Chunk Ittmann – November 14, 2007 – February 8, 2019. He is survived by…Nope. That’s not Chunk’s style.
If you venture over to our very out of date “about” page (I’m closer to being in my 40s than my 20s these days), you’ll see Chunk – our English Bulldog. Chunk has been around for almost as long as there has been a Justin and Alyce. Yesterday, we had to make the hard decision to put Chunk down. He was 11 and meant the world to us.
We got Chunk right when we got engaged in early 2008. We were just kids living with my brother in our college condo. I was a 2nd year law student. Alyce was working as a floor nurse. That was 11 years ago, but it seems like only yesterday I was riding home with Chunk after his 90 minute delay arriving from Arkansas.
He was shell shocked for the first 24 hours we had him, but he came out of his shell the second night – never to return back to it. I recall the first of our many battles of the wills that night.
Yep, Chunk was stubborn. The definition of a bulldog. He would stand his ground in any conflict and to this day is one of the few who could stand a chance to outlast me. But he was also hilarious. Many of the things Chunk did throughout life I wouldn’t believe if I hadn’t seen it myself.
He shed and was gassy (very gassy), but he was incredibly kind and loving. Chunk would want you to think he was tough and independent, but he wanted nothing more than to be by you. Heaven forbid you close him out a room you were in and that he wanted to be in. He’d sit outside and chirp endlessly. Working from home, I learned that it was easier just to have Chunk in the room with me (and his snoring) on conference calls than listening to him fuss through the two doors between us.
Most importantly, Chunk had the absolute best disposition. He did not have an ounce of aggression in his body. It did not matter who you were; Chunk would always great a visitor warmly with his little nub of a tail wagging
And Chunk loved Christmas. Like really loved Christmas. He would run out Christmas morning and stare at his stocking. It was one of those things you had to see to believe.
Chunk was also a great big brother – both to Moose and James. Moose absolutely adored Chunk from the moment we got Moose till the end. Moose might have had over 100 lbs on Chunk, but Chunk was always the “big” brother. And even though Chunk might have pretended otherwise, he loved Moose as well.
James joined our family in 2014. We weren’t sure how our spoiled dogs would take it, but they both did great. Chunk would always sit by James and watch over him. As James got older, Chunk would play with his toys and get into James’s stuff. Like any brothers, they had their disagreements. But at the end of the day, the loved each other.
The end of an era is over – the Chunk era. He lived with us in the condo in Baton Rouge, our Baton Rouge house, and moved to New Orleans with us. He saw us through from being a young couple, to married twenty somethings, to parents. Through it all, he was there for us…keeping us on our toes, keeping us company, and keeping us smiling and laughing.
We knew this day would come, and we knew it would be tough. But, it has hit us harder than expected. I had a special bond with Chunk (I don’t think anyone that knows Alyce needs to be told that she had a special bond with Chunk). He was always around me – either sitting on the side of my recliner, sitting by my work desk, lying on my side of the bed.
The last 5 years I’ve worked from home. As a result, I spent more time with Chunk than anyone else – literally. Moose would keep to himself during the day, but Chunk was always in my office. Especially lately, half of my day revolved around Chunk’s various daily routines.
I think there is another reason this hit harder than expected. It’s admittedly silly, but with all the work I’ve put into our new house over the last year I was excited to bring our whole family over. Alyce and I joked about how Chunk would handle the pool, stairs, walk in shower, etc. We could move in any day now, and Chunk just missed out. I’ll feel like we’re missing a part of our family when we move over.
But that is life. Chunk lived a surprisingly healthy 11 years. We gave him everything he needed; he gave us unconditional love in return. He had about as good of a life as a bulldog could hope for. I know that; Alyce knows that. It does not make it any easier to tell him good-bye.
Yesterday was very tough; we thought about him all day long. Today was hard, but a little better. We still hear things and think it’s Chunk making his way down the hall or knocking over a trashcan. I expect tomorrow will be incrementally better. A week from now, we’ll probably be getting close to the new normal. A month from now, we’ll have mostly adjusted and our new routines will be the new normal. But, we’ll always have our memories with Chunk.
He will be missed but never forgotten. You were our first child and we love you Chunk.
And because this is my blog and I can do what I want, here are a bunch more pictures: