Hi Everyone,

It’s a sad day for us. I usually report our family news to you, and have told you about our dogs. Chiquita is the senior citizen in the group, and belongs to one of my daughters (Chiquita’s photo is in the section about dogs). She is an adorable black teacup Chihuahua, and has been in great shape at 16 years of age. Chihuahuas are usually very long lived, so we’ve been hoping, and believing she had some good years left in her. Some even live to be 20, much longer than a lot of other breeds.  She was fine until two weeks ago, when she suddenly went blind from cataracts, and was scheduled for cataract surgery this week. She was checked out, and in such good health, they felt the surgery was not risky, even at her age. The day before the surgery, she began acting strangely, loss of appetite, losing her balance and seemed a little confused. The next day we took her to the vet, and she went steadily downhill all day (and of course, we cancelled the eye surgery, until she was back to seeming normal again). In 36 hours, she made a shocking decline from healthy dog to very sick one, as her condition worsened, and her kidneys became a problem. All her systems began shutting down the day after we took her to the hospital. We did everything we could to reverse it, but she just continued to get worse. She wasn’t suffering, and was peaceful, but she appeared to be fading away. And the day after we took her to the hospital, despite everything they did, she died peacefully, at 16. (She may have had a stroke, or even an undetected brain tumor, which would explain such a rapid decline. We just don’t know. And we didn’t want to put her through the rigors of an MRI or CT scan under anesthesia when she was suddenly in such bad shape) It has been a shock for all of us, since she was so healthy before. We weren’t prepared to lose Chiquita, she seemed like she would go on forever, and enjoyed her life to the fullest, until her last two days. Even blind from the cataracts, she was trotting up and down the hall, and seemed happy. None of us were prepared for this loss, most especially my daughter who loved her so much. We all did, and are so sad to lose her. As one friend said, her batteries just ran out. It was her time, and I was very grateful that she died on her own, in her sleep.

For those of you who have pets, you know how hard it is. Our pets become precious little beings to us, almost as important as people. And 16 years is a very long time, she was the last of my children’s childhood dogs. The others have second generation dogs now. But Chiquita was part of our family history, and a big part of my children’s lives, and even mine. She will be so greatly missed. She had a spunky little personality, and occasionally wasn’t afraid to bark loudly at big dogs. She was a noble little dog.

One of my concerns when she got sick two days ago was that the pet hospital might not fight as hard to save her, as they might for a younger dog. But I was relieved to find that they did all they could. But that is always a concern with a very old pet, as it is for very old people. Sometimes you have to fight harder to get people to work at saving them (both people and dogs) if they’re very old.  She got the best possible care, but it’s something to keep in mind if you have a very old pet. I was truly hoping we could turn the situation around once she got sick. It was my hope til the end, to give her another year or two in good health, despite her age. And she was staying with me when she got sick. We fought valiantly for her right to an even longer life, and so did the vets. The other thing that startled me was how quick people were to say “oh just put her to sleep”. We didn’t want to do that, there was no reason to, she wasn’t suffering, she might have improved and survived, and deserved that chance. I even insisted that they resuscitate her if she had a cardiac incident, or something similar while she was there. And I was relieved that she passed away on her own, quietly, and in peace, and under her own steam, in God’s time, and her own.

She will be so much missed. Miss Chiquita was a wonderful little dog, and we were so lucky to have her for 16 years. She had a long happy life, and a very short illness, so she didn’t suffer and decline. Losing someone you love is always hard, even if it’s a dog. For those of you who have lost pets, you know. And one thing is for sure, Chiquita was so very, very much loved by us all. We are all deeply sad today from this loss.

Love, Danielle





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13 Comments so far
  1. PJ July 4, 2012 9:49 am

    We, too lost our beloved dog to kidney failure, and he was just 11 1/2 years old-a retired show dog. We had to put him down on Valentine’s Day this year after spending thousands on blood transfusions and more, just to try to give him every chance. So, I understand your grief all too well and am sorry.

