Chloë on Guard

Chloë shows off her protective sock

The pain from my recent injury didn’t last long. As you can see from the video above, within a couple of days I ditched the protective sock (shown in the photo) and got back to running around as usual, even romping in the cemetery with my little buddy Schatzi.

Chloë hogs Schatzi’s toys.

Just a few days later, Mike and Heather went away again (!), so I went over to Schatzi’s house for another staycation. Just like last time, I took over all of her toys (hers are much better than mine), and we played a lot of Bed Bingo, when Schatzi occupies my bed and I take over hers. Observing proper social distancing, we did not sleep in the same bed together, and for the most part we dined separately, although there was one night when Schatzi tried to get at my food, and I had to growl at her.

Something was different about this visit, however. Schatzi, who just turned one year old, went into heat for the first time a few days before I got there. Since I had been spayed when I was just six months old (Heather being a  staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood), I wasn’t able to offer my young pal any first-dog advice on what to expect or how to deal with it, but I was able to perform a crucial function nonetheless: Guarding her against any slobbering male dogs who might be hanging around the property, drooling over my fruitful friend. Marley from across the street seemed to be sniffing around more than usual, but after I gave him a hard stare, he kept his distance. I must have done a good job while I was there, because when I left the premises, Schatzi’s virginity was intact. Not on my watch, boys!

Schatzi contemplates her life in her idol’s bed.

Listening intently on the trading floor.

The other highlight of my stay was going to Caroline’s financial adviser office in Magnolia Village. Everyone there is always so nice to Schatzi and me, even at this difficult, frenzied time when the stock market was crashing all around them!  Still, just by sitting in her office for a little while, I was able to pick up some valuable insight about what to do with my portfolio. Unlike certain members of the U.S. Senate,  however, I have resisted the urge to cash in on my inside knowledge. But Schatzi, with her reckless youth and feelings of  invincibility, may not be so inclined. As our illustrious president likes to say, we’ll see what happens.

Schatzi soaks in the financial news.

 

 

 

 

Chloë Injured in the Line of Duty

Returning to the scene of the crime.

I could tell from well down the hill that this dog would be trouble. I tried to pull Mike in another direction, but we were on a narrow trail near the top of the South Meadow, and the dog was standing right next to our path. His person sat to his left, holding his leash.  He wasn’t that big, but I wanted no part of him, going as far to my left as I could, so Mike was between me and the other dog. He was actually cute, in a Benji kind of way, and Mike thought he was harmless, so he spoke to the dog, told him we were nice guys, and extended his palm for sniffing.

That move backfired, however, as the dog lunged at Mike and barked. I yanked Mike in the opposite direction to save him (and get out of the way myself), but as I dug in my paws, a sharp shard of rock shot up into the bottom of my foot and up between my toes. While the barking dog’s owner mumbled apologies, I hustled Mike up the trail to where it intersects with the paved park road. Only when I knew we were in the clear did the pain hit me, and from that point I limped home, hurting every time I put my front right foot down. Mike stopped to check my paw a couple of times, but there wasn’t much he could see or do. I stumbled home.

It’s the right front, doc.

Heather tried to remove the shard using her high-powered flashlight and  tweezers, but to no avail. When she still couldn’t get it out the next morning, it was off to see Dr. Kimmel, my personal physician. After she examined my paw, she sent me right to the dreaded Back Room, where all the really nasty stuff takes place. Plied with many treats, however, I held my squeals to a minimum, and the sharp little prick finally came out, making me feel better immediately.

Luckily, I didn’t need stitches or even a bandage. The only special instruction Dr. Kimmel gave Heather was to cover my paw when we walked in the park, so dirt didn’t get up between my toes. Heather disdained bandaging it, opting instead for fastening an old sock from her rag bin around my right front paw with rubber bands. I wore it on our walks for three days, but on the third day it fell off and dropped somewhere along our path. Maybe some dorky rodent found it and used it for nesting material, but I didn’t care. I was about done with it, anyway.

 

Chloë Makes a Getaway

Reflecting on her recent birthday.

Mike and Heather took me out to my foothills getaway last week, but I could tell from the get-go that things would not be the same on this trip. I knew it as soon as it took so long to get there, since roads were washed out by recent rains and nobody remembered to tell us about it. Heather had to backtrack and take additional winding roads to get us there. My stomach was a bit upset when we finally arrived, and then things got even worse.

Mister Fuzz on the prowl.

Nobody consulted me about the major renovations going on inside, but renovations are well underway, and all of the bedrooms and bathrooms but one are in the midst of a major overhaul. That meant that all of us had to sleep in the same bedroom. And by ALL of us, I mean Mike, Heather, me, Smokey and Pumpkin , the two dogs who live there, and the cat, Mister Fuzz. (Luckily, Pepe the fat burro wasn’t in there with us.) True, I did have my own travel crate to myself, but I was constantly uncomfortable sleeping in such proximity to Mister Fuzz, who parked himself under the bed , not six feet away, and pretty much refused to come out as long as anyone was in the room.  Over the weekend, I had a few long-distance face-offs with Fuzz when he  dared to venture downstairs to eat, but we never tangled the whole time. Judging from how huge he has gotten, that was probably a good idea., but I felt yucky enough to be so near him at night.

