Category Archives: Cats and Dogs

Chloë Remembers a Cat

Spanky takes over Mike’s pillow on an earlier Syracuse visit.

My Syracuse aunts, Susie and Debby, lost their cat Spanky last week. Well, they didn’t lose him, exactly, because they know where he is. He has been sick for a long time, and he finally went to that big Bidawee Home in the sky.

It makes me sad. Even though Spanky was nothing but mean to me when we finally met in Syracuse last summer, I can empathize with my aunts. I know they’re really hurting inside, because I know how much they loved him. And while it’s true that the old, nasty Spanky snarled, hissed, and threw his claws at me every time our paths crossed,  now I kind of miss those little tête-à-têtes. They invigorated me, and aroused my own animal instincts.

Spanky, September 2017

Once I got back to Seattle, I started to pay my own little homage to Spanky. In Syracuse, the cat would hang out under Debby’s car in the driveway, waiting for an opportunity to pounce on me. I quickly developed the habit of looking under Debby’s car every time I walked past, just in case he was there. Since I’ve been home, I’ve been checking underneath the Bartons’ cars for their two black cats, Ted and Fred, so I can root them out and chase them back into the hedges where they belong. Every time I crouch and stare under those cars, I think of Spanky and smile. Then I get back to barking and taking off after the damn black cats.

Tracking the Bartons’ cats: The waiting is the hardest part.

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Chloë Resumes Her Routine

Wiffie: Chloë Official Autograph Model

Waiting for Wiffie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It didn’t take me long to get back into the swing of things at home after my lengthy road trip. As soon as the front door swung open, I pounced right into my toy pile to grab the thing I missed most on the journey: Wiffie!  I’ve been batting that plastic ball around the first floor like crazy, irritating Mike every time I knock it under the couch or someplace else where he has to get down on the floor to free it. It’s fun to drive Mike nuts, and not too hard, either.

Needless to say, it took Mike less than an hour before he unwittingly left the front door open and unguarded, allowing me to escape down the street to renew my futile pursuit of the Bartons’ cats.  A lot of good they are: While we were away, they presumably enjoyed the run of our yard without me to get after them, and they might have done us some good by guarding the premises. Fat chance. Instead, they sat back and let a mouse into my garage, where it devoured a 4.5-pound bag of my Hill’s Science Diet dog food and apparently ate itself to death. Those cats are worthless.

Frozen PBB., fully loaded.

Anyway, being back has many other advantages. Every morning now  I am able to score a full-sized Frozen PBB, not one of the small, travel-size ones that Mike was passing off to me on the trip. That’s good! On the other hand, the leftovers buffet generally laid out on the grass outside the park entrance, a.k.a. Wendy* (not her real name) Way, has been spotty since my return, just a few random bread crusts. Maybe the crows are getting to it first,  since I haven’t been around  all summer to keep them at bay. All I know is that I haven’t seen a good leftover on the smorgasbord since I’ve been back. I just hope Wendy* (not her real name) is eating OK these days. I’m worried about her.

Let’s see, what else is new? I still bark every day when the U.S. mail comes through the slot and do a loud, whiny dance whenever I hear a UPS truck. I was overjoyed to find my favorite driver Donna is back on our route, although she seems to have more days off and dole out smaller biscuits than previous driver Kevin did. Now, I really like Donna, but I’m just saying, Kevin’s biscuits were bigger, much bigger. I’ll have to make my displeasure known without risking alienating Donna. I’ll have to proceed with some of that subtle, Trumpian diplomacy.

Mr. Owl is back

With Heather home every day now, I’ve been doing much more walking and playing a lot of fetch with Heather all week long and with my pal Charlie on Sundays. Lately, we’ve been throwing more on the hill by the park Visitors’ Center, next to the fence outside the Capehart area, or in the military cemetery rather than on my regular course on Chloë’s Lane. Part of the cause is that the lane is pretty well covered with fallen leaves now, making a lost ball more likely. The other reason is that the mean old owl has returned to stalk me again. We all felt his gaze on our necks last week, and there it was above us, perched in a tree above the lane. The way it looked at us creeped us out, so we left. We haven’t seen it since, but we’re always on the lookout. Better safe than sorry!

 

Chloe Faces Fuzz

Mike, Heather and I spent another week out at my foothills Getaway, but I never did find the orange ball I lost the first week. No big deal, I reasoned. That ball was starting to get a little soft and squishy, anyway, not bouncing as high or far as it used to, and much easier to gnaw. I was sure Mike and Heather will just get me a new one when we got home, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

Mr. Fuzz

Still, I didn’t get to play a lot of fetch on the lawn the second week. Too many distractions. For the most part, I was on a leash or tied to something for the remainder of our stay. I had run away and ignored her commands so frequently that Heather’s coyote-anxiety was at all-time high while her tolerance of me was at an all-time low. Even inside the house she tethered me to a chair or a table, fearful that I would break loose and eat Pumpkin’s food or, worse yet, chase the cat Mr. Fuzz under a bed and start screeching at him. Does Heather forget I’m a dachshund? Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do? Besides, Mr. Fuzz tricked me. He deliberately left some of his cat food upstairs on the bathroom floor just where I could find it if I sneaked upstairs, which I did. His food tasted pretty good at the time, but it gave me diarrhea for days afterward, each time further reminding Heather that I had been a bad, bad dog. Oh well, live and learn.

