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:
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.
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.
She was awarded her Doctor of Furosophy degree in May 2015
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.
We’re in my kitchen here, everyone trying to make sure she or he doesn’t get left out of snack-time
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.
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.