As we were walking out the doors of the Dumb Friends League, a volunteer called out after us. “She is the sweetest dog here,” she pressed, “and old dogs need homes too.”

Chloe really was a sweet dog, I couldn’t deny that. Her chances of finding a home were dwindling. She was already eleven, surrendered with a sister dog who had long since been adopted, and already taken home once and surrendered after her second owner realized keeping her in a crate for eight to twelve hours a day wasn’t the best lifestyle for the old pooch.

To say Chloe snuck her way right into my heart isn’t exactly true. I didn’t want a dog. I wanted our cat back. A few weeks earlier, Finley had left the door open, letting Coco, a very loving but somewhat dense indoor cat, escape into the backyard. The next day we received a call from a man saying he found Coco in his window well. We called the number the man left at least 100 times, only to have it ring and ring and ring. The man never called back. Canvasing the neighborhood proved unsuccessful.


While checking out the local shelters to see if Coco had been turned in, Amy stumbled on the Corgi Mix and wanted to bring her home, despite my protestations.

Turns out I have at least one fatal flaw in my life: I like animals. I try to put on airs when it comes to our four legged friends, but I have a hard time turning them away when they come into my life.

Amy brought Chloe home, with only a partial approval from me. Once we had her, I didn’t have the heart to take her back.

They say dogs are good for kids. Kella was always more or less indifferent to Chloe. Finley, though, was obsessed. It wasn’t a particularly healthy relationship, either. She bit him early in their time together, and it was totally his fault. He chased her around the house, bothering her as she recoiled into hiding space after hiding space until she finally had enough. He learned his lesson, though (well, mostly), and she never bit anyone again.

It was also Finley who was the saddest to see her go. When the end was drawing near, we sat down shortly before bedtime and told the kids that we probably going to have to put Chloe down, using that term or some other euphemism for death.

“Oh, so she’s going to die,” Kella said flatly, like she was talking about the color of her shirt.

It was Finley who wailed. “No! She can’t die! I love her too much! I’ll miss her!” No tears came to his contorted face, but the sadness was as clear as the little scar on his forehead from Chloe’s teeth.

“She’s old and in pain,” we explained, pointing out the limp that her medicine wasn’t helping. “We’ll give it a few more days, but it’s no life for a dog to be like that.”

“Awww,” he moaned, his little heart breaking. “I don’t want her to go. I want her to stay with us!” Each word was high pitched and dragged out, the pout as perfect as any could be.

“We don’t know what will happen, Finley,” we said, “but we want you to be ready if we have to put her down.”

“Can she sleep with me tonight?” he asked. “I want to cuddle with her.”

Chloe was not a cuddler. She liked pets and rubs like most dogs, but getting too close or pulling her too tight would push her to find a new nap spot. I told Finley that we’d see if Chloe could, but she probably wouldn’t want to cuddle.

After getting Finley into bed, I tried to lay Chloe down at his feet, but she wasn’t interested. She jumped down right away and left the room, heading to our room to sleep undisturbed.

An hour later, after Finley was asleep, I walked in to check on him. Chloe never slept in Finley’s room, certainly not while Finley was sleeping. But that night I found her at the foot of his bed. She wasn’t cuddling, but she was doing the bed that her old doggie instincts would let her.


Chloe was never the perfect dog, and there were certainly moments earlier that I wanted her anywhere but in our house, especially with the bladder problems she developed. But she was a good dog, always loyal to her pack and obedient to her pack leaders. She was the kind of dog who would walk without a leash and only briefly run away to scare off the rabbits (and who could blame her for that).

She was a good dog, and she’ll be missed.