Chloë and Pumpkin vie for position.

By the end of our second week at the Getaway, Mr. Fuzz got bolder and started coming downstairs for visits, even during the day. I only got to chase him once, though, when I was briefly left unattended while Mike was exercising and Heather was doing laundry, or maybe the other way around. Anyway, besides that brief encounter on the second floor, Fuzz and I kept our distance. And the next time I got upstairs, Fuzz had already eaten most of his food. Smarter guy than I gave him credit for.

Chloe and Pumpkin April 2017

Pumpkin tried again to be my pal, which was OK, as long as she understands her place in my pack. It was not OK, for instance, for her to instigate playful chasing with me out on the forest trails. I’m the one in charge of that, and everything else, for that matter. I did let her sit in the back seat of Heather’s car with me, but I made her get in first, so she can check it for danger and then stay out of my way. Most importantly, I made it clear to Pumpkin that her place was definitely NOT on the couch or bed spread out on top of or tightly beside Heather. That’s MY place. Pumpkin got the message.

Portage survivors.

One more thing: While Pumpkin was always happy to go hiking with us, on more than one occasion she showed what a wuss she is. Sometimes Heather had to carry Pumpkin through the swampy sections of the trail when Pumpkin refused to wade through on her own. To Pumpkin’s credit, she was getting much better about being comfortable outside after she two weeks of walking with us to toughen her up. I hope Pumpkin ventures out more in the real world when I’m not around to lead her.

Meanwhile, All Clear, Mr. Fuzz! You can come downstairs now. I’m leaving Pumpkin in charge until I come back.

Mr. Fuzz spies from landing

 

Chloë Raids the Kitty Clubhouse

Adversary

A Chloë adversary

The cats down the street are bugging me again. I know they have been wandering around my yard, leaving their scent and occasionally their poops around our property. It’s mostly Ted and Fred, the Bartons’ cats, but recently another black-and-white cat has joined the brigade. Sometimes they even hang out together, waiting for an unsuspecting vole or small bird to flit by. Cats are mean. I hate them. But now that I know where they hide, I will get them.

1-Kitty ClubhouseThey hang out between two hedges, boxwood on one side and rhododendrons on the other, between the Bartons’ house and the one between ours and the Bartons, where the phantom French bulldog Scout lives (we hardly ever see her, so she’s a phantom to me). The sidewalk entry point to the kitties’ lair is well hidden, but I nosed it out. Now I check it a few times every day. Can’t be too careful, you know.

I’ve seen the cats scurry  into that hole many times. And even if they’re not home when I stick my nose in to check, I can tell that they have been, and even how long they’ve been gone. My nose is smart that way. So even though I see no cats when I look, it’s always worth another try. If Mike didn’t have that leash so tight, I’d have seen if there was another exit point further into the hedge. Mike has thus far refused to cooperate.

Chloë investigates.

Chloë investigates.

Those damn kitties wanted me to stay out of their hedge. So they hung out a sign, thinking it would scare me and keep me away.

Kitty Clubhouse Sign

Kitty Clubhouse Sign: “DOGS: DO NOT ENTER, ESPECIALLY CHLOE!! “

My compliance is not likely. At least, not as long as my nose stays unmarked by kitty claws.

Chloë emerges from Kitty Clubhouse.

Emerging from the Kitty Clubhouse.

Nobody tells a dachshund what to do. Least of all a cat.

 

Chloë Makes the Fuzz Fly

Record-setting

Record-setting fetching  on the lawn.

I had a crazy time out at my Getaway this last time. Mike went to Syracuse about halfway, through, which really turned it into a holiday for me. Luckily, he prepared meals for Heather and me before he left, so neither of us starved. So he is good for something.

The highlight of my time together with Heather was setting (and resetting several times) the world dachshund record for fetching a ball thrown by hand (no plastic ball-flingers or jai alai cestas allowed!). The last count I remember was 180 straight, with only brief water breaks. After that many throws, I can barely remember anything, and I don’t think we rely on Heather to count anything greater than pi. Regardless of the number, Heather is a real trooper for throwing that ball so much, and I appreciate her effort. Both of us were sore for a couple of days afterwards.

The Pump on her perch

The Pump on her perch

Docile Pumpkin and I got along fine, although it is getting a little disconcerting when she keeps sniffing my butt and peeing on the same exact spot where I did. That little mop must think she owns the place or something. But she’s benign.

