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I came home from work tonight to find that not five minutes before I arrived,  one of my best friends, my beautiful companion of 12 years, Chloe, my fierce, gorgeous, soul-mate, an Alaskan Malamute, had passed away.  I knew she would be leaving this world soon; I felt it.  Last night I spent a long time hugging and kissing her and telling her how much I loved her.

I don’t know how I will manage without her soft, steady snoring to comfort me in the night.  Who will greet me now, tail wagging, when I get home from work?  Who will I share virtually everything I eat with?  Who will nuzzle my hand in the morning while I’m still in bed, to let me know it’s time to get up, time to let her out, time to feed her, time to start our day?  Who will walk up the long hill with me, through the woods and back?

She was a crone, if dogs are crones, and I know she was feeling her years.  I know she’s in a better place, where dogs run freely, where there are no leashes, no licenses, no pens, and especially, no human beings around who are cruel and mean and who do not understand that dogs and all animals think, feel, hurt, communicate, love, give.   Dogs, as all animals do, share in the spark and breath of life.   They are the Mother’s children, as we all are.

Chloe taught me to love, respect, admire, and honor all animal life, in ways I never would have imagined or understood without her.  On many occasions, she comforted me in ways no one else could, leaning her strong body against my own, resting her head on my chest, looking deep into my eyes, when for whatever reason I was hurting, crying, grieving, howling into the universe.   I will never be the same, having known her, walked this earth with her at my side.  She gave me so much and she asked for so little in return.

I will miss her so dearly.




45 thoughts on “Grief

  1. I’m so sorry Heart. I’ve felt this too, and it’s not repairable. A huge renting hole.

    Posted by Sis | October 2, 2007, 6:21 am
  2. Heart, I’m really sorry. Thanks for sharing about Chloe, because she sounds like an exceptional pet.

    Posted by K.A. | October 2, 2007, 8:40 am
  3. {{{ Chloe & Heart }}}


    Thank you for this eloquent tribute that you have given to Chloe.

    What a blessing that you were with each other, in those ways, for all that time.


    Posted by Mary Sunshine | October 2, 2007, 9:09 am
  4. I’m sorry. Knowing they are in a better place doesn’t stop the pain of their loss.

    Posted by Miranda | October 2, 2007, 10:35 am
  5. I am sorry you lost your companion, Heart. Sometimes it’s harder to lose an animal than a person.

    peace and strength to you.

    Posted by antiprincess | October 2, 2007, 1:12 pm
  6. So sorry about this Heart and thank you for the beautiful acknowledgment to Chloe. My cat’s 16 now – and – well I don’t even like to think of it.

    Posted by sparklematrix | October 2, 2007, 1:47 pm
  7. Oh, {{{Heart}}}

    I’m so sorry. You once posted about Chloe’s pawing on you being her “petting” you back. I realized that applied to my own dog, how her clumsy pawing was just that. It was a beautiful insight.

    Your heart must be aching, and mine is aching right along with you.

    Peace to you, sister.

    Posted by GaisMuse | October 2, 2007, 4:05 pm
  8. I’m terribly sorry, Heart. Chloe sounds like she was a wonderful dog-friend.

    Posted by delphyne | October 2, 2007, 4:13 pm
  9. I am so sorry. Chloe sounds like a precious soul, giving and receiving love unconditionally, as we humans so often do not, and with Goddess’s help and the help of the wonderful animals She has seen fit to grace our lives with, maybe will one day. I am so glad that Chloe had you to grace her life and you had her. You will miss her terribly and you will never forget her but will always be better for having had her.

    (((Heart and Chloe)))

    Posted by Branjor | October 2, 2007, 4:23 pm
  10. I am sorry to hear your loving companion has passed away. Dogs don’t live nearly long enough. Hopefully, at some point, you will be ready to have another dog enter your heart, not as a replacement, rather a new found love.

    Posted by shihtzustaff | October 2, 2007, 4:31 pm
  11. Best wishes to you in this sad time.

    Posted by Sam | October 2, 2007, 4:57 pm
  12. Ouch.

    One of my cats was killed by a coyote, or pack of coyotes, about a month ago, so I feel your pain. I keep seeing him out of the corner of my eye, but I turn and it’s not him after all.

    Remember her. It’s the greatest honour you can do her.

