This week, we are proud and honored to share with you an exclusive interview with Chloe, the constant companion of Lee Harrington, author of Rex And The City: A Memoir of a Woman, a Man, and a Dysfunctional Dog.
Our interview will take place over the next three days, as Chloe talks about her life in New York and Woodstock, her loves, her likes and dislikes, gives clues about Wallace, the subject of Rex in Rex In The City, and shares with us what it's like to be a celebrity dog, living with a celebrity.
We hope you enjoy this three part series...now, on with the interview, and don't forget to click in tomorrow for more!
Johann: Hi Chloe! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us. Why don't you start by telling us about yourself?
Chloe: My proper name is Chlothilde, but no one calls me that, not even my Mum, who gave me that name when she adopted me. She wanted to give me a French old lady name, because I am part French Spaniel, but now she says she named me “prematurely.” Whatever that means.
Do you know it took her three days to name me after she took me home? My name at my foster home had been Buffy, which “suited me,” as Mum said, but she also said it wasn’t a name she could bring herself to shout out loud across Catskill Mountain fields and/or New York City dog parks. Plus, she wanted to come up with a name that “matched my personality.” So I became Chlothilde. Or Chloe for short. I’m definitely a Chloe, Mum says.
I am part French Spaniel and part Border Collie, or so they say. We dogs don’t think in labels as much as you humans do. In my mind I am simply a dog, with white fur and brown markings and an excellent nose and a fondness for bacon.
My Mum found me on Petfinder.com, and wants me to tell everyone out there that this is an excellent resource for anyone looking to adopt a dog. I was living in Michigan when she found me. And she was living in New York City!
Her previous dog, Wallace (the subject of her book Rex And The City: A Memoir of a Woman, a Man, and a Dysfunctional Dog) had died a few years prior, and she was still very, very sad and very much wanting a dog. (That's Wallace on the right!)
It took her two years to find me, she said, because she wanted to adopt a French Spaniel, and they are apparently very rare in the United States. But, as with all things that are meant to be, ultimately we found each other, all because my foster mother in Michigan put my picture up on Petfinder.com.
My life before Mum adopted me was very inconsistent. Mum doesn’t know for sure what my “true origins” are, as she calls them, but I do know that I had many homes, too many to count. People kept bringing me back to the shelter because I was an “anxious” dog, but I was an anxious dog because people kept bringing me back to the shelter. I know you peeps will know what I mean.
By the time Mum found me I was rather a mess. My foster mother at the time was actually a cat rescuer, but she had seen me in a pen at her local high-kill shelter and took me home, because I was so pretty and sweet. But her husband didn’t like me, and didn’t like the fact that I chased the cats, so they kept me out in a barn, with no windows and no human contact.
Every night I cried because I was so lonely, and scratched at the barn door, and tried to escape, and this made the husband even more mad. Mum suspects that he hit me a lot. She says she can “read the signs.” He certainly kept threatening to bring me back to the kill shelter, when all I wanted to do was be with people! And, yes, cats.
My poor foster mother felt bad for me, but I think her husband was mean to her, too, and she was afraid. So she kept adopting me out to people without screening them. And within days they’d bring me back, because I was so anxious.
Anyway, long story short: Lee found me. And she understood why I was anxious and felt confident that she could “turn me around.” The same way she turned dear Wallace around. This woman has a real knack for rescuing needy dogs!
The first time we met was at Newark Airport. Usually animal rescue groups won’t adopt out a dog without meeting the human, but given that Mum is a famous dog writer, and given that the foster-husband didn’t like me—me!--they agreed to adopt me out sight unseen. The first thing I saw when they opened my crate at the airport was a pretty, youthful woman with long red hair. She was crying because, she said, she was so happy to meet me.
The first thing she saw when I came out of the crate, she later told me, was a Border Collie. Not a French Spaniel (which is how I was described on Petfinder). And she laughed out loud because she had always sworn she would never take on a Border Collie, because they are “too smart” and “too intense.” Her God has a sense of humor, she explained, and He was always trying to convince her that she was capable of far more than she gave herself credit for. I am that case in point.
You’d think I’d know how old I am, but I don’t, because my mum does not know either. We think I am four years old. Mum adopted me on October 28, 2004 and decided that my birthday would be St. Patrick’s Day, because she hates that holiday and wanted an excuse not to go to any parades.
So now I get two parties a year: one on my birthday and one on my adoption day. She says I’m a “Pisces,” which might explain why I am so into fish. It’s not too late to send me birthday presents, by the way. If you live in Alaska please send salmon and if you live in New Mexico please send chile rellenos and if you live in France please send eight pounds of Tomme de Savoir, s’il vous plait! And some teenage punk stole Mum’s Ipod, so send one of those too :)
Johann: I understand that you spent a year in New York City but that you now live in Woodstock. Do you ever see any 60’s groovy type folks still hanging around there, or making pilgrimages? My sis, Gracie, would love to hear all about the hippy stuff!
Chloe: Woodstock is still indeed the land of peace and love. There are people here who literally have not left since “the concert.” And you can still hear Bobbie Dylan being played in all the restaurants and stores.
Everyone loves dogs in Woodstock, because dogs are all about peace and love, too. Last week, at the Woodstock town Halloween parade, I saw a Bichon Frise whom I swear had been tie dyed. I kid you not. But, given that Woodstock is a green town, I am sure the dyes were non-toxic, bio-friendly food dyes. The Bichon certainly didn’t seem to mind.
Mum says that Woodstock has brought out her “inner hippie.” She just got a peace sign magnet to put on her car. And a peace sign dog tag for my Christmas stocking! But she doesn’t know I know.
Coming tomorrow, more of my interview with Chloe. Click in to read more about her life in Woodstock and in New York City, and her favorite things and foods!
Read Part 2 and Part 3 of our interview with Chloe!