Category Archives: Slideshow Included

Chloë Loses Another Mentor

Mike recalled that Tara was a puppy, just a little ball of fur, when he moved to Seattle in September 1998. He and Heather first met her during a party at Tara’s owners’ ranch, the place that would later become my personal vacation getaway whenever we go out there to take care of her and the horses. For me, Tara was the first dog beyond my own family (Frank and Stanley, et. al.) that I ever knew. Just a couple of weeks after Mike and Heather brought me home, all three of us stayed at Tara’s house for several days. I was young and tiny (see photo in slide show below), but I learned a lot that week, especially to stay out of Tara’s way when she gave me the Stink Eye.  In the overall scheme of things, that was a good thing to learn.

My friend was old and pretty gimpy when she died, but spunky and grumpy to the end. No matter how many times I tried to be nice to her and follow her butt around, she never stopped giving me that menacing growl whenever I got too close to her or to a toy she wanted (she didn’t really want it, only that I shouldn’t have it). After all, this was her house, she was the boss, and don’t anyone forget it. Regardless, I learned from, loved and respected Tara, and now I’m going to miss her a lot.

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On the other hand, all sentimentality aside, I hope they don’t pack away her Rattling Santa toy.

Chloë and Rattling Santa

Chloë and Rattling Santa

 

Chloë Takes Pumpkin to School

Pumpkin with Tara's toys

Pumpkin with Tara’s toys

We had another guest at my getaway last weekend: Pumpkin. We didn’t know at the time what breed of dog Pumpkin is (later we found out she is a mix of Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu called Zuchon), but we had heard ahead of time that Pumpkin is a “breeder,” having lots of puppies already, including another litter since when we met her briefly last fall.

Frankly, I think popping all those pups has taken a lot out of her. Pumpkin’s about the same size as my pal Penny, so I figured we could do some chasing and wrestling around on the carpet together. But Pumpkin spent most of her time in her crate with the door shut because she always had a full bowl of kibble in it. Pumpkin didn’t eat much, and I would have been happy to help myself to her food if the door were open. You can count on it. But whenever Pumpkin ventured out  and the crate door was open, Heather always moved the food on top of the crate and out of my reach…so far, anyway. Pumpkin showed no emotion when I waltzed into her crate, sniffed around, picked up her dinosaur squeaky toy and sauntered out with it. She just watched. I am the alpha dog in this relationship.

There’s no denying Pumpkin is a cutie, and she loves getting attention. But as far as I could tell, she’s a one-trick pony. Cute is all she does. She’s not a hunter or an athlete, like me. Maybe her docile nature was a good thing, though, because Tara is really slowing down and would no doubt have gotten cranky if we had tried to have too much fun right under her nose. I compare Tara to the dowager countess on Downton Abbey.

Mike, Heather and I had a great walk in the pouring rain on Saturday afternoon, but my favorite time the whole weekend came late Sunday afternoon, the first day of Daylight Savings Time. The whole pack took a walk together, the three of us plus Tara and Pumpkin. This was just the right length of walk for Tara, who steadfastly brought up the rear. For Pumpkin it might have been the longest walk of her life. And who was out in front of this momentous procession? None other than me, the undisputed leader of the pack.  It was quite a weekend; here’s the slide show.

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Chloë Takes a Walk in the Park

After one of the recent Syracuse basketball games (I forget which one, but they must have lost that day because Mike was cranky), we went for a walk in the Richmond Beach Park with Carol and Penny. There’s a big grassy area at the top of the bluff, and we threw the ball there for a while. That’s not a lot of  fun for Penny, because she can’t get her mouth around the ball very well. I was feeling a little sorry for her, so I gave her my leash and let her lead me around for a while, like she’s the boss,  so maybe she’ll gain a little self-confidence. I try to be patient with her, really, but she’s got a lot to learn.

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Chloë Meets Whidbey

Heather and Mike actually tore themselves away from work and Syracuse football, respectively, to take me to Whidbey Island for Labor Day weekend.  As you’ll see from the wonderful slideshow I’ve assembled below, I got to do a lot of neat stuff.  I even got a little of Heather’s black licorice ice cream cone from the famed Snowgoose Produce near LaConner. Typically, I got nothing from Mike.

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Notice that you saw no photos of me frolicking in the Sound? Sorry, I did no frolicking. The closest I wanted to get to waves is the line in the sand where it starts to feel wet. And seriously, we’re talking more ripples than waves here, no ocean surf. Heather thinks it’s the motion that scares me. I”m not sure what it is, but for right now, rivers and lakes are OK, but none of this tidal stuff. Too many moving parts, I guess.

However, there’s no use denying it: I am such a wuss. It’s one of my many charms.

Chloë Salutes the Frozen PBB

Mike did not invent the Frozen PBB (Peanut Butter Boney). No way I can give him the credit for the idea of freezing peanut butter (and/or yogurt, fruit and other treats) inside a rubber Kong as a dog snack. But from my vantage point, Mike perfected it. His Frozen PBB brings midday snacking to a new level of pure delight. And for this, to Mike I will be eternally grateful.

See, Kongs are OK, but I know they’re not cheap. And they’re tough, and hard to get my mouth around. Even worse, sometimes it’s impossible to get my tongue all the way down to the bottom to lick every last drop of the stuffing out. I prefer a real frozen bone.

Frozen PBB: The Ingredients

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Rather than buy more Kongs, El Cheapo Mike recycles marrow bones that I’ve already stripped clean of meat, marrow and gristle. Mike likes them better than Kongs because he can stockpile enough of them that he only has to load them once every two weeks at my strict quota of one  Frozen PBB per day. I like the PBBs better than Kongs because their  irregular shape makes each one different. If I’m really lucky, sometimes after I lick one clean my nose detects the faint bouquet of beef, a perfect aperitif to my midday delicacy.

I finally convinced Mike that Lynn, my friend and sitter, has the right idea for Frozen PBB-stuffing method: Cram it full. No delicate coating on the sides of the cavity, like Mike used to do. Now Mike stuffs them right out to both ends before freezing them. This makes them so hard inside that it takes concerted  licking on my part to get them clean (a good 10 or 15 minutes, anyway). Lynn also taught Mike to blend peanut butter, fruit and yogurt together before shoveling the mixture into the  empty marrow bones. This keeps the filling a little lighter—which is good, because a teenager like me needs to think about maintaining her figure.

In my book, when I come home from my daily post-breakfast walk, there’s absolutely no better morning snack than one of those Frozen PBBs . Followed by a 3-hour nap, of course.

It’s a rough life, but things could be worse. I could be a basketball player in the NBA, for instance. Or a Nittany Lion.