    Posted by Embyr Arrikanez | October 2, 2007, 5:05 pm
  13. I’m very sad that Chloe is gone. I hope peaceful feelings come your way soon.

    Posted by funambulator | October 2, 2007, 5:25 pm
  14. Thank you, women, for comforting me. I’m worthless today at work. I’m going to take the day off tomorrow and am going to make a ritual for Chloe, to honor her and the time we spent together.

    There’s a lot to process through with her death. Some of my adult kids wanted me to put her down a few months ago. I asked her, and the very next early morning, she went out and barked at the coyotes that pass by our farm regularly, barked with her hoarse, crone voice, something she hadn’t done for months, maybe years, but which she used to do all the time, every time the coyotes came through. It was as if she were saying to me that she was still alive, she wasn’t ready to go. I honored that. I don’t really believe in euthanizing pets anyway, but I was willing to consider it if I thought it was what she wanted. I’m glad I had these few more months with her.

    Her death came on what seems to me to have been a significant day in other ways, came during a time that was something of an existential crisis for me, a time of soul-searching, re-evaluating, noticing things, paying attention. It feels as though there is spiritual work for me to do around her death, besides the normal grieving and mourning. It is fitting, because like I said, Chloe was my soulmate. She “knew” things. In significant, important moments, turning points in my life, she was at my side, always. She was there for me.

    Thanks for listening, women, it means a lot.


    Posted by womensspace | October 2, 2007, 5:51 pm
  15. …Chloe was my soulmate. She “knew” things. In significant, important moments, turning points in my life, she was at my side, always. She was there for me.

    I’ve experienced a dog like that just once in my life and I still miss her. As Sis says, a huge renting hole.

    Take care of yourself, Heart.

    Posted by witchy-woo | October 2, 2007, 6:09 pm
  16. oh I’m so sorry Heart :’-(

    I know that hole that Sis speaks of- when my horse passed it felt as if I had lost a limb.


    Posted by Cinder | October 2, 2007, 6:48 pm
  17. So sorry to hear about your loss, Heart. If there is one bad thing about sharing your life with a dog, it’s that they never stick around long enough. Take care.

    Posted by Amber | October 2, 2007, 7:39 pm
  18. My sincerent apologies that the fuits of the physical are missing. May she heal you in passing as she did in life.

    Posted by pisaquari | October 2, 2007, 7:58 pm
  19. Heart, I’m so sorry. I know how hard it is to lose a furry family member, especially one so close.

    Chloe will always stay in your heart, and I think Chloe knew that.

    Posted by archcrone | October 2, 2007, 8:35 pm
  20. I’m so sorry, Heart. What a painful loss. Chloe sounds wonderful… thanks for sharing your stories of her with us. I’ve lit a candle for you and Chloe, and would hug you if I could! XOXO

    Posted by Eeni B. Bella | October 2, 2007, 9:08 pm
  21. Oh, Heart ((((((((((((((Heart))))))))))))))))

    They don’t stay with us anywhere near long enough, do they.



    Posted by JJ | October 2, 2007, 9:37 pm
  22. I too, am saddened to learn of your companion’s death. Although I have lived for many years now with two cats as companions, I know my companions have taught me a great deal. Likewise, your companion Chloe too communicated with you in her own unique manner. Yes, it is very painful and thank you for sharing.

    Posted by jennifer drew | October 2, 2007, 9:41 pm
  23. I’m so, so sorry. I know this grief is deep. I lost my soul-mate a few years ago (my dog Molly) and there are no words. Hugs.

    Posted by Violet Socks | October 3, 2007, 12:12 am
  24. I’m so sorry Heart. You and Chloe have been in my thoughts all day. {{{Hugs}}}

    Posted by E. K. "Kitty" Glendower | October 3, 2007, 1:23 am
  25. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Posted by Elaine Vigneault | October 3, 2007, 2:38 am
  26. Oddly, I seem to know a lot of people who have named their pets “Chloe.”
    Anyway, I send my condolances to you and many good thoughts to Chloe. It’s never easy to lose an animal companion. (well, family member really)
    I still get choked up when thinking about the pets I’ve lost over the years. I hope the grief eases soon. 😦

    Posted by Chloe | October 3, 2007, 3:46 am
  27. Heart, it hurts to see you hurting this way. I am deeply sorry for your loss. Peace and love to you. Let your sorrow in, it is a tribute to all the two of you had together.

