Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Licker Sisters

Recently, a very good friend noted she would rather write about her beloved pet while his warm body sits next to her than to write an obituary.

I’m annoyed right now. I expect Chloe to outlive her life expectancy because I love and care for her so well.


Already deaf and almost blind, the gal often appears confused.


Bella, only six years old, needs a playmate and I’m happy to fill in but I don't run nearly as fast as Chloe used to...


Generous at heart, she'll offer me all of her 237 toys in one evening.

Chloe’s shrinking, losing muscle mass fast, drinking lots of water, and emptying her bladder on the rugs. Her kidneys are failing and there’s nothing we can do except to change her diet and unfortunately, she’s a picky eater.

I don’t know what lies ahead because I’m dwelling on the now. I won’t even Google it. Maybe later.

She’ll be fourteen in June. We’ll have a nice party this year! If Chloe were to choose her birthday cake, it would be Cheezecake sprinkled with bacon bits. I think I can whip up something she'd like. And we'll all wear birthday hats.


Old gal stills gets around nicely with bouncy steps. Lately, though, I’ve seen some scarecrow action in her legs and I really can’t remember the last time I saw her run. Might have been a year ago. I miss that…


Then, I wonder if she will ever stop digging? Often chilled, we can hear her teeth chatter in the next room, like a woodpecker on vinyl siding. Hence, she earned another nickname, “Woody”. I wish she could hear us laugh at her.

And there are days when I want to clunk her on the head, feeling sick and tired of the teeth chattering and whining and the constant following and sitting at my feet. Leave me alone, girl.

Me, on my hands and knees sopping up pee-soaked rugs at 5:15 a.m. and again at 4:30 p.m..

…how ‘bout if I clunk you on the head, Chloe? Maybe you’ll see and hear again if I clunk you hard enough. And stop peeing on the rugs! Dammit.

Damn my impatience and selfishness.


The thought of losing Chloe makes my mind and body ill but the thought of Bella being lonely hurts even more. I watch them bond, still, after six years together.

Bella, who has been happy serving in a lower hierarchy, has stepped up to be the alert dog while still maintaining her peasant status.



This is why I worry for her.


No matter how we lose Chloe, I will need to allow Bella to say good-bye. That one, special, horrible, inevitable day haunts me. I don’t think I can live through taking Chloe for her last ride in the car. Sure, I realize dogs don't grasp the meaning of “good-bye”, but I would definitely want to give Bella the opportunity to sniff 'n kiss her Licker Sister for the last time.

So, for now, I’m planning a birthday party in June with birthday hats, ice cream, cheesey cupcakes, and candles,


Daddy’s making somethin' in the kitchen,


and we’ll get crazy and wiggle tonight!


KGMom said...

This is the hardest part of all of having pets in your life--the day when you know you HAVE to let go and say "see you later"...
Man, it is so tough.
I'll be thinking about you in the days & months ahead, hoping for the best, preparing for the inevitable.

littleorangeguy said...

Oh Mary, you are breaking my heart. I remember so well what you are going through and what we will go through again. But you will all get through it, whenever it comes.

Casa de Carrens said...

Hi Mary, this really hit home for me. i have a 14 year old toy poodle, rescued from a life in a puppy mill. life has been so hard for her and this year she's really aged. all we can do is love them for the time they live with us and provide the best for them. and clearly you do.

jane augenstein said...

Mary, this is making me cry, the thought of loosing a beloved pet is so heart wrenching. This is the hardest part of having pets, knowing that we usually outlive them and have to say good bye.

Our last little dog we lost, she was very sick but waited until my husband (her human) came home from work and died in his arms. Thankfully we didn't have to make the decision to take her to the vet. That would have been hard.
There are a lot of vets now that will come to your home; seems so much easier for the pet and the family.

I hope the Licker Sisters have many more birthday parties to attend. What sweet girls they are.
Blessings to you

Anonymous said...

