Category Archives: A Dog's Life

Chloë Changes Her Bed

The audition: Head on bookcase, old bed close by.

My peanut bed, a.k.a “the little girl” bed, was getting pretty frayed on the bottom. It’s almost 10 years old, and so am I! It’s time we move to the next facet of our lives. Sleep will be even more important for us seniors!

When Schatzi stayed with us  few weeks ago, I really liked her bed, and when I stayed at Charlie’s house in August, I really liked Logan’s bed, and he wasn’t even there. They smelled good, and they were comfortable, so I just made myself at home.

So when Heather and Mike were food shopping at Fred Meyer the other day and walked past a giant display of dog beds on sale, Heather didn’t hesitate. It wasn’t quite what she was looking for, but it was close enough. She went for a blue one.

Eyeing the bedding improvements: bed cover and pillow.

She flopped it on the living room floor in the spot where my old bed used to be. The peanut bed moved around the corner, a couple of feet away, for two weeks, so I still had a choice. Just in case the new one wasn’t to my liking, I could always go back to what I knew.

So I tried it out. The blue bed was much roomier than my peanut bed and had higher pillows around the edge, but it didn’t get my nose quite high enough, and I started to use the adjacent bookcase as a pillow. In addition, the plush interior cushioning felt just a little too warm on my body. I briefly considered going back to the peanut bed.

All ready for a power nap.

That’s when Heather swooped in. She put a pillowcase over the bottom cushion, so the temperature inside the bed became just right. She put another pillowcase over a small camp pillow retrieved from a closet downstairs to make a new headrest for me. A couple of photos in the bookcase had to be displaced, but I didn’t know those people, so it was no skin off my nose.

Now I am extremely happy with my new accommodation, and really proud of Heather, the way she swung into action and demonstrated her hidden homemaking skills. Way to go, Heath! And since around here  we never like to throw anything away, Heather applied some new silver duct tape on the bottom of the peanut bed and placed it on the back seat of her car, where the two of us can roll on together for years to come.

Chloë Entertains Her Pals

Chloë (center) with her pal Charlie

I spent  most of the fall settling back into my old routines after the three-month journey to the East and back. I played a lot of Wiffie with Mike and fetch with Heather, although she declared my favorite spot, Chloë’s Lane, off limits after I ran away into the dense underbrush in pursuit of rabbits once too often.  I can’t blame her, but it’s just the hound in me.

So instead of visiting friends and being catered to, I’ve been the one playing host the past few weeks. First we had a long weekend visit from my best pal Charlie, who came all the way from St. Louis just to see me and eat some of Seattle’s best pizza. Charlie arrived just after Halloween, which may explain whey he dressed like some kind of black-clad commando when we took a walk in Discovery Park. When Mike took our picture, we blended well together.

Schatzi in her car seat

I also spent a lot of time with Schatzi, the dachshund puppy who belongs to Caroline, my personal financial adviser and sometime hotelier. Schatzi got a lot longer over the three months I was away, and each week she’s putting on  weight. Eventually she’ll weigh more than I do, but for now, I’m the alpha dog and plan to keep it that way. She gets in my face a lot, but I can still flip her over by her nose if she gets too bothersome.

Over the fall we took several long walks with Schatzi. When we went to the military cemetery I tried showing her how to fetch, but mostly she wanted to chase me, not the ball. We’ll work on it some more next time.

 

Dachshund Wrestling Federation.

Amazingly, since I generally don’t want to be around other dogs, especially puppies, I really like Schatzi. Two weeks ago Caroline and David dropped her off at our house with her crate and food, and she stayed with us for a whole weekend. Even though Schatzi arrived with one front paw bandaged because of a nail-clipping accident, we had a lot of fun hanging out, walking in the park and wrestling in the living room. Plus, she brought her own treats and dog bed with her, and I liked them all. Sure, she pooped in the house once and whined a bit at night, but as far as I’m concerned, Schatzi can stay with us anytime. I’m looking forward to a lot more of this.

