Cigar Aficionado

Chloe R.I.P.

Our faithful companion, Chloe, a.k.a. Clos Vougeot, left this world about three weeks ago. I haven’t been able to sit down to write this farewell until this week. The emotions were just too raw and too painful, but with a little passage of time, the pain is a little less acute. I’m slowly coming around to a place where I can remember her presence with a deep fondness without tears coming to my eyes. And, I can appreciate that the loneliness my wife and I feel without her around is testimony to how much we loved her and how much a part of our lives she was every day.

Longtime readers of Cigar Aficionado will remember her, a beautiful, jet-black Belgian Sheepdog. She and I were photographed along with Marvin Shanken’s Wheaten Terrier Christina for the editor’s page in an issue that launched a re-design of Cigar Aficionado magazine in June 2000. She was just two and a half years old at the time and if it looked like I had a virtual hammerlock on her in the photos, I did; it was hard to keep her in one place for any length of time. That remained true for nearly her entire life.

Then, two months ago, she woke up one morning and was unable to get to her feet. I helped her up, and within a couple of days that had turned into me carrying her downstairs every morning and back up every night. The world of advanced veterinary science did everything it knew how to do, at each turn of the diagnostic wheel, eliminating possible causes and coming up with potential treatments. As any dog owner knows, it’s tough; they can’t talk to you to tell what hurts or what’s wrong. Our vet, Dr. Brian Green, was fantastic, holding out hope and optimism at every step, but always with a cautionary note that we might be facing a tough decision. The diagnosis finally came—polymyositis, an autoimmune syndrome that, in Chloe’s case, was attacking her muscles.  Even then there were treatments that worked for most dogs. Unfortunately, for her, nothing did.


The morning came when she refused food and could not stand. Dr. Green, who had prepared us for that day, said succinctly, "I'm afraid that if we wait any longer, we will look back and regret it." We knew he was right. From the beginning of her illness, I had stated what I knew to be true—we humans have a contract with our domesticated pets that when their time comes, we will do the right thing and help them along their journey. It was a peaceful moment with my wife and I holding Chloe’s head in our hands and scratching her ears. Still, no matter how much I knew we were doing the right thing, the pain was deep and searing.

We will miss her shepherd’s instincts, her raucous barking at the attempted departure from the house of any member of the flock, a family member or not; her patient lurking waiting to raid the trash in search of Kleenex, or better yet, an uneaten piece of our Friday night pizza; or the fact that she was never very far away from either of us, wherever we were in the house. I even think she loved my cigars because she knew when I lit up on the patio, I wasn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Her ghost will be felt in our house for a long time.

Rest in peace, Chloe.

"Gordon, Similar to Manny above my wife and I have a dog that is very special to us, a labrador. He is now six years old. I can only imagine how you must feel. There is a nice story called, "The Rainbow Bridge" about the loss of precious pets. Look it up on the net. RIP Chloe - Eric & Izabel Hauser / Doublegun Cigars - Our logo is a labrador." —August 16, 2010 21:25 PM
"Gordon,The people that know me closely know that I have a dog that represents so much meaning to our lives (my wife & I). I can understand your pain and feel at peace that Chloe is no longer in pain. Warmest Regards,Manny I. " —July 13, 2010 00:10 AM
"Touching tribute to an obviously incredible friend." —July 9, 2010 14:39 PM
"Gordon: Jennifer and I went through the same situation last year with our yellow lab, Jackson. We were lucky to spend 13 special years with Jackson. Jackson was there to greet me every morning and at evening after work and never, ever had a frown on his face. Your blog brought back those special memories which I am sure you will, in time, read other blogs or articles and go through the same emotions that I am going through. Chloe's memories will continue with you throughout your lifetime as they truly are man's best friend!" —July 26, 2010 16:05 PM
"RIP Chloe. I'm so sorry for your loss Gordon. I have two German Shepherds, both Females and my youngest is jet black too and named Ava. My oldest is Sable colored and named Elke. I am not looking forward to the day I will be without them. Luckily they are both young, 1.5 years and 6 months. I will dedicate a smoke to Chloe tomorrow. " —July 12, 2010 23:04 PM
"Heartfelt blog, Gordon. RIP Chloe." —July 9, 2010 10:38 AM