The Lord Alfred Tennyson’s famous quote has been getting me through the last few days. It describes how I feel about the loss of our beloved dog, Chewie. I never knew how painful it would be to lose her, though I am so grateful for having loved her.
Chewie was the first dog our family had. A beautiful Golden Retreiver who came into to our lives 13 years ago at the age of 6 weeks. We cried as she did, when we adopted her and took her from her parents and the loving breeder. She was one of nine, born of two stunning champion Goldens. She was a white puff ball, who quickly captured our hearts.
The boys named her after their favorite Star Wars character and she certainly had the coat to match. What did not match was the name. She never chewed a single item. The one time she found a baby booty from a guest, she walked up to me with it in her mouth with the, I have something in my mouth for you, “please take it” look.
She only retrieved in water, where she would retrieve a stick to exhaustion. On land not a lot of retrieval occurred. We always suspected that is was just to warm for a dog with her coat.
Our dog was more of a princess than a Chewie I believed. I often thought we named her incorrectly. She pranced on walks. She greeted each and every human or animal. No amount of training would change that. In puppy school she, unlike any other dog in class, would inch over to the nearest puppy like an excited kindergartner. On walks she owned the neighborhood. Neighbors knew us as Chewie’s parents long before they knew our names. I know that one of the reasons there are so many Goldens in our subdivision is because everyone hoped they would get a Chewie.
She truly became a member of our family. She shared all of the moments of our lives for 13 years. Wherever we were she was. Nothing got past her. If we were sick she sat by our side and she was in the mix for all of our celebrations.
She not only loved us; she loved everyone. She consistently answered our door, though never barked, because she was quite anxious to make new friends. We believe she thought Halloween was her special holiday.
Over the last year, her hearing worsened, her vision decreased, she stopped climbing stairs, much like a comparable human at her age. She lived well beyond the ordinary lifespan for a Golden. She lived a long healthy life. We took her on two final road trips this summer. She rode shotgun between us as she always did, she had her ice cream cone, she hung her head out of the window. We knew they were her last trips and Jim and I savored every moment. When she stopped walking her last three days our family provided hospice care.
Together we spent her finals days and hours and now together we grieve.
I had no idea how painful it was to lose a pet like Chewie, but I go back to the the sentiments of Lord Tennyson. My life was enriched by her presence and as difficult as it is to let her go, I am so grateful for having loved her.