The Three Musketeers
“All for one and one for all.”
For any of you who have read my previous posts, you know how our Bernese Mountain Dog, Chloe, came into our lives. And as my wife has repeated many times since, Chloe has been a life changing experience for us, as well as one of the best decisions that we have ever made.
So it is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I have to report on Chloe’s passing. She far surpassed the vet’s expectations regarding longevity, but for Kate & I our time with her was still far too short and we’re grieving deeply. She passed with her head in my lap, and Kate holding her paw.
One of Chloe’s greatest joys was when all three of us were together, whether it be playing in the yard, watching tv, or all of us snuggling in her dog bed, with Chloe touching both of us simultaneously. Which is why early on we adopted our nickname “The Three Musketeers”.
For Chloe, her inner circle consisted of Chloe, Kate and myself, and in just that order of importance. There were many family & friends that Chloe loved, and who loved her. And while enjoying their attention, and without them realizing it, she would often position herself between them and us, never quite letting them into that all important inner circle of “The Three Musketeers”.
Unlike most dogs, Chloe was not fazed by fireworks, gunfire or thunderstorms. However, let Kate or myself sneeze and she would come running from wherever she was with her tail between her legs and we had to comfort & reassure her that we were ok. Almost every night, approximately a 1/2 hour after I went to bed, Chloe would get up, place her nose on the edge of my side of the bed and if I didn’t acknowledge her right away, she would start whining, and each whine would get louder until I would reach over, pet her on the head, give her a hip massage, then assure her that I was ok and that she should go to bed, at which point she would.
Over the years while out with Chloe she was attacked a few times by other dogs, and though she never fought back, she never ran away either. I think she thought of herself as a decoy drawing the attacker’s attention away from me. Thankfully, neither of us was ever seriously hurt.
Chloe was brutal to her toys, many of which didn’t make it to the end of the day without being shredded. However, there was one toy from my mother that she always treated differently. It was a stuffed duck wearing goggles and a cape. It came with a hand-held launcher and when it was flying thru the air it would make a funny quacking noise. Well, the first time we launched it Chloe went running after it, and when it landed it was still making that noise, and Chloe must have thought it was alive. So, she gently picked it up and carefully brought it back to us, and she handled that toy very tenderly from that point forward, so we always called it her ” baby”.
Chloe liked to play soccer and was very adept at using her front paws to move the ball and block you from stealing it. Chloe couldn’t tell the difference between a soccer ball and a basketball, so whenever the neighbor children would leave their basketball out Chloe would immediately run over to it, grab it in her mouth and try to play soccer with us. On three different occasions she punctured the ball before we could get it, so I went out one day and purchased three new basketballs, one for each of the neighbor’s homes who lost one to Chloe. Needless to say, the kids were delighted with their new treasures.
Her favorite toy was the rubber squeaker ball. I remember one Spring day in particular when I spent 4 hours working out in the yard and she squeaked her rubber ball the entire time……..THE ENTIRE TIME! The first rubber squeaker ball lasted about a year before she figured out how to pull the squeaker out. After that, the squeaker in each new rubber ball lasted for a shorter period of time, until finally she was able to destroy it in less than an hour. So from that point forward she was only allowed to play with it when we could keep an eye on her, so as to make sure it lasted for an appropriate amount of time.
For reasons unknown to us, Chloe wasn’t fond of landscaping. As a puppy she tore up Kate’s newly planted ground cover along the lower patio. I can still picture her going along the foundation and pulling the groundcover up in clumps until she had it all out. Needless to say, Kate wasn’t impressed! When we were doing yard work, Chloe would pounce on fallen branches and chew them into small pieces, thus making them harder to clean up, all the while thinking she was helping us. She also loved to pounce on and shred fallen leaves and I often wondered if that was due to her being born in the autumn, thus reliving some of her earliest memories.
Chloe went to work with me almost every day. She loved to go from office to office getting scratches, attention and the occasional treat from the employees. One of my former assistants came back from lunch one day visibly upset. She then proceeded to tell me, with Chloe standing nearby, the story of how she had just accidently hit and killed a Canadian goose with her car, and how terrible that was. As my assistant and I discussed the situation, Chloe left the office and came back with her stuffed goose toy and in a show of affection, presented it to my assistant. Needless to say, that somehow made everything better. A huge thank you to all of the staff for your many kindnesses to Chloe over the years.
One unusual aspect of Chloe was that she LOVED to visit her Vet! She couldn’t wait to get out of the car and go in and meet all of her friends. And with that in mind, I would like to thank Dr. Otto and her entire staff for always being so caring and kind when it came to Chloe’s care. She loved you all!
And then there’s Chloe favorite place of all to visit, K-9 Kamp doggie daycare. As soon as we would turn the corner onto Bridge St. and mention doggie daycare, she knew where we were headed and would stand up in the back seat and start whining. We had to be careful when opening the rear door of the car as Chloe couldn’t wait to get out. Chloe made many friends there, human and animal, so a special thank you to Chad and his entire staff for giving Chloe such joy & happiness.
To the world Chloe was just a dog, but for Kate and I, Chloe became our world. We learned how to make our home dog safe, and when Chloe’s medical condition worsened with age, we learned how to make our home senior dog friendly. She has left a permanent impression on our hearts and has left us with memories of joy, kindness, and unconditional love. She was a big dog with a big heart, soulful brown eyes and a gentle kiss. I only hope that we were able to return as much love to her as she did to us. I know that Chloe has taught us so much about giving love, being patient, being happy and not to be afraid to be silly. Yes, to the world she was just a dog, but to us she was a continual lesson in everything that is good in life and more. May she rest in peace and may she be able to squeak her toys to her heart’s content while basking in God’s love. And one day may the Three Musketeers be reunited once again, “All for one and one for all”
In closing I think Anatole France said it best, “Until one has loved a dog, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
Chloe – Bernese Mountain Dog 09/20/2009 – 06/02/2021.
May you sleep in heavenly peace baby girl. What an adventure it has been!