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.
This is Part 3 and the final part of our interview. Be sure and catch up with Part 1 and Part 2.
Our interview takes place over 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 And 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!
Johann: What’s it like being the pup of a celebrity? I would imagine with your Mum’s book tour, you will become a bit of a celeb yourself. Do you think it will change you?
Chloe: My mum loves to bring me on the book tour because she says I help her sell books. Especially when I stand on my head and make silly noises. She is a shy human, being a writer and all. And she tells me my antics help people get comfortable, and laugh - I “break the ice”.
People at these readings get confused, because they think the book is about me, but it’s not. It’s about Wallace - he is the subject of Rex and the City.
He was also a French Spaniel mix, just like me, and people who don’t know dogs say we look alike. But he died in 2003. I’m not allowed to tell that story either - it’s too sad. He died the day after Lee and her husband separated. It’s like he knew his time with them had ended.
But getting back to my own celebrity, I am now a famous dog model, thanks to my picture on the back of Rex and the City. The famous dog photographer Amanda Jones fell in love with me, and even put my picture in her latest book, A Breed Apart: A Celebration of the New American Mutt. I love getting my picture taken, because the photographer gives me treats and tells me I am a pretty, pretty girl.
None of this super-model stuff compares, however, to the fact that I kissed Viggo Mortensen! My mum is an editor at The Bark Magazine, and she acquired one of Viggo's personal essays for their November 2006 issue. Mum was very sad that when we met Viggo, he kissed me but not her. He kissed me right on the mouth!
Mum has not washed my mouth since, and she says that's deliberate. A lot of my fancy dog friends get their teeth brushed regularly, but not me. Mum says she does not want to remove any trace of Viggo. Not even after I've eaten a headless squirrel carcass does she threaten to wash out my mouth. Sometimes she calls me "Viggolicious" or "Viggo Breath." I wish he would write to me. He had a dog once named Brigit, and he loved her very much. Mum wishes that people love could be more like dog love. I bet Viggo does too.
Johann: Will your Mom write a book about you?
Chloe: Sometimes my mum threatens to write a book about me, in which she will air all of my dirty secrets.
Johann: Oh do tell! What are those dirty secrets?
Chloe: Well, I like to eat things most humans would not eat. But I have to say, I’ve seen my Mum do some pretty weird stuff, too.
Johann: Please, go on, we are waiting with baded doggie breath!
Chloe: I had to sign a confidentiality clause when she adopted me. Sorry. If you send me eight pounds of Tomme de Savoir from France I could consider a bribe. But for now, Mum’s the word.
But seriously, who knows if she will write about me? Wallace was a different sort of dog than me, Mum tells me. His abuse had been more severe; his spirit had been broken. Mine had not. Plus, Rex and the City was just as much about her relationship with Ted as it was about the dog, so it’s quite a different story.
I, she tells me, am an “easy” dog. She is not sure people are interested in reading about “easy” dogs. I will help her to see otherwise. There is a story in each of us, I believe. I mean hey, I am supposed to be a herding dog, right? I don’t herd. Nor do I give a hoot about birds (pun intended). You can’t tell me there’s not a story there.....
But Wallace, he was her first dog, and therefore her first dog love.
Johann: Do you sometimes feel like a a victim of Second Dog Syndrome, Gracie want's to know?
Chloe: Many people have asked me if it bothers me that Mum has written a book about Wallace but not me. They’ve asked if I mind seeing his picture every day on Mum’s mantle.
But, you know, Johann, we dogs know something about love that people seem not to know. We know that there is always plenty of love to go around. So just because she still loves Wallace does not mean she does not love me. We know that love is boundless, and has no hierarchy, and no end.
But Mum was definitely more paranoid as a dog parent with Wallace than she is with me. She took him to the vet every time he sneezed. There’s a whole chapter about this in her book called “The Hypochondriac’s Guide to Overprotective Dog Care." It's hilarious. So I am lucky that I don’t have to go to the vet for unnecessary reasons. Even though I love my vet because he gives me treats and tells me I am a pretty girl.
Johann: Does your Mum do training with you? If so, tell us!
Chloe: Yes, like you, we do clicker training, and we love it. It's quick, easy and effective.
I wasn’t house trained when I first moved to New York City, and I was scared, because I grew up in the corn fields. So I didn’t know about this peeing-on-the sidewalk thing. But with clicker training, I knew where to do my business in two days.
I have learned twenty three human words with clicker training. I could be president with such a vocabulary!
My mum does not approve of any kind of harsh or punitive training. So I am lucky. She doesn’t choke me with a choke collar or yell at me or slap my butt. She just clicks the clicker and hands me a treat and tells me I am a good, smart girl. And who wouldn’t respond to that?
I can tell that my Mum feels guilty about the way she trained Wallace (aka “Rex.”). You can read all about this in the book - there’s a whole chapter in Mum’s memoir about the way they trained Wallace.
She didn’t know any better at the time, you see, and used a lot of harsh and punitive training methods. Now she knows this is not the sort of thing you do with a dog. But I know that Wallace knew that she loved him, and that she was trying to help him. You should read the book! You’ll see what I mean.
Johann: We hear you have helped to get a number of dogs in your community adopted. How did you do that?
Chloe: Simply by being me!
Mum brings me to all her book events, as we’ve discussed. And she does a lot of appearances at shelter benefits and dog adoption fairs. She always gives proceeds from her book sales to these shelters. She says she got so much love and happiness from Wallace that it is an honor to be able to give back.
People always come up to the booth and hug me and tell me I am a pretty girl. Then I kiss them or roll over or stand on my head. This for some reason makes them want a dog of their own, like that minute. When they find out I am not for adoption, they say they wish they could take me home. Then Mum tells them about Petfinder, or about local rescue groups, or who’s who at the shelter that particular day.
Mum always wanted to help dogs by publishing her book. Her book brings out the message that rescuing a dog can be the best experience in a human’s life. We certainly think so. Rock on!
Johann: Thanks, Chloe, for taking your time to share your life with us. I think I speak for all us pups in Cyberspace, we sure enjoyed learning more about you, Wallace and your Mum.
We wish you and Lee great success with the book!
Did you miss Part 1 and Part 2?