Goodbye Chicky


This is the hardest post I’ve ever had to write so I’ll cut to the chase.

Yesterday Chicky was struck by a car and killed.

I was cleaning out my garage and went inside to have lunch. Shareef came to the front door and I laughed at the way Chicky was barking at him from his place underneath the beanbag.

He came out to harass Shareef and I commented that Chicky is my spirit animal; he embodies all the courage and aggression I don’t have the nerve to show. Shareef went to the bathroom to change into grubby clothes and suddenly Chicky flew out the side door.

I heard him charging at someone, barking like he does. And then a horrible sound. I ran outside and found him lying in the road. I was there only a second after it happened, the car that hit him didn’t stop.

It was obvious at a glance that he suffered a severe head trauma and was no longer alive. I held him in my arms as I kneeled on the sidewalk.

I was at a complete loss, I didn’t know what to do. I knew I couldn’t make him better but I didn’t know how to deal with immediacy of his loss. I just wailed and wailed at the top of my lungs. Poor Blue was in the yard and saw everything and was distressed by my keening.

A woman pulled over and yelled over and over again, “Lady! Get in my car. I’ll help you.” Shareef and I got in and she drove us to the vet. We walked in and I cried for them to get me a towel, I couldn’t bear to look. They put us in a room, determined that there was nothing to be done and comforted me by saying that he died instantly.

I know he did. He never saw it coming and in the grander scheme of things, it’s the better way to go. He ate nothing but steak the day before, went with me to two parties, and had meatballs for breakfast. The poor little dude might well have died of gout had the car not gotten him first.

The vet made arrangements to take care of his poor little body and the lady, whose name I never got, drove us home. Shareef told me that he had just come over to my house after having put his beloved cat to sleep. The poor man.

I cannot tell you how much I appreciated his hands on my shoulders as we drove to and from the vet’s office, and the way he comforted me. I’m so sorry that I compounded his grief with my own.

As we pulled up to my house, my neighbors were in the street with buckets, they were scrubbing the blood off the street and sidewalk. It was such an amazing act of kindness. Thank you Will and Barb, you have no idea how much that meant to me.

Once at home I changed my clothes and Shareef and I went to work. We really had no choice; the entire contents of my garage was on the sidewalk. Shawn showed up like an angel and helped us power through the project. He didn’t even know what had happened, he just heard I was cleaning up the garage and showed up to help.

Luckily he was there to jump start my car whose battery had died because I left the trunk open so long for loading. Shawn’s masculine way of taking care of business was exactly what I needed.

My heating guy, Raymond, stopped by to check on the system and stayed for hours to help me. I am overwhelmed by the generosity of people.

For the next few hours I was in a strange place of feeling nothing, just focusing on the job in front of me. I usually never say this but … it was a blessing.

I texted My Parasitic Twin what had happened and she made sure my kids went over to her house after school. She gave me a glass of wine and let me sob into a dishtowel. She understands how I process feelings, I need to let them explode out of me into a messy and ugly pile, and then I’m ready to be practical.

She fed my kids, fed me, packed up a huge bag of food for use to take home incase we got hungry and we left. Thank you Ann, you know I will be there for you and your family when you need me.

I wanted to tell Tabby before I told the kids so I went by her house as they did their reading. She reacted exactly as I suspected she would. She was mostly concerned about me. She and her husband said that they always suspected he would die that way, he had a tendency to charge out of the house.

Chicky was going on ten and she was glad he didn’t die of a lingering illness but was genuinely worried about the trauma it caused me and how the kids would react. Tabby was very strong and compassionate, focusing all of her energy on comforting me. I know that she grieved privately once she was by herself. It’s her way.

Telling the kids was tough. I sat them down and they knew something was wrong. Is it dad? Is he okay?

Poor things. Yes, daddy is okay. It’s Chicky.

Scratchy processed the news well, he had a good cry but then expressed a desire to get his mind of it. I could see waves of memory and sadness wash over him, but he handled it with surprising grace. We watched an episode of his favorite show (Psych) in bed together until we fell asleep.

Itchy, on the other hand, was a complete disaster. I should have known he would react this way, he internalizes his feelings and retreats. He wailed in his bed, refusing all manner of comfort. I couldn’t get him to drink water, to wash his face, or to let me hold him. He needed to cry himself to sleep, it took over an hour.

He woke up in the middle of the night crying.  I went to him and he sobbed that he pushed Chicky away the last time he came to him. He was racked with guilt and remorse. I was able to hold him until he fell back to sleep.

So that’s it. Telling all of you is the last thing I have to do, besides bury Chicky. Blue is still pretty upset so we are loving up on him, I insisted that he sleep in my room last night.

I know that he misses the little guy, they had their daily rituals of getting into their play fights and hanging out together.

I plan on staying really busy. If Shareef is up to it he will come over and we will continue to organize the garage and pull stuff out of the basement. I truly feel that staying busy is the best way to cope with grief once the initial waves of emotion pass.