 

 

 

 

 

Chloë Finds a Home on the Range

Just because I detailed some of the hazards of the road in my previous post, don’t get the idea that I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, after Heather learned to roll down my window whe we slowed down, I had all kinds of fun sticking my nose out and sniffing what this country is all about. It was interesting. One day I was herding buffalo…

Get along, li’l doggies, get along! Wind Cave National Park, SD

The next day it was cows. We rounded ’em up in the Black Hills, and not a moment too soon. Within a half hour the sky turned as black as the hills and a sudden and torrential rainstorm drove us from the road. The cattle were home by then.

Heading west, nearly every afternoon brought a spectacular sunset in the  western skies.

We drove and walked through high desert and high mountain passes. (No large lakes or ocean, though, as I refuse to walk near waves.)

I loved those wide-open spaces.  It’s nice to be home, but I’m ready to hit the road again.

Raring to roam.

 

 

Chloë Escapes Dangers on the Road

Our summer trip was fun, but it was not without a few difficult situations. And I won’t even count my continued frustration with chasing down my Syracuse aunts’ cats.

Devil’s Tower, WY

For instance, when we stayed in East Glacier, MT, for three nights, every time I stepped outside for a pee, a pack of large neighborhood dogs descended upon me, intent on sniffing my butt, or worse. Heather or Mike managed to shoo them away every time, but still. They made me nervous.

In Syracuse, things doubled down. I took two trips to the vet with an ear infection and two drenchings from thunderstorms as I waited in the car while Mike and Heather ate pork and drank beer inside.  Did I complain?  NO. Syracuse was also where I also suffered the only tick bite on the trip, leaving a large, hard bump on my chin. It got a little bigger and hurt for a week, but then it went away and I did not come down with Lyme disease, as Heather had feared.

Flooded highway in Valentine NWR, NE

On to Canada, where two large dogs leaped upon me while I was minding my own business on the side of a hiking trail. I had always been told all Canadians are nice, but those two were not at all nice. Their owner was a little cranky, too.

Danger stalked me from coast to coast. In Massachusetts, I had to survive some choppy seas on a boat ride and a nest of yellow jackets, the latter of which sent me to the doggie emergency room with multiple stings around my mouth. In Pennsylvania, gnawing on an animal carcass might have brought infection or even poison into my system; at least, that’s what Heather said, although she seems prone to voicing worst-case scenarios.

Milwaukee Railroad Trail, MT

The western part of the trip was no less stressful for me. In St. Louis, it was so hot and humid that I sometimes refused to walk. In northwestern Nebraska, standing water on the road came up as high as my window when Heather drove the car through; I thought I was in a submarine. In Montana, thunderstorms brought rain and hail so hard that we had to pull off the road for a while. When conditions died down, we went hiking on an old railroad trail with tunnels so long that they were totally dark in the middle. Bring a flashlight next time, Mike.

OK, some troubling stuff happened to me, sure, but it could have been much worse. Look on the bright side: In nearly three months on the road, I never got lost, never barked at or ran after a large animal, and never tried to bite anyone.  In addition, everyone treated me like a queen. When did you say we are leaving again?

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, WA

Chloë Visits Friends Back East

On Roaring Brook, Lowville NY.

After nearly three months on the road, we finally got home to Seattle a couple of weeks ago. We had lots of fun, but all of us were glad to be home and sleeping in our own beds. (Not to mention being able to chase Wiffie around the house, play fetch off-leash and burrow into bed with Heather, all off limits on the trip.)

Conferring with Heather about the seating plan.

Sometimes, I admit, it was tough on me, being hustled in and out of my harness in the car four or five times a day. On the other hand, as long as we were driving, everyone in the pack was together, which is always OK with me.

