The fading

It’s been a rough couple of months. I feel like I’m just now starting to feel normal again after the dog died on March 13th. The dread is still there, but it’s more of a whisper than a shout. Every once in a while it pokes its head back out but generally it’s just… like an app you left running in the background a couple weeks ago and forgot about until you get a stupid push alert.

What it’s really reminding me of is one of my favorite TNG episodes, “The Inner Light.” The one where the Enterprise finds this probe floating in space and it hits Picard with some beam that knocks him unconscious. In the 90 minutes he’s out, he “lives” an entire lifetime on the home world of the probe’s creators, who it turns out all died long ago because their sun went nova, or whatever. When he first “arrives” on the planet, he spends a lot of time trying to “get back” to the Enterprise. As time passes, he falls in love, gets married, has kids, learns to play the flute, and eventually dies. All the while, his memories of the Enterprise get fuzzier and fuzzier, though he never really stops thinking about it. Once he “dies,” the people in his new life all come back to explain that this was essentially a time capsule from their dying world, and he is now the only one who knows about their people. The simulation ends and he wakes up on the Enterprise’s bride, with only 90 minutes of real time having elapsed. Sort of like Inception, I guess.

That was sort of a long-winded way of explaining what I’m feeling now. Just like Picard never really stopped thinking about the Enterprise, I suppose I’ll never stop thinking about these things, but hopefully they’ll stay in the background as much as possible.

I never even wanted a dog.

I never even wanted a dog.

I can still remember the day we got you. I felt so duped. We were supposed to be going to get a cat and somehow we came home with you. I was angry for months. I had wanted to be able to go on vacation without worrying about a pet. Still, you were very cute.

April 26, 2008
May 5, 2008

I was mad, but it wasn’t your fault, and my anger was more than offset by the happiness you brought everyone else.

You got bigger but you still loved jumping up to kiss people on their face, and nothing we could do would stop you. For some reason you really loved my mom, though the feeling was not mutual.

September, 2008

You were always a very pretty girl.

Jan 2009

Eventually we moved and we made sure to get a house with a big yard. The yard became your territory. You found a whole area behind the shed that we didn’t even know existed. You went there every time we let you outside. Sometimes we’d see squirrels or birds fly out once you ran in. You loved the yard.

August, 2009

At some point we started spending most of our summers out east and you were in heaven. I set up a clothesline and attached your lead to it so you had plenty of room to run. If we weren’t so close to a busy road I would have loved to let you run free. But we didn’t want you to get hit by a car.

July 2011
June 2012

You hated water so much. When our house was flooded by Hurricane Sandy, mom had to drag you out of the house into the flooded street. It was an awful time for all of us. Over the next week, while we emptied out the ruins of our life, you were a very good girl, laying calmly in the front yard, keeping away looters. Just kidding. You did keep the mailman away, though.

November, 2012

Mom started dressing you up for Halloween and Christmas. You clearly did not love it, but you tolerated it, except for the hats.

Halloween 2014
Halloween 2015
Halloween 2016
Halloween 2017

At some point over the years we had you I stopped being mad. At some point I guess I realized I loved you.

Me and you, December 2017

We always joked that you were so healthy, you’d outlive all of us. We took you for shots but you were never sick. Maybe if we’d taken you for a “checkup” things would have been different. We’ll never know. When you got sick a couple weeks ago we all assumed it was from the won ton soup you ate. You peed on the floor and couldn’t walk. We thought you were in diabetic shock. We took you to the vet. The vet said you probably had indigestion and gave you some shot. The next day you seemed fine. I posted a “thank god she’s OK!” pic on Instagram.

When you got sick again the next week we were worried. I dropped you off for an X-ray. When the vet called us later that day to tell us your abdomen was filling up with blood and you had a massive tumor in your spleen that had burst, and her only recommendation was the worst possible thing, we shrieked in horror. We had to get Anthony out of school so he could come say goodbye to you.

You were such a good girl, even at the very end. I stayed with you as you left.

If someone would have told me I would be sitting at my desk writing a dog’s obituary with tears in my eyes I would have chuckled. But here I am.

We will always remember you. How you talked to dogs a quarter mile away. How you kept the yard free of birds and squirrels. How you loved sitting outside in the sun. How you loved it when we cooked, but fled down to the basement anyway because the smoke alarm scared you. How you camped next to the table waiting for something to fall off. How you’d pre-wash the dishes in the dishwasher. How you’d pull everything out of the trash, so much that we gave up and just started giving the empty wrappers to you.

In the end, we all loved you and you loved us. You were a good girl. You loved it when I said that. It was true. You won me over somehow. We will miss you forever, Chloe.

March 2017
February 2017