Category Archives: A Dog's Life

Chloë Enters the Condo Market

4-Discovery Park Historic District 9

Officers’ Row

With more mulching and planting around my trail and more water lines along side it, we have feared potential development on Chloe’s Lane for some time. But with all of the houses on Officers’ Row in the park behind it sold for millions, a more affordable alternative has sprouted right at the elbow of my favorite fetch route.

3-Chloe's Lane Condo with Chloe-001

Hut 1, Hut 2

 

Neither Mike, Heather nor my good pal Charlie had a clear explanation of what it was exactly, or who was responsible for it. Whether the work of kids, illegal campers or beer-drinking teens, we’ll probably never know. All I know for certain is that the thing is in my way, and I want it gone by the time I come back from vacation.

 

 

 

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Chloë Mentors Merrie

Merrie

I know it’s hard to envision me as a role model for anyone. I see myself more as a Charles Barkley, don’t-call-me-a-role-model type. But Merrie, the Basset hound who lives down my street, really needs my help if she is ever going to mature into a well-behaved, well-rounded dog. When they put it that way, I just couldn’t say no. So Heather and I and Merrie and her owner Jane all went to the park one morning for our first lesson. We ran around, and they did a lot of talking. I thought it went well, but I could see there’s a lot of work left to do.

Learning a thing or two.

Merrie wants to romp around and play with other dogs, but she doesn’t understand how to do it. When she was young, she never got socialized with other pups like I did in my puppy kindergarten.  Now, as an adult, Merrie is big, but she doesn’t know her own strength. Dealing with her girth is fine when she and I are just running around on the parade ground, but when she wants to pounce and sit on me, that’s not OK, and I had to let her know it.. I could have nipped at her and bared my teeth, but I figured if I just rolled over on my back and showed her my belly, she would get that same message in a gentler way. It worked, too.

Ready for action

Moving forward, if I can just get Merrie to reign in her enthusiasm a little, we’ll be good together as frolickers for years to come. Heather and I plan to resume her lessons as soon as we return from summer vacation. We all have too many things to do before we leave to make any real progress at this point. Baby steps.

Chloë Matriculates

Practice makes perfect.

Shortly before the spring quarter classes ended, Mike, Heather and I  had the chance to walk around campus at the University of Washington, and I managed to soak up enough atmosphere to earn my advanced degree in fetchology.

Here’s an excerpt of my thesis presentation.

 

I was proud to do so well in quickly adapting to a new campus setting. All those Huskies on campus have nothing on me. They bowed down to me and the orange Syracuse collar I wear around my neck. I bow to no one.

Chloë Has a Crowning Achievement

I realize I have been laggard in reporting on the second phase of my oral surgery, but the news was good. My personal dentist, Dr. Evan Crocker, did a masterful job when installing a shiny new titanium crown over the chipped tooth that resulted in last month’s root canal procedure. Check it out here in these photos, graciously provided by the Mercer Island Vetinerary Clinic, as I am unlikely to slow down enough to show it to you myself. You have to fold back my upper lip pretty far to get a good view.

My new crown on the top row.

A close-up view. What a shine!

Unfortunately, Dr. Crocker also discovered a little growth on the gum line beneath the crown that he missed the last time, so he cut it out and sent it out for biopsy, just to make sure it’s benign. We await the results, but nobody seems too worried about it. Besides, if I have to go back to Mercer Island before my six-month checkup, I’ll get to see all my new good buddies there, including Justin, the nice guy with shiny blue nail polish that goes well with my shiny new crown.

Chloë Hits Her Target

Figure 1: Chloe Weight Chart May 2018

As we all knew would happen, my food honeymoon is over. After nine glorious weeks of uber-rations, I reached my target weight (18.5 pounds) at my most recent vet visit, when I weighed in at 18.69 pounds. That visit was the one after the last one on the accompanying chart (Figure 1). On that very day, twirling his imaginary handlebar mustache like the mean Simon Legree we know him to be, Mike immediately cut me back to his unilaterally imposed and strictly observed meager limits. Oh, the agony of it all! The only saving grace right now is the extra broth Mike is adding to all my meals, since I have to eat softened kibble until Dr. Crocker installs the cap on my recently root-canaled chipped tooth. (Meaning more sedation and great dreams to come, no doubt!)

Double dose of goo.

While I was sad when my bulk-up menu ended, I will always savor the glorious nine weeks that it was! I gained almost two pounds in nothing flat. I can see how some members of the dachshund breed can get precipitously porky. Not me. . .at least not as long as Mike and Heather are paying attention, anyway. I’d settle for some middle ground.

I also had a great visit with my buddy Lynn, who came over for some play and cuddles one evening when Mike and Heather went out to watch the first-place Seattle Mariners. I always go absolutely nuts when Lynn comes over. She really knows how to talk “dog talk” in a higher pitch, if you know what I mean.  When she’s around I always get plenty of attention, plenty of play and plenty of treats. Heather even moved my big, round toy pillow back to the middle of the living room, so Lynn and I could get at them easier while she was here. So we did a lot of playing, upstairs and downstairs, too. But the best parts of Lynn’s visit were cuddling on the couch, jumping up on her lap and biting her nose. Every time I look in her eyes, it’s true love. Thanks for coming over, Lynn!

