In Memory of Chelsi

MY WONDERFUL FRIEND….No hour of life is lost that is spent with my dog.
I want to begin at the end, a place I hoped I would never find myself, but knew eventually would come.

First, Thank you to the world for bringing me the special bundle of energy and charisma named Chelsi.
Second, Thank you for all the friends and family who loved her too.
Third, Thank you for bringing Dr. Christi Jones and Jill Johnson-Ward of Gentle Touch Home Veterinary Care to our life to help us out on the day she passed away. They came to my side when I told them Chelsi had passed away and spent hours of their personal time helping me through a tough time. Chelsi passed on her own, so they were not there because they had to be. They came because they LOVE animals and the people who own them. They are angels. If anyone needs them their web page is http://gentletouchhomevetcare.com

Below, are some of my favorite Memories of my girl Chelsi…aka Princess Chel, Chelsi-Bell, Si-Bell, Chel-Bert, Berta….

Puppy years
We picked her up from Tom’s mother’s house in Louisiana. Her life began, and ended, in the deep south. She’s a southern lady to the core, always crossing her front legs when she would lie down. The first time we met her, she was running circles through Nan’s apartment, across the tops of the white fabric couches, under the dining room table, through the kitchen, down the hall, and back to leap on the couches.

She never liked baths, as she had to get flea baths weekly as a pup, or swimming although Mollie talked her into it once, but only with her life jacket on! Or kennels/crates. Or cold weather. She would lie behind the wood stove and pant. It had to be 100+ degrees in that spot. Her sis Mollie did manage to talk her into swimming once, but only with her life jacket on….

She always liked food, and you had to mind your fingers a bit if you gave her a treat. And NEVER, never leave food out on the counter! Once, she ate two blueberry pies, and then promptly threw up on Grandpa John’s white carpeting. Another time, it was apple pie. Then there were the more dangerous forays: fried chicken leftovers, and chocolate covered cherries. I well remember mixing her leeks and fiber to bulk up the bones in her belly so they would pass safely. And feeding her milk with hydrogen peroxide to get her to vomit up the chocolate and aluminum foil snacks she had just gobbled down. Poor pathetic Chel, standing outside with me holding onto her and petting her while she stood there with her tail between her legs, wretching. Never stopped her from trying something else though. She had and iron gut, for sure. And was a counter surfer extraordinaire. She upended numerous trash cans, until we got wise and bought “chelsi proof” cans. But still she managed to catch the occasional house-sitter/pet watcher unaware and drug trash out all over the room. And, she could absolutely demolish a fully intact, unopened tin can in stunning fashion. If it’s worth doing, its worth doing well I guess. (before on the left, after on the right. Yes, seriously.)

Her first car trip was from Louisiana to her new home in Colorado. 1400 miles and she was only a few months old. About half-way home, after a bathroom break, she refused to get back in the truck. Imagine, an adorable little puppy, bracing and shaking her head with that crooked ear of hers.
She was a helper around the house, especially when it came to home improvement–putting tooth marks through countless rolls of painters tape and stealing our carpenters pencils.

She could BRING IT in a wrestling match!

She loved a good nap, And a good belly rub

She started life with us in the condominium near Meadow Hills Golf Course, where her favorite past-time was to race across the course after the geese flocks, sending them all skyward (after golfer-hours, of course).
We stayed briefly with her Grandpa John while waiting for our house in Franktown to close. (He kindly even let us stay after she threw up the blueberry pies….). One time, we had her tied out on the back deck, and unknown to us right next to a wasps’ nest. Suddenly she began yelping/barking. Poor Tom had to go out and untie her, saving her from the wasps and earning a few stings of his own in the process.

Then, we moved in at Franktown, dry prairie with prickly pears and hard dirt. A five acre yard of heaven for most dogs, but Chel, who’s feet were used to the manicured lawns of a golf course, couldn’t walk 3 steps in her new yard. She’d take a few steps and then stand there with 3 paws lifted (no small feat) for you to come pull out nearly invisible little stickers from them. But eventually, her feet toughened up. She even started trail running with me, loping along in front along the Creek Bottom trail in Castlewood Canyon, collar jingling and ears flopping. And she’d hang out at the firehouse with the crews. Scott, Bryan, Ryan, she always loved to see you! And she’d just lay in her bed when the tones went off at night, falling back asleep when we left and waking up when I got back and climbed into bed.

