On 1.11.24, we celebrated Cashew’s (fka Chloe 3496) 20th Birthday. She was with her two sisters Vienna Sausage (15) and Tatertot (5), ate a copious amount of birthday cake, and promptly fell asleep in a happy, deep, food coma-the type of REM cycle sleep to be envied.
We had a lovely few days after, made a fort so we could be close to her on her fluffy floor bed, watched Secret Life of Pets, and continued to chip away at her mouth-watering birthday cake. We talked about how we are going to do 20 good deeds this year in honor of Cashew girl’s birthday. In fact, we tackled that first deed on Monday – making a donation to Muttville.
Devastatingly, on Tuesday, Cashew said, “Mom, Dad, I made it to my birthday, and I’m so very tired now.” And she crossed the rainbow bridge.
Our last 18 months with Cash, she experienced balance and mobility issues, was unable to get in and out of bed without assistance, and was mostly blind. Yet, she still had a will to keep going. We made her an eating corral that held her upright so she could feast comfortably. We ran hundreds of loads of laundry from the soiled beds from various accidents. We made what we affectionately called “Cashew Land” in our house – a ‘baby proof’ padded area she would be comfortable moving around in. We had a “Cashew Cam” on her in case she needed assistance in the middle of the night, be it to change out a soiled bed, or to help her get some water. We arranged our schedules so she would never be home alone long, if at all.
I know a lot of folks were shocked at the accommodations we made for her. But I pose the question, who are we to give up on her, knowing with her undying commitment and loyalty, that she would never give up on us?
Cashew was the fourth senior dog we adopted. Her goofy tongue and pink sweater in her adoption photo is what drew me to her. Her first year with us didn’t come without its challenges. She had zero teeth, had benign tumors removed, she overcame kennel cough, endured two jaw surgeries, and Muttville generously stepped in to assist with. We called Cashew the “resilient one,” often joking she was really a cat because she had 9 if not 10 lives. That is the thing though…through all of that, countless surgeries, appointments, sickness…she was just the happiest girl. All she wanted in her sweet life was to spread love and to be loved in return.
I’ll miss her tippy taps and yelps, not so subtly reminding us it’s meal time. I’ll miss her crooked nose and too-big-for-her mouth tongue eager to give out kisses to any recipient. I’ll miss her occupying my lap as I would apply my makeup in the mirror on the floor. Oftentimes she would sprinkle kisses of encouragement, “You got this Mom, that contour doesn’t look half bad!” in between gentle snores. I’ll miss that gummy yawn, and her playfully biting at her sisters when she was excited about anything. What I think will be missed the most is her selflessness, her endless appreciation, and all the good she brought into our lives. She taught us that it is ok to slow down, encouraged us to soak in our surroundings, and reminded us never to miss an opportunity to enjoy a good meal. Most importantly, she (and many other senior dogs) have shown us that no matter what has happened in our past….there is always space for joy in the present.
The last eight years with Cashew with us were the best years of our lives. And I look forward to that day in the future where we will be reunited again. I like to think she’ll be waiting for me – tippy tapping, with a goofy grin, anxious to jump in my lap for a cuddle. But, until that time comes, I find peace knowing she’s surrounded by all our lost loved ones, is having huge decadent meals with a new full set of teeth, and has found a big luscious patch of grass in the sun, to roll around in.
ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt summarized it so well when he spoke about the loss of his dog – if this hurt is the cost of the transaction for being on the receiving end of a mighty love I got to know through Cashew girl, then I pay it with enormous gratitude.
Just one look into Chloe’s soulful eyes and you can tell she has so much love to give. Her previous home wasn’t able to care for her any longer so she made her way to Muttville, where we’re sure she’s going to find her perfect match in no time! This gorgeous gal gets along fabulously with other dogs and loves meeting new people. Chloe is happiest when she gets to be right next to you, listening to your day. She even gets along well with bunnies and cats! Chloe is simply the whole package!
We think Chloe is between 10-12 years young, weighing about 10 lbs.