I am really going to miss my little buddy. We went everywhere together and I will miss the sound of his happy little snore at night when he lodges himself under the covers and behind my knees. I will miss the way he sometimes is so excited about snuggling that he gives out a soft little “ruff” from under the covers. I’ll miss the way he would lead me up to bed and how he would run in circles and do backflips when it was bedtime.

I really loved him, pain in the ass that he was. All he ever wanted was for someone to hold him in their arms and let him love them.

IMG_1478

I love you

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Here are some of my favorite Chicky moments.

Going to town on a giant burrito on a road trip…

Daily dog fight, Blue always let him win…

Any old place is fine for a nap when you are tiny…

Howling with mom…

25 thoughts on “Goodbye Chicky

  1. Oh Vivienne I am so sorry. I’m reading this at my desk crying. Thank you for posting to let us all know and I’m so sad for you and all your boys. Chicky was blessed to have you.

  2. O’ Viv, I’m so sorry…. Reading your blog I know how much you deeply loved him….. If you’re ever looking for a lil’ dog fix, my Frenchie would LOVE you and the lil’ people….. I’m happy to bring her by sometime……

  3. I got Chicky from the Humane Society the day before Thanksgiving in 2010. I almost didn’t see him as he was snuggled under a blanket when I first walked past. He was on sale for $25 that day. I loved him the moment I saw him and he brought me a solid 5 years of happiness with his ridiculously over the top and demanding love. He then went on to give Viv’s family the same. So many people made happy by one little dog.

    Due to his inability to survive without being on a human lap, when I got a full time job the only humane option would be that Vivienne have Chicky. It takes a special sort of person to allow a dog to nestle constantly in one’s bosom.

    That was one spoilt rotten and loved dog. Matt and I bawled like babies last night but deep down I am happy that he was happy and went doing what he loved to do: shouting shit at intruders.

    So sorry that you had to go through that Viv it must have been incredibly traumatic. So happy that there were so many lovely people like Shareef and the mystery driver lady there to help.

    • Thank you for sharing your story with us and for sharing him with me and my family. I knew you were being strong for me and I’m so sorry for the pain you and Matt feel. Fortunately we are the same in that we don’t believe in wallowing in grief wiener could just as easily recycle it into love. Thank you for rescuing that bargain basement dog, he was truly special.

  4. oh, viv. nonono. i am so sorry. for you and the boys and loony and everyone else who loved that little dog. thank you for having shared him with your readers. we will all miss him.

  5. Vivienne, I am so sorry for your loss. I have a dog like Chicky who came into our lives five years ago from the humane society. He sleeps next to my stomach every night and is with me as much as possible! I can only imagine how you are feeling today. Big hugs to you

  6. Vivienne, I’ve followed your blog for quite a while. I don’t know you personally, but I do sadly know the grief from a loss of a pet and family member. What a lovely tribute to your friend. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  7. Tears in the corner of my eyes as I write this. Your post was beautiful – and oh, so sad. Condolences on your family’s loss – and at the same time, very happy that Chicky had such a loving and wonderful family.

  8. I think I am officially a member of the family, I was reading here at my desk and bawling. I am so sorry Viv, it is awful to lose a member of the family, but it is horrific to lose one in such a brutal way. I hope that driver is having nightmares about just leaving. There just are no words I could say to make you feel better. Just know I am thinking of you and sending you a huge hug. I hope it gets a little easier for the boys, there is always such a unique bond between boys and their dogs.

  9. Aw darn it. 😦 I am so so sorry. Sounds like he had a wonderful life with you and Tabby. I am so sorry it came to a tragic end. I am so sad for you.

  10. Oh I am sorry! I too experienced this with my dog, and I too was amazed at the willingness from my neighbors to help. For no better words, it is a gruesome experience. It is a loss in a traumatic way, and it is painful. HOWEVER, you will PREVAIL, and I am sending healing vibes to you and your family!!!!!!!!!!
    Anne (Sara’s friend)(the one who was on hospital bed rest with twins)

    • Thank you Anne, and thanks for telling me who you are. I never know if I’m hearing from someone I’ve actually met or not. I hope you and the twins are well.

  11. Oh Viv, I am so sorry. I just made my way back here after the WordPress screw-up, to find this sad news. It is so horrible to lose a dog in that way, I know. Ugh. You have all my sympathies. Love to you and the guys…

  12. Oh Viv,

    MaryAnn and I cried after we talked with you about little Chicky. We remember how loved he was by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him, and what a wonderful little dog he was–so small in size but so big in heart. We could not stop thinking about the grief you are experiencing. We love you and your family, and are hearts are with you.

    LD

  13. Vivienne – I must have seen you yesterday, covered with dust and dirt, when you had thrown yourself into garage cleaning after loosing Chicky – thanks for the beautifully sad story. xoxo Crystal

    • I saw you before it happened. I broke for lunch shortly after we talked. But yes, I have thrown myself into this project. It is have been a good distraction. And filthy.

Really? No way.

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