I wish I didn’t have to post this.

Choppy passed away Sunday evening.

I have cried so much.

On Monday morning, I took our walk by myself. She would have loved it. There were bunnies out everywhere. One of our neighbors had brought her treats – he does every morning. Another had left her a giant bone at the end of his driveway. There was even some fresh roadkill along the way, which grossed me out but for Choppy, just catching a whiff of it would have made her day.

Later in the morning, we came home from taking her to the vet for the last time, and I didn’t hear the familiar sound of her nails on the hardwood floor or the jangling of the tags on her collar as she waited for me to open the door.

Just thinking about the fact that she will never be waiting on the other side of the door ever again is making me cry. Again.

The mailman came after we got home, and no one barked at him when he left a package on the front porch. Do you know what was in the package? A bag of Choppy’s food.

She still would have barked at him like he was a potential murderer.

Right now, Choppy would normally be lying next to me, snoozing the day away. She was so patient, content to be next to me while she waited for it to be time for our afternoon walk or for me to bring her a treat.

Tonight, when I go to bed, I won’t be able to give Choppy her normal good night kiss. I won’t hear her lightly snoring, or moving from her bed to the floor – the familiar nighttime noises of our bedroom.

I am not going to sleep much tonight. I didn’t sleep much last night.

Pretty much all I have done today is think about Choppy. I have been writing this post for hours; deleting and writing and doing it all again. Whatever I say here, it won’t even come close to capturing anything of what Choppy meant to me. This isn’t a comprehensive look at her life. It isn’t meant to be. I just want to write something – anything – about her today. To make myself feel better. Thank you for reading.

Choppy made my life so much better than it would have been without her. I hope I, in turn, gave her a good life. I tried to.

We went places. Sometimes these were elaborate trips to places like Alaska. Most of the time, though, it meant she just came with me to the grocery store and hung out in the car while I shopped. Choppy didn’t care where we went; she just wanted to be with me. The feeling was mutual – I just wanted to be with her, too.

We walked. We walked a LOT. Every day, we walked at least a couple of miles. Choppy loved her walks. This last Saturday morning, I loaded her up in her cart, and we took a leisurely walk of just under four miles; Sunday, we were out for over four miles. You could not have asked for better weather for walking – clear skies, pleasant temperatures, a slight breeze. Choppy wasn’t doing great either day, but from the way she tilted her head against the wind as she rode in her cart, you could tell she was enjoying herself, even if she couldn’t do the walking on her own.

I didn’t know those would be our last two walks together. I am glad I didn’t know. I just got to enjoy spending a few hours with her on the trails we have walked every morning for years.

Choppy loved her toys. She probably had a thousand different toys in her lifetime – that’s not an exaggeration. When she was younger, she seemed to make it her mission to destroy every squeaker in every toy she had in under a minute. Even when she got older and didn’t play with (/destroy) her toys as much, she would still drag them around the house and pull the occasional squeaker out of them. I have picked up a lot of stuffed animal cotton over the years.

Choppy’s enthusiasm for sticking her head out of the car window knew no bounds. A temperature with a minus sign in front of it meant nothing to Choppy. I had some very cold car rides so Choppy could enjoy herself.

I loved dressing Choppy up in costumes, but do you know her dirty little secret? Choppy loved her costumes as well. All I had to do was get near her clothing boxes in the basement, and her eyes would light up. She would start bouncing on her paws, already excited for the chance to put on a costume.

I got Choppy just a few days after I turned 30. She was there for almost all of the big moments of my life over the last eleven years – including when Paul and I got married. She is in so many pictures from the reception. You can see her walking in with Paul and me when we are announced to the reception, and trying to get in on our first dance, and just hanging out at my side while I do wedding-y things. It may have been the happiest day of her life, based solely on the sheer amount of food guests gave her to eat throughout the course of the evening. I think she had at least 10 full plates of food and even more dessert.

There are a million little things I loved about her.

I loved the way she daintily ate her evening ice cream, never spilling a drop of it.

I loved the way she would throw her whole back end into you, in the hope that you would give her a butt rub.

I loved the way she would dream, her paws going a mile a minute as she half-barked at whatever was running through her imagination.

I loved the way her tail curled over her back.

I loved that some of her paws stayed pink her whole lifetime – she was meticulous about keeping her paws clean.

I loved her eyebrows.

I loved that little white streak that ran up her snout.

I loved how soft her ears were.

I loved the way she smelled (even if she was sometimes a little stinky).

I am not sure a single dog has been so loved by so many. So many of you loved her, even if you never met her in person. I wish you all could have met her. She would have loved all of you (especially if you brought her treats). In her daily life, there were so many people who loved her, too.  I know I am not the only one who has or is going to shed a lot of tears about losing Choppy.

I know I will have more to say at some point. I could talk about Choppy for hours (and have spent many hours of my life doing just that). Maybe I will do little memories, or take some old pictures of her and talk about what we were doing that day for some future posts. There are some scheduled posts coming up, and I am not going to mess with those. I like the idea of being surprised by an unexpected Choppy post that I don’t remember over the next few months. I will likely continue to post Howlidays posts – I have hundreds of pictures of her for those, so it’s like archival footage now.

Right now, though, I’m not going to rush anything. I will have lots of time to think about Choppy and the memories I have with her. Just don’t expect a lot of posting over the next couple of weeks.

For now, I’ll just end with the two thoughts that I can’t shake.

I love you, Choppy. I am going to miss you so much.

Choppy & Sarah