This is the story as told to me by Arlene Perdido Suarez, mama of Chewy Boy, a Chocolate Lab from Sunnyvale, California.
Tell me about the first time you met Chewy Boy, when and where was it?
I met Chewy in the early summer of 2008. His breeder drove from North Dakota to drop him off at our home. She had her daughter with her and they drove out because her daughter had never seen the ocean. We lived in San Jose, about a 1/2 hour away from Santa Cruz beaches. I was elated when I saw him as he was placed into my arms. I felt elated because my family had gotten him for me for my birthday and we had been anxiously anticipating his arrival. He was my first AKC purebred dog. I am a humane society rescue kind of Mom. I never had a purebred dog. I always adopted fur babies that needed a home, but this gift was so special because I would never have gotten a purebred for myself.
Thinking back, how would you describe Chewy Boy’s personality as a puppy? And as an adult?
Chewy was sweet, energetic, and strong-willed. He never seemed to outgrow his puppy phase - seemingly forever young. As an adult, he added stealthy, sneaky counter surfer/ food grabber, huge lap dog, blanket, and bed hog to the list. I sure miss all of those things about him.
And now how would Chewy Boy describe your personality?
Chewy would describe me as loving and easy to forgive. He would describe me as someone who needed healing. When we lost Vader, Chewy took care of healing me. He knew his mom loved all animals, especially with all his craziness and naughtiness.
What did you learn from Chewy Boy?
Chewy taught me how to be in the moment, to always be happy and loving, to remember that he’s always with me and by my side, wanting me to be happy. I learned that life is fleeting and unpredictable. I learned that loss is a continual journey and worth every heartbreaking moment.
What are the top three things you always want to remember about your love?
1. How he loved to snuggle and be a lap dog at 90 pounds.
2. How he loved to lie in front of the door of the shower and in front of my feet as I’d prepare for the day and how he loved seeing me arrive home
3. How he helped me through losing Vader - staying happy and seemingly smiling unaffected. I remember saying that he was okay being an only dog after Vader gained his angel wings.
When did Chewy Boy earn his wings?
April 25, 2019. Two days after my birthday, while we were over 2,000 miles from home.
When did you join Paws?
Do you remember how you found Paws?
While browsing Facebook for a grief solution.
What has or is helping you get to the other side of grief? What advice would you share with someone who recently started grieving?
Finding Facebook support groups, like Paws, help me continually through this process. I’d say that Pam’s books and phone calls have helped me the most. Before Chewy passed, a good friend of mine posted Thich Nhat Hanhs’ inspirational writings on impermanence, which have helped me as well. My advice for someone recently grieving would be to join Paws, read Pam’s books, and to consider scheduling a support session as well. I’d let them know that there are no timelines for grief and that tears and overwhelming sadness might come out of the blue or triggered unexpectedly. I’d let them know that our Angel Babies are beside us always and to look for the signs they send.
Where are you now in your grief?
It’s been one and a half years since Chewy gained his Angel Wings. I continue to think about Chewy daily. I continue to look for signs from him. I still miss him but ponder on most memories with a smile and less with tears and the feeling my heart breaking. It’s an ongoing process, but one with such wonderful support from people who are going through the same as me.
Using your spiritual and intuitive mind, if I could get a message to Chewy Boy from you, what would you want to say? What would you want to let Chewy Boy know?
Sweet Chewy baby, my Bak-Bak, How-How, Monster Tail. Mommy really wished that she could have been physically with you, looking into your beautiful brown eyes, kissing your soft furry face, and holding your paw when you took your last breath as you wandered towards the Rainbow Bridge, releasing you from the suffering and pain you were experiencing. Mommy knows that you could feel I was there holding you in spirit, with my tears spilling down and my heart ripping apart, as I sang “Sunrise Sunset” on the lanai of our room overlooking Waikiki Beach with the turtles swimming below me. Mommy knows that you sent so many signs to let me know that you were okay. Mommy knows that God sent a nightingale to sing through the night for over a month when we got back home because you knew how much I’d be missing you and you wanted me to know that you’d be beside me always.
And if I could get a message from you to Chewy Boy what would you like to know?
Chewy, I look for you always and see the signs that God allows you to send to me every day since you gained your Angel Wings. I miss you so much and wish I could hug and kiss you one more time, hear your bark, enjoy your wet, sloppy kisses, give you my last bite of food - the list could go on forever. I know that you want me to be happy to know that you’re free of pain and beside me ALWAYS. I know that you don’t want me to be sad and want me to know that you’re happy, free, and whole and enjoying the beauty of Heaven.
Is there anything else you would like to share with you Paws Pack about Chewy Boy?
I’m grateful to be among those who understand my grief, my pain. I’m grateful to be able to openly express how much I miss my fur Angel and how his physical loss affects me. I’m thankful for having Pam’s unwavering support, knowing that she’s an email and phone call away if I need her help.