I’ve only ever owned one dog…unless you count that pointer puppy that showed up at our house and hung out for a few hours, until my mom realized that he belonged to some folks down the road. So, excluding that, I’ve only ever owned one dog. I’m a senior in college, and I still look forward to a trip to my parents’ house to see my beloved fuzzball again.
Her name is Chewy. We adopted her when I was in elementary school. My mother and I had made a special trip to the PetCo to get turtle food, and we happened to stop there during an adoption fair. The organization, which is now known as Kankakee County Animal Haven, had a policy where both spouses had to be present to adopt an animal. I pushed and prodded and persuaded as much as my little elementary-school-aged heart dared to, and by the time Ma and I had returned from our turtle food run we had resolved to gather my father and return to PetCo to look at puppies.
It was pretty clear that we were meant to have the 6-month-old black Chow Chow in the corner cage. She was already trained to the name Chewy, so she kept it. In a matter of hours, we went from dogless with no intention of owning a dog, to the proud new family of Chewy the Chow Chow.
Chewy has been with us for well over a decade. We adopted her in May of 1999, which means I was 8. She’s still alive and kicking, which makes her a striking 13 years old. That’s a good run for any dog, let alone a larger breed like a Chow. And she’s been fantastic. Now she spends her twilight years meandering peacefully around the woods with my mother and stepfather, enjoying boat rides on the river and all of the random sights and smells of rural Illinois. (Well, she somewhat enjoys the sights. She’s developing cataracts, and I’m convinced she had good days and bad days for sight…oh, and she’s pretty much deaf.)
While she’s slowed down significantly, and my parents are starting her on joint supplements and as-needed puppy painkillers for her arthritis, she’s still a happy, loyal, loving, protective, and much-appreciated part of the family. I don’t even remember what life was like before Chewy. She has a very distinct character and personality. She has people she likes best and people she doesn’t like at all. She adores my mother and stepfather unconditionally, and hates my sister’s friend Stew. Overall, she’s a pretty fantastic dog, and every time I go home I make a point to spend time giving her the TLC she deserves. She’s given us almost a decade and a half of devotion, and I know each time I see her just might be the last.
Thank you, Chewy. We love you.
Anyone that’s ever owned a dog has favorite dog stories. As a dog lover and devoted owner, I’d love to hear them! Please share your favorite memories about your furry pals. Rural, urban, suburban…wherever you are or wherever you’ve come from, if you’ve ever owned a dog you probably have something worth sharing. So join in!