my buddy Chess

My buddy Chess died about 11 p.m. last night. He died at home, as I was holding him.

This was not unexpected.

I’m going to need to take some time before I make any decisions. I can’t see myself living without a border collie, and if I do get another one, the blog will continue.

Thanks for all your comments in the past.







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74 Responses to my buddy Chess

  1. Karen Johnson says:

    I am so sorry…
    I am a frequent lurker, a huge fan of Chess, an armchair gardener, and a lover of snowdrops…
    Take care,

  2. Cliff Booker says:

    Oh Bob, so very, very sorry. Chess couldn’t have wished for a better life, a better buddy or a better goodbye. We all know just how broken you will feel at the moment, you’ve just lost a very wonderful friend – be strong, sow some seeds, visit some beautiful gardens and cry some tears for us all please. Thinking about you at this sad time.

  3. Sorry to hear that Chess is no longer around and writing his wonderful blogs.

  4. Vale Chess. And you keep your chin up.
    My sincerest condolences


  5. Jessica says:

    Really sad to hear that Chess is gone. I will miss his voice on your blog. My condolences to you and many hugs.

  6. Ness says:

    Just heartbroken, Bob. The post we’ve all been dreading. Chess has given us so much joy. Love and strength to you, we’ll all be waiting.

  7. Adele says:

    shedding some tears this morning for a pup I never met but who has given me many smiles and giggles. I will miss him

  8. gardenhope says:

    Dear Bob,

    My condolences for the loss of your friend Chess. He will not be forgotten, and I personally loved his spirit and his posts. It is as if I too had a border collie…and he taught me so much.

  9. Rekha says:

    My heartfelt condolences for your friend and companion, Chess will be missed by us all here. May you get strength to cope up with the loss.

  10. bittster says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Chess always had such a great perspective on life and never failed to bring a smile. He was lucky to have you as well.

  11. Laurrie says:

    My heart breaks.

  12. Kevin says:

    Bob, so sorry to hear that. My condolences for the loss of your companion.

  13. Diane Lancaster says:

    I am so sorry. And terribly sad to hear this. I will miss dear Chess. He made me smile so very many days.

  14. vivianswift says:

    Oh Bob, Oh Chess. Maybe not unexpected, but still devastating. My tears make this hard to type but I had to be here right now to thank you both for turning this horticulturally ignorant cat lady into a devotee of pure bred gardening border collies. The best thing about reading about Chess’s lucky life of Pottery Barn sheets and brie was reading about the many ways he was loved by The Guy He Lived With. Every post was a tribute to the bond that you and Chess had, and every post was wonderful and memorable because of it. I will miss that dear DoG, and I will hope to see you back in the garden some day, in your own time, and in your way.

  15. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    My husband got up this morning to find me sitting and staring into space, crying. I told him I’d just learned that someone extraordinary had died: the dog with a blog. He understood. I cannot thank you enough for sharing his last years and days with us. Chess was one for the books, the ages, and we (readers) are better people for having known him. I know how empty your house must feel now. The English language is completely inadequate for expressing the depth of my sympathy for you.

  16. My heart goes out to you. I’m so glad he was such a good companion to you for so long, but never long enough.

  17. blackbird2 says:

    My sincerest condolences about your dear Chess. He was loved by so many and so are you. Thank you so much for sharing Chess and his adventures in the garden with us. He was a dog of great character and warmth and I will miss him.

  18. Diane Badertscher says:

    I’m so sorry, Bob. It was wonderful to get to know Chess through “his” blogs. My thoughts are with you.
    Diane Badertscher

  19. KathyB says:

    Having been through this quite a few times I understand and sympathize how heartbreaking this is to have happen. Yet, I couldn’t imagine not having a “furry companion” in my life, they bring such life and warmth to a home. I know there is another fortunate border collie who would love to be yours and that the blog will continue.

  20. carol says:

    oh Bob and the love of Chess. His spirit and love was expressed in the most interesting stories. Your heart will take you to another Wag Tears My sympathy to you

  21. paridevita says:

    Thank you all so much for your comments.
    I had a feeling that Sunday might be the day, and he was able to get upstairs and into bed, but I think that was too much for him. He died in bed with me right there. So in that respect, as well as having him in my life, I feel very, very lucky.

  22. Barb K says:

    All of us who shared the joy of knowing Chess wish we could also ease the burden of your sorrow but we cannot. We all measure our lives in the short spans of our beloved companions and then find some comfort in the memories. Our thoughts will be with you until we hear from you again, and none of us who knew Chess through this blog will ever forget him. Thank you.

