Goodnight, Sweet Pup

In 2001, as a scrawny 11-year-old with big glasses, crooked teeth and more doll-friends than human-friends, I knew one thing for certain: I wanted a dog.

And not just any dog. I wanted a Maltese. I had spent countless hours researching the breed online and became a little breed-expert. I knew their average lifespan was 12-14 years. I knew they would rarely grow to more than 10 pounds. And I knew that they were adorable and complete lap-dogs.

My demand for a pup was met with much resistance. Especially since I was asking for one that usually cost around $1,000.

Still, I was unrelenting in my quest. I created a sign that said something along the lines of, “I want a dog!” and marched around my kitchen chanting, “I want a dog!”

It was a very creative protest, FYI.

Soon, the adults who would be the primary dog-caregivers started to accept the idea.

Soon, a newspaper ad was found that said a litter was available in nearby Franklinville, NJ. [Aside: This was three years before we moved to Franklinville from Washington Township.]

Soon, I was picking out the second smallest pup from the bunch. And we were on our way home.

She was one pound. I named her Chloe after the Mary Kate & Ashley show So Little Time.

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It didn’t take long for her to become my furry best bud. Since she was so small and fragile, she was crate trained (like a cat). She had the sweetest, craziest demeanor and she was just what the doctor ordered for this geeky girl.

As a pup, she’d run around in fast circles in pursuit of her toys. She became attached to her furry-dog toy (named “Taylor” for whatever reason).

She hated clothes. One time we tried to dress her up as a little Santa Claus, but the entire time the outfit was on her, she would not stop circling in an attempt to shed it.

She became a constant through my teenage angst. Through really hard times in my personal life. And through the good times. I was always proud to show her off to my friends. Aside from people in my extended family who never warmed up to her because she wasn’t a big dog, everyone loved her. I don’t know how you could have NOT loved her.

And she put up with me, her big, annoying sister, quite well.

Like that time when I tested my new tripod by including in her my very-cool steps photoshoot.

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Or the many, many times when I insisted on not letting her go.

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Or when I thought it would be cute to make an oddly intense montage of black and white photos.

Or when I literally held her hostage in my room as a 19-year-old so that I could talk on her behalf. She is a dog, by the way.

She even dealt with me casually gazing at her like a weirdo.

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And taking pictures of her while she slept.

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Sometimes she’d look really pissed off when I bugged her too much.

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But I always knew she’d be right by my side as soon as I grabbed some turkey or cheese. Her favorites.

We spent a lot of time together. I even taught her how to type.

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When I’d go away for long periods of time — North Carolina, Switzerland, Rowan U’s housing for a year — I’d write that I missed her so much.

And when I’d return, there she was. Elated and so very sweet.

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Well. Sometimes.

She probably loved her toys more than me, actually.

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Several months ago, she was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease. Over time, she became more frail and slept more often.

I knew she made it to 14. The higher end of her expected lifespan. She had a full life that brimmed with pure love and squeaky toys. I thought I’d be okay when she passed. But it’s been more the opposite.

She was the one I could count on for a smile. She was the one I held after breakups and as I listened to fights out of my control. She was my fluffy rock.

And she was, and is, so very special to me.

Goodnight, sweet girl. Thank you for being mine.

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