Category Archives: Advice from Chloë

Chloë Does a Slow Dance

Schatzi

We met up with Schatzi and Caroline again, this time in Discovery Park, just as I predicted. I showed them some less-traveled trails, and Schatzi looked like she picked up on my cues on correct walking procedures pretty quickly–until distracted, of course, which didn’t take much (and I’m one to talk, right?).

After taking a short rest from trail-walking and having a drink of water on the open field near the Environmental Learning Center, Heather finally pulled my ball out of her pack and gave me a couple of throws. Schatzi, still trying to emulate my every move, followed in swift pursuit, even though she’s still not big enough to get the ball in her mouth. As long as she wasn’t nipping at MY mouth, which did happen several times, I let her have her fun. I had fun, too, as you can see in the slow-motion video below, courtesy of Caroline. Think of it as dachshund ballet. Look at those ears go!

 

I’m hoping to squeeze in one more training session with Schatzi before I take off with Mike and Heather for our summer vacation. When I return in September and find out she’s as big as I am, I want her to remember who the alpha dog is in this relationship. I’m only going to have one more time to throw my weight around.

Resting between innings.

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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 Reviews Her Portfolio

Chloë and Caroline track stock prices online.

My personal financial planner (and sometime hotelier) Caroline changed firms and Magnolia offices last month, and Mike and Heather finally got around to taking me to inspect her new digs. As far as I’m concerned, the new location could not possibly be better: It’s in the heart of Magnolia Village, in the same parking lot as Bartell Drugs and conveniently next door to Pet Pros, where I frequently stock up on mini cheese and salmon hearts at the help-yourself treat bar. Caroline gave us a short tour of the new layout and introduced us to everybody who was working there, which gave me the opportunity to give a good sniff-over to each and every office and conference room. It was not until I got into Caroline’s private office that I found the specific cabinet I was looking for. And let me tell you: While the name of the brokerage may have changed, the quality and quantity of the treats Caroline keeps for her doggie clients has not diminished.

Chloë joins the powerhouse financial round table.

Caroline then went over my retirement portfolio with me and Heather (Mike, unfortunately, is not financially astute enough to participate), suggesting how I might re-balance my holdings to achieve greater security and long-term growth. Made sense to me! As long as I was allowed to stay close to the treat cabinet, I was all ears. When Caroline talks, I listen, especially when I’m staying at her house and she controls the treats. The only “insider” information I really need is how to open that special cabinet that pays great dividends.

Chloë Makes a Statement

Merrie behind bars.

My good pal Charlie often brings articles for Mike and Heather to read because they are about a topic that interests them. Last week he finally gave them one that had some relevance to me. It was a column from the Wall Street Journal—on a real newsprint page, not a printout (Charlie is old school). I was immediately attracted to it because the article included a photo of a sad-eyed Basset hound who was the spitting image of my friend Merrie from down our block. Then I saw the headline, “Readers Howl Over an Insult to Canine Intelligence,” and I realized the dog in the photo couldn’t possibly be Merrie. (I like Merrie. She’s a real sweetie.)

Mike and Heather both laughed when they read the article, written by WSJ  sports columnist Jason Gay, so I made Mike read it to me one afternoon when I could pry him away from Syracuse basketball on TV. The article begins: “The new issue of the scientific journal Learning and Behavior includes a paper by researchers who studied dog intelligence—and concluded that dogs are not as smart as popularly believed. ‘There is no current case for canine exceptionalism,’ the authors wrote, a line that drew swift rebuke from the canine-loving community in letters to the esteemed journal.” His article goes on to include 11 (plus one from a cat) “letters to the editors,” each purportedly written by a dog humorously pleading its personal case for mental superiority.

Low-key approach

Really? These letter-writers show their insecurities, not their intelligence. Even if I had seen the original article in the scholarly journal, which I did not (with no pictures, not my kind of publication), I wouldn’t be tooting my own horn in rebuke or defiance. No need to bother. My blog speaks for itself.

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 Laments the Decline of the Newspaper

A pile o’ bags.

Sorry, this is not fake news.

Long before I knew him, my guy Mike was a newspaper guy. All the way back to the days he was in elementary school, Mike worked on newspapers, at least he did before he came to Seattle. Me, I haven’t had much use for newspapers since my house-breaking stage. Even that didn’t take long, as I recall it some 60 dog years later (although I sometimes tend to glorify my puppy prowess a bit).