  2. Mary July 5, 2012 4:39 am

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss of Chiquita, my first dog Ringo lived till he was almost 21. I found him when I was 5 years old. When he died I felt my first experience with loss, I lost my best friend and through all those years I almost forgot he was a dog, I still think of him everyday of my life and miss him.I believe the unconditional love a dog gives is what makes our bond with them so stong. Even when they are sick or suffering they have the ability to still be happy that we are there with them,sometimes with a simple wag of their tail.I would like to think they are sent into our lives as ambassadors of love. Chiquita was a lucky dog to be so loved in return. Keep her in your heart where she will always be safe and loved. Take care.

  3. Joette Breck July 5, 2012 12:35 pm

    I know how special our pets are and what a big part of our family they are and what a loss it is when they pass away. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  4. jean July 5, 2012 6:46 pm

    I too love my little dogs like people. They are my children I had to give up one a couple years ago and it was very difficult. So understand how your family feels. Hope being together in July helps all of you.

  5. Deborah Hammond July 5, 2012 8:08 pm

    I know how the pain of a loss of a pet feels. I am happy she did not have to suffer. The memories we share with our little people with fur are among the most special of our lives–especially when they include our children’s childhoods.

    Deborah Hammond

  6. sherry l. July 6, 2012 4:04 pm

    it never matters how old or young, how big or small- a pet is a pet of the heart. no matter how prepared we think we can be, it’s always utterly devastating to lose such a faithful, loyal and loving member. God bless Chiquita and all her friends up there

  7. Lorraine July 9, 2012 12:16 pm

    Sorry about your dog! I never had a dog, but my cat of l6 years died in the spring, and I still look for him!!!! I’m glad your dog brought so much joy to the family and also had a seemingly good life right up to the end. God Bless….Lorraine

  8. Tina Perdue July 13, 2012 3:12 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss, we have alot in common, we lost my son Nick’s cat, Freddie June 10th. He was 17, It was very hard for us because Nick died tragically at the age of 16, in 2006,and Freddie was his cat and we cared for him until he died. It was like losing a family member. Know you and your family are in my prayers.

  9. CAROL OLIVER July 14, 2012 6:29 pm

    Oh Danielle… sorry….you have spoken about your Dogs often. Sorry for the Family loss.
    Danielle, What is the name of the book(that I already have read)…about the Japanese Internment story in Palo Alto? I keep all books, and only have a few more to read and collect, except for Poems, and the 2 new ones, but without looking thru all the books to find this particular one….maybe you can just tell me. I have two classmate friends that are very interested in this particular book.
    Thank you Danielle.
    Carol O. in So. Calif.

  10. Margaret Reeves July 24, 2012 5:35 am

    I enjoyed this article very much. I have a chiahuahua that is 12 years old that I love very much who also has cataracts. She seems to still be in good health and hope that she lives to be at least 16.

    I have written four books and produced two videos and am very impressed with this website. I am a licensed clinician and work with people who have bipolar disorder on a daily basis. I really admire your history and your accomplishments and the charities you have founded and the work you do for others. I am so happy for your success. I wish I could meet you and work in your network. What are some links to do so? I am from Miami but willing to relocate.


  11. Janell July 26, 2012 12:45 pm


    I’m also a dog lover and have two of my own. I’ve lost dogs in the past and it is so hard. They are such an important part of the family. My oldest living dog is getting old,12 1/2 now and starting to show signs of hearing loss and cataracts. We hope and pray that she still has a few good years left. So as a fellow dog lover, I offer my deepest sympathy to you and your family on the loss of your beloved Chiquita.

  12. Georgina July 30, 2012 12:21 pm

    I always remembre a dog in our house.First my grandparent,s then my parent,s and after all our home.Several dogs have come and go.Their losses have been hard and I can understand the way you fill.The last one we lost was Curly ,our 14 year old cocker spaniel.He was such a sweet dog,loved us a lot and showed it till his last minute.Unfortunately he developed a bad case of facial cancer ad it was a nightmare to see him suffering.We had to put him to sleep. Our vet cried with me while I holded my beloved doggy.He died peacefully and he was bueried in front of our house with 4 others who went before him.We even buried him with its favorite blanket so he would never be cold.
    All my sympathy to you and your family.You will miss him deeply but his memory will remain forever.

  13. June August 10, 2012 9:30 pm

    Hi Danielle
    I am so sorry that you have lost Chiquita. Kindest regards to you and your family in your loss.