Chloë Romps with Schatzi

Schatzi lies down.

Since Frank and Stanley travel to Arizona for the winter and miss our birthday, it makes getting together with them difficult. Besides, the boys got so huge that chasing and rolling around with them wasn’t as much fun as it used to be. That may be why I was so excited when  we arrived for my second meeting with the puppy Schatzi. Based on our first encounter two weeks ago, I would finally get a chance to dominate. And dominate I  did.

Schatzi  was already bigger and less wrinkly than she was two weeks ago, but she was still perfectly content to follow me around and try to do everything I did.  She had a couple of nice forward rolls. Although she couldn’t get my ball into her mouth yet, I let her lick it and sniff it a few times, so she understood what a treasure it was. I think she got it.

Surprisingly, I didn’t lose interest in playing with Schatzi in the whole hour we were there (including rest periods, during which I let Schatzi drink from my water bowl after I was done). When we got up to go home, I resisted. I would have preferred staying longer.

Schatzi and Chloë rub noses.

So Schatzi and I have met once inside her house and once outside in a secluded park, where we could prance around untethered for a while. I think Caroline, Mike and Heather are building Schatzi and I up to an actual walk, when we are on leashes and expected to do whatever our owners tells us. I believe I’m a little further along on this concept than Schatzi is, although lately Heather might dispute that. She and I seem to be having increasing conflict on behavioral issues. I will  have to address that in my next thrilling installment.

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Chloë Gets a New Playmate

Schatzi

Back when I was but a mere puppy, Heather and Mike took me on a couple of “play dates” with Pinot and Ida, two dachshunds who belonged to Caroline, who became my personal financial advisor and sometime hotelier. As I recall, my interaction with her dogs wasn’t exactly the nonstop frolic, tackling and tumbling that ensued when I met up with my brothers Frank and Stanley. Caroline’s dogs were both grown up, indifferent and reserved, and they weren’t all that  interested in me.

Who’s the boss?

Now, nine years later, it’s my turn to be the grownup in the room. After much searching and waiting, Schatzi finally arrived at Caroline’s house, a.k.a. my vacation getaway, and Mike, Heather and I went over there for our maiden visit last week. Schatzi, just 12 weeks old and a wrinkly nine pounds, peed submissively on the kitchen floor as soon as we walked in, which I took as a good sign that she was excited to see me and willing to do my bidding. I decided to be nice to her, within reason, as long as she follows my rules, such as me always getting first dibs on toys and treats. Schatzi indicated that she understood. I even tried to play with her, at least for a few seconds.

Schatzi gets ready for school.

I was glad to learn Caroline and David had enrolled Schatzi in the same puppy kindergarten classes that I attended, so I know she will be getting a first-class education. And since I quickly got Schatzi attuned to the Chloë World Order, I’ll make additional visits to further train her and provide the nuance that will enhance the lessons she learns at school. Certain traits such as stubbornness may be innate to dachshunds, but they must be properly nurtured and molded to be most effective. That’s where I can be especially useful to a young pup such as Schatzi. We’ll see what happens.

First face off.

Chloë Blazes New Trails

It’s been fairly quiet around here.  Things get like that whenever Heather parks herself in front of a computer screen and starts pecking away at a keyboard. Then it’s my job to lie in my camp chair next to her and give her a whine or two at 10, 2 and 4:30 if she hasn’t already taken me outside for a pee and back inside for treats. I shouldn’t have to remind her, but if I didn’t whine and distract her, she might still be sitting in front of that screen at dinner time without taking a break.

Chloë stuck by 3-foot stick

Mike is much easier to move. One day when Heather was not feeling well, I allowed her to stay home, and I took a walk with just Mike and  my pal Charlie. I was chasing my ball into the bushes at the first dogleg on Chloë’s  Lane when I got stuck, somehow lodging a 3-foot-long tree branch between the side of my chest and my harness. For several minutes, I couldn’t move. Mike finally realized something was amiss, and he walked up the path to where the stick I was attached to was itself caught between some low-hanging branches of a small evergreen. First Mike extricated me from the tree, and then he had to take off my harness to free the stick. The branch had some sharp nubs on it, but I fortunately emerged unscathed.

Walking the new Capehart trail.

Springtime brings lots of little critter action in the park, however, and I have been extremely interested. Several times I have run off to chase rabbits or squirrels or voles,earning  the wrath of Heather and her vow not to let me off leash again until the end of September. That’s a long time. She’s been tying me to the belt around her waist again, trying to whip me into behavioral shape before we leave on our summer sojourn.

Listening to speeches at Capehart.

But even Heather had to be impressed with my exemplary behavior at the official opening of the new Capehart trails in Discovery Park. There was a crowd there, with food and speeches and a lot of kids and other dogs around, and I just laid calmly on the ground, taking everything in.  When Heather said I was the best dog there, she wasn’t just whistling Dixie.

Chloe Enjoys Her Spring Break

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I just got back from a wonderful spring vacation. Mike and Heather took off to a wedding back east, and I got to stay with three of my favorite people, Caroline, David and Charlie. Caroline and David had to go out of town that last few days my guys were away, so my longtime walking and throwing partner Charlie volunteered to step into the void. I had never stayed with Charlie before, and I know he’s stingy with treats, but I figured it would be better than sleep-away doggie jail, so I went along with the idea.

I visited Caroline and David first. There were a few whimpers of disappointment when Heather and Mike first left, but I settled in nicely as soon as I verified the whereabouts of all my all of my favorite toys from my last stay. Caroline and David are getting a dachshund puppy in May, so she’s stocking up on new stuff. I helped them break in her new Chuckit! launcher in the back yard and at Ella Bailey Park, which is just down the block and up a flight of stairs. Caroline didn’t want me running away, so she did not fling it as hard or as far as Heather or Charlie do, but her arm was getting sore. I had more fun with David, playing ball and running around in the fenced back yard.

But I was excited when Charlie came to Caroline’s house, hauled away all my luggage and food and took me with him in his car! I had been to Charlie’s apartment before, but staying with him was a new adventure. Although he didn’t give me nearly enough treats, forgot to hand over my usual 10 a.m. Frozen PBB and ran out of my veggies, eggs AND broth on the last day, I still  had fun. Charlie took me on at least three walks a day, he gave me extra bananasto make up for the lack of veggies, and he didn’t make me sleep in my crate. I slept on in my bed or on my pillows every night, and sometimes Charlie let me hop into his bed. It used to be Mike and Heather’s futon, so it still smelled vaguely like them.  Since it wasn’t too high off the floor and there was plenty of room, I made myself comfortable..

The most excitement I had with Charlie was walking through the area near his apartment building where a giant crane fell, killing four people. We were there barely an hour before it happened., and that near-brush with death in the city was a lot scarier than any danger posed by various mules, bears or cougars out at my foothills getaway!  I decided I prefer to live out in the residential neighborhoods, where the buildings aren’t as tall and fewer people and bicycles use the sidewalks. I like my space, please.

On the last two days I stayed with Charlie, I went to work with him. He hustled me into his car and we drove to to the car dealership where he’s in charge of advertising. He brought my small peanut bed into his office, and I just slept in that or on the floor next to his desk all day, dozing and catching some rays, always on my best behavior. Charlie said that unless someone walked into his office and saw me, nobody would have known I was there. I had been hoping to work myself into some marketing campaign as a dealer mascot, or even  help the salesmen improve their closing strategies for new-car sales, but that did not materialize. I’ll just have to wait until next time, since I’m sure my exemplary behavior earned me a return visit. I’m confident that with more practice and coaching, Charlie will be able to minimize his shortcomings in hospitality.

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Chloë Waltzes Through Spring

Guitar in tree

Ah, it’s finally spring, my favorite time of year. Warmer weather means better sleeping (not too hot, not too cold), tulips to knock over in the garden, colorful, green-on-green landscapes and the sweetest grass of the year, even on days when it isn’t 4/20 (I prefer the edibles!).

I’ve seen some neat things on our spring walks, too. In Discovery Park, my everyday trek, one afternoon we came upon an impromptu art installation. Some aspiring Christo had tied an old, string-less and gaily painted acoustic guitar to a tree limb near the bluff. When a breeze blew wind off the Sound, the guitar spun on the rope it hung by, twisting around and around until the rope was so taut that the guitar paused for a moment and reversed direction, spinning the other way until the twisted rope was once again ready to change direction. And so it went, round and round, for several days, until (I suspect) the rope broke, sending guitar to ground. It unfortunately disappeared before I had the chance to give it a good sniff to determine its origin. While park authorities discourage such artistic expression, I personally hope the artist has more outdoor art in store.