Smokey likes to watch.

But Fuzz was much less a bother to me than that buttinski Australian shepherd Smokey, who was constantly in my face all weekend and doesn’t at all understand the word “No!” from man nor beast. I know he’s still a puppy, OK, but I began thinking he’s just not that smart.  He he barked at the TV screen whenever the Allstate commercial with Tina Fey and the Mayhem guy (Dean Gerard Winters) acting like he’s a Saint Bernard puppy was on. I kind of understood him barking at the real pug that appears in the commercial, but mostly he barked at the actor barking like a dog. Maybe Smokey identified with what the dog character labels “lack of impulse control.” I feel sorry for Pumpkin, who has to put up with Smokey’s goofball behavior every day.

The other thing about Smokey—and I really hate bringing this up—is his pooping prowess. Smokey rings a bell when he has to go out. Cute, very cute. What’s not so cute is how much Smokey poops: It could be three or four times on each walk, with three or four puny poops each time, one at a time, usually with a few steps in between. I kid you not. And poor Heather, walking behind him with multiple poop bags, trying to keep track of where his last deposit landed while bending down to scoop the previous one. On our last long walk of the weekend on the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail, my pity for Heather intensified, as poop got caught in Smokey’s ample butt fur and Heather tried to clean it off with a handful of fallen leaf residue. I tried to get Mike to take a picture, but he declined.

Birthday treats for Chloë.

Anyway, for the first time ever I  was happy to get away from the getaway when we packed up and left  on Monday morning, and even happier when I got home and a package arrived from Syracuse. It was actually addressed to Mike and Heather, who were celebrating an anniversary of something or other, but the same box from my aunt Susi also contained a fine selection of gourmet treats for me. I’m glad someone thinks I deserved something special for my recent 10th  birthday, and these are exactly the kind of special, expensive, calorie-laden treats that Mike and Heather would never buy for me. Thanks, aunts Susie and Debby; I’m sure these highly appreciated and anticipated treats will be doled out prudently (with Mike in charge, my heirs might be enjoying them someday—if I had any heirs, that is). And thanks also to Cleo and Bear, my aunts’ cats, who sent me a nice birthday card in the same package. I must caution them, however, that while I may have reached a certain level of detente with Mister Fuzz, when I reach Syracuse this summer I will still look forward to chasing them. Start training and be ready.

 

Chloë Hits Double Figures

It’s hard to believe, I know, but I celebrated my 10th birthday this week. Ten years! It seems like only yesterday that I was rolling around with Frank, Stanley and the rest of my littermates up in Monroe, WA. I wonder what has become of them all. I never hear from anybody anymore; the rest of my Cousins’ Club must have marked me lousy.

Chloë (center) and two of her sisters, 4 weeks old.

So at 10, I’m still feeling—and often behaving—pretty puppy-like. I’m as stubborn as ever, and as apt to take off after a squirrel or scarf up mud from the ground as I’ve ever been. I’m spry enough to jump in and out of my camp chair several times a day and play fetch for 50 or more throws at a time—if I happen to be in the mood and there are no interesting distractions nearby, that is. My weight holds steady at a solid 20 pounds, which means Mike can’t cut my daily rations even though he’ like to. I have a few gray hairs, sure, but none around my muzzle yet. And that spot between my shoulders where I seem to be losing some hair? No problem; if it gets any worse, Mike will give me a combover when he grooms me before dinner.

Chloë at 10.

Although I received no birthday cake and nary a  card in the mail, I did enjoy a little recognition that day. Mike and Heather’s friend Kevin from Syracuse sent Mike an email: “I see on my calendar that Wednesday is Chloë’s birthday. When I mentioned it to my cat Tucker, he yawned, wondering why anyone would celebrate the birth of a dog. But tell her that I wish her a happy birthday.”  What a magnanimous guy! I might have to pay Tucker a visit this summer and give him a growl.

My Aunt Susie in Syracuse sent her regards via telephone, and contributed all the gourmet chewy treats I enjoyed all week. There was also a nice voice mail from Yankee, the doodle dog who belongs to my pal Juneau George. I want to get up to Alaska to visit him before I’m deemed “too old to travel” or some other nonsense.

Unwrapping her present.

Even Mike and “No Presents” Heather came through. They gave me extra treats all day, and after my cheese-laden dinner that evening they delivered the piece de resistance: a double-barrel gift of a Racket Raccoon Mushabelly AND a gourmet dog chew  stick made from 100 percent, open-pasture, grass-fed beefhide. The chewy treat was tempting, but there was no doubt which one I squealed for: There is nothing like a fresh Mushabelly.

Although this Racket Raccoon Mushabelly was hard to get out of his box, Heather finally helped me extricate him, and when we hit the floor together Mike started his stopwatch to see how long it would take me to break Mr. Racket Raccoon.

 

Beefhide tastes so good!

