August 26, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Rat Terrier. Hates cats. Free.

When Joe Horejsi saw this ad in the Thrifty Nickel, he could never had anticipated the impact it would have on his personal and professional life.

Horejsi is the owner and operator of Joe’s Collectibles, a unique antique store at 1125 Jackson St. that has been a staple in the Old Market for over 25 years. Six years ago, Horejsi decided that he wanted to liven up his shop. He’d seen dozens of thrift shops with cats roaming their aisles, so he started “kicking around the idea of having a dog.” He found the Thrifty Nickel ad the next day and headed out to meet this cat-hating terrier.

The dog’s owner was smoking a cigarette outside when Horejsi arrived at her trailer home. The first words out of the woman’s mouth were “she don’t do no tricks.” That was the moment Horejsi decided that he was going to be a dog owner.

Chloe1Chloe, the rat terrier that hates cats, adjusted quickly to life with Horejsi. She was comfortable in the shop and soon began to sleep on the checkout counter while Horejsi worked. On one portentous day, Horejsi saw Chloe curled up on the counter with an open book. He decided that she needed a pair of reading glasses and was surprised to see her roll back her ears when he went to place a pair on her head. He was even more surprised when the glasses remained in position as she went about her daily routine. Being the shrewd businessman that he is, Horejsi knew that he was on to something big.

Horejsi started collecting fashionable pairs of glasses for Chloe and, before long, she was dressing up in full costumes. Horejsi’s customers loved seeing Chloe in her outfits and unfamiliar faces began to flock to the store to take pictures with the friendly and fashionable rat terrier.

A lot has changed in the six years since Chloe met Horejsi: Chloe now has over 500 pairs of glasses and dozens of masks and hats. Hundreds of pictures of Chloe are collected in piles on the checkout counter and in thick photo albums. There are photos of Chloe dressed as Zorro, Batman, the Red Baron, Tony Soprano, and Warren Buffet.

But Chloe does more than just pose for the camera. She also offers companionship and comfort to those in need: Dozens of children, shoppers, strangers, and nursing home residents have had their spirits lifted by Chloe’s loving nature and human-like hugs (yes, she gives actual hugs).

If you’d like your own photo op with Chloe, or if you’d just like a hug from a dog, you can visit Joe’s Collectibles any day between  the hours of 12:30 and 7 p.m. Chloe loves people and attention, and will usually strike a pose for a photograph. Keep in mind that Chloe’s lifestyle and career demand a lot of beauty sleep, so she may be resting if you visit before 3 p.m.

And don’t underestimate this dog. She does a lot more than tricks.

Call 402-612-1543 or visit omahadowntown.org/shop for more information. Encounter

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