Chiara’s Third Anniversary

It was three years ago today that Chiara came into our lives, courtesy of Christina Yohe in Missouri. In May, we had lost our beautiful girl, Callie, to a bone tumor that pressed into her brain, and I was not ready for another dog. However, my husband, who was 91 at the time, was  overwhelmed with grief for Callie. He would spend hours every day weeping over her photographs and finally, after months of this, with no amelioration, I realized the only cure was a new dog. I wanted a Golden, as all my dogs have been Goldens, and I wanted a house-trained adult. And so we got Chiara. I resisted her at first, and I wasn’t the best mom I could have been, but for all of that, we began to bond and became close friends. These days, my happiest times are walking the lakefront or through the woods with Chiara; I couldn’t live without her. Courtenay took to her instantly:

Courtenay and Chiara on the road home from Missouri

Chiara doesn’t play with toys or retrieve, but she does like to swim. Her first encounter with the Big Lake freaked her — it took about 9 months for her to realize that water and Goldens go together, kind of like Goldens and liver treats.

Chiara at Oak St Beach, March 2015

She’s a very mellow girl, very laid back, and isn’t afraid of anything. She’s nervous around the new, but she keeps approaching it until she’s mastered it. The Westy next door tries to tease her into playing but Chiara prefers to sleep.

Chiara is enchanted by candles at her first Chanukah

She was awarded her Doctor of Furosophy degree in May 2015

Chiara gets her Doctor of Furosophy degree

After Sara’s final swim for 2017 – 49 degrees is too cold for me

Doug Shaeffer, who’s a dog whisperer, took this picture of his boy Copper with me and Chiara after we’d been swimming one hot August morning.

With our buddy Copper at Lake Michigan

With her two buddies, Giga, the Westy, and Dante, the giant Schnauz

We’re in my kitchen here, everyone trying to make sure she or he doesn’t get left out of snack-time

Chiara in bed with Courtenay

Chiara feels responsible for Courtenay and stays close to him when she’s in the house. The two are late risers. I’m up by six or seven but they sleep until 9 or 10, which makes it hard to get that first walk in and get to work and and and. After our walks, she races instantly to his side. On the rare occasions when he’s out (these days he doesn’t like to leave the house unless he has to), she lies by the front door until he comes home.

This next picture is my favorite: twice a week Rogan Birnie comes to help Courtenay exercise. I figure this is guy time and leave them alone, but one Monday I was in the basement and looked over to see this sight. Rogan told me Chiara so needs to be next to Courtenay, she even tries to get on the treadmill with him.

Chiara doing hamstring stretches with Courtenay

She and I are taking agility lessons together and one of these days I will figure out how to upload a video of her going through a tunnel and other amazing feats.

  • Malka Essock

    Good Girl!

  • She’s a lot of sweetness in our lives

  • ereader2012

    A lovely story. It is tough. My dog died several years ago and I just now feeling ready to adopt again. They are family and friends combined because they just give from the heart unconditionally.

  • heaert-warming! thanks for sharing!

  • I’m glad it engaged you. She keeps me going

  • It’s a very hard loss, for exactly the reasons you explain.

  • Ali

    so glad it worked out this way with a new dog, and such a beautiful good one, to stand by you and your husband – it is so amazing how dogs or any pet manage the ‘balance’, whereas an extra human being would be ‘ three is a crowd’… Enjoy each other like you do, <3

  • Kathy D.

    This is a beautiful story. So glad Chiara bonded with Courtney and with you, and that she is so close to him. The exercise photo is adorable.
    Dogs are amazing. I was very close to my neighbor’s dachshund. She was an incredible dog, smart, knew words, whined, talked, did clever things. When she died at 15-1/2, it was awful. It took me months to recover.
    Then six months later, she rescued another dachshund. Different personality. I wanted an exact duplicate of the first dog. I learned to adapt to this one. She loves to play, so I have to run around. And she loves to be petted so I’m the petting machine. Definitely better with a dog across the hall.
    So glad you and Courtney have Chiara.

  • Claudia

    Thank you for your story of Chiara, Sara. I truly love hearing about her and your family.


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