On the way back to Seattle we visited a lot of Mike’s and Heather’s friends and family, which was a lot more fun than staying in hotels. Everybody we stayed with was just so nice to me, going out of his or her way to make me as comfortable as possible, which is important to me. We went on many walks to new and exciting places, too.  Sometimes things got a little too exciting, as you’ll read about below. So I wanted to take a minute to thank all of my hosts for a job well done, and I hope they will all visit me in Seattle sometime soon.

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We were on the road a long time. After leaving Syracuse, first we spent a week or so in Canada and a couple of nights with my pal Penny in the Adirondacks. Then we wound our way through New England and northern Pennsylvania. All those narrow, twisting roads we took made Heather slow down the car, which made me start to whine in the back seat. She and Mike finally figured out that I was trying to tell them to open the window in the backseat so I could sniff the countryside. That’s all l I ever wanted with my whining–unless I needed a bathroom break or a snack, of course. I only whine for good reason, and it’s always a fine whine.

Letting it all hang out the rear window.

When they moved my bed closer to the rear window, things got even better. Soon I was sticking nose, my head, my neck and eventually half my body outside the car with reckless abandon every time we slowed to 30 mph or less. In fact, a few times Mike got nervous, reached out, grabbed my harness and yanked me back into the car.

Some of my other return trip highlights included hiking in Connecticut with Scott (although I was not treated to any leftovers from their lunch at Ted’s World-Famous Steamed Cheeseburgers). In Boston, I chased geese along the Charles River Esplanade and took a ride up the North River on Gary’s boat. We anchored where the water was calm, I didn’t have to worry about waves, and I could chase sticks unencumbered.

Swimming with Jake, Massachusetts.

A couple of days later, when we visited John and Peggy in Massachusetts, I went swimming again, this time in a pond with a loveable old retriever named Jake. That was fun, and so was running around Jake’s huge, fenced-in back yard when Mike and Heather went off to a wedding. That is, I was having fun until my enthusiastic digging unearthed a nest of yellow jackets, whose stings on my snout sent me to the doggie emergency room and brought Heather and Mike scurrying back from the wedding. I was in bad shape at first (I will spare you the gory details!), but Peggy and John took good care of me, and after the doctor injected me with Benadryl, I felt fine the next morning.

Rob showed me carcasses, Pennsylvania.

From there it was back into the car for the ride home. We drove from New England to northwestern Pennsylvania, where we got a cook’s tour of Warren, Pa., from favorite son Rudy and visited his camp on the Allegheny River. Then we spent a lovely night with Denise and Rob on their bucolic farm north of Pittsburgh. Mike’s friends Dave and Wayne drove up from the Burgh to see us, and Rob cooked lasagna for everyone (I licked a few plates, so I know how good it was.) Next morning Rob took us on a tour of the property and I got to sniff some really cool animal carcasses. Of all the places we walked on the trip, this was my favorite.

At Charlie’s house, St. Louis.

My biggest surprise, though, was when we stopped for a couple of nights in St. Louis, where I enjoyed a reunion with my best pal Charlie. I knew he had moved back there from Seattle just before we left in June, but I had no idea we would be visiting him on this trip. And I was really glad to find out his house was air-conditioned, because it was hot and humid the whole time we were there. I even got to nap in Logan’s bed a few times, much to Logan’s chagrin when he came home a few weeks later.

There’s lots more to tell, but I hear Heather calling me to go for our afternoon walk, and I don’t want to keep her waiting (not prudent!). I’ll continue next time. It’s good to be back.

 

Chloë Finds America Great Again

Great Sacandaga Lake

The final afternoon walk on the Canadian leg of our coast-to-coast excursion didn’t go so well.  While the place—Lemoine Point Conservation Area outside Kingston, ON—had nice, wide trails that kept me away from its Lake Ontario waves, in the middle of a large meadow on our trek, two dogs who were both a lot bigger than me and not at all under the control of their owner leaned far over to where I was lying down on the side of the trail and lunged. Even though they were on leashes, they got pretty close to me. Luckily, Heather reacted quickly and yanked me away by my leash. When I was safely out of harm’s way, she started yelling at the dogs and their owner, who was dragging them away and muttering apologies that Heather wasn’t buying.

