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Friday, February 22, 2008


I wasn't going to post again today, but my grief is such that I feel compelled to get it out of my system.

My dog, Chelly died at one o'clock this morning.

That little girl and I were so much alike. We were afraid of things that went bump in the night, but fearless when confronted with battle. She had boundless energy too. In our prime we would run and no one could catch us. We were a team, and a force to be reckoned with.

She was typical for an Australian Shepherd, as close to me as my shadow, constantly looking back at me for reassurance. She was on a one-dog mission to bring order to the world. And in turn, my girl brought order to my world.

I've raised dogs for well over three decades. I even spent a few years as a surgical assistant to a vet. So you would think I'd accept death with a fair amount of grace.

Not so.

As she lay dying, I was angry. Angry at God, angry at fate, angry at myself for not being able to stop the inevitable.

Chelly lost her hearing last year, and her sight had been diminishing steadily. But she seemed to recognize my smell and my touch. So I lay down next to her, knowing she couldn't hear my soft words of reassurance, knowing she couldn't see me anymore. I stayed with her until she breathed her last, and then I broke down. My job was done. I could cry now.

There is an old American Indian legend that speaks of dogs' loyalty to man.

"In ancient times, when man and animals communicated as equals, a crack in the earth erupted. Man was on one side and the animals were on the other. The crevice grew wider and wider separating them and just before it became too large to traverse, the dog alone jumped over the chasm so that he could stay with man."

That was my Chelly. And now she's gone.


Stephanie Humphreys said...

I'm so sorry, Maria. It is so hard to lose a best friend.

C. Michelle Jefferies said...

My heart is with you. We had to put our mutt down last November. I was heartbroken. May God give you peace as you mourn and heal.

Joan Mora said...

My thoughts are with you, Maria. Chelly sounds (and looks!) like she was a lovely spirit. I don't blame you for being angry.

Mike Keyton said...

I cried for days when Gladstone died. He was a grey cat, little more than a kitten. It's a horrible feeling. I think you described Chelly beautifully. He'll always be with you. They stay in your mind.

Misque Writer said...

My prayers are with you, Maria. I know how hard it is to lose your friend like that. What a sweetie she must have been.

Anonymous said...

Oh Maria, I'm so sorry. Losing a loved pet is just awful. You were lucky to have Chelly and she was lucky to have you.


Heather Moore said...

I'm so sorry, Maria, to hear this news. What a sad day. The quote is very touching, and I love the picture you posted.

Carol Burge said...

I'm so sorry, Maria. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your pet, Maria.

Sherrill Quinn said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, Maria. I've lost pets before and it's always a long time (a few years) before I can talk about them without crying, I still miss them so much. You've lost your friend, and it hurts. {{{{{HUGS}}}}}

Maria Zannini said...

Thank you all for your comments and emails. Your thoughtfulness meant so much to me. It was like getting a big warm hug. And it helped more than you know.

Josephine Damian said...

What a devoted pet mommy you are - Chelly was lucky to have you.

So sorry for your loss.

rcloenen-ruiz said...

Hi Maria,

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Your bond with Chelly sounds really special, and she was really lucky to have you as her mama.

Take care.

Suzanne McLeod said...

So, so sorry, Maria. Our dogs are friends who share every moment of our lives, and their loss is always so hard to deal with. It's such an awful time. It helps that you were with Chelly, and I'm sure she knew that.

Take care, and know that I'm thinking of you in your sadness.

Diane Craver said...

I'm so sorry for your grief. It's so hard losing our beloved pets when they are such devoted friends.

Maya Reynolds said...

Maria: I called yesterday. Will try again today.

I'm thinking about you, sweetie.



Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, Maria.

clindsay said...

maria -

i am so very sorry for the loss of your friend. losing a family member is never easy. my thoughts are with you; i hope that chelly has found my little cat b.j. and that they are having a merry tug-of-war...

(either that or chelly is trying to herd her and we all know how well that works with cats.)


please be well.


Jaye Wells said...

Ah, Maria, so sorry to hear this.

Kaz Augustin said...

I've only lost one pet and it was heart-rending. More than his death was the void it left in my life, which took months (if not years) to get over. I hated losing such a good friend. I feel for you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Maria, I'm so sorry. She is such a beautiful girl. I know how your heart must be broken.