October 8, 2019
My dearest, sweet, baby boy Chance,
I wish you could talk. I wish you could tell me in words the things I believe you’re feeling and thinking. I wish you could tell me what is going on inside your cute little head and your big ole heart. But since you can’t, I’ll talk to you instead. I know you’ll hear me. And in some strange way, I think you already know what’s on my heart…
I love you Chancey Boo. Seeing you suffer from this awful cancer literally makes my soul ache. How I wish you’d stand at the back gate and bark annoyingly for what used to feel like hours on end! I’d give anything to have you jump up on the counter and sneakily swipe food off, and then scarf it down before getting caught. If I thought you’d chew on the remote control left on the couch, or a greasy spatula left in the sink, I’d gladly leave them there for you. I’d even leave the front door wide open and let you barge out running like a crazy lunatic from Wally’s yard to the Torpey’s if I thought you could. But, you’re not doing those things anymore. So, I’m going to focus on the things that you ARE doing, as to remind you of why I love you so much.
You’re still looking at me with your puppy-brown, loving eyes. Not just looking AT me, but looking INTO me. You’ve always known how to connect with us in that way. Having you by my side on the couch right now as I type this very letter feels as if you’re channeling love from your heart into mine. The long walk you so willingly and happily took with your Daddy and I this morning was an unexpected and generous gift to us both. Allowing us, without complaint, to give you pills, literally shove salmon down your throat, and take syringed sips of Pedialyte and bone broth, reminds me of your willingness to please. I still feel a sense of calm watching you peacefully lay in your favorite spots: the side screened-in porch overlooking the front yard and driveway, and the carpet at the front door. Greeting us at the back door with your fiercely “loved” bear, or a worn out ball in your mouth, is an act that you’re still trying to do even on your worst days.
I’m sorry that you’ve been through some tough stuff, buddy. What are the odds that you would get sprayed not once, but twice by a skunk? And, the fact that you behaved like an absolute rock star through months of that yucky skin condition on your sweet face is living proof that you’re a fighter. I hate that you got bitten so badly by another dog, yet even through that awful ordeal we never saw you slow down or seem to even be phased much by it. I know this illness is not easy on you, at all. Yet, your ability to stay content and calm, and for the most part unbothered by it, is inspiring to me. Your loyalty to me as your mama, and our family, is impeccable. Becoming Charley’s ornery baby brother was the BEST thing that could’ve happened to her. You’ve kept her youthful, on her toes, and entertained for 8 years! She needed you.
There are so many parts of you that I will miss. I will miss petting your velvety soft head. Not being able to get right up into your face and kiss your sweet forehead brings a literal pain into my stomach. I can’t believe that I won’t get to see you run again. Watching you leap like a skillful gazelle through the woods is perhaps my favorite thing about you. You’re a born athlete, Chance! The thought of not seeing you cock your little head to the side and shoot your inquisitive gaze up at me is practically unbearable. Using you as a foot rest, arm rest, or head rest will also be something I’ll miss dearly. You’re so patient and sweet to all of my incessant desires to touch you and cuddle. I’ll definitely miss your pops coming home and calling you his “little son-of-a-bitch”. And, I will surely miss the fact that you NEVER stink!! (which is more than I can say about your smelly sister…)
Perhaps the greatest gift you’ve given me, your Dad, Carter, Keaton, Max, Charley, and all of the friends, family, and neighbors around us, is unconditional love. People can’t help but smile when they see you; feel loved when they pet you; and experience joy when they are near you. You’ve lived your sweet life to its fullest during these 8 years. I’m just so sorry it has been cut way too short. It really doesn’t seem fair, and yet even if I only got to have you in my life for 8 months it would all be worth it. You’ve made me a happier, healthier person.
You’ve taught me so much, Baby Boy. Your sense of adventure has encouraged me to safely explore my own sense of adventure all the way to my “edge”. Cultivating patience and leniency in my rigid schedule are life lessons that I’ll miss not having you around to practice with. You’ve shown me that happiness can even be found in the darkest moments of my worst days, and that there is ALWAYS a happier moment waiting for me on the other side of the dreary one. You’ve brought our family closer together when we needed you most. Our blended family is whole with you in the middle of it. You’ve calmed us all down when we’ve been upset, and you’ve lifted our spirits when we’ve been sad. You came to us and Charley EXACTLY when we needed you the most, and seeing you go feels like a deep sorrow I’ve never, ever known.
I believe you’ve been in our lives for a reason. Not just for protecting us, loving us, teaching us life lessons, and being a part of our family, but perhaps to prepare us for what is to come in our future. Learning to “go with the flow” and being grateful for each moment we have with you has been an incredible AND difficult experience for your worry-wart mama. This emotional roller coaster that we’ve been on has taught me to smile through adversity, and cherish my loved ones more than ever.
Being your dog mama hasn’t always been easy, but loving you sure has been.You’re a stinker little Boo Bear. But you’re my sweet, loyal, loving, faithful, jovial, curious, warm, feisty, protective, adorable, ornery, precious pup. The love that YOU have given me will always be in my heart. It will stay with me forever. I’ll draw on it when I’m sad or lonely, and I’ll share it with others when they are down and out. That’s how I will let your legacy live on, Chance. I’ll be forever grateful that we took a chance on you.
P.S. As I write this small second addendum, it is now November 21. Since the writing of “part 1” we’ve contemplated laying you to rest 3 times. And I’m not sure if you overhear us talking, or if you’re just too stubborn to let go. Please know, Chancey, that we all have hoped for a miracle, and prayed for relief for you. I’m sorry we weren’t able to make that happen so that you could stay with us for many more years to come. And I’m sorry if we held onto you for too long, just so we didn’t have to suffer. You’ve had more good days than bad, and for that we hope you understand why we’ve been selfish to keep you with us just a little bit longer. You’re so easy to love, and you’ve just kept loving us right back. Thank you for giving us all of you until the very end.
Rest In Peace, Chance. November 26, 2019