All for the love of a little dog who changed my life forever

I am blessed with family and friends, but there was also a very special someone I was blessed to have in my life: a sweet faithful dog. Now, to look at her, most people really couldn’t help but laugh, for she was this little white fluff ball of a thing. It was hard to take me seriously when I had her with me because she really was quite very “foo foo,” as I would say, and my voice changed when I spoke to her.

I couldn’t help it – I just loved Chloey. I adopted Chloey from the Humane Society for Greater Nashua under the initial agreement that I would only be her foster mother while she recovered from surgery on her degenerative hip and several other health issues. Being raised in the military and having to move often, I had never had a dog, but I had always wanted one. I just wasn’t sure what it would entail. Being a foster mother seemed like a good way to test the waters.

I remember the day vividly when I went to pick her up. It was love at first sight. She was quite matted and pitiful, but she came right to me with this big beautiful smile on her face. Her brown eyes shined and she tilted her head when I spoke as if she loved every word I said. Then there was her tail (the happy meter) which wagged like crazy. No, there was no way I was going to give her back.

I fell in love.

The challenge was to see if my husband would love her, too. I wasn’t sure how he would react to her, and I truly considered it a test of how he would handle our future unexpected adventures or obstacles in life. Well, Chloey was a bit of a challenge, because she didn’t act like a dog. She wouldn’t go for a walk on a leash (or actually she didn’t know how to walk on a leash and thought we were the ones with the problem); she preferred to use the bathroom inside on the carpet and she walked on three legs. She really was a pathetic excuse for a dog, especially for the extremely testosterone-filled love of my life. He was the sort of man who would have a big German shepherd or golden retriever, but thankfully, he fell in love with Chloey right away, too.

Chloey represented all happiness, and we experienced great joy having her in our family. She slept with our children and was extremely patient and loving with them. And when one of our children cried or was sick, she cried and paced in worry.

Every night, after the children fell asleep, she jumped into our bed to be with us. She seemingly was just as exhausted, and there was great comfort and a feeling of completion to have her right next to us. She did have extremely bad breath and a rather silly ritual of pretending to dig a hole to nowhere before she finally nestled down next to me. And just as the house went completely quiet, I loved to hear her sigh as she drifted off to sleep. Sometimes, she whimpered or growled in her sleep and I would whisper to reassure her that everything would be fine.

And she frequently woke us up at some ungodly hour to use the bathroom in the freezing dead of night.

It is funny how your life changes with a child, and it’s even more special with a dog. Oh, the joy-all for the love of a little dog. I am forever grateful to the kind people at the Humane Society for Greater Nashua for rescuing her for us. Chloey taught me so much, and I believe she made me a better mother. Adopting her was one of the greatest things to ever happen to me.

For more information on the Humane Society for Greater Nashua, visit hsfn.org.

Susanna Hargreaves is a mother of three enchanting children, an educator, and writer from New Hampshire. For more information, visit: letmetellyourstory.com.