But even I have noticed that newspapers are shrinking. While Mike notices newspapers have fewer pages, fewer writers and fewer editors, and make more mistakes, what I noticed as this shrinkage progressed was that the plastic bags that the papers arrive in have gotten progressively smaller.  This affects me because those newspaper bags enjoy a second life as conveyors of my poop, safely enclosing and transporting it from ground to garbage can or other approved receptacle. Mike and Heather always use newspaper bags for this purpose, so when Mike realized he could barely get his hand inside a recent bag arrival, we decided to conduct research. Let me lay it out for you!

Current and former Seattle Times bags, above the Sunday bag.

No room to move.

We tested Seattle Times bags from 2017 and current editions. The bag color has changed, making it easy to tell the various iterations apart. All the bags measured 21 1/2 inches long, but the width varied. The off-white Sunday bags (lowest in the photo above) held steady at 8 inches wide, but the older green bags for the daily paper were 7 inches wide, and the current orange bags (love the color, which almost matches my collar!) measures a measly 5 3/4 inches wide. That’s barely wide enough space to fit Mike’s hand in, and he’s got dainty little mitts! He complains that the current bags are barely big enough to pick up a couple of my Tootsie Roll-size nuggets and leave enough plastic to tie them closed. And nobody wants to get stuck using two bags for one deposit.

Sadly, those bigger newspapers are not coming back, and if the papers shrink much further, Mike might have to start using the billowy bags from the supermarket produce section, a decidedly less attractive alternative. But as long as the newspaper bags remain viable, , I thought it would be a good time to review Mike’s preferred method for creating poop bags out of the newspaper wrapping. Start by smoothing the bag on a flat surface to get full expansion. Then pick it up and tie a simple knot, right in the middle. Then use a scissor to  cut the bag just below the knot, creating two smaller bags that are closed at one end and open at the other.

Having a hard time figuring it out? Check out the photos.

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Before signing off, I’d like to throw a bone to Amazon honcho Jeff Bezos…his Washington Post is holding steady with the 7-inch bag, biodegradable to boot. Maybe he’ll find some spare change in his couch and buy a few more newspapers.

 

Chloë Survives a Tough 10 Days

Chloë went thataway.

The wet weather has continued, curtailing many of our afternoon walks, which makes everyone a little cranky. One recent walk on a moderately rainy day, however, turned longer than anticipated when I split from my pack (Heather, Mike and my pal Charlie) for a little jaunt on my own. The problem was that we were at an unfamiliar location, Paradise Valley Conservation Area in Maltby (Snohomish County), and it was almost dark. We went there in the late afternoon after a basketball game, and we were almost back to the parking lot when I picked up a scent and took off, broadcasting my shrill “I’m gonna git you!!” bark all over the forest at the top of my lungs. Ignoring Heather’s calls, I barked for a long time before finally giving it up and returning. Heather was none too pleased. No Treat Party for me. But despite that and my supposed pal Charlie’s repeated interrogation, I have still not divulged who or what I was after. Nor will I! My lips are sealed.

Being interrogated after recapture.

Luckily, Heather’s ire was tempered by two uncharacteristic (for me) doggie illnesses, one right after the other, so she was also taking close care of me. I didn’t first consider the two related, but come to as I think of it, I am turning 8 next week, and perhaps this taut, lithe body is starting to break down. It’s something to consider, I suppose, although neither one of these short discomforts seemed to deter me from running full tilt when playing fetch and chasing squirrels, nor did either curb my appetite. In fact, since the cure for my gastrointestinal situation was a diet of ground beef and rice for several days, my appetite was more voracious than ever, if that’s possible.

Anyhow, I’m fine now. Although I gradually moved back to my regular diet with no ground beef, I’m glad my stomach ‘s not making those gurgling sounds anymore. And Heather’s diligent care of the skin rash on the inside of my thighs with ointment and shampoo appears to have ended that problem, at least for now.

Still spry at 8.

I really wouldn’t have bothered mentioning either of these ailments except for Mike’s research into a cure for my G.I. distress. Since my previous health in this area has been stellar (Mike attributes this to the pinch of yogurt he adds to each of my meals), it had been a long time since Mike had been forced to confront this particular canine dilemma. His quest for details on ingredients and proportions for my special diet led him to the American Kennel Club’s helpful web page on this topic. I’ve got my AKC papers , so I know the AKC‘s word is the gospel on all things canine. But lo and behold, besides the sought-after recipe for ground beef and rice, Mike also stumbled upon this infographic from Purina that he now feels compelled to share with my loyal readers. He said he longed to be in the agency creative meetings that developed this concept, with special praise for the expressive eyes on each pile.

Infographic from Purina