Chelsea (March 31, 1992 - March 8, 2007)

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.

17 Responses to “Chelsea (March 31, 1992 - March 8, 2007)”

  1. # Blogger CAL

    I'm so sorry. I know how hard this is for your mom and for you. In the end, your mom really did give her the greatest gift.  

  2. # Blogger Marie

    I'm very sorry, Kristi.

    Rest in peace, sweet Chelsea.  

  3. # Blogger Gal on the Go

    Kristi - i'm so sorry. The story brought tears to my eyes. Pets are such an important member of the family and unless you have one you can't truly understand the intensity of the feelings we have for these little beings. You're mother did the right thing. It's a decision my family and I made together a while ago, as our little girl (my only sister) Daisy is nearing 13 years and has been on medications almost daily for the past year. She may have lost most of her fur, sleeps a lot and is tiny (although as a Pomeranian she was never very big), but she's still a puppy at heart and a love to all!  

  4. # Blogger M

    UGH. I'm sorry. I lost my cat, Peanut, 2 years ago to cancer. It's a long rough road. I'm sorry  

  5. # Blogger Anne Marie

    I'm so sorry for your family's loss :( I am not looking forward to that day when you we will lose one of our animals. *hugs*  

  6. # Blogger Damselfly

    Aw, so sad to lose a special member of the family. It's hard. Chelsea clearly was loved.  

  7. # Blogger Leslie

    What a hard thing to have to do. I can't imagine the strength it would take to make that kind of decision and set it in motion. Sometimes I think of my ex having to do that for our dog in the years ahead, and I'm sad to know I won't be there for my dog and also sad that the ex will have to handle that on his own.  

  8. # Blogger kenju

    I'm so sorry, Kristi, I know how hard it is to lose a long-time pet.  

  9. # Anonymous Anonymous

    (My eyes are pricking with tears.) Chelsea clearly was a very loved family member, and no doubt had a wonderful life.  

  10. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I just bumped into Karrie on the street and she told me about Chelsea, as well as the sweet gift you both got your mom. Such a hard decision to make but always the correct one. She looks like she was a sweet little dorglums.  

  11. # Blogger My Wombinations

    I am so sad to read this post. It is so hard to part with any family member and I am thinking of you all.  

  12. # Blogger Kristi

    Andy-Thanks. I talked to her this weekend, and I think she finally realizes this.

    Marie-Thank you.

    Editorgirl-You are so right. Only another person who has had their pet family member for a long time can understand what this is like. I hope little Daisy has more years ahead of her.

    Michelle-I'm so sorry about Peanut. It's just awful, isn't it?

    Anne Marie-I'm not either. We have three cats who are our "first kids."

    Damselfly-It really is. And yes, she was definitely loved!

    L-It's a horrible decision to have to make. Ugh.

    Kenju-Yes, it is. :(

    Ramona-She did, and I think that's what's helping my mom in her grief right now.

    Shannon-A hard decision, but the right one for sure.

    Sasha-Thank you. :)  

  13. # Blogger sher

    Oh, this touched me. What a gift Chelsea was to your family, especially your mom. I'm so glad you found her that day, many years ago--and that you saw her at the end.

    Hugs to you. And to Chelsea too.  

  14. # Blogger Binulatti

    A beautiful tribute to the "good doggie," and a sad day indeed. Mom reminded me of how you would take blankets and wrap her head, calling her "Sister Mary Rose". Or just "Rose" for short. It's things like that, that we shuold remember about her. The good times that make us smile...  

  15. # Blogger sunShine

    So sorry for your mom's loss. That is hard.  

  16. # Blogger beagle

    I'm so very sorry.  

  17. # Blogger anne

    Oh, Kristi... I'm sorry I'm late in extending my condolences. I'm sorry for your loss - and most especially for your mom's. Losing a pet is one of the hardest things in the world, it really is, if you belong to the clan of animal lovers. Your mom does, clearly. I can understand her pain. So tough.

    Thank you for writing about a lovely animal and the wonderful life she had with your mother.  

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