On Friday evening we had to say goodbye to our dog Chase. We adopted Chase into our family in 2007. The adoption agency had given him the horrible temporary name of Lurch. When we met him, the couple that had been fostering him had named him Chase. I had the fancy idea that a somewhat geeky name like Comet would be better. After a day of trying that out, we realized that he was Chase. It just fit. Chase was a Black Lab / Border Collie mix. Smart, loyal, and full of energy.

We don’t know exactly when he was born, but he was in full puppy mode when he came to us. If Mazie left any wooden toy on the floor, he would chew it to nothing. We learned the hard way that he shouldn’t be allowed on the couch, after the couch upholstery was so trashed it had to be redone.

He was always looking to please. He never ran off, not once. He liked the snow. The Border Collie in him wanted the family always together. He listened well and only barked when he needed something. Almost always a single bark. Our neighbor called him the “One Bark Dog” because he would just give a single bark, after waiting a couple of minutes at the door to come in. He even stood in for photos once.

I had grown up around dogs but had never had one. Chase was my first dog and he and I had our rituals. I always fed him in the morning. On the weekends I get up early, and he’d hang out with me while I did whatever. At the cabin we would go down to the dock in the morning with a cup of coffee and look at the water and the occasional bird or fish jumping.

Of course Chase wasn’t just my dog. Mazie loved Chase and would play with him a lot. Tyler declared Chase his best friend in Kindergarten and was hoping to take him to school for show and tell. Tammy liked Chase being around, going on walks and his friendly personality, although his shedding she could have skipped.

I didn’t realize that Labs live to about 12, more or less. I hoped we had more time. I knew Chase was getting older. He was slowing down and enjoyed long afternoon naps at the lake. He would find a spot in the grass and have a good day of it.

Sadly he wasn’t just getting old. We took him in because his teeth looked bad and his breath was beyond bad. We figured he just needed a dental cleaning. They found a growth in his mouth. Melanoma. They cut it out and asked us if we wanted to do cancer treatment. We declined, that seems to me like a hard thing for a dog, especially at his age. He also developed a number of other growths on his chest and stomach. To add to the challenges, he tore both his CCLs and for over a week he couldn’t walk up the stairs in the house. His whole life he also got rashes and sores on his skin. An allergic reaction of some kind. Medication usually helped, but with the cancer the meds didn’t do anything for that. For the last month we’ve had to help him out quite a bit.

On Friday we had a vet come to visit the house. We all went out on the deck. It was a cool evening, just gorgeous. We all sat with Chase petting and soothing him as the vet put him to sleep.

It was tough. I expected it to be difficult, but it was even harder. He was part of our family. Chase was everyone’s dog and we all felt the loss. 😢

I didn’t realize how much he was always there with us, and particularly with me. The mornings have been lonely without him there to do whatever was the plan. When we come home from doing something, there is no welcoming tail wagging at the door with eager eyes.

I miss my buddy.