My first meeting of Chestnut, aka Chessie, was a rocky one. When she was a puppy she was a nibbler and she decided she wanted to see what was inside the wiring of an N64 controller. I was most certainly angry, but not for long as how can one stay angry at a golden retriever puppy? It is impossible.
Time went on and Chessie and I had a great bond. For one, I am not that big of a fan of big dogs. I'm not 100% sure as to why and maybe it's that my first dog was small, or perhaps I have a subconscious fear of them because a German shepherd once jumped a fence near my house and took several bites into my legs.
For a big dog Chessie was all right. As with most dogs, Chessie loved food and I was her go to source for it. Every dinner she'd be eyeing me waiting in anticipation for mop up duty of my plate. When she was younger she knew I required a sit and and a paw shake from her.
Chessie was also best friends with my cat, Siam. I moved into Chessie's house when she was five so Chessie was introduced to Siam then and the two of them hit it off. I've heard cats and dogs aren't supposed to get along and it's certain that Siam and Chessie didn't get that message because they were always close. Once, I caught Siam sleeping on Chessie's back and when Chessie saw me she looked at me with those big eyes as if to say, "I want up, but what do I do?"
As Chessie got older her movements slowed, but she always greeted me at the door. Sure, she was lying down, but I would hear a string of protest barks if I didn't pay attention to her. Siam always had to come and try to get my attention as well and it was always fun to watch the pet rivalry between the two of them.
Siam passed away on April 10th, 2010 and I truly thought Chessie would slip away quickly after this. But she fought. In May of last year we took in Teddy the Yorkie and this helped the aging golden, but time was ticking.
12 years for a golden is a long full life filled with lots of treats and pets. She was a happy dog and even yesterday, on her final day, she had no look of pain or discomfort and her mind was still sharp. She had lost control of her bodily functions and I was told it was her time and was asked if I wanted to say goodbye.
She was outside near the side gate and I was alone with her. My heart broke as I remembered having to make the decision to do this with Missy the Maltese, and Amsterdam and Siam the cats. There is no bigger reminder about how fragile life is than when one must say goodbye to a pet.
As I leaned over her and began to pet her I remembered all the times she'd bark at me when I came home and how that would no longer be. I told her that she had been a wonderful puppy and she, for a big dog, was amazing. I also told her, with a shaky voice and a tear rolling down my cheek, to be sure to say hello to Siam for me. Chessie instantly perked up, cocked her head, and tried to get up. She failed at her effort to get up, but she tried to inch closer to the gate so I am sure she understood the message and it will be delivered.