Bad things come in three’s. That is something my mom has always told me.
I’m not a superstitious person. I don’t stress about black cats, lucky socks, or stepping on cracks.
But this? This one seems to be a legitimate foretelling.
Last summer it was restraining orders, a totaled car, and a speeding ticket within 3 days of each other.
This summer it appear to be losing my job, being rear-ended, and having our dogs go through hell.
Several weeks ago I almost lost Onyx. HGE, some random gastro intestinal infection, had my normally high energy Pitbull knocking at death’s door. $1200 dollars later and she’s back, stronger and better than ever, and I am beyond grateful.
Dogs have always come into my life when I needed the unconditional love the most. Starting with Chloe.
I was 12 when we got her. We’d been begging ever since we’d moved to the United States and had to leave our Boxer, Jasmine, and Maltese Poodle, Belle, behind in South Africa. Dad was not keen on another pet, but at 12, we stepped into Pauley’s Pups and picked up this tiny ball of Lhasa Apso fluff. She was the only one of the litter who licked me and I was sold.
At 12, I was obsessed with the thoughts of what happened if my parent’s died. Would we be shipped back to South Africa? Or stay here with strangers? What would I have to do? How would I take care of my sister? I made my parents go over their plans over and over again, figure out funeral arrangements and make me feel better about what might happen. Chloe ( I tried to name her Clover Berry but my mom said that was really dumb) was a constant source of comfort. She would crawl into coffee cups in the morning and hop around the yard like a bunny on speed. She liked me a whole lot, but she loved my mom. And has always been more of her dog then mine. Possibly because I stressed her out with my Elmira-like love as a child.
Chloe is the HBIC of our pack of animals. When Tyla got Nala when I was 17, Chloe didn’t acknowledge her existence for a solid six months. She didn’t like her until I brought Boomer home one day and I swear to you, the realization that I brought home a dog the size of a mountain in comparison, was enough for her to look at Nala with less disdain.
Chloe is also a constant source of wonder. At 9 lbs. she is not intimidating by looks, but she is acrobatic. She once climbed a bed, jumped across to a desk, climbed two shelves and then proceeded to consume half a bar of 70% dark chocolate. She shook like a leaf in a tornado and I had the pleasure of sitting up with her all night feeding her activated charcoal and hoping she wouldn’t die. To this day chocolate still has to be hidden.
She’s also vicious. My dad has a small scar on his lip from when he was playing with her on the floor and rolled on her by accident and she was not about to take that. She will attack your feet if you move them under the covers while she is sleeping. And if you have the misfortune of stepping on her, do not watch yourself in the first minute, but thirty minutes later when you are comfortable she will attack your feet and ankles with a smile, knowing revenge is a dish best served cold.
Chloe is almost 15 years old now. More often then not in our house you will hear, “Shut up Chloe!” because she spends her days having us cater to opening the door for her as she steps inside and outside every ten minutes. Barking incessantly to have her demands met. She terrifies Boomer and Onyx with zeal, Nugget (my sister’s boxer) treads lightly, because Chloe will hang off her jowls out of revenge for the slightest misstep. She’s a Queen, ruling with an iron fist.
And we thought she was going to die yesterday. She has some form of dog vertigo, the doctor not sure if her neurological disfunction will be a permanent addition or if it will clear up after a week of antibiotics. We have decided to try the antibiotics and if she is not better after that course, we will have to do the humane thing and put her down. She can barely stand, she’s nauseous from the way her world has tilted, and it would be cruel to force her to live like that for her remaining time.
The idea of putting her down seems unfathomable. I’m looking over at Onyx and Boomer curled up on the couch and the thought of something happening to them steals my breath away.
Chloe, Boomer and Onyx- they came to me when I was the most scared, depressed, and sure that I was un-lovable. They have provided me with unconditional love and indescribable joy, even on days when I was sure there was none of either to be found.
How do you reconcile the thought that you’d have to put down what has been one of the biggest puzzle pieces of making you who you are? My father is determined that we won’t be there. My mom and I sat crying at the vet and he just said that he’d make sure that we’d never have to go through that pain. As a child, I only ever saw him cry once, when he had to take his Boxer, Sheba to the vet to be put down due to her hips failing her. He only wants to spare us.
But I read a secret on PostSecret years ago:
And I will be there so that she’s not scared or worried or alone. Because she has been there for every minute that I’ve ever been all those things and she deserves nothing less.
Today- I am hopeful. I am hoping this “third bad thing” is not going to come to pass. I’m hoping she lasts another year or two because there is nothing better than watching a 91 lb. male boxer shoot into the air out of pure fear of a 9 lb. Lhasa Apso. She’s a staple on my parent’s recliners, curling at their feet to watch TV. And she’s the first piece of what made staying in the United States real, and as selfish as it is, I don’t want to give her up just yet.
So hope with me.
And give your pet an extra dose of time and love today.