This week was exhausting.
Our dog, Chloe, has been sick.
It's nothing serious, she just had an abscess on her tail, but taking care of her has required a lot of time and a lot of energy.
See, Chloe isn't the best patient. She's needy, to put it mildly. Once she had the abscess - on her tail - expressed, she decided she couldn't walk. Then she decided she couldn't lie down - she could only sit on a pillow, or a warm washcloth, or a pile of blankets. She wouldn't eat her regular food, so we bought her canned dog food - and after three days she decided that wasn't good enough and now she will only eat sliced ham. She only drinks fresh water from a bowl held under her noise and she spends a good part of each day lying in her bed, crying. I made her a nest in our walk-in closet so she can get away from the kids and she'll stay in there for six minutes or so, then she'll run out and do a quick lap of the kitchen, banging her cone into everything she can find to run into, just to remind me how miserable she is, before going back to rest.
And I've been complaining.
I've spent a lot of time this week being frustrated with Chloe. Even the vet said she's being dramatic!
But there have been bright moments.
Moments when I've been able to watch my kids with their dog, and see expressions of their compassionate hearts.
Like when we left Chloe home alone while we visited with friends at the spray park. The poor dog was beside herself - "You're leaving me? Alone? In my state?" - and Topher was worried about her. He told me he wanted to give Chloe one of his babies to snuggle with. I tried to discourage the idea - everyone knows how attached he is to his babies, and Chloe has a tendency to shred things! - but he said something that stopped me in my tracks. "I love my babies," he said. "But I love Chloe more." And he put Boo down beside her.
Yesterday Chloe was lying on her blankets in the living room and Ellie laid down right beside her. Ellie loves Chloe - she's always chasing her around the house, yelling "GOG!", trying to feed her a piece of kibble or shoving a ball in her face. But yesterday, she didn't touch Chloe. She just laid there, letting Chloe know she was there.
Every time I try to convince Chloe to eat so she can have her medicine, Topher stands right beside me, scolding Chloe. "You have to eat or you'll die," he tells her. "And you're not allowed to ever die because I love you!"
I've always believed it, but in my tired state, I think I forgot:
Pets are part of the family, too.