    I love animals, and have loved many companion animals deeply. The pain can be as unbearable as losing a human friend/lover/family member. What’s worse, very few people allow you the dignity of grieving.

    When I was young, I had a cow companion, one whom I would’ve very much called a soul mate, who was cruelly taken from me long before her time. I wept for months…she was the sweetest being I’d ever known. We had a bond that was indescribable.

    Sending you gentleness and soothing, please be good to yourself.


    Posted by CJ | October 3, 2007, 5:12 am
  28. Thanks, women, you are all the best. Chloe, that your name was “Chloe” caused me to like you before I read a word you wrote. 🙂

    I am making peace with things. I was going to stay home today and make a ritual for Chloe, a sending off, but I am too busy at work, so it will have to be tomorrow. I am going to send her off with her favorite things– toys, bone, some chocolate. I know chocolate is bad for dogs but she and I had a tradition and I always gave her at least one small square of mine and she loved it. She liked grapes, too.

    Oh no, I’d best not get started down that path. 😦

    One of my daughters swears she saw Chloe’s fluffy white tail going out the sliding glass door in my bedroom the night after she’d died.

    Thanks again, women.


    Posted by womensspace | October 3, 2007, 12:56 pm
  29. Oh, Heart, I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to you and your daughters.

    Posted by allecto | October 3, 2007, 1:27 pm
  30. The Rainbow Bridge (In memory of Chloe)

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

    Author unknown…


    I feel your pain and it brings up old pain I’ve had losing pets I’ve loved. They are so much a part of our family and the grief is very real. Don’t discount your daughter’s “vision” perhaps Chloe was making one last transition before crossing the rainbow bridge. 🙂

    Time heals all wounds and you can smile as you will see Chloe again. Afterall – DOG spelled backwards is “GOD”
    My heart goes out to you.

    Posted by pvdugas | October 3, 2007, 2:01 pm
  31. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Ah pvdugas. :””””””””””””””(

    Thanks for that.

    We want that, don’t we. I want another moment to look into her eyes and hug the soft head and tell how much I love her. Oh please, just once more.


    Posted by womensspace | October 3, 2007, 3:43 pm
  32. My soul is sad for you today, Heart.

    Chloe will be waiting there for you there at Rainbow Bridge. I know that to be true deep within me.

    Posted by CoolAunt | October 3, 2007, 5:27 pm
  33. That will happen Heart, because she will visit you when you dream, again and again and again. And you will feel her against you, be soothed by her snoring, and hear her walk across the floor as she goes to check her food dish. Just in case.

    Posted by Sis | October 3, 2007, 5:51 pm
  34. So very sorry to hear this. I wish dogs could live as long as people.

    Posted by Ann Bartow | October 3, 2007, 6:44 pm
  35. Heart, this entry inspired a blog post. I know it veers off from your words here, but I must give credit where credit is do. Still thinking about you and Chloe. {{{{Hugs}}}

    Posted by E. K. "Kitty" Glendower | October 3, 2007, 7:06 pm
  36. Condolences!!! What a great dog, though!!!

    Posted by profacero | October 4, 2007, 5:34 pm
  37. Thanks, women, for comforting me.

    Here is a link to a picture my friend Heather took of Chloe about a year ago. You can also see some of my kitty cats in the same flickr stream.


    It comes over me in waves. I miss her so, so much, just want to hug her one more time.

    Heather says she can make prints of this beautiful photo, that SO captures Chloe’s essence:



    Posted by womensspace | October 5, 2007, 4:48 pm
  38. She has a beautiful smile.

    Posted by CoolAunt | October 6, 2007, 7:04 am
  39. Cool Aunt, why do people think that dogs don’t smile? Don’t feel or show emotion. I don’t understand.

    I dug Chloe’s grave in the garden. I had intended to bury her up on the hill where she had sat with me for hours one evening while I raged at the universe, her strong body pushed up against me, head on her paws, occasionally howling, like I was also howling. Alaskan malamutes don’t bark, they are quiet dogs; when they speak, they howl, like wolves.

    But the ground up there was too criss-crossed with tree roots. It’s been some years since that evening on the hill, and all of the trees have grown so tall now. The earth was too hard.