  23. Alison says:

    I’m so sorry, my condolences. We will all miss him. It’s so very hard to lose a beloved pet.

  24. Renee says:

    I am so sorry… Chess was always a highlight to read about. Many hugs and strength to you.

  25. Jan says:

    I am very sorry to hear of Chess’ s passing. I am glad you and your love was near him in the end. His voice explaining your gardening exploits was pure joy to read. I was worried that this post was near when Chess stopped eating, even steak fried in butter. I hope your memories will fill the hole that is left behind, bring you peace, and in time a new purebred border collie will help fill your life.

  26. Meredith says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful dog with us, Bob. Chess will be missed, world wide. All those pictures of him, and I looked forward to every one.

  27. gardenut says:

    Bob – So sorry to hear about Chess. He had such a way with words, and brought joy to so many people with his blog. I’ll bet he was dreaming of you (and steak fried in butter) when he passed. Prayers go out to you for comfort in your grief, and strength as you begin to heal. Let your loving memories of him fill your heart. He was a very loved companion to you, as you were to him. Many condolences to you.

  28. Allan Taylor says:

    I am so sorry to hear that you have lost Chess. Death is ever near, but it is always a shock nevertheless when he strikes and takes away someone we love. My thoughts and sympathies are with you today; may memories of his loyalty and companionship fill the void left behind.

  29. Oh, the boy, the boy.
    My husband and I are crying, all because you shared your wonderful Chess. It’ll be steak and cheese for our boys tonight as tribute.

  30. Thinking of you. Thank you for sharing the many, many happy times with Chess.

  31. Damiana Aldana says:

    Was it Lord Peter Wimsey who said that Shakespeare was the chappie with the right word for every occasion? The tears sprang to my eyes when I looked to my mail and could see the first five words of your post. Thank you for sharing him and your garden with us. Thank you for shaping this very charming community whose comments are such a treat to read.
    And, good night, sweet Chess, flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
    I do think Chess deserves Shakespeare.

    My most sincere condolences,

  32. petabunn says:

    It is so hard to find the words to say how very sorry I am. My thoughts are with you so sad Chess

  33. Tracey says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Chess. I read about your blog on Vivian’s old blog, and started following it. I’m an armchair gardener but Chess reminded me of my tuxedo Maine Coon, both in looks and sweetness of personality, so I began to follow him. He was a lucky dog to have his mommy and you, and to die peacefully at home with his loved one.

  34. Cris says:

    Soooo sorry to hear this. I enjoyed his stories. Having a ten year old border collie I know that day will come too. Altho she has a few years left they go to fast. My heart breaks at the thought right now. But what joy they do bring.I just love this breed. So smart and so loving. And so bossy too. :)) well at least our Annie is. She keeps us on schedule getting up in the mornings, eating, playing ball, getting the chickens In and out of their pen daily. You won’t be able to replace chess but you can honor him with another of his breed. They do give lots of companionship. RIP Chess.

  35. Cheryl says:

    How I shall miss your voice, dear Chess, and the way you revealed to us the heart of that quirky guy you lived with. Weep, dear Bob, and know that you are loved. Come back around, when you’re ready. I’m pretty sure we’ll all be here to welcome your return.

  36. Loretta Todd says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I think dogs are a special blessing from God, with just one catch, they live very short lives. I hope you will get another border collie when your heart is ready.

    Loretta in Boise

  37. Luisa says:

    Dear Chess. And, oh, Bob. You were both very lucky. I’m crying, here, and can only echo what all the others have said so well. He’ll never be forgotten. My thoughts are with you — take care.

  38. I am so so sorry. Floods of tears here in Ilwaco. I loved that dog so much. You will be so on my mind. I got a message from another friend who reads your blog who is also so sad. The voice of Chess brightened up my life ever so much. I will miss his darling face. No dog has every been so memorialized and admired and loved, I believe.

  39. Nancy says:

    Peace to you. Threw rocks in the big lake in honor of you and your sweetie. Will throw one in for Chess next time I’m there. You were a wonderful papa to Chess.

  40. Susan says:

    I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing your stories. I don’t remember how I found your blog, but I will miss checking in on Chess and the guy he lived with. Take care.

