You might not remember, but before joining the glamorous world of knitting book reviews, I had a knitting blog called Chappysmom.
Like any other knitting blog, I talked about lots of things–my knitting (of course), but also family, friends, vacations, books … and, my Boykin Spaniel. The Chappy for whom the blog was named.
I have an entire online presence built around the fact that I am Chappy’s Mom. My knitting blog, my Ravelry name … even as a fanfiction writer. It’s the way I think of myself. In the absence of two-legged alternatives, Chappy is my kid, and has been since he walked into my heart on 25 August 2001.
He was just two months old on 9/11, and I remember that the only way I was able to tear myself away from the horrors on the television screen was to allow myself to be distracted by the adorable puppyness chewing at my shoelaces. He made me smile on that most horrible of days.
In fact, he made me smile every day.
Right up until this past Thursday, when, despite all his best efforts, he left me.
On the last Monday of March, he was diagnosed with cancer and internal bleeding, so that the vet didn’t think he’d make it more than another 48 hours. He was so weak that Wednesday night, I didn’t think he would, either, but he rallied, and Thursday morning he was smiling and wagging his tail, and we had a reprieve through the weekend. The next week, though, was a blend of good and bad days–enough good ones to be able to be grateful he was here, but enough bad to know that time was limited.
He gave me two more good weekends than the vet thought he would, but last week, it just got too much for him. The pain meds helped, but he was getting weaker. He tried so hard to be brave and strong and happy to put a smile on my face–because I think his goal in life was to make me smile–but it just got too much for him. So, Thursday morning, I petted him and spoiled him and fed him homemade gingersnap cookies, and then took him to the vet so he wouldn’t have to struggle anymore.
If you have pets, I don’t need to tell you how hard that was. Especially when you remember that I’ve always considered him to be my four-legged child.
He gave me fourteen years, nine months, and one week of almost nothing but happiness. Because, yes, there was some worrying in there, too, but seeing Chappy was always a guaranteed smile.
There’s absolutely nothing good about the fact that he’s no longer here to wag his tail at me. I was his favorite person. As much as he loved my parents and the rest of our friends and family, I was the one he watched for. I’m the one he rallied for those last two weekends–because there’s no mystery as to why he seemed healthier on the days I was home with him rather than at work. We adored each other, and anyone who knows me knows I was equally devoted to him.
He’s gone now, though. I like to think he’s up in heaven with my twin sister Susan. (I told him he would recognize her right away, since she looks just like me.) He’s hopefully romping with his best friend Horatio who went on ahead four years ago. (And yes, I always loved that Chappy not only had friends, he had a best friend.) He’s finally getting to meet his big sister Katy, who I lost to a car when she was 20-months old, too. I hope they’re getting along.
Hopefully, he’s happy. For sure, he’s no longer suffering.
But he’s not here.
Chappaquiddick Kittanning Boyken, Boykin Spaniel
7 July 2001 – 14 April 2016
It’s not enough time, little boy, but thank you for sharing all of it with me. Thank you for working so hard to convince me that YOU were the right puppy for me. (In retrospect, there’s no question whatsoever.) Thank you for being the very sweetest dog I’ve ever met. All our dogs have been wonderful and lovable and good and sweet and cute and so on, but you are by far the sweetest ever.
I miss you, Chappy. Love you. Sleep well.