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.