Reminders of Chloe

Chloe’s been gone for three days now and I keep getting hit by reminders of her. I keep walking into various rooms of the house, expecting her to be there and then realizing that she can’t be. I look out in the back yard and know that she’ll never run and bark there again. About five minutes ago I opened a cabinet in the kitchen and saw the bag of dog treats, and now I’m sitting here fighting back tears. 

Damn, this is hard.

R.I.P. Chloe Gibson – You Were A Good Dog


Chloe Gibson, 1993 - 2008

Chloe Gibson, 1993 - 2008

Back in 1993 Tammy and I went to PetSmart one day to get some cat food. As we walked in, we noticed that they were doing dog adoptions, so we decided to go over and have a look. We were just looking. They had several cute dogs who all needed a home, but we already had two cats and that was enough. Until I came to the last crate. In it was a small, black Terrier-ish dog with big, brown eyes and an enormous pink bow around her neck. I opened the crate, just to pet her, and when I did, she literally lept into my arms and started licking my face. After a few seconds of this, I turned to look at Tammy through the glass; she was already filling out the adoption paperwork. 

As we talked to the people there (from Friends of Animals, BTW) it turned out that this dog was not supposed to be there that day. Some monster had slowed down on Hwy. 78 (7 lanes) and tossed this beautiful 6 month-old puppy out into traffic. Luckily, some other motorist saw what happened and was able to pick her up before she got hit. This person took her to PetSmart and the FoA people took her. That’s how we ended up with her. 

She was one of the sweetest creatures I’ve ever met. 

About six weeks ago, our vet diagnosed her with cancer. Her lymph nodes around her throat were expanding, and he told us that she had a month, maybe two, at the most. He gave us prednezone to help with the pain, but as old as she was, chemotherapy would most likely kill her. He said to just keep her comfortable.

She did OK for a while, but the last week or so, we could tell the end was near. Her tail didn’t wag as much, she didn’t always eat, and her breathing was getting more labored. Her nodes were so swollen that it felt like she had a bag of marbles under her throat. Getting her to take a pill was always hard, but it was doubly so now. When we could get the pills into her, she would generally have a good day, but not always. Tuesday, she had a great day. She actually played in the yard, nom-nomed her food like nobody’s business,  and generally seemed happy. But yesterday, we knew.

Or rather, we thought. It’s really hard to know when it’s time for that final trip to the vet.

Her breathing had been getting worse all day. She wasn’t resting. She would either walk around, or just stand, with her head pointing up, to make it easier to breathe. Last night around 10:30, Tammy and I talked about what to do, with Chloe just lying there, not really paying attention. She alternated between looking scared and looking totally out of it. We decided it was time.

I called Thomas into the room and told him that I had to take Chloe to the vet, and that she probably wasn’t going to be coming home. Understandably, he didn’t take it well. He’s had three cats, two fish and a snail die on him, and he wasn’t ready to have Chloe leave him, too. After he and Tammy were done saying goodbye, as done as they could be, I bundled Chloe up and took her to the emergency vet. 

After examining her for a couple of minutes, the vet told me that Chloe’s chest was full of fluid and that I probably knew what the answer was. I agreed, sadly, and ten minutes later our Chloe left us.

I believe that she is running, barking and chasing other dogs, cats and bunnies right now, in perfect health and happiness. I believe that after leaving my arms, she was soon met by our cats Nikki, Lukie and Abby, and that they are swapping slobber and stories and once again having a grand old time together. Thomas believes that, too, though it’s little consolation to him right now.

Goodbye, Chloe. We love you.

Bloody Hell, the Snail Died

I was wrong [cref another-day-another-fish-funeral about Pokey the snail]. He died today.

I ran ammonia and Ph tests on the tank water and was shocked by the results. The ammonia test was off the charts. The Ph was also out of whack. I took the filter housing off and scrubbed it with an old toothbrush because it had some slimy gunk in it. I also changed the filter and added some drops that are supposed to help. I put about two gallons of fresh water in a bucket and put the de-chlorinator in it, so tomorrow night I will replace some of the water in the tank. After this, we’ll be testing the water weekly to make sure this doesn’t happen again. 

Keeping fish is sure a lot of damn work.

Another Day, Another Fish Funeral

As I mentioned [cref fish-funeral two days ago], we had a goldfish die, buried him at sea, and then bought another fish and a snail to keep the remaining fish company. As Tuesday wore on, the new fish, Speedy, wasn’t looking so hot. He was hanging out near the bottom and just not doing much besides breathing, or whatever you call what fish do for oxygen. We took him out and put him in a bowl of water, just in case there was something in the tank that was affecting him. 

This morning, I went in to check on him.

And found him floating. Damn.

Fortunately, we’d been preparing Thomas yesterday that things may not go well, so he was somewhat prepared. It hasn’t affected him the way Fred’s passing did. And for that I’m grateful. We buried Speedy at sea, just like we did Fred.

I’m happy to report that Pokey the snail seems to be in fine form, as does our older fish, Rocky.

I went to the pet shop today and got some tests to run on the water to see if we have an ammonia or Ph problem, which I’ll be running tomorrow. We need to find out for certain if there’s something up with our tank water before we get another fish.

Fish Funeral

For Christmas, my sister-in-law gave my son two goldfish. Without asking us. Needless to say I was not happy about this, but he had them before we knew what was going on. Anyway, he’s been very happy with the fish and has been feeding them the right amount, and talking to them and making sure they were happy. All the nasty work, such as changing the filter, was handled by me.

So this morning, as I’m getting ready to leave the house, Thomas calls out “Dad! Fred’s stuck in the plants!” There are several decorative items in the aquarium and as I looked, I could see that Fred was indeed caught in one of the plants. And he wasn’t moving. I took the little net and tried to get him out. After he was free, he floated to the surface.

Graveyard dead.

Oh. Crap.

Thomas’ first question broke my heart: “What did I do wrong?” I tried to tell him that it was nothing he did. He did everything right. But sometimes, for reasons we can’t understand, things just die. We then explained the “traditional” method of burying fish: flushing them down the toilet. Tammy said a few words and then we committed Fred’s body to the deep.

I talked to him a little while ago, and he’s doing OK. They went to the pet store and got another fish, a fantail he named Speedy, and a snail, named Pokey. These two new additions will keep Rocky from getting lonely.

And I hope they stay alive for a long time… Please, O please, O please let them stay alive.