For the past few days, I've been sorting through one of my closets in an effort of spring cleaning. This one particular closet had never been emptied out to the walls since we first built our house in 1990! But instead of it being a real chore, I've been enjoying sorting through the hidden treasure of our lives as there in boxes were some photos that captured wonderful memories of years past.
There hiding behind the folds of clothing were some of my daughter's infant and childhood toys, her first rocking horse from my mother for her First Christmas, my Lamaze class book, holiday cards, and many photographs, including ones of my daughter as a baby, playing on the floor with her Nanny, holidays with cousins, merry-go-round rides with her father and I, vacation photos of a much younger hubby and I when we were first married, and photos of past pets that have now journeyed beyond the Rainbow Bridge. Each item brought back wonderful memories, turning my cleaning project from a daunting task into a fond stroll down Memory Lane.
A few of the photos were of my daughter from when she was about six years old with our rescue puppy, Chelsey. Chelsey was a beautiful pup, part German Shepherd and part Akita, that we adopted from our local SPCA. She and my daughter grew up together as best friends. I taught her to "watch over" my daughter and that she did up until Canine Alzheimer's started taking over. She was the most obedient dog...she was never far from my daughter and always protected her. So much so, that I had forgotten to teach her a command to not "watch over" my daughter and she would growl at anyone who would be a threat in her eyes (including a brother-in-law who playfully picked my daughter up and tossed her in air and then caught her again. Oh, Chelsey did not like that thinking he was hurting her. She would bark and growl and put herself between him and my daughter and then grab my daughter by her wrist and start pulling her away from the "threatening man!"
You could ask Chelsey to stay, and she would not - no matter who was tempting her - leave her spot unless I told her it was okay to do so. She recuperated from hanging by her collar on a fence she managed to jump, rebounded from heartworm disease, and was plagued with severe anxiety issues from lightning and fireworks. Chelsey was a strong girl. She was a wonderful girl. She was a healthy girl, but slowly symptoms came on her that ultimately we recognized as Alzheimer's. She would play with our then-puppy (and first Siberian Husky) Harley and later Gibson, but then suddenly in the middle of play, something would snap inside her and she would turn the play into an all out attack on the puppies. So we then kept her separate from them. She had the house to herself when the Huskies were out and one of the bedrooms when they were in. Her favorite spot was lying in my now teen daughter's room on the floor atop her discarded clothes!
When our beautiful sweet girl finally began not recognizing our daughter, her best friend, it was clear she was becoming a danger to not only herself, but the very ones she loved and protected, and who loved her. We made a family decision to sadly let her journey to the Rainbow Bridge just three weeks after her vet visit where she was declared physically healthy, but sadly, she was no longer mentally healthy. To this date, her passing is a very difficult one for me. Not that any are easy. But it's difficult to reconcile a healthy body with an unhealthy mind. I still miss her so.
Looking back on the photos brought back so many wonderful memories of Chelsey with my daughter as pictured above. They spent many hours together in the backyard and on the swings together. Then when Harley joined our family, Chelsey endured being pounced on by an energetic Siberian Husky pup, even though she had arthritis. The photos helped me feel like Chelsey was back here with us once again. That's the nice thing about Memory Lane...it never forgets. ❤