Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another Dog Gone: RIP Chase 4/1/95 - 4/24/10

We lost our dog Chase on Saturday, about 9 months after we lost his life long companion, Sara. Chase was an Australian Shepherd mix that we adopted at the end of the summer in 1995. My son, then 11, had wanted a dog and like the overachieving mom I am, I told him he could get one if he did a research paper for me on what breeds did what so we could make an intelligent decision. He surprised me and did the research paper so when he wanted to go to a pet store to look at a dog his friend had seen I kept my part of the bargain.

We walked into the store and saw a small dog, obviously an older puppy, with grey and white fur and steel blue eyes. It was love at first sight for all of us. The pup had been rescued from living on the streets by a teenage girl who worked at the pet shop. She said that she had named him "Chasen" because he was always chasin' things around. I should have known then but love makes you blind so we piled him into our car and began our 15 year adventure of dog ownership which eventually included two other dogs--Sara and Novella.

We decided to call him Chase for short and took him home to begin the task of training a high energy dog. One of the first things Chase did was bound through the house, jump on my bed and pee all over it. So we moved him outdoors and got a kennel to work on house training him. I also signed him up for dog training classes and wound up doing two sessions to work on his boundless enthusiasm for running wherever he wanted.

Chase was a very smart dog. He was great at doing tricks we learned at the dog classes and even greater in ignoring me when he did not want to do what I wanted. After all he was the alpha dog and no amount of persuasion was going to change that.

My son and daughter were convinced that Chase was part wolf because he howled at us from time to time. He was clearly a  shepherd (we thought part German and part Australian) because he took pleasure in herding people and small animals. In particular, he saw it as his duty to chase any small animal he came across, including our cats. One time he got one of our cats who was a bit slow and started to shake her while holding her by the neck. Luckily I was able to get him to drop her and the vet was able to repair her. She did not venture in the yard again when Chase was there.

We took Chase to the dog park once and Chase somehow got a large group of dogs to start fighting with each other. The owners of the other dogs got hysterical and ran into the fighting pack to pull out their dogs. I whistled for Chase and, for once, he came immediately (after all, his instigation work was done) and we all hightailed it out of there.

Chase went hiking in Palos Verdes for several years off leash with a pack run by a young man named Paul. Paul sent us a Christmas card one year with a picture of Chase running on the hiking path. You have never seen a happier dog. Unfortunately Chase developed a problem with his hip which affected the movement of his rear legs. The vet recommended that we not let Chase hike anymore. At the end, Chase was clearly having a lot of pain from that hip problem and his hind legs. He stopped moving, eating and drinking. And he was the equivalent of 100 human years old.

My son had to take Chase to the vet for that sad, last trip while my husband and I were away this past weekend. I am sorry that I did not get a chance to say goodbye. Chase, I will miss you. You were a good dog.

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