    So I went to the garden and dug her grave there. It was fitting; she always accompanied me out to the garden, where she was usually a very naughty dog, digging her nose into the mole and bunny holes, disturbing whatever might have been planted or was growing, walking across and through the rows, and digging holes in the vicinity of interesting scents. Wherever I was, she was, though. She always kept me company and so willingly and happily. I buried her up at the top of the garden where I usually grow sunflowers. The dirt was soft and tilthy and I dug her grave deep. Into her grave, I put her toys, her last bones she’d been working on, her red, heart-shaped rabies tag. I carried her from the house to the garden, wrapped in blankets and the cover from her dog pillow. She was so heavy, dead weight. When I picked her up, there was the sound of what must have been the last breath leaving her body. I laid her in the grave with her toys and bones and effects. She looked so peaceful, wrapped snugly in the blankets all up to her head, nestled in her grave. I said my goodbyes and told her one more time, while I could look at her and admire the thick ruff of black, brown, tan, grey and white fur on her head and neck, that I was so glad and proud to have had her as my friend, to walk alongside me during some of the most difficult years of my life. I commended her spirit to the Mother and bid her safe travels.

    Then I covered her body with her pillow filled with cedar shavings, then raked all of the garden dirt on top. I placed stones around the edge and a wreath of green at the top. I’m going to look for a stone garden sculpture, a dog, to place at her grave. I know I will visit regularly.

    Heart, grieving

    Posted by womensspace | October 6, 2007, 6:12 pm
  40. Oh, Heart, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss.

    We honour those who have gone with our stories, and your words carry an image of her that is beautiful.

    Take care of yourself.

    Posted by hexy | October 7, 2007, 4:30 am
  41. What a happy-looking girl. She obviously loved her life with you.

    I don’t know why people don’t think animals have individual souls and personalities and moods. It goes along with the myth that cats are standoffish. Some are (although usually not with ‘their’ human), some aren’t.

    Posted by Miranda | October 7, 2007, 7:14 pm
  42. i’m so sorry for your loss, heart. animal companions are often the very best companions we can have in life. i still miss maude every single day and i’m so grateful for the new loving friendship i’ve found with mabel. sending lots of love your way…
    xoxo, jared

    Posted by ms. jared | October 8, 2007, 12:01 am
  43. I am so sorry for your loss, ((((((Heart)))))). My heart grieves with yours.

    :“`- (

    No other words are coming to me right now so… my sharing of your grief has to be it. But share it I surely do.

    Love~ VeggieFem

    Posted by VeggieFem | October 13, 2007, 3:54 am
  44. Thanks, VeggieFem, and many {{{}}}s to you.

    You know, I’ve always loved animals, always always. But I also never envisioned myself as a cat lady or a dog lady or sheep lady or a chicken lady or a wild birds/bunnies/deer lady or the compleat tree hugger lady, which is what I currently am. I saw that older women often were this way, including in my family. My mother had dogs and cats in the house always (contra my dad’s will), and she also cared for feral cats for years, because people would dump mama cats and their babies near our house, which at that time was in the woods, and so there would always be a colony of feral mamas and babies which would eat and survive courtesy of my mom. My grandmother always had dogs indoors and delighted in them, as well as delighting in the exotic fowl she raised outside, the most amazing and interesting-looking chickens, pigeons, hens, peacocks. I never saw myself this way when I was young, as surrounded by creatures. I loved animals, but I didn’t see myself attached to them in the same way my older female relatives were.

    Well, that has all changed. I’m all of them and a bag of chips! I was talking with a friend recently about it and she said, “Or course, that’s part of our evolution as women.” I think she’s so right. Nothing that lives is “just” [a ________]. It is all so beautiful. It is all such a gift. It is all to be loved, respected. I can’t do the subject justice.

    I spent some time out with Chloe this morning, telling her how much I missed her. Her grave was perfect, not disturbed at all. It was interesting, when I was digging her grave, nearby I noticed a mole hole, which of course, I left undisturbed. I saw that the mole had left one of her hills just outside the circle of stones marking Chloe’s grave, as though to leave her own memorial.


    Posted by womensspace | October 14, 2007, 9:42 pm
  45. This is why apartments are so destructive of life for all who live in them. You are not allowed animals Not even moles. One year we had an infestation of lady bugs. I was in heaven. Then there was the year of the dragon flies. I put a shallow saucer of water on the balcony table for them. I also bought a teddy bear yesterday. Sniff. They’re not going to tell me how I’m *allowed* to get old.

    Posted by Sis | October 15, 2007, 12:38 am

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