She’s a Southern girl. Part Border Collie with a little bit of Aussie Shepherd and Spitz.
I got Chelise in New Orleans. Yes, I know that is not the way most people spell Chelise but trust me, it was the only small battle I could win about her name at the time. I wanted to call her something literary. Sigh. I did not intend to get a dog. I had a cat. I was living in an apartment (albeit a nice sized one) and I was working a full-time job. But I went to the pound with a friend (always a big mistake) who was looking for a replacement dog. Replacement because he had adopted a dog there and then when they went to spay him, the dog had some disease and they had to put it down. So he basically had a gift certificate to the pound that he didn’t want to use.
Then I saw Chelise who was scrawny and covered in bugs. I figured she was about 9 months old back. She leaned against the cyclone fence and it was love at first sight. I remember being worried about have the same pound spay her. When I went to pick her up she was still out cold, sleeping in a pile of urine. They let me take her home even though she wasn’t awake and I remember carrying her up those very many stairs of the apartment and hoping I didn’t drop her. Benjamin (my cat) was fascinated with the sleeping dog who didn’t move even when he poked it with a paw.
I gave her a sponge bath and waited for her to wake up.
When I lived in New Orleans she was always happy to see me come home from work. I thought she was part kangaroo the way she would jump into my arms. I’d have to be quick to put my purse down so I could catch her. Not so much anymore. I often have to go find her to let her know I am home. Part of it is I think she is starting to go deaf and part of is she just doesn’t care as much as she used to.
For the longest time my cat Benjamin was her best buddy. (She mourned him for months after he died.) The two of them would wait anxiously for me to come home from work. We had a special cushion made to fit on this chest so they could look out the only window in this very tiny place we lived in when I first moved back to California.
Back then she could still jump up on all sorts of things but now that she is older and has had back surgery, she hesitates before deciding if she really wants to make the next step up or down between the library and the rest of the house. Now that we finally have a big house with a yard it is sad. She doesn’t go upstairs at all and really doesn’t care to be outside for any longer than it takes to do her business.
She is the least food motivated animal I have ever had in my life. At least now. When I was in New Orleans and she was still so afraid of everything and hungry she would do more for food but not anymore. She saves her treats until after dinner. No matter when you give them to her. No matter how many you give her. She just lets them pile up. At the end of the night she could have 5, 6,7 treats piled up. And while she will eat a milk bone or a greenie, she would much rather have a piece of a plain tortilla or lick the ice cream bowl. She does, eventually eat them though.
She’s a bit of a snob. She’s not fond of most men and doesn’t like other dogs. She takes a while to warm up to anyone new.
And she’s easily bored.
She is also the first dog I’ve ever had who didn’t know how to play with a ball. In all the years I’ve had her I’ve never been able to teach her how. She doesn’t play much at all. Never did. She has some stuffed toys and will sometimes run after one once if you throw it, but only once.
She’s also a bit silly.
Whenever I sneeze, she leaves the room. And my office has two sets of French Doors, one from the library (where she spends most of her time) and the other from the living room (where no one spends any time.) If I close the ones to the library and leave the ones to the living room open, she can’t figure out how to go around and get in the other way.
She appreciates a good nap.
In fact, nowadays that’s what she spends most of her time doing. Sleeping. Behind the chair in the library or in the corner of my husband’s office. Sometimes in my office but not often. Getting her to eat anymore is a major chore and she doesn’t want to be petted or brushed so it is always a struggle. She just wants to be left alone and sometimes I find myself resenting the caretaking I am doing without any of the fun of having a dog.
But then I remember being in New Orleans with only Chelsie and Benjamin to keep me company. I remember how Chelsie and I would run laps around the inside of the gated apartment complex (because it was too scary to run anywhere else) and how she would always stop to roll in a muddy puddle (of which there were always many) and then jump up and shake like it was the best joke she had ever heard. I remember when a stray mama cat deserted the last kitten in a litter and I brought it home. My own cat wanted to eat it but Chelsie let it sleep between her outstretched paws and growled whenever Benjamin came close.
But most of all I remember how very lost and alone I felt living on my own for the first time (even though I was in my 30s) and how easy it was to get depressed and feel like my life was never going to get any better and how knowing I had to get up and take her outside was often the only thing that got me through the day.
And I figure being a caretaker to her in her old age is a mighty small price to pay for all she has done for me.
I don’t know who’s luckier … our pets, or we who love them.
This is a beautiful post, Susan. I’m putting it in Memories.
Thank you. I had to remind myself of what a sweetie she has been over the years because lately it is frustrating having a dog that doesn’t want to be anywhere around anyone. Sigh.
