I will hold you in my heart forever.