Oh how I feel for you. We too have an older dog and we have noticed how much she has slowed this year and how much harder it is for her to get up from the floor with her arthritic spine, blown knees and hip dysplasia. We pet owners just do our best for as long as they are here and love them with all our heart and soul. I guess we will know when it's time to let them go.

The Blue Ridge Gal

Dawn Fine said...

Oh Crap...teary now...This is such difficult stuff to deal with...

Julie Zickefoose said...

Sweet, sweet, so sweet. And so honest. I feel like someone's squeezing my heart.
You've captured their essence in words and pictures.
Love on them both for us. I am wiping my face with both hands.

Kathi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathi said...

Aww, Mare, you've got me all weepy. You know I just went through this, so I understand the pain, worry and fear. If you want some tips and advice, both on living with an ill dog and on how to cope with the inevitable, let me know.

Plan ahead for the birthday party and try not to grumble too much at the peed-on rugs. Good girl, Bella, for picking up the slack for Chloe. Kiss both the Licker Sisters for me.

Hugs and kisses,

NCmountainwoman said...

Beautiful tribute to the Licker Sisters. I can't read the future, but having gone through this I can tell you that Chloe will let you know when she's ready and I know you will have the courage to let her go.

I'm thinking of you, Mary, as are all your blogger buddies. We'll be here with you and for you all the way.

Mary said...

All ya'll are making me cry - but it's a good cry... Thanks.

Cicero Sings said...

Ahhh, makes me tear up!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

They are such good companions, I know Bella will be lost when that time comes.

Hopefully it will be a while yet.

I've missed you!

JeanMac said...

Oh, Mary.

The Quacks of Life said...

Mary, its a horrid thought isn't it? My friend Jan in wales lost her beloved Emma a week or so a go and she is devastated.

all we can ever do is love 'em and give them a good life isn't it?

Hope she has a great party.

Jayne said...

It's no different than letting go of anyone we love so dearly, is it? I'd let that girl eat just whatever she wants for her upcoming birthday, and cherish her sweetness as long as you can have her, knowing that she feels the love.

AZ said...

The water drinking and peeing on the rug sounds more like Chloe may be diabetic. My little dog was with me for 23 years, gosh I miss her still.

Angie said...

Oh Mary, Mary, my heart weeps for all of you. This is just still too fresh for me, but I will say that I am so glad that I had the vet come to the house so Badger was wrapped in love with his humans and Dewey when he crossed the Rainbow Bridge. You may want to talk to your vet about a house call. Sending heartfelt hugs to you and the girls.Oh, and one other thing, do not, I repeat--do not beat yourself up over the perceived selfishness, etc on your part. They know we don't mean any of that.

Rose said...

Dear Mary, I know what you are going through. It is so hard knowing that the time you have left with Chloe is limited, so enjoy the days you have left with her, even if it means soaking up pee stains on the carpet. Bella will grieve, just as humans do--I saw that when our own dear Roco passed on; his buddy Odie was subdued for days and seemed to to be going through his own mourning stages.

I hope that Chloe has a wonderful birthday party in June to celebrate her long and happy life. I'll be thinking of you in the coming months, Mary.

possumlady said...

Of course I'm reading this on the second anniversary of having to put my sweet Butterball down (sob). If you remember, I too worried so about his shadow, Apu. When the time comes, you and Bella will help each other through, just like Apu and I.

Hugs to you and the Licker sisters.

Wendy said...

Such wonderful pics! Love those ears! And the looks on their faces -almost human.

Tough choices and decisions. I remember when my daughter had to put her dog down. I came with her and we cried and cried.

I agree with you - let's focus on the party. Cheesecake, yummy!

Shelly Cox said...

