Saturday, April 17, 2010

What a dog.

When Bill and I first started dating, I was 17 years old and fresh out of high school. We had already been friends for a couple of years so once we admitted that we liked each other liked each other, our relationship sort of took on a life of its own. It was serious right from the get-go and a little more than I was ready for. By a few months in, we were beginning to self-destruct. By our six month anniversary, it was over.

Since I'd been so crazy head-over-heels in lerve, I had totally neglected my high school friends and not bothered to make new friends in college. What did I need friends for? I was in LOVE with my BEST FRIEND and we were going to be together FOREVER. Geez. When it all burned out in a fiery crash, not only did I not have a boyfriend anymore, I also felt like a complete loner loser with a super bruised ego that made me want to climb under a rock and hide.

It was right about then that I decided I needed to get a dog.

What I got instead was Cloey. A constant companion who loved me unconditionally and wanted little more than for me to love her back. She really did take "man's best friend" to a whole new level. She was my dog for 14 years and as much a part of our family as any other member.

It's unbelievably hard to say this but Cloey is gone. Last week after quite a bit of struggling (her with being old; us with letting go), we finally made the toughest decision any pet-owner can make. After talking with our favorite vet who helped us immensely the last time we had to go through this, we knew without a doubt that it was the right thing to do.

There were two things our vet said that really struck a chord with me: 1) While we were probably waiting for Cloey to really suffer before we made the call - for her to whimper all the time or cry out in pain - we had to understand that most dogs would never do that. Instead they do a number of other things (pace, pant, wander, limp...) - many of which Cloey had been doing for over a year. 2) She had been in veterinary medicine for 25 years and could count on one hand the number of dogs she knew who died in their sleep. It just doesn't happen very often.

Once we realized what was going on - that our dog was suffering and we had to help her die - we were finally able to see clearly again. And for the first time in a long time, I was able to remember who Cloey really was. This restless creature who kept us up all night and dropped poo nuggets wherever she went was not really my dog. And she hadn't been for some time.

It's been years since I walked in the front door and heard a thump! as she jumped off my bed to come greet me. Or heard her howl as a firetruck drove by. Or watched her herd the shadows of birds flying over the backyard. Years since she took her own leash in her mouth and dragged me down the street. Since she got in between Bill and I during an argument and forced us to speak nicely to each other. Since she saw someone crying and put her paw on their arm for comfort. Since she kept Liam company while he played in his room alone. Since she playfully nosed the cat or got down in play position and wagged her tail. Since she did the scorpion dance. Since she saw someone put on tennis shoes and ran in circles until they grabbed her leash. Since she saw a suitcase and started moping. Since she looked into my eyes with that look that said, "I know. I understand." Because she did. She really did. And oh, how I'll miss her.

Thanks for everything, Cloey. We love you girl.


Sarah Lindahl said...

So sorry for your loss. What a sweet, sad post!

Anonymous said...

I'm crying. She was such a good dog!


Celina said...

This makes me cry. I'm sorry, Maggie...
Love you.

Chrissy said...

Big hugs to you Maggie. It's never easy to lose a loved one,

Chrissy x

Jaime Sarrio said...

Getting teary at work. So sad, but what a nice post. Sorry you guys had to put her down, but sound like it was for the best.