Luckily for you, my faithful readers, I won’t subject you to every second of my tussle with the aptly named Racket. Mike soon realized that Racket shut up whenever I wasn’t applying constant pressure to his belly, so he stuck the chewy stick in my mouth and earned a respite for the six minutes or so it took me to grind up and inhale the gourmet chew. I must admit I enjoyed it, and I would have gladly gobbled down a second and third, but when none was offered I turned my attention back to Racket and proceeded to throttle him but good.  It didn’t take long. By the 27 minute and 43 second mark on Mike’s stopwatch, I had Racket’s innards scattered around the living room rug, his infernal voice box silent by his side.

Throttling Racket Raccoon; Innards to the left of me, voice box on the right, stuck in the middle with Chlo,

Mike dutifully picked up Racket’s innards and stuffed them back inside his torso, and the next morning Heather sewed up him back together and gave him to me, alleviating much of my angst over his disappearance. I chased Racket around the house, just like I do with Lamby and Wiffie, but without his constant cackle his appeal to me will soon wear off, just like it did with all my previous Mushabellies after I silenced them. I never pull any of them out of my toy boxes anymore.

Oh well. I guess I’ll just have to wait until my buddy Penny returns from Florida in March. She always has some fresh Mushabellies at her house.

 

 

Chloë Watches Some TV

Chloë’s chair

The rainy weather continued. I’m getting a little tired of it, actually. There tends to be less ball-playing and more hurried walking when it’s raining and windy outside. Heather has less patience with me, too.

I made the most of it by demanding more play time inside the house, mostly knocking Wiffie around and getting Mike to play tug  of war, with my stuffed toy Lamby as “tugee.” Getting my jaws around Lamby’s nose and throttling him good is lots of fun, and so is getting Mike to yank on the handle at Lamby’s other end and squeeze it repeatedly, making a squeaky racket to encourage my growls. Arrrrrrrr!

Resting under Lamby’s watchful eye.

There was also plenty of watching television going on this month. I got Heather to move my personal camp chair into the living room, right between Mike’s and Heather’s swivel chairs and directly in front of the TV set. I was hoping to see some Law & Order reruns or even some NCIS, but all I seemed to get were lots of basketball games and impeachment hearings, both of which seem to unleash similar loud words of disgust toward the TV screen. BORING, I say.

Watching the detectives.

At least I managed to get my whole pack comfortably ensconced in the same room, where I can keep one eye on them and the other on the kitchen, so I  know if any potential snacks enter the room. Or  if I felt tired,  I could just snooze until dinner was announced. Then either Mike or Heather gently slid me  off the chair and onto the floor. A stretch or two on the dining room rug and into the kitchen for grooming and dinner, followed by a return to my chair while Mike and Heather are eating.  Time enough for the PBS Newhour and another snooze before bedtime.

Chloë Loves the Snow

Poised for the next throw.

We finally got some snow this week. Areas at higher elevations got a lot of it, but here at sea level we only got enough to coat the trees, meadows and parade ground in the park one afternoon. There was just enough  snow for kids to sled down the hill below the chapel (a must to avoid, as far as I’m concerned) and just enough for me to lose my ball several times. But hey, we still have that same blue ball today, so it wasn’t lost for too long before it was found. Digging around for it in the snow was fun, too,  so we all enjoyed our snowy walk until I took off into a deep thicket and got my leash caught on blackberry stalks, something that hadn’t happened to me in years. After much futile calling, Heather finally found me, waded in and untangled me. That was the end of my snow day freedom. It was fun while it lasted.

Bringing back the ball.

Chloë of the North.

 

The next afternoon the weather changed. Suddenly the sun came out, and there was a brilliant sunset.

South Meadow, Discovery Park.

Of the winter’s toughest storm to date, all that remained in the park was this giant snowball. I surveyed it only from afar. That glow was creepy.

Giant Snowball.

 

Chloë Revisits the Rock

Fetching along the hatchery path.

Nearly every day since Christmas it’s been “raining like stink,” as Heather likes to say, but we went for a walk every afternoon anyway. Most days we walked in the park, but sometimes we walked to the library or Magnolia Village and back instead. On a couple of days we caught a break: The rain stopped or slowed to a drizzle, or the sun broke through for an hour or two. Then the wind picked up and the rain started again. Even when wasn’t  raining, the ground stayed  muddy.  The towels stationed near the front door to wipe me down when I come inside get quite a workout. So do the washing machine (for the towels) and eventually the bathtub (for me).

One day it stopped raining long enough for us to drive to Carkeek Park. I’m not sure we had been there sincelast spring, when my good pal Charlie moved to St. Louis. Not only were there good trails and new scents to explore, but we also visited two of my favorite places for fetch: the path to the salmon hatchery and “the Rock,” where Charlie and I perfected our carom toss and return.

Chloë on the Rock in better days.

They tried valiantly, but neither Heather nor Mike could execute this delicate maneuver as well as Charlie. Even though he never would never give me any treats (except of course the bagsful he gifted me at Christmas and for my birthday), I miss Charlie. He was a skilled and dependable thrower. Now, just like the Mariners, I’m stuck here in Seattle with Triple-A level hurlers. I guess I’ll have to make do.