Last month I went away to New York to visit family. After being there a couple days, I received the kind of text that everyone hates. “Chloe isn’t doing too well,” it said. My brain flashed to the worst. For over 14 years, I’ve been doing my best to ignore the truth (just like every other pet owner) that my best girl won’t always be my shadow. Even though Chloe was having a hard time walking, my husband reassured me that she was okay. Still, since the vet had warned us that Chloe’s hind legs would probably go in the next few years, I thought this could be it. And I was all the way across the country in New York.
The next morning, I did a FaceTime with my husband, and saw how bad it was. Chloe could hardly get up, could hardly walk. My heart ached, wanting to be by her side, especially after all the times she has been by my side. Here she was, in need, and I couldn’t rub behind her ears, scratch her nose, or spoil her with cinnamon toast or bacon. My poor girl. I started looking at my flight options to get back to her.
My husband worked from home that day, so he could take her to the vet. Had the nerves in her back given up, eliminating her ability to walk? Was it a stroke? I waited and waited from the East Coast, and then finally I received the news: inconclusive (isn’t it always), but it looked like it could be “old dog” vestibular disease, which often means a fairly good recovery.
Because I have a hard time keeping medical facts straight in my head, I am still not 100% clear on what caused the vestibular disease to occur in my girl. But I do know that she is just about back to normal. She walks around with her head cocked to one side (and of course I find myself doing the same whenever I speak to her), which makes her look even cuter to me. She can’t go down the stairs in our home, so we have to let her out the front door and walk her to the backyard. If she gets wet, she can’t shake off, or she will fall to the ground. But she can do pretty much everything else that she used to do like go on long walks, escape to roam around the neighborhood whenever the opportunity presents itself, beg for food, follow me around the house when I am upstairs, eat socks and other trash. In other words, she is still my sweet, goofy girl, vestibular disease or not.
She just turned 14 and 3/4 years old last week, and I fully expect for us to celebrate our two big birthdays together on June 11 (my 35th and her 15th) with burgers and bacon for people and pets. Chloe girl, I love you.
Image © Chloe Pet Photography 2014
©2022 SUSANNAH ALLEN
CHLOE PET PHOTOGRAPHY
Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado