I am very aware that I have been at a major standstill in my creative life and especially on my blogging… and I came to the realization that it was because I’ve been wanting to do a personal blog post about our dear dog Chloe, who passed away on June 24th… and I found that the longer I put this post off, the less I’ve wanted to work on anything else. So for the sake of getting my blogging life back on track, and for the sake of fulfilling my need to say one final goodbye, I am going to tell you about my Chloe.
When we found out that Chloe was terminally ill, we asked our good friend JennyJ if she could possibly squeeze a family session in for us before she was gone for a month, and before Chloe’s health got to the point that a family photo shoot couldn’t have happened; it wasn’t the easiest thing for her to do, but like a true friend, she came through for us. And we are forever grateful that she did… I can say in all seriousness, that the three best decisions we have made during the span of our lives together have been:
1. getting married
2. buying our eurovan
3. hiring jenny for our family photos
I have a million photos of Chloe, as she was such an obliging model… but I felt it most fitting to include photos of Chloe as she was to us and as we were to her. We were a family of six—a family of three humans & three dogs—and along the way, that all changed and it no longer feels right any more; we no longer feel complete. So I am beyond thankful for these photos that show us as we started out and as I feel I’ll always remember us… Michael, Catherine, Madeline, Ella, Chloe & O’Malley.
Let me tell you a little about Chloe, the way I remembered her and the things that I’ve heard from Michael, who got to spend seven more years with her than I did.
When Michael went to find a Golden Retriever for Ella (per the advice from his vet, to help Ella with her recent loss of Red, Michael’s previous Golden Retriever)… he visited a litter that was full of fuzzy furry blondie 6-week old Golden Retriever puppies. Obviously it would be impossible to choose which one would be the right match as they are all ridiculously cute… but he said that after the initial excitement of the puppies meeting Michael, one puppy walked away from all the excitement, went over to the heater, rolled over on her back and went to sleep. Michael was like, “okay, that’s my dog.” She loves to play but she loves to relax too. She was six weeks old and he named her Chloe. From the day that he brought her home, he would bring her to work with him everyday and she travelled everywhere he travelled… which could easily explain her love & adoration of people. Even in her last days when she wasn’t feeling very well, if she knew we were going somewhere where people would be, her day just got a 100x better. Our vet is four blocks down the road from us, and every time I walked her there she would realize from about two blocks away that that was where we were headed, and she would just start running towards it. “People! I get to see more people today!!!”
These are the things that I will always love & remember about my Chloe girl…
… When I woke up in the morning, she would be looking right at me, smiling.
… When I walked in the house—every single time, and no matter if I had only been gone for less than an hour or all day—she would leap & jump & cry out for joy that I had returned. And she was no small puppy, so it was a little ridiculous to watch, and to be a part of, as the whole house shook with her delight. I once heard that when you have teenagers, you should get a dog because at least someone will be happy when you walk in the door. That was my Chloe… not only was she happy to see me, she was overcome with joy that I was home. In fact, sometimes when we walked in the front door, we would run into her with the door because it was very apparent that she never left the front door when we left the house… that’s how anxious she was for us to return.
… Wherever I went, she went. All over the house. When I worked, she was laying next to me. When I cooked, she was in the kitchen; when I used the bathroom for crying out loud, she would either go in there with me, or wait at the door for me to come out. Sometimes I would be doing household chores (a very seldom sometimes… let’s be serious here), and would be going up & down the stairs, and she would be going up & down the stairs with me. To the point that I had to say, “Chloe! Stop! Stay! I will be right back!!!”
… Chloe was very loyal & amazingly obedient. When we opened the front door, she would wait at it until we said go. And sometimes she would get confused and kind of hesitate & stare at us, waiting to see if she really was supposed to go outside. I was always amazed by that. If we were playing in the yard & her ball went into the street, she would stand at the edge of the yard and watch longingly as her ball rolled down the street, never daring to upset her boundaries. If she needed a haircut or got an owwie that needed tended to, she would lay there patiently, panting, waiting for Michael to be done. She never fought him, and always trusted that he was looking out for her best interests.
… Chloe loved to lay around (just as Michael had predicted, when he met her that first day). She was always laying around, and when we called her name or said, “Chloe, I love you!” she would start thumping the floor with her tail. “Chloeeeee” thump thump thump… “Chloe, I love you!” thump thump thump…
… At night. Every single night… Chloe would wait for us. It never mattered who was the last person to go to bed. If Michael went to bed first and I stayed up working, she would sit with me & wait for me to be done working… and wouldn’t go to bed until I was in bed. And vice versa… I once tried to prove to Michael that she only did that for me. But lo & behold, we found that when he worked late & I went to bed first, she waited until the wee hours of the night for him to go to bed. I will miss that most about her.
… Chloe never liked to be snuggled or hugged. She loved to be kissed, but was never comfortable with us holding her too close. As she became more & more ill however, she started to either lose her sensation of touch or her will to care… so she would lean into us, and we could hold her for hours on end. It was very bittersweet & extremely painful to see, as we knew that this was not our normal Chloe, but it also seemed a huge part of our last days with her, and I’m kind of glad that I got to hold her & hug her so much in those last few weeks & months.
Wherever we went, people wanted to say hi to Chloe and she wanted to say hi to them. I couldn’t even count the number of times I heard someone say, “Well isn’t that the happiest dog in the world!” It was so true. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, or remember how wonderful it feels to have someone always concerned about where you are, what you are doing, and when you will be together again… every single second of the day. That is pure loyalty & unconditional love, and I realize now that even though the things I listed above are all such simple things… if those are the qualities that you give to another human being, then you are making someone very very happy & I hope they love you for it. Like we loved Chloe.
Goodbye ChloeBear. We love you so very much and are thankful that you are a part of our history… my dreams of you are filled with endless beaches, soft surf, long roads & a certain worn out soccer ball… I hope you are so happy there.