An era ended this week.
My 18-year-old doglet made her final journey to the vet, and drifted out of this lifetime in the arms of my sister.
Paula volunteer to be Chili’s carrier for this trip since I’m out of the country. And I am grateful for her offer.
Chili, as you may know, was my husband’s dog. She understood he was the Alpha Male of our household, and she was the Alpha Female, without question. After Jack died Chili assumed the role of Alpha Doglet, translated into The Boss of Everything.
I never advanced above Lowly Subject in the hierarchy, and she never let me forget it. I adored this dog, although I’m not certain she gave a whit for me. She independently set alarms on her inner clock for getting up time, eating times, ‘take me for a walk’ time, and ‘don’t bother me’ time.
Her favorite destination for walks was the cemetery. She learned to navigate the boundaries of the graveyard because her first three years were spent walking on a leash out our back gate and onto the cemetery property. Chili knew to stay within the property boundaries, and she had her favorite haunts within those confines.
Number 1 Favorite was near the picnic table behind the city maintenance building. She quickly learned food scraps were often available in this area, remnants of city workers tossing aside chicken bones, rib bones and/or bits and pieces of packed lunches. She would expand her daily inspection of the rest of the grounds only after I dragged her from the lunch fiesta to less attractive spots.
Number 2 Favoritewas the east side of the cemetery near the railroad tracks. She didn’t venture past the fence and tree-lined eastern border, but she could always find something that smelled forbidden and exciting.
Number 3 Favoritewas any bush that might house a baby rabbit or local feral cats. Chili dashed from favorite place to favorite place in order of her preferences, crisscrossing the property with her nose to the ground; exploring, sniffing, discovering and then racing to another place that piqued her interest.
After we moved from our home on Lester, she and I continued our regular visits to this tranquil spot where she didn’t have to encounter much traffic, and I could daydream just following her.
Chili didn’t make the trip to Mexico because I wasn’t certain she would be comfortable in a crate under the plane seat at her advanced age. She spent her last year in the loving care of the family who occupied my house while their abode was being built following Hurricane Harvey’s devastating flooding.
With Chili gone, it is like an era has ended. Not that she was the only thing that reminds me of Jack. But she brought daily joy, laughter, exasperation, and yelling to a house that now feels empty without her. She added a physical memory of Jack, and now I will miss them both.
Happy travels, Chili.