Now that the Paris portion of the trip report is done, I thought I’d devote a post to the bright spark in our life – our beautiful girl, Chloe, before I moved on to the next section of the trip report, Les Châteaux de Loire. Chloe is a four going on five, white West Highland Terrier. She personifies the typical Westie – intelligent, stubborn, proud, loyal, with attitude galore!
Chloe has been my rock through the most difficult time in my life. She was a farewell gift from my late partner, Kevin, who passed away at the age of 31, after a year long battle with linitis plastica, a rare and aggressive form of stomach cancer. I have always wanted a Westie and prior to this, was on long waiting lists with a few breeders all over Australia. Fate intervened, and on a trip to Victor Harbour for my 30th birthday, we drove past Willunga, and drove past a farmhouse with a home-made sign at the side of the road – ‘West Highland Terrier puppies’. We couldn’t resist stopping by to have a look. The farmhouse belonged to a couple who owned a pack of Westies, who worked on their farm. The couple both work for the police force and the husband is a trainer for police dogs and the detector dogs that work for the quarantine department. One of their female dogs had just had a litter, and we were the first to see the pups. We promptly left a deposit for one of the female puppies and the couple promised to pick out the Alpha female for us.
A few weeks later, my sister and I went up to Willunga again to pick out our puppy. The owners had told us that there appeared to be two female in the litter that were equally dominant. When we got there, the two puppies were taken out of their playpen and placed on the couch in front of me. They were tiny, and looked a little dazed and sleepy when placed on the couch. One puppy promptly sat down, but another one started walking towards me. Along the way, she did a little pee… LOL I knew that was my dog!
Over the next two months, while we waited to bring our little puppy home, Kevin’s condition deteriorated rapidly. The week we were due to pick her up, his condition was so severe, that we were told he had a matter of weeks left. He was adamant about staying at home, so he required round the clock, constant nursing care. There was no one to help me with that, and I wondered if I was in any position to look after a palliative care partner, and a young puppy all on my own. Thankfully, my sister stepped in and offered to stay with me to help look after the puppy.
The puppy was named Chloe – a name chosen by Kevin. He told me that he had always loved the sound of that name. Chloe means ‘green shoot’ and has Greek origins. It is one of the most popular names in Australia and France, where its French equivalent is Chloé.
My sister brought Chloe home during the last week of Kevin’s life. While he no longer had the energy and strength to play with her, she brought a smile to his face everytime he saw her toddling along towards him. Even as a puppy, she had this uncanny ability to sense a person’s mood, and would quickly cuddle up to me whenever I was unhappy or sad.
The first few months after Kevin left us was the hardest. I was surrounded by well-meaning friends and family, but no one could ever understand how I felt. My greatest source of comfort was Chloe. I don’t know how I would have made it through without her. Her antics made me laugh through my tears, and her loyalty and unconditional love was balm for the empty void I felt.
Today, she is the princess of our house, showered with more love and attention a dog could ever ask for. She is pampered with a massive basket of toys, gourmet dog biscuits, an ultra posh wardrobe for the fashionable dog which includes a Vuitton leash and Burberry coat, Aesop doggy shampoo, and all the love a doggy could ever want.
She was the flower girl at our wedding and behaved most beautifully on that day. As you can see, she is a much loved member of our family.