17 Comments posted by Kristi on Thursday, March 08, 2007 at 7:27 AM
15 years ago I was working as a cashier in my local grocery store. I was walking out of work one night when I saw a woman and her children standing beside a shopping cart in the parking lot. In that shopping cart was a tiny puppy, no more than a month or so old. I stopped to pet the puppy, and the woman explained that her dog had had a litter of puppies, they were moving, and they needed to "get rid" of the puppies. There had been several others, but the one I was petting was the last one. And she asked me if I wanted the puppy.
Now, at the time, my family members were "cat people." We had a geriatric kitty named Cheena, and although my sister grew up with a great love of all things dog, and even had a collie for a time before the dog went to live with my grandma, we hadn't ever really had a dog live in our house for any great length of time. But I went home from work that night and convinced my mom that we just had to have that little puppy. So we returned to that shopping cart in the parking lot, my mom paid the woman the $50.00 she was asking for the puppy, and we brought Chelsea home.
She was to be my dog. Mine and my sister's, actually. We were to take care of her, feed her, take her for walks. All those things one does to train a puppy in her new home. But my mom soon took pity on my sister and me because of the early morning bathroom trips Chelsea needed to take, and my mom became her primary caretaker. And a mother-doggie bond like no other was born.
Chelsea became my mom's third daughter. When my sister and I graduated from high school and moved out of our house, Chelsea stayed behind and kept my mother company. She was a "special needs" dog, because while very sweet and gentle, she was high-maintenance, needed a lot of attention, and was extremely pampered by my mom.
Chelsea loved to chase squirrels, and to play in the lakes and climb the Adirondack mountains where she lived the last ten years of her life. She was my mother's constant companion through a rocky third marriage and divorce, and remained by her side, faithfully, through it all. My mom rewarded Chelsea with a level of care unmatched by any "animal parent" I've ever known. She cooked her meals that would rival those made for humans. She bought her fleece coats to protect her against the harsh Adirondack cold. She would often take her to work with her, and would never leave her alone for any longer than a few hours, preferring instead to incorporate Chelsea into virtually every aspect of her life.
I hadn't seen Chelsea in about five years. My mom shared custody of her with her third husband, and whenever I've been up to visit my mom in recent years, Chelsea was with him. But last weekend, during our weekly webcam chat, my mom had Chelsea for the weekend, and I was able to see her for the last time. She hadn't been eating. She was throwing up. She was very weak. A vet appointment on Monday of this week revealed she was riddled with cancerous tumors.
And my mom made the agonizing decision to have Chelsea euthanized today.
My heart is breaking for what my mom is losing. I know that ending her suffering is the greatest gift she could give to her dog, and my wish is that my mom can find a way to not cry over what she's lost, but to smile over the 15 amazing years she and Chelsea spent together.
Rest in peace, sweet Chelsea. You'll sleep with the angels tonight.