I hate surprises. However, six years ago, almost to the day, I came home to one of the best surprises I have ever been given. Waiting for me was a teeny tiny, cuter than anything you’ve ever seen, English bulldog puppy. Knowing that I had been wanting an English bulldog for years, Matt had driven to and from Benson, NC (we were in VA at the time… but ironically, Benson is now the next town over from us) in an afternoon while I was at church to pick her up. It was love at first sight. To our newlywed selves, adding Chloe to the mix made us feel like a legit family.On Monday afternoon of this week, Chloe passed away completely unexpectedly. God was merciful to me in allowing me to make it to the NC State animal emergency room to say goodbye to Chloe before she died. As we walked into the ER, the receptionist hastily ushered me into the stereotypical sterile white “bad news” room, complete with the obligatory cheap box of tissues. As we were sitting there with several vets talking about Chloe’s condition followed by an almost eery silence as we waited to say our goodbyes, all I could say was “Matt, I hope we never find ourselves in a room like this ever again.”Over the past few days, I have been completely and totally caught off-guard by the amount of pain I feel in losing Chloe. The hurt has been profound. Walking past the empty spots where her bed and dog bowls once sat makes me cry almost every time. I have had trouble sleeping due to the too-quiet state of our bedroom now that Chloe is no longer licking and snoring all. night. long. Despite the noise and chaos of two young kids, the house seems so empty.
If I’m completely honest here, which I strive to be, then I must admit that I have had an overwhelming sense of guilt and embarrassment by the deep grief I feel. While I cry over a dog, I have friends mourning miscarriages and the loss of family members. I have been way too self-conscious in my sadness, concerned that others might judge me for crying over something as seemingly insignificant as a pet.Thankfully, my mom has talked some sense into me as I have voiced these concerns to her. She has reassured me that my feelings are not wrong and that it is okay to own them. Furthermore, the love that has been poured on us over the past two days has reassured me that people get it. That people understand the bond we can share with a pet is real.So, this is me owning my feelings. Admitting that, yes, Chloe was “just” a dog, but we loved that dog to pieces. Admitting that this hurts like crazy, and that I might cry about Chloe for a while. Admitting that I’m working through some crazy anxiety about losing someone I love, now that I know how painful the loss of a pet can be.Chloe, thanks for keeping me company and making me feel safe during those first few years of marriage when Matt traveled constantly for work. Thanks for showing unconditional love and loyalty, even on those days when we were too busy to give you the attention you deserved. We’ll miss your goofy, overweight self. As much as your licking and snoring and “submissive urination” drove me nuts, I’ll miss it. Every night, you attempted to take over the entire couch, and Matt was often relegated to watching television on the floor as you and I snuggled. This too, I’ll miss. Oddly enough, you loved to eat crayons, and it’s a bit odd to think that they’re now safe lying on the floor.
Heck, you loved to eat anything. I am unbelievably thankful that Carson had recently been given the task of feeding you. I happened to turn my head as he overfed you on multiple occasions, but I rest in knowing that at least you were well fed on your last few days. I also find comfort in that you now rest at one of my favorite places ever- at my parents’ river house alongside the Rappahannock River. It’s beautiful and serene, and you adored it there.Chloe, as I whispered through tears to you over and over again on Monday afternoon, you were a good girl. We love you and miss you terribly.

6 Comments on on the loss of a pet

  1. Catherine, I'm so sorry for your loss. Chloe wasn't just a dog, she was a part of your family and always will be.

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss … totally understanding how you feel and praying for you!
    Also, such a wonderful tribute to your Chloe šŸ™‚

  3. Never met Chloe, but crying with you after reading this. I know we would be in the same boat if we lost Tuck(who also, ironically, is from Benson)they really are part of the family. Praying for you!

  4. Oh no, so sad. And I had been thinking recently there hasn't been a Chloe update in a while.

    I knew we'd love out dogs when we got them, but I had no idea how much. I can only imagine how hard this is for you!

    Chloe was certainly a lucky little beast to be part of your family! i know she brought great joy to your lives and you to hers!

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