When Tom and I split up, she stayed with me because he had to travel so much. We moved into a rental house in Castle Rock, and she got another father-figure, Tim. One day, he brought home a mounted big horn sheep head, and teased her by making a growling noise and brandishing it at her. For MONTHS, she refused to come in the house on her own. She would jump out of the car when we got home, and run about 50 feet outside down the driveway and stand there staring warily at the house. You’d have to go get her and carry her inside. We had to put “evil Bob the big horn” in the guest bedroom and keep the door shut, and still she would give sidelong stares at that door as though she expected “bob” to come walking out of it any moment.

When Tim and I moved into the ranch house, his hunting dog Judy tried her “tried and true” method of getting rid of new family pets: enticing Chelsi to go on a walk around Franktown. Judy would take other dogs away from home, ditch them along the way, and Judy could always find her way back but often the new dog could not. Chel, however, was having nothing of that. I watched as they headed off together up the driveway toward the highway, Judy happily leading the way. After about 50 yards or so, Chels slowed down, and then stopped and sat down. She watched Judy for a moment longer, and then turned around and came back home. Judy face was priceless when she eventually turned back to check on Chel and found her no longer following along, but instead headed back to the house. Judy never tried that one again.

Chelsi only left the house alone two other times. Once, she somehow ended up back at Tom’s house, a mile away down the creek, covered head to toe in mud. Tom called me and said, “you’ll never guess who just showed up here at the house”. The other time, we were lighting firecrackers in the yard, and did not know that Chelsi was apparently terrified of the noise. She ran away and we didn’t know until later when we went to go inside and could not find her. I drove around Franktown all day the following day, sobbing out her name from the car as I drove. Eventually I went home to see if anyone had called. As I sat on the mud porch crying, I suddenly looked up the driveway (it had been raining all afternoon, and was still pouring). I saw a soaking wet Chels running down the driveway, and went running out without a coat or shoes. We were a sight from a Hallmark movie, the two of us running toward each other in what seemed like slow motion, me sobbing out her name and her wagging her tail and happily running to meet me. I have no idea how she found her way home, but she did. We chipped her after that, but she was never ever lost again.

She was a great traveler, happy in any hotel room, as long as my things were there too. And traveled literally thousands of miles in the car with me. Most recently on our several trips back and forth between Denver and Atlanta.

She loved cats, and some people, but was pretty particular about her friends. But when she greeted a friend she liked, there was no mistaking it as she would jump and squeal with exuberant joy! As she got older, the greetings got tamer, but it was always clear she was happy to see her special friends.
She hated sharing beds, and wouldn’t dream of sleeping on human furniture. But, she always lived with other pets, and sometimes they would decide to snuggle with her. Every time I caught a picture of this, she has a “I can’t wait until this critter gets out of my bed” look on her face. And if they didn’t leave within a short time, she would get up and go find herself another, private bed to lay on.

She LOVED Christmas, but was a spoiled brat about it, snapping at her brothers and sisters coming to check out the tree (always harmlessly, but with meaning—a “get away from the tree, all the toys are mine” sort of way). Note the pic where Chel has a pile of toys and poor Mollie has just a lowly rat and still Chel is looking at her like “hey, what are you doing with that toy?”.

But her most favorite place, besides anywhere as long as it was with me, was in the car. I had a Honda Passport for 12 years. I think the back seats of that car were upright in their normal position for maybe 6 days that whole time. Otherwise, they were always laid flat for chelsi to hop in the car and ride along. Same for the RAV4, its like a rolling dog bed, with a water bowl and cushioned dog bed in the back. Of course, most often she climbed in the front seat anyway.

She’s part beagle, part hound dog, 100% character. “Beagles are people, just with shorter legs and fur coats”. More person than dog, but with the best of both worlds, she was my constant companion. My wonderful friend.

Miss you, Chel.