I just lost both of my dogs (one to bone cancer and one to old age) and you are right–it gets hard to care-take and get no “dog” joy (at least of the kind you used to get). But cherish the days. They will be over too soon, and when you look back and know that you did everything you could for her, it will help. I hope you have many more days with her.
Oh I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your two friends. I knew that dog-follks would understand the frustration and yet see the love through it all. I hope I have many more days with her too.
Beautiful, Susan. I loved reading it.
Thank you. It felt good to write it all out and remember how much she has done for me.
I loved this post!
And I heart your dog. 🙂
Thank you for reading along with me.
Aw, that made me cry. They give us so much.
They really do, don’t they?
Beautiful. . .
I’m sitting here in Panera crying
That was beautiful !
Give Chelise a hug for me [ and my cats Mittens and Holly ]
Re: Beautiful. . .
Oh, sorry for making you cry but thank you. Hugs given.
That is beautiful. Our pets never seem to be with us long enough, do they?
My parents have a dog that jumps up and sticks his face in yours whenever you sneeze. He feels it is his job to make sure you’re okay, and your nose is still attached. This greatly amuses my father who fakes sneezes often to watch the dog jump up to check on him. As a result, the dog can tell the difference between a fake sneeze and a real one.
Oh that is too too funny about your parents’ dog. LOL.
And you’re right, they never seem to be with us long enough.
OMG, Susan! That is the greatest looking dog!!!!! She looks so sweet and smart and loving! How lucky you are! And how lucky she is! (I know…a lot of exclamation points)
Thanks Barb! She is gorgeous when she is all brushed out but lately, she doesn’t like that anymore which is so sad. She has so much undercoat that needs to come out. We have to muzzle her for clipping her nails now – never used to have to do that. (But I have a huge black and blue thumb from where she bit me when we did it without the muzzle a few months ago.)
She does have a huge vocabulary though of about 50 words.
What beautiful beings. Both of you.
I’m somewhat teary-eyed after reading your touching story about the many moods of Chelsie. It sounds like she feels comfortable and secure in your home, and like an old lady, just wants a bit of peace. She knows she can get it with you.
Thank you, Dori. Yes, she’s an oft cranky old lady and I needed to remind myself of how many wonderful things we had been through together. We rejoice now in every little perky moment.
Ahhhh, nice story!
Have you heard Bernadette Peters new song, Kramer’s song? She sang it on The View today and had me bawling. She has a children’s book out called Broadway Barks.
No, I haven’t heard it yet but I bet I’ll cry too! Thanks.
Thanks for sharing your dog with us!
Some of it reminded me of our late cat. If you rolled a ball past him, instead of chasing or playing with it, he’d give you this look like, “Is that supposed to impress me?”
LOL on the car story.. My cat used to absolutely love straws and balls of tin foil. But he fell off of things a lot and when he did he’d give us that “I meant to do that” look.
Thanks for telling us her story. What a beautiful dog.
You’re welcome, and thank you.
I wish you many more months and years with your beloved friend. How special she sounds!
Thank you, Meg. No matter how long we have them, it is never long enough.
What a beautiful tribute. We also are owned by ( 😉 ) a dog, a dachshund named Kipling, after the writer. (Our first dog was named after Eliot. It’s a trend in our house.) Dogs give us so much. Kip doesn’t play fetch with a ball, either–his idea of a good time with a ball is to run around with it while being chased by you. And as our first dog, Eliot, aged, he lost both his hearing and his sight. He used to bark and bark from his kennel when we’d come home until we released him and then jump all over us. He gradually couldn’t even hear us when we walked into the room. Although I missed his enthusiastic welcomes, I knew it was all part of the cycle of life and love of being a pet lover.
All my best to you and Chelsie.
Oh thank you for sharing about your pets too! Loving is easy, it’s the leaving them that’s hard. But I can’t imagine my life without a dog in it.
When Chelsie goes we plan to just adopt older dogs that no one else wants, and hopefully find some where several want to stay together.
I’m like you: I can’t imagine my life without a dog in it. They’re way too special to me.
I like your idea of adopting older dogs. There are so many that need homes.
Oh, this is so sweet, Susan. Makes me tear up – and feel like I know her. Give her a hug from me. 🙂
Thank you, and I will!
Pepper and I send you and Chelise dog breath and waggin tail thoughts. I think they’d get along if the mood is right. 😉
Ooh, I love doggie breath!
And thank you. Pepper looks like a not-so-young pup anymore too. Sweet.
Thanks. Most of the time she is a real sweetie.
Thanks. That was my Mardi Gra hat back in New Orleans.
Oh Dodger sounds like she was the perfect friend. I’m glad she still visits you in your dreams.
This was a wonderful post. It made me cry and made me think about my own dog getting old one day and how it will break my heart.
I guess it is like loving our parents and doing everything with them and then the separation followed by having to care for them.
Ryley and I send our love.