Resting in Arboretum gazebo

Springtime encouraged us to go further afield for Sunday walks with Charlie. We visited the Washington Park Arboretum, which is one of my favorite spots, even though I rarely get to play ball there. It has lots of neat things to smell, however, and usually many squirrels running around to grab my attention. While I enjoyed all the spring blossoms this time, I did wish Mike, Heather and my good pal Charlie allowed me off leash to chase the squirrels for just a few minutes. Maybe next time.

The following Sunday we visited Woodland Park, where I had not been so long that I barely remembered it. Even though it’s surrounded by traffic, this park had more squirrels and rabbits than I had ever seen in one place before. It also had a big dog park that I managed to navigate around relatively unnoticed by other dogs, as well as the official Seattle Rose Garden, which looked like a great spot to play fetch. Unfortunately, there were just too many people around, even without a rose to be seen.

Seattle Rose Garden reflecting pool

Nice lawn, though. I can see us coming back in June to stop and smell the roses.

 

 

 

 

 

Chloë Tops 20

Chloe’s Crown

Maybe we should just do away with this “annual physical” thing. I feel great, and yet every single time Dr. Aimee, my personal physician, manages to find something wrong with me. Usually it’s an ear infection, but Heather has been trying hard to keep them clean, which means weekly swabbings and more cheese treats for me. At my previous annual physical, she discovered the chipped tooth that led to my shiny titanium crown. This year, she zeroed in on my skin, dry and flaking in spots.

But that was hardly the worst news to come out of this yearly exercise. Even harder to take than the heartbreak of psoriasis was the mandatory weigh-in, which did not turn out well from my standpoint: 20.13 pounds, a gain of more than three pounds in the past year, which does seem like a lot. Maybe the scale malfunctioned, just more fake news.

Poised and ready for the doctor

But I ask you: Do I look heavy? Personally, while I am forced to admit that a few gray hairs sprinkle my back, I’m not seeing any signs of middle-age paunch down below. In fact, I’m leaner and in better shape than most dachshunds half my age. Maybe I’m just starting to take after my brothers Frank and Stanley, a late bloomer into the imposing physique of a  big-boned gal from Washington State.

Hospital anxiety

Dr. Aimee, who a year ago set my target weight at 18.5 pounds, told Mike and Heather that we’d consider 20 pounds or so as my new normal. Even with that reassurance, however, Mike immediately cut back my twice-a-day rations: Now I get 5 of the special Hills Oral Care “meatballs” instead of 6 at each meal. “At least until things stabilize,” he promised me, anticipating my opposition to this latest menu change. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Chloë Nixes the Locks

Herons roost above Ship Canal.

Last week Heather and Mike made me walk all the way down to the Ship Canal and back. The walk was OK, although I would have preferred a walk with less walking and more ball-throwing. It was the destination that I could do without.

My first objection would be the birds. The great blue herons have moved their local rookery from Kiwanis Ravine across the railroad tracks to an alder grove right next to the Ship Canal walkway. In early spring, lots of birds nest and hunt there. So graceful in the air, when roosting in the trees these heron are obnoxiously noisy and poop like crazy, making the wet walkway a slimy white mess. A lime-green rental bicycle left next to the canal looked like a ghost. Mike wanted to take a picture but didn’t want to stop to do it. Just walking through it so low to the ground made me feel creepy. From now on I’m going to call it the Shit Canal.

Digging in at the Locks

And that wasn’t the worst of this walk. After we passed the pooping birds, Heather tried to drag me closer and closer to the locks and their spillway, where water was gushing through, loudly and forcefully, a mini Niagara. I could feel the mist on my nose. I dug in. No way I was going to walk over the locks into Ballard, as I had reluctantly done many times over with just token protest. This time, there was too much rushing water.  Finally Heather relented, and I steered us uphill, away from the canal and across the footbridge over the railroad tracks.

Maybe Mike and Heather better rethink any planned summer boat rides. I don’t go near the water.

Ship Canal looking west from Locks.