The numbers were off the charts. My worst fears were right there, sitting on a piece of paper on the metal table. I didn’t have a mirror, but I didn’t need one. I stood there expressionless. I was helpless.
The three years, eight months and 25 days that we were roommates had incredible ups and its fair share of downs. He contributed to many of the ups and absolutely none of the downs. He was so good, he minimized the impact of the downs just by being there. He knew when things were great. He knew when things were off. And best of all, he knew when things were bad. His canine instincts were second to none.
He came to us after his mama’s (my aunt’s) life was taken suddenly. And while I wasn’t sure how well things would work out, our goal was to make him feel like our home was his.
His name was Chip, or more formally, Chip Anthony. He went by Tony to some, Tone to others. But he had dozens of names, many that were given after his move to Michigan. Chippy, Chippy Doo, Doo, Doo-Boy, Dooey, Policeman Doo, Helper Doo, Protector Doo, Tone Balone, Buffalo Chip…the list goes on. He proudly answered to all of them…until his hearing went a couple months ago. Chip was a Chihuahua. He was handsome, smart as a whip and worked on a routine more than any other person or animal I have ever seen. And all of that is what made him Chip. All of that is what made him the best. All of that is what has made me not go five minutes without thinking of him since Thursday at 10:40AM when I had to let him go.
Someone asked if it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. I said it was the opposite. It was actually very easy. He deserved it. He hadn’t been himself in a couple weeks. I would see sparks, but the overall spunk was missing. He was old, but that wasn’t it. He had been old, but was only showing signs of it lately.
When my alarm would go off in the morning, Chip would lift his head to see if I had a snooze-press in me. Sometimes I didn’t. But other times, I’d press it once or twice. While he was ready to charge downstairs to divulge his breakfast, he appreciated the snooze button. It gave him an extra nine minutes to stay burrowed under the covers. You see, that was his thing. A ten pound dog could push a near 200-pound man around because it was his spot. But anyway, breakfast all of the sudden wasn’t a huge hit. Neither was dinner. The food that sat in a little plastic Detroit Tigers helmet that ice cream was once served in had usually been inhaled within seconds. Now it sat there until Doo knew he had to eat. Last Monday night, my wife boiled him a chicken breast and he scarfed like the good old days. The next two meals were as successful. The third and fourth, not so much. Up until the end, Chip knew when the clock hit 4:45PM every day. His stomach told him that it was dinner time. But really, I wouldn’t be surprised if he knew how to read a clock. He was that smart.
Wednesday night around midnight, I let Chippy outside before we both headed upstairs to jump in bed. Per usual, I tossed two bite-sized treats on the kitchen floor when he came in. He didn’t want them. He sniffed, looked up and said, “no thanks.” ”C’mon Chip. They’re treats, pal.” He ate them, but only because he thought he had to. I picked him up and carried him upstairs. I was already sobbing like a baby. He knew and I knew. I don’t know how long I laid there with my arm around him crying until I fell asleep. It was one of the worst nights’ sleep ever.
My wife and I took him to the vet. She was hopeful and while I held out a tiny amount of optimism that my fears weren’t real, I knew they were. We were given options, but as I said, the decision was easy. We couldn’t let him hurt anymore. We held him to the very end. His trademarked tongue hung out of the right side of his mouth as he became sleepy. Soon, he was gone.
He isn’t hurting anymore. He’s upstairs with his mama. He’s upstairs with my grandpa, who graciously opened his home to Chip before I was lucky enough to do the same. Chip can get excited about 4:45 again.
The easiest decision I’ve ever had to make. Some of the worst five days I’ve ever had to endure. My pal Chip isn’t there when I get home from work now. He isn’t there to sit on my son’s mat watching and protecting him while he plays. He isn’t in his bed under the heat vent in the kitchen. He isn’t in my bed burrowing into his spot every night. He won’t be here when I need him the most – to sit there next to me when times are tough – like they are now as I sit, bummed out beyond all belief, writing this.
The incredible amount of barking, the pee on the carpet, his rank breath and the back pain I sometimes work up with because of how I had to contort myself around him, — I would give up a heck out of a lot to have that all back.
Prior to Thursday, the three years, eight months and 25 days were awesome — and Chip had a lot to do with that. He was my good pal. He was one of my rocks. He was and will forever be my Doo-Boy.