This has not been a good year for dogs in my family.
It's been four days since Chloe, our Killer Fluffy Bitch, died, and I'm still having problems saying something about it. Perhaps what disturbs me the most is the lack of feeling: I have hardly cried, but I also can hardly believe she is gone.
Chloe was an impulse purchase by my mother and youngest sister. She was just a little ball of fluff at first, but had no qualms about showing everyone that she was the boss. She nipped at ankles, attacked my hair, and charmed all of us in an instant. (Except for maybe Luke.) Only two people could never do any wrong in her eyes: my dad (the pack alpha), and my brother.
My brother was still practically a baby back when we adopted Chloe — only just five years old — and they grew up together, she gradually becoming both his (fourth) surrogate mother and his best friend. She was the only one that could wake him up on school mornings, and I'm pretty sure she was the only member of the family that he really missed when he went away to college.
Her long hairs shed constantly, leaving the entire house buried under a thin film of fur at all times, starting two minutes after any cleaning. I often came home from visiting the family with traces of her covering my legs.
The straight woman to our goofy chocolate lab, Chloe was the dignified member of the family — not a lady, not at all, but a gentlewoman full of the need for dignity, and willing to be violent to get it.
She defended house and home with a mighty bark, kept Luke in line with tooth and claw, but otherwise she tried her best to be dainty, crossing her front paws delicately to lie down, the quiet dog in the room. Watching our antics with a tolerant air, sometimes forgetting herself if the play seemed to fun or if there was good food involved. She would only just deign to do any tricks to earn her daily pig's ear, but from time to time you could coax a free "bisou" out of her if she was in the mood.
While Luke, who was a year older than she was, died slowly, lingering on for months and months, Chloe was here and then suddenly gone. The last time I saw her, I knew she was starting to go downhill, but I never expected it to be now. I thought I had at least a few more weekends, a few more bisous left out of that bitch.
Wherever you are, pretty girl, I hope it suits you royally.
Chloe. Sept. 24, 1995 - Dec. 11, 2010.
Ah. There are the tears.