Tuesday, July 05, 2022


Chloe--aka Honeybee, Big Fuzz, Chlo-Chlo, Chloe Bean (to analogize with our dog Ellie, who was sometimes Ellie Bean), and occasionally Douglas (that one was just me being goofy for no reason; don't worry about it) was the only "problem" dog we ever had, sort of.  Not that much, but when she was young and full of beans, she tried to establish herself as the alpha dog by occasionally attacking the others, all of whom were extremely unassuming, to the point where for a brief while it wasn't clear if we'd be able to keep her.  But she grew out of that quickly enough (and really, she was always obviously the alpha anyway; she didn't need to be attacking anyone to prove that).  She was always a little difficult; you were never one hundred percent sure whether you could trust her around strange dogs or people she didn't know.  But people she did know, she loved very intensely (at one point, she was wagging so hard that she contracted a comical condition called happy tail syndrome where a dog whacks something that she gets a small abrasion in her tail and she starts spraying blood every which-way.  Some dogs who get this have to have the ends of their tails amputated, but hers cleared up on its own).  I don't think I can adequately express what a noble beast she was.

(I remember one incident: when I got back after a year in Morocco, she was unbelievably glad to see me.  It was really hot so I decided to sleep downstairs with the air conditioning, and several times during the night she came over to visit with me, which each time involved urinating all over the carpet in excitement.)

She was diagnosed with lymphoma about three weeks ago.  We were able to keep her comfortable with steroids for a while, but yesterday (some holiday that was, not that it would have been anyway) the end had clearly come.  She was fourteen years and seven months old--ancient for such a large dog, but that is cold comfort.  I had sort of had the idea that the end might be at least a little easier given the advance time we had to mentally prepare for it, but that did not work out.  Of course, it's impossible to really clearly remember mental states, but my subjective impression is that out of the three cats and seven dogs I've had to say goodbye to, this was the hardest.  But we did the best we could for her, it's very obvious that she went at exactly the right time, and--somewhat miraculously--both my brothers were in town, so she was surrounded by all her favorite people.  If it had to happen--and it bloody well did, in spite of magical thinking to the contrary--it happened as well as it could have.

I sometimes think that it says something positive about humans that we're willing to take in pets in spite of absolutely knowing that this is inevitable--and then we keep doing it, even after learning from painful experience.  Not, as we can easily see, that that appears to translate into a less cruel society, but it's not nothing.  I suppose.  Anyway, I put some more pictures after the jump.  As you can see, her muzzle really grayed as she got older, to an extent that I don't think I'd ever seen before in a dog.


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