Actually, that owner exhibited the kind of me-first behavior usually associated with Americans, and yet here we were in Canada. Apparently bad behavior knows no boundaries.

Chloe chills by the lake,

On the other hand, after we returned to the U.S., everybody from the border patrol agents to people we meet on our walks has been so darn nice to me. Instead of motels, we stayed at the homes of several of Mike’s and Heather’s friends, and every one of them lavished praise and attention on me, telling them how physically fit and well-behaved I am. (Let’s just say I am practiced at the art of deception.)

Our first stop on this part of the trip was with the people I already know the best, my Seattle friends Mike and Carol and my dog buddy Penny, who frequently comes over to our house when everyone except us watches Syracuse games on TV.  Before we arrived at their camp on Great Sacandaga Lake, Mike and Carol were smart enough to hide all of Penny’s Mushabellies (I tend to silence them forever), but I did get to play some Wiffie (I left some pretty good tooth marks on the ball, too).

With Heather, Mike, Carol and Penny at camp.

While we were staying there, Heather went to a local pet and feed store and bought me a new toy of my own, a stuffed one with a squeaker. It was the first new toy I’ve had in quite a while, in fact. And Mike bought himself a sweatshirt and a pair of scissors at America’s first “5 and 10” in Northville, NY.  Apparently the American economy is booming.

Yes, it was great to be back in the U.S.A.

 

 

 

Chloë Hikes Canada, Eh!

Walking in Toronto

Apparently Americans get more of everything in Canada. More poutine and Canadian bacon, for starters. And our dollar is worth about a dollar and a quarter,  making me even more priceless than I am in the USA. I was told an American mile is little more than 1.6 kilometers, but I think it must be more like 3 km, because every time I went for a walk up here, it seemed to take forever. My normal one hour afternoon walk invariably turned into an hour and 20 minutes or more. Even worse, weather reporters kept saying it was 28 or 30 degrees outside, but to me it always felt like it was 90, with the humidity making it even worse. I felt tired and worn out the entire week we were there.

Still, we did explore some areas of Ontario we hadn’t seen on our previous excursions. In Toronto we explored Taylor Creek Park, where we were able to walk on both sides of the creek and the ravine was lush and fairy quiet despite being the middle of the city. Heather wouldn’t let me near the creek, though, because she didn’t want me taking my muddy feet into her sister Robin’s swanky 13th-floor apartment. I had to be on my best behavior while we were there.

Diving into the Humber River.

Walking the plank.

Things were looser when we visited her brother Robert. The stairs to his apartment were steep and slippery, so Heather carried me up and down every time we visited there. Robert went hiking with us, and when we walked along the Humber Valley Heritage Trail, no one prevented me from getting my feet wet and muddy. After all, there were a couple of pink plastic chairs in the river already, so I figured I’d find my own spot to lie down in the water. Didn’t have time for any digging, though. I also had to climb some steep stairs that I ultimately navigated by walking up the rain gutters on the side.

The next day we had our longest hike of the week, to a place with a waterfall called the Forks of the Credit (River), where it was a hilly hour in and another hilly hour back. It must have been pretty strenuous, because we saw several people who turned back before even getting to the falls, and on the way back we passed a mountain biker who had crashed and had to be rescued by what looked like the whole fire department with an ambulance and several other emergency vehicles. We got out of there before anybody started asking questions or checking IDs.

Despite the lengthy walk and excitement, I had a red-letter day: I got many treats, a cup of vanilla ice cream from Heather, and sat on Mike’s lap in the back seat of the car for the whole trip in both directions. Much more than I would have gotten on a Sunday afternoon in the states, eh?