Big, round toy pillow makes brief reappearance.

The downside of the week was yet another ear infection, this time in my “good ” right ear. Heather and Dr. Kimmel each took a bunch of ugly black goo out of my ear and squirted some soothing white goo in.  I don’t like it one bit; when Heather says the word “ears,” I run. But after this now-daily ordeal is done, Heather gives me cheese. Not the little bits of chopped-up mozzarella sticks Mike gives me, but thick pieces of smoked Gouda. Less goo, more Gouda, dat’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout! For that level of payoff, sign me up for an ear massage every day.

Chloë Interprets Her Dreams

Hanging out with Mr. Monkey

Just as I am while I am awake, when asleep I am a vocal dreamer. Rare is the night that I don’t startle my crate-mate Mr. Monkey and even at times Mike and Heather with my yips, whines, low growls and, at the least, gentle snoring.

There’s no doubt that I dream. Noted pet behaviorist Patricia McConnell accepts the concept of dog dreaming, but wonders what we’re dreaming about. She argues that, like humans, dogs probably dream about recent events through a funnel of memory-processing and consolidation. “Thus, it is reasonable to speculate that our dogs are dreaming about something that might have happened during the day, but not necessarily in context. (Herding the rabbit they saw in the woods in the afternoon, but this time in a sheepdog trial in the snow under a purple sky?)” McConnell writes on her blog, The Other End of the Leash.

I bring this up now because of my recent oral surgery, for which Dr. Crocker, who otherwise seems like a nice man, had to put me under anaesthesia. See, despite the anti-anxiety medication Mike administered twice before forcing me into the car and taking me on what could have been the last ride of my life (and they didn’t even let me sit in the front seat!), I  was afraid. Not of having my tooth drilled, filed and filled. I was afraid of the nightmares I was certain to have while I was off in another dimension.

“Do dogs have nightmares?” McConnell asked in the same post. “It seems very likely. Our experiences, the biological continuum between all mammals, and the emotional content of REM dreams, suggest that they do. So many of us have seen and heard dogs growl and whine while dreaming. I’ve had clients whose dogs woke up in a panic, sometimes even running across the room and trying to hide. Science teaches us to be ‘parsimonious’ in our explanations of what we observe, and surely it is simpler to explain what we observe, and what we’ve learned about neurobiology, to assume that dogs do indeed have nightmares until evidence appears that tells us that they don’t. I wouldn’t bet on that happening, myself. But it is also probably true that most of a dog’s dreams aren’t nightmares, and are either pleasant, or just bizarre.”

I considered myself lucky when my hours of stupor produced only these wonderful thoughts.

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When I awoke, I was still a little woozy, but Mike and Heather were there to greet me and told me I had done a great job. And there was good news: Dr. Crocker managed to save my tooth with a root-canal procedure instead of extracting it. In a couple of weeks, I get to go back to finish the job, putting a permanent crown on the tooth and enjoying another few minutes of drug-induced dreaming. This time I’m looking forward to it.

 

Chloë Unharnessed and Harnessed Again

Chloë models her new harness.

Heather told Mike weeks ago that something was wrong with the harness that goes over my head before we take our long walk of the day, or when I’m outside guarding the sidewalk. She said one of the clips that hold the straps together was slipping. When it broke, cheap skate Mike had to agree. Well, this particular harness lasted through six years of heavy wear and tear, so Heather just ordered another one. The same exact kind. And unlike six years ago, this time she easily figured out how to adjust it correctly  and strap me in. She’s come a long way in six years.

Actually, I don’t mind wearing the harness. It gives me some degree of security when I’m out and about, and more control over Mike and Heather. When they attach a leash to it, the harness is strong enough that I can pull them in any direction I want to go. Most of the time, anyway.

Guarding the relocated Peanut Bed.

Since the new harness was the same as the old one, that wasn’t much of a change, but something else changed while Mike was away visiting his mom, and my pal Charlie was also out of  town for work. That’s when Heather shifted around my beds in the living room. Without consulting any of us, she moved my peanut bed from next to the TV to between their fancy new chairs (on which I am not allowed, by the way!).

Wiffie and toy pillow pushed to  corner.

Meanwhile, the huge, round pillow that stores my toys was exiled to the furthest corner of the room, under the shuttered windows and behind the couch, where only stray Wiffie tosses had ever ventured before. To get to my toys, I have to squeeze down a narrow corridor between the couch and the bookcase, especially irksome when I try to turn around to get myself out.

Needless to say, I wasn’t down with this move at first. But at my age, maybe I needed a little challenge. Within days, I had  navigated an alternate approach to the pillow corner and left toys strewn all over the first floor. I’m never the one who picks them up and puts them back in place on the round pillow, and yet every time I venture over there, they are back. I think I came out ahead.

We do it my way.