How do you say goodbye to a dog that has been your shadow for nine years? A dog that was always smiling? A dog that didn’t have a mean bone in her body? That the only purpose in her life was to make you happy? I don’t know, but I had to say goodbye to Chloe July 10, 2013…exactly 6 months after Maggie passed away.
Chloe came to us 9 years ago. She was two years old and her owner no longer wanted big dogs. I had never owned a big dog in my life and I was kind of hesitant to get her. Betsy was two and Reece was five and to have this oversized Golden Retriever in my house seemed like too much. But we took her in…and our lives changed forever.
Chloe became my shadow. Everywhere I went, she went…and I mean everywhere. When working out of my office, she would either sit behind my chair, or sometimes she would squeeze herself under my desk. How she fit there, I will never know. She was my best friend and she didn’t meet an animal or a person she didn’t love with all her heart. But her heart belonged to me. She stole my heart the minute she hopped on the couch and laid her head on my hip. She slept for hours like that…just content to be with me. When I was sad, I could hug her and she would just let me….she didn’t need words to help me…she was just there…waiting for me to hold her.
When I would leave and come back it was like all was right in the world in her eyes. She lit up light a Christmas tree when we came home. She used to have this particular tail wag that you knew when she was using it she was looking for something of mine to carry around…she usually found my purse and would drag it around the house, upside down mind you, with all the contents trailing behind her, found where I was, and then lay down with it and use it as a pillow.
Chloe was desperately afraid of thunderstorms and there was only one way for her to feel safe. No matter what the time of day or night, no matter what I was doing, if a thunderstorm started she would come get me and I would have to sit in one particular spot on the couch, encourage her it was going to be “OK” and then she would go under her “safe” table which happened to be the coffee table right next to the couch I was sitting on. If I got up during the storm, she would follow me with kind of a “come on let’s get back to our safe spot” look until I went back to the couch. And I would sit there on that couch with her…even if it meant no sleep that night, so that she could feel safe.
As she got older, she would walk slower up the stairs, she didn’t want to run the back yard as quickly, but even up to the day before she passed away if she saw a rabbit in the yard she would try to catch it. Luckily for the rabbit she was too slow.
After Maggie died in January, my whole family was a wreck. About two months after Maggie died we noticed a lump on the side of Chloe. We took her into the vet and she determined it was probably cancer and that she was a strong, otherwise healthy dog, so she suggested we have the surgery to remove it. After Maggie dying on the operating table (different vet) I was very hesitant about putting Chloe under anesthesia, but I put my trust in this vet. Chloe came out of the surgery just fine and even after having gone through this surgery, she as still as happy as can be. We were told to watch this area where the lump had been, but it was possible the cancer would never come back and Chloe would have a lot of time left in her. That was in April.
On Tuesday July 9, I noticed Chloe was not herself. She wasn’t eating and just wasn’t her happy go lucky self. As she lay in the kitchen I noticed the lump on her shoulder. It hadn’t been there the day before. What in the world? And then, there was a thunderstorm that evening, and there was no reaction from her. That is when I knew something was seriously wrong. I knew. That night, I slept on the couch and she lay on the floor next to me. I petted her while she looked up at me so lovingly as she had done so many times before.
At about 12:30 am, she got up and went under her “safe spot,” the coffee table. I thought it was odd because there was no thunderstorm…..I woke up on my own at 5 am the next morning and looked at Chloe. She didn’t lift her head, just moved her eyes to look at me and wag her tail. I thought maybe she was stuck since she was so big and that was such a small place, so I moved the chair, I moved the couch and lifted the coffee table….and she didn’t get up. Oh no.
I brought her ice, one of her favorite treats, and she took a few licks and then stopped. I called the vet and we brought her in. Her lungs were filling and apparently she had an embolism or blood clot, burst in her spine and she was paralyzed…
At 7:30 am July 10, 2013 Chloe made her way to the Rainbow Bridge while I held her beautiful head in my hands. It was very hard for me to let go of that beautiful girl. We have been together through a lot of things and always had a way of making me feel better.
I will miss her terribly. Rosie, who grew up with her as a puppy is very depressed. But Chloe is no longer in pain, she is with Maggie at Rainbow Bridge. I do believe I will see her again…I also believe in signs. Three days after she passed away a yellow butterfly flew up to me, I said “Oh hello” which, normally I would run away screaming like a banshee because I hate bugs…so the fact that I said hello to it is puzzling. But even more puzzling is that it landed on my shoulder…and stayed there. And I felt comforted.
Then, yesterday Rosie was in the back yard and barking..not a big bark, just a “ruff” every few seconds. I was wondering what she was barking at, and lo and be hold there was a yellow butterfly on the picnic table next to her….and she was “talking” to it.
I will miss my Chloe very much. She was my best dog friend. She can’t be replaced…..I loved her with all my heart.
Until we meet again sweet girl…..