Tribute

Escape Artist. Carrot-theif. Chaser of rabbits. Eater of dryer-lint. Hubby’s walking buddy. Butterfly’s ‘first baby’. The dog who was supposed to be temporary…

The blue-eyed ball of fuzz wormed her way into our hearts, though her strong-willed attitude occasionally made her a challenge. Well-behaved on a leash or in the house; an unattended open portal – yes, she once escaped out a window – was always more than she could resist. Once out, and on her own, it would be at least 24 hours before she could be coaxed (or tricked) into coming back.

Her understanding of her place in the ‘pack’ always seemed a little off; Hubby and I were Alphas, no doubt about that, but I think she always believed herself to be the equal of all the pups (kids). Or above them in rank.

She was possibly the most intelligent non-human I have ever had the pleasure to know…

As many of you know, we’ve spent the last few weeks preparing ourselves for life without Sweet Cleo. An illness, and a newly-diagnosed heart condition made us aware that our time with her was probably coming to an end. While it made us sad, she’s actually doing quite well now. She seems to understand her limits…

Chloe was supposed to live forever.

Tuesday was a perfectly normal day. She walked about five miles with Hubby in the early morning (we always joked that she’d walk all the way to Connecticut if he’d go with her…). Ate her dinner with her usual gusto, went out, came in, begged for a cookie – just the average Furball stuff. At 9:30, when I was on my way to bed, I noticed she’d thrown up part of her dinner, and was a little lethargic. “Ate a bad rabbit,” I said to myself. Not an unusual thing. She got up and walked to her bed in the hall, and I thought I’d take her in the next morning if she was still slow.

But it was clear on Wednesday morning that she was in trouble. Her belly was tender, her breathing, shallow. We loaded her in the car to run to the Emergency Vet, almost an hour away.

She didn’t make it.

The vet – the very sweet Dr. Scuderi – called about 4pm to let me know the cause. Her stomach had flipped, and, given the amount of blood she’d lost, she’d never had a chance… The Butterfly reminded me later that ‘bloat’, as it’s called, is what felled Marley, the yellow Lab from the popular book/movie/newspaper column Marley and Me. My neigbor, Dorrie, said that large dogs like shepherds, are geneticly predisposed to it.

Live and learn, I suppose. But, what a hard lesson…

I want to thank all of you who left such sweet comments on the Wednesday post, especially the first-timers. I hope you’ll all understand that this is the one time I can’t bring myself to answer individually… Just know that reading them was like getting a dozen friendly hugs, and I so appreciate them.

We’re adjusting, slowly, to our too-quiet house. Hubby still walks every morning. Sweet Cleo follows me around, bringing me stuffed toys at every opportunity. Dinner is the hardest time. One bowl, not two. Having to stop myself from shouting, “Ok, go to your room!” when I shut the water off… Thinking I hear her toenails on the wooden floor.

I miss my dog.

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11 thoughts on “Tribute

  1. I love that first picture the most because she just looks like she’s up to something. What a nice tribute. I’m sorry to hear this, breaks my heart. Our 12-year-old dog had a health scare recently and while he’s better I know he’s up in years. It’s so hard seeing them age.

    • Greg, if that dog was awake, she was usually up to something….it was part of her charm. You should read the linked ‘carrot thief’ story. I caught her digging and eating my winter carrots a couple of years ago.
      Though she was getting older, she showed no signs of slowing down – she just stopped. That’s the hardest part of all…
      Tell Katherine thanks for leaving the condolence note Wednesday night, and thanks for commenting today.

  2. A lovely tribute. You will miss her dearly as they make themselves very comfortable in our hearts. I lost one of my dogs 8 years ago – it made me decide to go on an extended trip to Spain and my life turned around. I like to think she had something to do with it!

    • Oh, she was about as close to human as any canine I’ve ever known. And, her passing made your post today all the more special – all those happy dogs made me happy, too. Thanks for letting Fuzzy post it… 🙂

  3. PS….. the pictures were perfect. I happened upon the one of you, Niko and Chloe at the computer. I had not seen the one of Joey and Sarah and the dogs. Perfect!!!

    • Thanks, Mom… Sarah sent the one at the computer specifically to be used here. The one with Joey was taken not long before their ill-fated journey to Tennessee…

      We’re doing all right, but it’s still hard.

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