I lost one of my dogs a few weeks ago. (It’s taken this long for me to actually write about it.) In the matter of three short weeks, she got sick, got much sicker, and finally, we had to put her down. We were there with her at the end. And it was short…and painless (for her, not for me.)
And I cried like I haven’t cried since I don’t know when.
I’ve always been a sucker for dogs. Big dogs. Small dogs. Pretty dogs. Funny looking dogs. And yes, I’ve had dogs grow old and sick and die. But Chloe’s death was so unexpected.
Let me tell you a bit about Chloe Wagsalot Helms. She was a beautiful red and white (it’s actually a golden brown and white) basset hound – almost 11 years old. The sweetest dog I ever knew. Would actually wait for the mailman and roll over on the lawn so he could pet her belly when he came by. Not the smartest dog – by a long shot. But somehow, that was part of her charm. For example, she never learned to scratch to go in or out of the door. (No problem for my other two dogs…) She would just sit outside and stare into the house. If no one let her in, she’d start whimpering. Not very loudly…but if you heard it, you’d recognize it.
She was always wagging her tail…a happy dog (as happy as basset hounds could appear!). But she wasn’t a licker. She’d sniff your face, but never wanted to give you a big ol’ lick/kiss. I always thought that was because she was more Morgan’s dog, than ours. Morgan is our older basset. She’ll be 14 next month and even though she moves a little slower and can’t hear, well, pretty much anything, she’s doing great. The day we brought Chloe home and put her next to Morgan, that was it.
Whether she thought Morgan was her mom, or just her BFF, Chloe followed where Morgan went.That is until we brought Mandy home. Mandy is our 6 year old cocker spaniel. And Mandy and Chloe just took to each other from the start. Mandy would often sleep with her head on Chloe. And the two of them would sit for hours out in our backyard waiting for people/dogs/whatever to walk on the bike path that backs our house. Or stick their noses in the drainpipe looking for chipmunks. (Never bothered with rabbits or squirrels. But chipmunks drove them wild.)
Even now, weeks after we lost her, it still hurts to think about it. People who don’t have pets can’t understand the depth of the feelings we have for our dogs/cats. They pat you on the back and say how sorry they are…but you know they’re thinking, “hey, it was just a dog.”
They just don’t get it.
As for me, I’ve still got a basset-sized hole in my heart. I think it will be there for a while. Morgan follows me around more, and will sleep in my office as I am working. Mandy, who has always been more my husband’s dog, doesn’t seem as affected by the loss. Their world will be rocked – big time – in about two months. We’re on the waiting list for another pup. I’ll let you know how that turns out.