Less than two years ago, we said goodbye to our dog Casey. This week, Chloe reached that point in every old doggie’s life where being old just hurts too much. In 1996, my mom found Chloe at the Franklin County Humane Society around Valentine’s Day. She was not small, but she was still a puppy, so we guessed she was about four months old by that point. I’ll never forget the moment she popped out of a box in the middle of the kitchen when I got home from school. “Surprise!” said mom. Oh, what a surprise this funny pup would be!
We named her that night as a family. We chose something cute to match Casey. I think for as long as Casey lived, though, Chloe thought that her name was both Casey AND Chloe because when we said “Casey,” they both came running. Chloe was full of energy and could jump like no other little dog I had ever met. We liked to keep the dogs in our big kitchen during the day while we were all away from the house, and we blocked off the doorway with a child gate. Chloe would jump over the gate, of course, but also jump back INTO the kitchen when she heard us coming to the door. My dad eventually built a half-door that she could not jump over, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t try.
Chloe’s breed still remains a mystery to us. She absolutely looked like a poodle with her curly, rough hair and pointy nose. But her color changed every few years. She had very dark brown spots when she was young, and those faded as time went on, eventually becoming nearly grey. It took us a while to figure out Chloe’s personality, too. She never liked being picked up. She was not interested in meeting other dogs, and really only liked Casey. Her favorite moment of the day was when the mailman came, when she would bark her head off and paw at the mailbox until we opened it up. She was timid when meeting new people, and really only warmed up to some of our closest friends. But she loved being around us. When we got home, she would run into the living room and roll around on her back like crazy on top of toys and bones. She would grab a toy and start flinging it around the room. She was never really interested in including us in the celebration, but we could see she was happy.
Chloe did a lot of other things that puzzled us. One time we were out of town and she was staying with someone else at a house a few miles away form our neighborhood. It was Fourth of July and a parade in the area had a bunch of noisy firetrucks. In classic Chloe fashion, she freaked out and jumped the fence. The dogsitters searched and searched and couldn’t find Chloe. Eventually they went to our house just in case, and right there in our backyard was Chloe. We’ll never know if she found her way home on her own, or if someone found her and dropped her off. In any case, she was a lucky dog.
She lived a long, lucky life. She had hip problems for a long time, which made her really dislike being picked up. We tried to respect that, but she was also just too darn cute! About a year ago, her hearing started to go. Then her eyes. Then her teeth started falling out. Then this week, her legs really stopped working and she stopped eating. She lived as long as she could. The thing that makes me happiest about the end of Chloe’s life is that she perked up for a couple months of summer. She was not seeming very happy during the cold winter, but my parents got her hair cut in the early summer and said she was like a brand new dog. She hopped around the backyard garden (as much as you can hop at age 15) and relaxed in the sunshine. That’s how I’ll remember Chloe: hopping in the sun, smelling the flowers, and staying close — but not too close! — to the family that knew just how to scratch her head in the perfect place. Thanks for being our funny, curly girl, Chloe.
Chloe Rose Barbier Bularzik: November 13, 1995 – July 15, 2011