We lost Chewy last night. He was 14 ½ years old. The vet says he had a long, happy life for a Doberman mix. He had a high quality of life right up until the last few weeks.
We adopted Chewy at an adoption event at the local PetSmart when he was only 6 months old. He had been found wandering along a highway and it was assumed someone had just abandoned him. He was chewing on a toy when we were there looking at the dogs. He looked up at us with that goofy face; head on a slight tilt and one ear flopped down while the other was up. We knew he was the one.
The shelter had named him Lloyd. That was not going to fly for a name. We changed it to Chewy…short for Chewbacca. Of course, it should have been Chewie but they spelled it wrong on the paperwork.Mike was working nights then, so after our adoption application was approved, I had to go pick him up myself. I got him home and he immediately started to follow me everywhere around the house. Obviously, he was going to be a little momma’s boy. I waited up with Chewy in the living room. He was sitting in front of the window, a place that was always his favorite spot to sit and watch the outside world.
He got very excited as Mike’s car pulled into the driveway. Mike came in the back door and Chewy…
…Immediately went after him!
”Hey! I live here!” Mike exclaimed.
After giving him a treat for being a “Good dog for protecting Mommie,” Mike and Chewy bonded, too.
We hadn’t been in our new house for long when we got Chewy. That summer, we had our first big party. Chewy was tied up outside on a runner so that he could be with everyone. At one point, my friend Heather came running in the house. “Julie! The boys are giving your dog beer!” Apparently, they thought it was funny to give Chewy a little beer in his water bowl. I rushed outside to find my poor dog lying on the ground, his tail IN his now almost-empty water dish, with a goofy look on his face.
To this day, I swear that is what made him simple…
Chewy was not a stupid dog. He was simple, but not stupid. He couldn’t be bothered learning tricks. He had no time for lesser dog activities like learning to sit or play dead. There were villainous delivery people to scare away, cats and squirrels to bark at, socks to eat, and mooching for food to be done. In his younger days, he was also something of an escape artist. At least once a week, he would slip off his leash and make us chase him around the neighborhood. It would put me into a panic attack because we live close to Rt 295 and I was afraid he would get hit by a car. But we always got him back in the house.
He was a surprisingly strong dog, particularly in his younger days. Whether it was dragging Chris and Julie Hedge’s son down the hallway by the pant leg (it was Chris Jr.’s fault. He started it!) or a quick jerk of his leash that could drag even Mike down the steps. He had the notorious “Tail of Doom” that constantly knocked things over by accident and “Titanium Teeth” that once left little scratch marks in a steak knife.
Yes, a steak knife. He could chew through anything.
Chewy’s favorite wrestler was Trish Stratus. Seriously, it didn’t matter what he was doing. If her entrance music played, he would come running and watch the TV. It was kinda weird, to be honest.
He also liked Rachel Ray for some reason.
Chewy did not like car rides. He loved getting in the car so long as it wasn’t moving. But as soon as the car was put into gear, he would start to whimper and cry. Nothing could console him. He would try to get into the front seat and sit in my lap, which really doesn’t work with a 70 lb dog. We assumed it was a residual memory of being abandoned as a puppy.
Chewy always knew when I didn’t feel well. He was my nurse whenever I was sick. He would sit on the floor next to me, and if I would get out of bed for too long, he would gently try to “push” me back to bed. Mike would say, “Don’t let Mommie get up!” if I tried to get up off the couch, and he would actually jump up to try and push me back down!
He was an exceptional guard dog not because he was vicious, but because he sounded vicious. He had an intimidating bark that scared off a variety of door-to-door salespeople over the years. Once you were in the house (and he realized Mom and Dad had, in fact, invited you in) he was a big softy. He loved affection and attention. Pet him and you would have a friend for life. Share your pizza crust with him, and you’d never be rid of him!
I’m glad we found HousePaws. A mobile vet made getting Chewy his regular check-ups much easier over the years. It also meant we didn’t have to take him to a strange environment for his final moments. He went comfortably at home, resting on his doggie bed, covered in his favorite blanket, and surrounded by family. In the end, that is all any of us can hope for.