It was June 2, 1997 when we decided to start looking for a puppy for my parents. As we looked, we couldn’t find the “right” puppy for them but what we did find was a mess for us. We found him at a local shelter and he was about 6 weeks old. Just a chubby, short legged guy who fit in my baseball glove. As we talked, there was no way we could ever give him to my parents.
As the weeks past after getting Chester, we soon realized he was terrible. He chewed up furniture, found seams in the carpet and ripped them up and found all kinds of poisons to get into. Oh, we thought for sure we had made a HUGE mistake. After way too many vet appointments and too much money, we knew we had to keep Chester to get our money’s worth out of him! I know, it sounds bad but it’s true. For those of you who have seen Marley & Me, you’ll understand.
As time went on, we fell in love with our little guy. He was our second puppy in just a few months and as he grew, he calmed. Chester, over about a year’s time, became the most amazing dog. He loved on us but didn’t wet your face with too many kisses. Or any at all. He wouldn’t attempt to run away like other dogs and preferred to just be loved on. Chester came to anyone’s side and asked for just a bit of love. He was absolutely the coolest looking dog in the world and he looks alone made you love him more.
As we added kids to our family, we were concerned about him. How would he react and would he be mad our attention was on a kid and not on him? Well, just as laid back as he was, he welcomed not just one kid but two with open arms. As the kids grew, Chester became their comforter, friend and protector. He laid next to them when they were on the floor and would gently play with them. Because of Chester, our kids absolutely love dogs!
As we each got older and with each house move, Chester remained constant. He would eat, sleep, love and loved to be loved. He never seemed to complain and as he grew older and older, he grew closer and closer to us. Our family was complete because Chester loved us so much. When he was about 11, we decided to get him some friends. Actually, we were preparing our kids and ourselves for the inevitable. Life without Chester. At the age of 11, he had an ACL replacement and the vet wasn’t sure he could survive another surgery or how much time he had left.
But in true Chester form, he shocked all of us. Chester lived another 5 years. Yes, we had to put him down a week ago because it was the right thing to do. Yes, Chester drove us nuts early in life but gave us so much joy for 16 years. Christy and I can’t remember our marriage very well without having our Chester. Through everything, he was more than our best friend, he was a baby to us. Chester taught our kids how to love animals and he showed the new puppies how to act. He was calm and laid back and just wanted to be loved. In the final few months, he never complained or made our life hectic. He just went along with what was thrown his way and kept plugging along.
Our family will not be the same without you Chester. We are better for having had you in our family. As we go forward without you, we will not forget you. The kids speak of you often and miss you dearly. I still hear you every morning as I did for 16 years. You were an amazing part of our family and there will never be another dog quite like you. I love you and I will certainly miss you. Thanks again Chester, you were amazing!