Today I remember and celebrate the first animal to capture my heart: our dog Chien. The word ‘chien’ is French for ‘dog’ and, back in the day, my mom was fascinated by the French language and pretty much everything to do with France and the French culture. Thus, when she found out that she was pregnant with me, she named me Aimee and her first adopted pup, Chien.
Chien was 100% mutt. I could make a case for chihuahua/shepherd/terrier mix but it’s all up for consideration. She was a hilarious little dog and we loved each other to no end. She was always a part of my life so in many ways I took it for granted that I would always have an animal around. As an only child, living with my mom and grandparents, Chien was definitely one of my best friends. She and I found ways to have fun together…like eating each other’s food (admitting that makes me laugh out loud), pouring an entire box of Bugles out on the floor around us and enjoying every crispy bite, and as I got older, laying around in bed snuggled together for warmth and listening to music.
I think sometimes, what would she think of my life now…of all these pets that fill my home? She wasn’t necessarily fond of other animals but, later in her life, tolerated our golden retriever puppy, Faith. Chien lived a full fifteen years, maybe a little longer, and just as she had been there for my arrival into the world, I was there when she departed this earth. It was the hardest and probably one of the most important lessons I have learned in this life: the lesson of humane compassion.
Chien, I know, awaits me at the Rainbow Bridge and I look forward to seeing her again and introducing her to the rest of my crew, her extended family. I can just see the look on her face when I pull out the box of Bugles!
Je t’aime mon Chien.