I am a serious mess. I wonder how long it’s going to be before I stop crying? Before the swelling in my face goes down from all the crying?
When we returned from the fireworks on Tuesday night, we went about getting the girls tucked into bed. Mark was taking care of things, closing windows and curtains and that sort of thing. He asked if we should leave the pool filter on all night, and I said yes. He made Chloe her dinner and went to check on her. I peeked out the back door to ask if he thought leaving the filter on was a good idea, and I saw him with her. He said she wasn’t okay, and I went out to them. He said she couldn’t walk, and I was confused for a minute. I didn’t understand – how could she not walk? She was walking when we left. He held her backside up while her front legs wanted to walk around – and I guided her into her bed in the garage.
We gave her food and water, and she lapped up the water like she’d been lying out in the grass for hours. She had wound herself around the shrub out back as she was freaking out from the fireworks. She’s always been afraid of fireworks, loud booms, thunder. She probably tried to unwind, and wound herself further, and then completely stressed out and hurt her already failing hips and legs in a way that completely disabled her.
We knew. Mark and I looked at eachother and with tears in our eyes we knew that it was time. We couldn’t let her continue on without the ability to get up and move around. We knew it was coming – but we didn’t know it would happen in a matter of a few hours, that it would be a decision we had to make in a matter of minutes. She wanted to get up, she dragged her hind end around – she kept trying. It was heartbreaking.
We hoped she’d feel better by morning. I prayed that the Good Lord would take her while she slept that night so that we wouldn’t have to take away what He gave her. I fell asleep crying, kleenex in hand, cradled in my husbands arms while he wept, too.
We woke yesterday morning, early, and worried. We went to check on her, and she was lying on her bed. There was a puddle on the rug beside her matress, at some point she dragged herself over and went potty, and dragged herself back to her bed. She was awake, and we loved on her for a few minutes and opened up the door so she could go outside if she wanted.
Mark had to leave for work, he said his goodbyes before he left.
I started making phone calls. Chloe’s vet makes house calls, since Chloe couldn’t travel with her hips being so bad that was a real blessing. I left her several urgent messages but didn’t hear back, and inbetween messages I was checking on Chloe to see if she was alright. She was determined to get around. She wanted to go outside, but couldn’t. She made a couple more puddles on the garage floor. I helped her back to her mattress, and she kept looking at me like I could fix what was wrong. My heart was breaking.
More phone calls, more trying to figure out how to get her seen, how to ease her pain. I couldn’t lift her into my car – I couldn’t take the girls, things were so complicated – why wouldn’t her vet call back? Finally, I went out to check on her again and she had dragged herself out into the grass. She was lying beside a fresh puddle, and I couldn’t bear it. I couldn’t watch her struggle to get around, it was so sad. I called my friend, she came and helped me get Chloe into my car and took my girls. I drove Chloe to the vet.
Chloe enjoyed the ride, lapping up the breeze in the backseat. I opened up all the windows and she looked happy, even though she was panting like crazy.
The truly suckey part began.
The Vet tech helped me carry her in. We went straight to the room and set her on the floor. Chloe wanted to get around and sniff things, and she was nervous. I sat on the floor beside her and held her, petted her and cried. The Tech gave her an injection to knock her out, and within a few minutes she was asleep and snoring in my lap. I held her, cried all over her, and cherished her soft fur beneath my hands. I whispered to her that we loved her, I apologized to her for her pain and for having to let her go. I sobbed and wept and couldn’t contain myself – and didn’t even bother trying to. I was relieved to feel her breathing calm down to slow, deep breaths from the rapid breathing and panting she had been doing for the last few days. I smiled hearing her snore, and straightened out her head in my lap so she would stop. I cradled her, my baby girl, and hoped she felt me loving her as she drifted off.
The tech returned and administered her final injection, and I continued holding her and loving her, apologizing and crying, as she exhaled I heard a sigh, and I knew she was gone. The tech checked her heart and told me what I already knew. She left and I stayed with Chloe and closed her eyes, sobbed more, and said goodbye. I took her collar, a choker chain, and when I left I hung it from my rear view mirror.
The sobbing has continued on since yesterday – I can’t stop. It’s sporadic, it’s painful. I knew I would be sad, but I had no idea. This is awful, mourning my baby girl. Wondering if we did the right thing, knowing she’s not in pain anymore – feeling guilt about whether or not she knew we loved her, that she knew I loved her.
Knowing that I won’t hear her barking when strangers are around anymore. Falling asleep lastnight crying, hearing noises, and grabbing the phone to fall asleep with it cradled under my arm. Feeling like there will never be another Chloe. I don’t want another dog. I don’t want to compare another dog to Chloe. Chloe was the best – she didn’t bark randomly, she barked with intent to warn or get our attention. She had enough oompf in her bark to make people think she could be dangerous. In 13 years, she never bit anyone.
Chloe cared for her babies, her stuffies. When she was little, she’d rip them up to shreds. We always bought her the same one, a purple and yellow dino/turtle thing. She’d tear it up, we’d get her a new one. It wasn’t long before she babied it, and if the stuffing started to come out she’d lick it like a wound and try to make it better. Her last stuffie was a white cow, she dragged it out with her in the rain, mud and snow – and it was beside her on her bed, in tact, on her last night with us. She had that one for years, and it was in perfect shape, albeit dirty. I’ll wash it, and have another good cry over it, I’m sure.
She was such an everyday automatic thought, just a part of our family. Seeing her empty lead lying on the sidewalk was sad. Cleaning up her food dishes, dragging soiled rugs out of the garage, putting her brushes away. Things I never imagined myself doing. Her presence was calming, and made me feel safe, protected. Her bark was ingrained in my brain, I knew it like you’d know your child was crying in a group of 50 children. I just can’t believe it ended, just like that, so abruptly. I knew it was coming, I knew her health was failing, her hearing was nearly gone. I just didn’t know we’d be making that decision. I didn’t know I wouldn’t be able to stop crying. I didn’t know how much I thought about her and how much I loved her until I had to let her go.
Now I feel so selfish. Here she was, struggling to move around with only her front legs – and in her mind, she just wanted to go potty. She just wanted that fresh breeze in her face. She just wanted me to pet her. She just wanted to sniff out that cat that had been in that room. She lapped up water and acted like everything was normal, she just had a new obstacle to climb. Me, I couldn’t bear it. We couldn’t watch her health deteriorate any further, we couldn’t carry her back end for her every time she wanted to go out.
I’m bawling, I’m missing her, I’m so sad and my heart aches so much over the loss of our baby girl, and she’s on to a better existence, where I hope and pray she’s enjoying herself and that she just knows she’s special and that she was loved. so. much. I hope she gets a special place for the really great and tender souls, and that she checks in on us and that maybe, sometimes, that I’ll hear her barking at strangers near our yard. I hope she’s sitting pretty, and lapping up fresh water and getting only the green milk bones.
I hope she knows that she taught me a thing or two over the last 13 years, even if I only realized it in her final hours. I hope this pain subsides, and I hope I don’t spend every moment trying not to think about her because I’ll end up sobbing again.
I miss my Chloe.