Saturday, April 03, 2010


Chlo Girl
Snorty McDingo

We lost Chloe January 31st. The cancer metastasized. She had fluid in her lungs and a tumor pressing against her heart. We made the decision and took her to the vet for euthanasia and stayed with her to the end, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done.

I know everyone thinks their dog is the best dog ever, in the whole world. I know Chloe was. The picture above pretty much sums up her and me. We found her at the Seattle Animal Shelter in June of 2004. We were in the process of buying a house, largely because we desperately wanted a dog. In the week before closing, when we had six million things we needed to be doing, we went to the shelter. I had spotted her there on a previous visit, but she didn't have any information because she had just been surrendered. I stalked waiting for info to appear, and when it did, we made that trip. Dogs bounced and jumped and barked, but Chloe sat at the front of her cage with her head tilted, and those big ears, and just smiled at me.

We took her to the shelter's little play area, and she rolled over and put her head in my lap, just like in that picture above. Trent was skeptical - her info said she was 6 (or maybe 8 - there were contradictions), and he thought she'd be boring and never play. Smart girl, when she got done nuzzling me, she bounced up, stuck her butt in the air, and pounced at Trent.

We took a couple of other dogs out to play, in the interest of fairness, but I was clearly a goner. We didn't have our house yet, and our apartment was definitely a no-dog zone, so I said we should wait until closing, come back Saturday, and if she was still there it was meant to be. Trent asked me how I'd feel if someone else adopted her. At that moment, some other woman was checking out the paperwork on her cage, and I felt murderous. We adopted Chloe on the spot, and she went off to our vet for a couple of days.

Don't wait when you fall in love.

And so it came to pass that Chloe was the very first thing that we moved into our house. She came to us with 10 or 15 pounds of extra fat, a bladder infection, and skanky fur. The vet, good food, and exercise had her bounding around the park chasing tennis balls and glowing in short order. Her previous owner has obviously trained her not to jump on the furniture, but we felt that a dog's place is on the couch where you can rub her tummy and stroke her big, pointy, silky ears.

When we adopted Chloe, Trent asked me if I was sure about getting and older dog. They die sooner. You don't have them as long. I argued that puppies can die suddenly too, and that it didn't matter. It didn't. She had a lot of health problems in the 5 and a half years we had her. She had ear infections, eye infections, abcessed teeth, mysterious skin growths, an injured knee, and increasingly painful arthritis. We took her to the vet, handed over money, and applied various pills and ointments. I took her to the doggy hot tub for swimming therapy. Eventually the tennis ball days were over. We walked the neighborhood and she made friends with everyone from little kids to homeless guys to biker types to the people with handicaps who exercise in the park. Friends came to our house and adored Chloe. Even a friend who actively dislikes dogs would pet Chloe.

When she was diagnosed with cancer my heart broke. I'm still heart-broken and grieving the loss. But I've never, ever, for one second been sorry that we adopted her (or that she adopted us).

Chloe showed me how to love completely, without reserve. She made the world better. She made my heart bigger. She loved the world, and it loved her right back. On sunny days, she rolled in the grass and the little daisies and snorted with joy. The sun came out for her.

Our household now has me, Trent, the dogs Kidd and Stella, and the cats Rudy and Callie. Very slowly over the last two months I've stopped feeling like there's a huge Chloe-shaped gap in the house, but we still miss her terribly.

Give everyone you love a hug,



Anonymous Rebecca said...

Thank you for the beautiful testament to Chloe. I think I know her now, in spite of never meeting her nose to nose. Great photos of a very sweet doggy.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chloe was one of a kind and you've described her very well.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Wed said...

Bye, Cloe!

9:34 PM  
Blogger forever said...

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Anonymous Glen Lerner said...

Sorry to hear. They say it's "like" losing a family member, but it really is losing a family member. Its wonderful to think of how many precious moments you had with her, though.

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1:53 PM  

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