She didn’t like fire. A few times, out of spite, she peed on our bed because we had fires in the living room. She wanted to be in there with us, but the fire kept her out. Because of that, she felt we deserved a little surprise when we crawled into bed at night.

She didn’t get into the water until this past summer. She was nine. We were at Bay View and out of the blue she decided she wanted to walk over the big rocks to where she could get into the water. She didn’t get in very deep, but she waded a short while and looked out over Lake Huron as if it was a whole new world. Me, S.B., and the kids clapped and cheered her on.

She liked playing with the ferret.

Hated other female dogs.

Shed all the time.

But she was mine.

She let the kids pull her tail and lay on her and do whatever they wanted.

She loved to hear S.B. say, “Oh, Chloe! You pretty girl! Come up here!” And she would jump up onto the couch and they would snuggle together awhile.

She protected us. Stood guard by the swing set and the apple tree and snapped and growled at bees if they came too close to us.

She ate sticks and rocks and hickory stick and cheese, but she did not like popcorn.

When she slept, she made puppy noises sometimes and moved her legs—running, I guess—free in dreams.

And she always—always—was at my feet when I was here at these keys. My writing buddy for nearly ten years. Silent, or sometimes snoring, but always here. Just waiting for me to finish another story.

But tonight she’s gone. Because at two-thirteen this afternoon we made that hard decision that always comes too soon. And we put her down.

~ K.J.

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