  41. Marialuisa says:

    Ciao Chess, mi mancherai. Bob, ti abbraccio forte e ti sono vicina con tutto il mio cuore. Ringrazio Loree Bohl per avermi fatto conoscere voi due e il vostro meraviglioso giardino pieno di vita.

  42. Bob, Chess’s post have meant a great deal to me and I am grieving tonight . I am glad he was able to start his journey over the bridge with you at his side , and did not have to leave this world away from his home. My best wishes to you , and know that Chess will always be in my heart.

  43. If at some time you want to read a poem that I found cathartic about a dog that has passed away, but that will make you cry (more) so I’m not going to send it to you but leave it for you to find if you want to ….It’s beautiful and not soppy…Here is a link for later because the top result for the poem does not have the last few lines.;f=2;t=83717 The House Dog’s Grave by Robinson Jeffers (1941)

  44. Julie says:

    No matter how long they live, it’s never long enough. Thank you to both you and Chess for all the wonderful posts. I’ve looked forward to reading them so much. It’s been a real joy for me. I have two border collies, and Chess was like one of my own. I loved seeing life through his eyes, as told by you.
    I truly hope you do get another border collie, they add so much of the good stuff to our lives… It’s important to have that pal at home. I’ll miss Chess, and your writing, until you decide to resume. Thanks again for letting me be part of your lives, even though we’ve never met. Good night Chess. What a good boy.

  45. Kathleen says:

    I’m sad to say I hadn’t followed your blog, so I wasn’t here to hold you up through your struggles with Chess. But I’m here now, and I have been where you are many times. I understand, and my heart goes out to you. Know that there are many people thinking of you and sending you good will. I am so sorry for your loss.

  46. Bev says:

    I am so sorry, Bob. I have been following your blog since Vivian mentioned it in hers and I have so enjoyed learning about your garden ‘through Chess’ eyes’, the beautiful photos you’ve taken of him and the wonderful companionship you shared. Chess will be greatly missed but will live on in a lot of our hearts.

  47. paridevita says:

    A thousand thanks, again, for all your comments. Marialuisa, grazie.
    Reading what I wrote on the post makes me wonder what I was thinking. If I do get another border collie? If?
    Chess was the last living link to Cindy, her “happy little goofball”, and I thought that when I lost him, I might need a break from the stress of caring for him, but I love doing that, too.
    It also crossed my mind that I would have “new-found freedom” to do whatever I want. I often think stupid things like that. I like staying at home, working in the garden, and being with border collies.
    When it became apparent that Chess was going downhill, we talked about getting another border collie, and how it would be a way to honor him, rather than as a “replacement”.
    I’ve already spoken to people who raise purebred border collies bred from working dogs, which is what I want (yes, Chess was bred as a working dog….) and I’m going out to get a puppy carrier today. The emptiness here is indescribable.


    • Christine says:

      Oh Bob, such sadness. Dear Chess…such a good boy. That beautiful sweet face brought me joy when I checked your blog each day. I have a lump in my throat and heaviness in my heart for you. You both have big kind hearts and were each other’s boon companions, taking care in turn. What a large hole his going has left behind, especially as he needed your extra loving care recently. Such quiet and stillness in the wake of his passing. Thank you for sharing him with us. We loved him, too. I’m glad for both of you that you were home and together to say goodbye and thank you and bless you and bless you and bless you. So short the time together, so long the time apart. I have a kitty who came to us when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer 14 years ago. My daughter left us long ago, but i still have the companionship and joy of that kitty and I, too, feel the connection of that relationship and dread the loss of it someday. Dear Bob, remember the joy and the sharing. Feel the grief and the gratitude. I know you are strong and hopeful because you plant seeds and watch for them to bloom and grow. Godspeed, Chess. God’s blessings on your journey, Bob.

    • Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

      They say that in death we go to a better place. In this case, so very, very hard to imagine a place better than your patio on a warm, sunny day, or Chess’ cozy fort on a gloomy one. You did well by your buddy–I don’t know of any other canine that left such a wealth of literary work! May your many memories bring you much needed comfort.

    • Vivian Swift says:

      Yes. It’s about honoring the true-hearted intelligence, whimsy, soul, and legacy of dear Chess.

  48. Susan Mack says:

    I am so sorry you have lost your dear friend. Best wishes.

  49. melanie says:

    I am heartboken for you, Bob. You’ll get a new kid that will honor your memories of Chess.

  50. acantholimon says:

    I shall miss Chess, whom I have met. I know how much you loved him and he you. Our thoughts are with you.

