Today is an incredibly sad day at CastleGate Shelties.
This afternoon, Chet, our foundation male and the light of my life, lost
a short battle with an aggressive form of oral cancer. When Carol Craswell
entrusted Chet to me on Mothers Day weekend in 2002, she changed my
life, and at this point, I cant even begin to imagine what my life
is going to be like without him.
We have experienced a roller coaster of emotions for the last two and a half
weeks. First, we waited for the biopsy results hoping with all of our might
that it wouldn't be cancer, and once we knew that it was cancer, then, we
prayed for a treatment option that would save his life and still give him
a good quality of life.
We saw the cancer specialist/surgeon several days after getting the biopsy
results, and after consulting with him, we felt that the kindest option for
Chet was to let him go peacefully without any invasive treatments or radical
I had hoped for several additional months with him, but it wasnt meant
to be. Im grateful that I had some warning about his passing, so that
I could savor the time we had left. The last two weeks with him have truly
been a gift, and weve done all of his favorite things over and over
He had more good days than bad ones until yesterday. I knew last night that
today would be the last day that wed share with Chet on this side of
The Rainbow Bridge. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning watching
him sleep and trying to memorize the contours of his face, the merling pattern
on his polka dot ears, and the pretty upturn of his lip line that made him
look like he was smiling all the time. Each rise and fall of his chest last
night brought fresh tears and cherished memories flooding back.
This morning, I woke up about a half hour before he did, and I watched him
sleep again and wished for more time with him even though I knew it was a
wish that couldnt be fulfilled.
There are no words to adequately describe the impact that Chet has had on
our lives. He was one of the sweetest and most noble dogs that Ive
ever known, and his presence in our lives paved the way for many new friendships
and opened the door for countless new experiences. I had longed for a blue
male champion for many years before Chet came into our lives, and he made
that dream come true for me. The day we picked him up at the MA Sheltie Specialty
was such a joyous occasion. I couldn't believe how lucky I was to be bringing
home such a wonderful young dog. I will be eternally grateful to Carol Craswell
for sharing one of her best with me.
We are blessed to have three of his children (Geraldo, Zelda, and Lydia)
here and to be able to watch other Chet kids mature in the homes of our friends.
Now that I can no longer look into Chets eyes, it will give me comfort
to look into the faces of his children and see bits of him there.
I have several beautiful formal portraits of Chet, but I think Chet's spirit
was captured more readily in the everyday photos. Here are some of my favorite
casual photos of Chet:
I took this photo on a sunny fall day. I love how regal and beautiful he
looked even when he was sleeping.
This is Chet's trademark smile. I see that same smile on Geraldo's face when
he's getting ready to trash me on the agility course.
I guess Geraldo gets his "monkey boyness" from his Dad.
Chet had finished a new title the day this picture was taken, and he was
very pleased with himself!
His mom was pretty happy too. <G>
This is my favorite agility photo of Chet. He looks so happy and elegant.
That's how I want to remember him!
Chet and Elsa are half siblings, and they've also been best friends since
Elsa came home with us from the East Lansing National in 2003.
Like me, she is going to have a hard time without him.
Yesterday afternoon, I finally had the courage to try and take some final
pictures of Chet and me.
Chet was a very kissy boy, and Ill treasure these photos of some of
the last kisses that he gave me.
Almost every day started with Chet kisses. Tomorrow morning will be especially
hard for us.