Definitely the hardest part of having a pet, is saying goodbye. Every time I've lost a beloved pet I swear I do not want another and go through the pain again....but then I can't imagine a life without them to love and be loved. Once they are gone, pee stained rugs seem minor in comparison. Best thing to do, is enjoy each day left and not fret too awfully much about what is to come.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Mary. . . ! I've told you before that it was over a year before I could even say the late Howard Lee's name. We still had Miss Piggy, but our situation was different. They would eat together, lie together, etc., but they never really played together. I have no advice--just much, much sympathy.

Miss Piggy is 14 now and the vet was able to prescribe pills that helped with the peeing in the house. She looks forward to them because she gets them--twice a day-- in pill pockets, which she considers the best snack ever.

The pictures are so precious!

A New England Life said...

Man that hurts Mary. I know how much it hurts. What about buying Chloe some sani-pants? Winston, our Pug has them and they work well. It would at least be worth a try.

I hope Chloe makes it to her next Birthday and beyond! Usually smaller dogs can live 15-16 years as you certainly know.

Bella will adapt to whatever the situation may be, but losing her sister will be tough.

Hugs to you and Chloe,

Minerva said...

What a sweet pair. I'm sure you're treasuring every moment.
Thoughts of losing either one of mine kills me. Like you, I don't visit those thoughts.

Like the dogs do, we need to live in the moment.

NatureWoman said...

Sniff sniff sniff, I'm so sad, Mary, wah. Pets are so wonderful and it is so hard to say goodbye when the time comes. . .

Suzanne said...

So sad. Always wishing they could live longer.

RuthieJ said...

Oh Boo-Hoo Mary! Sophie's having some of the same problems and I can sense your frustration. They are such wonderful, furry friends though and that's what makes us do whatever we can for them. Hugs to you and the Licker Sisters!

dugfresh said...

dang, mary. what a bittersweet post. you sure know how to grab onto our hearts and give them a good wringing. (and i mean that in the best way.)

i love how pets can scare up our faults, if for no other reason than to make us aware of them. they have a way of giving us perspective.

it's been more than a year ago that we said goodbye to our black gsd — a gut-wrenching tale unto itself — but the fond memories of her often bubble to the surface and make us smile and laugh...and funny how the things she did that annoyed us are a distant blurry fog of a wisp of the faintest hint of something that may or may not have even happened...

hang in there; chloe's not done with you just yet.

Susan Gets Native said...

If I can type with the weight of your words on my chest...
When it comes, you will know. And there will be peace, both for you and for her. The decision is one that encompasses all the love you have for her and that itself is a beautiful thing, albeit a painful one.
Love you.

Cathy said...

You are breaking my heart.

And just as I'm typing those word I glance to the side and little orange guy has said the same thing in his comment.

That's because most of us of been here, honey.

God it hurts.

And I'm sorry, but I grieved my dogs as a would a person and if people don't like that - s**** them.

Lucky little Chloe to have a mom and dad like you.

That next to the last ride - I took tranquilizers.

Then for Chowder we had the vet come to the house.

OK. I'm crying now.

Love you sweet Mary.

Anonymous said...

It's so, so hard ... you love them and want to do what's right for them, letting them go when it's the best thing for them. But damn it's hard, and it's heartbreaking. My kitty is in much the same situation, so I know how hard it is to live with, and how impossible to do anything else.

Thinking of you...

Unknown said...

Hi Mary,

It has been over a year since I last visited your blog--how it has changed! I was looking at some of my earlier posts and saw your comment on my parents, and your sympathies. Thank you:) I am so sorry about Chloe. How difficult this must be...we lost LuckyHappy last year and it was awful. But knowing you did your best in Chloe's old age, that you were loving and patient will be your greatest comfort afterwards. Chloe is a lucky dog because she is a loved dog with a great human.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Hugs.....to you and the girls.

PJ said...

Ok, I'm late...been going through some stuff of my own..it's in my blog somewhere... I'm in tears reading this beautiful tribute and story. She has such a very good life and no matter when the day comes it will not be easy and no words will match, but the simple fact that she loved you and that you took the best care ever she is at peace now and will be forever.