  51. Engrid says:

    No, no no… sad to hear this. What a wonderful doggie and he will be missed by all of us. It cannot compare to your loss, though. My heart goes out to you as I know how painful this must be.

    Sent from my iPad


  52. Susan Hunter says:

    Chess was my vicarious dog (i have cats). I will surely miss all of his smart and witty observations and his point of view. So sorry.

  53. Randy says:

    So sorry to hear of Chess death. My great pyrenees Maya had to be put down on May 20/2014. She had bone cancer. After having her from a few weeks to more than 10 years old she was part of our family. I still miss her! We were fortunate enough to adopt her sister when her owners relocated. Speaking from personal experience…..getting another dog was the perfect solution!
    Wish you all the best! Randy/GA

  54. New Leaf says:

    At first they need us, and then we need them.
Wishing you comfort and peace during this difficult time.

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” –Roger Caras

  55. Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

    I have been off the grid since shortly after the turning of the year, sitting down just this morning to catch up on the news from my favorite fellow mono-chromatic canine. I have no words, which, since I am a dog, shouldn’t be very surprising, but still one wishes there was something one could say to help relieve the pain and sadness of Chess’ passing, not to mention the emptiness. If I was there, dear, kind human, I would nuzzle my way into the softness of you palm and I would stand close beside you, leaning in just enough to let you know that you are not alone.

  56. Pat says:

    I’m sitting here crying. Chess made up for the loss of my dog. Now I miss them both.

  57. Kimberly Klosterman says:

    Am soooo sorry to hear this. Love reading his and your blog posts. Your love for him was so evident in your writing. Please take care and know that others feel your pain alongside you.

  58. Chess, we will miss you. Our condolences to you Bob

  59. janet b. says:

    dear chess ~ you were a sweet dear, and i enjoyed seeing your face and reading the antics of both you and your human. you will be missed. condolences to your human. with love from the hudson valley, NY.

  60. cfroning says:

    My condolences, Bob. It’s always hard saying goodbye to our canine friends.

  61. paridevita says:

    The outpouring of love and grief here is astonishing. I have really wonderful readers; thank you all.
    Here’s a link to a sympathy card a very young neighbor of mine made and left on my front door; three pages of paper.

    This has hit me as hard as I thought it would, but I now have a new fort, and a portable, puppy-sized fort, food, and new bowls.
    I also have an opportunity to “look at” some puppies, hopefully this next week. The weather is not exactly cooperating. Blizzard and high winds right now.


    • Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

      You and Chess, together, as a team, touched so many hearts as you struggled to heal and move forward after the heartbreaking loss of your beloved. Ironically, it was Chess who helped you find your true voice and now, with his passing, you have a legion of devoted readers (friends) to cheer you forward! Your kind and generous spirit will prevail and we all look forward to reading the next chapter. Signed–Fisher’s Grammy.

    • Consider looking at brother puppies. Oh, the fun! Double the fun.

      And, yeah, ain’t life a bitch with its convolutions. Sweet card. She caught the essence of Chess.

  62. Cris says:

    That is the sweetest card your neighbor left, made me cry tho. I’m happy to hear you will be looking for a new puppy friend soon. I can hear the new stories now. 🙂 It might be a good digger and help you in the garden. Lol We wait with antscipation. 🙂

  63. Barb K says:

    Now when I am sad about Chess I will think of that drawing of him floating up to Heaven with his blue halo and be cheered. What a wonderful little neighbor you have. Please tell her she has also comforted your friends from far away.

  64. pamit says:

    Oh Bob. I have so enjoyed reading about “all things Chess” for these years. Sending some metta down the hill to you and the memory of that pretty, soulful dog. Your little neighbor Isabella made such a beautiful memorial to Chess!

  65. Dave Hinch says:

    My deepest condolences. I have been following the adventures of Chess for quite a while. I stumbled on your website while doing a search on your name to see what other books you may have published. I acquired “High and Dry” several years ago and it remains one of my “go to” references. I live in SE Michigan and have a fairly large rock garden with a preponderance of cacti. My weekly walk through the web always included a visit with Chess to see what his owner was up to. Chess was truly blessed to have had you as a companion and I’m sure you will miss him deeply. His memory will live on for all of us that have enjoyed

  66. Maria says:

    Oh, my sincere condolences. Losing your four-legged family is hard, hard, hard. Thank you for sharing him with your blog-readers. He added joy to our lives. Peace to you.

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