Stairway barrier

Staircase barrier

I can’t say the same about Mister Fuzz. That damn cat tried sneaking down the back spiral staircase one day when Mike was still around. I caught his eye when he was about halfway down, and he wisely retreated. He wasn’t so lucky the next time, when Mike was doing laundry on the second floor and left the main staircase barrier down for a minutes. I cornered Fuzz under a bed and barked up a storm until Mike collared me and dragged me back downstairs.

Mister Fuzz

Mister Fuzz

After Mike left, however, the cat was out of the bag, so to speak. Fuzz and I faced off about a half-dozen times more, and I chased him under the bed every time. Fuzz has yet to take a swipe at me, by the way. He just runs and hides. Advantage, Chloë.

Poor Mister Fuzz doesn’t seem such a bad guy.  It’s just too bad he’s a cat. Sure hope he likes it upstairs.

 

 

 

 

Chloë Sets New Fetch Records

We finally came home from my getaway. Being there almost two weeks took its toll on my body, so I have been resting up a bit while Mike watches baseball playoffs on TV seemingly 24 hours a day. At the getaway, I get so busy that I often don’t get my full quota of afternoon naps, so it’s good to catch up.

On the back lawn

On the back lawn

The highlight of the recent vacation was the new dachshund fetch records that I set Sunday, Oct. 4, on my getaway’s back lawn. Heather certified that I set new marks for single-session (85 throws-and-returns) and single-day (175). My two-day total of 300 has yet to be certified, but we expect official word soon.

Let’s see…what else happened on this trip? As you no doubt recall from my previous post, this time I graciously shared my getaway with the mop-like Pumpkin and Mister Fuzz, a black-and-white former barn cat.  Pumpkin turned out to be more fun than I expected. I actually grew to like her, and we even engaged in some mutual butt-sniffing before this stay was over. That’s high praise.

Mister Fuzz, however, is another story. We had but two brief encounters, as Heather expended much energy on keeping us apart. Luckily, nobody tripped on anything, and our tete a tetes were well-controlled.

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That getaway place is just too much fun! Toys, carpets, lawns, forests, even a dog companion. If I can just get that cat back into the barn where it belongs,  it would be perfect.

 

Chloë Lives with a Cat

Where's Pumpkin?

Pumpkin perched atop her toys.

Heather, Mike and I headed out to my “getaway” in the Cascade foothills for the first time in a long while. Maybe we all needed some separation after my dog mentor Tara died, or maybe it’s just coincidence and Tara’s owners haven’t needed us for house- and horse-sitting. I do miss Tara, but so far this time in her house has been a lot less stressful for me: No growling every time I drag something out of the toy pile, and no pilfering of Heather’s attention and sometimes even my treats. So now there is no hindrance to making Mike throw stuffed toys around the living room for me to chase, catch and throttle until their stuffing spews forth. That’s when Heather jumps in for damage control.

That little mop Pumpkin is still around, but she’s so docile that I feel and sometimes act like the big, badass alpha dog of the house. Pumpkin does cute really well, but she is pretty much clueless about anything else. Any dog that has no interest in treats is clueless in my book. On the other hand, more for me.

Pny time

Pony time

We’re out here for almost two weeks, and I had a great time when we first arrived. We had great weather, and we went on several long hikes in places with lots of wildlife to sniff after.  I  also played fetch with Heather something like 75 times in a row on the huge lawn, and did a lot of munching of grass, or as Mike refers to it, my salad bar. I particularly enjoy the long blades in the fenced-in pasture, even more so because Mike hates to chase after me when I go in there, so I do it every chance I get. At the end of one walk I thought about checking out a pony in a field, but when we went across the road to visit we realized the pony was behind an electric fence, and I wanted no part of that. Besides, I can get as close as I want to real horses back at my getaway any old time I want to. It’s just that I don’t want to, ever. That barn is still a place I prefer to avoid. It’s loud, dark and scary in there.

Lounging by the pool

Lounging by the pool

In fact, apparently one of the barn cats hated living there so much that he wormed his way into becoming a house cat. I kind of sensed that he was around, but in my first week here I’ve only had one brief encounter with Mister Fuzz. Heather quickly got between us before I could do any damage. Even so, the incident allowed me to certify the existence of Mister Fuzz, who until then had been only a faint scent and a big rumor to me. Now I knew for sure that he was upstairs, and even in what rooms he liked to hang in.

Stairway barrier

Stairway barrier

All of a sudden, going upstairs to flush him out became a much higher priority for me. Heather was forced to erect a barricade of throw pillows at the base of the stairs to keep me on the first floor, but I’ve already breached it once, so it’s hardly insurmountable. For our remaining time here on this trip, it will be my job to get around it and stalk Mister Fuzz. In our tete-a-tete, he looked huge, and as a barn cat he must be tough enough, even if he does seem to be hiding out silently most of the time. 

Well, if Mister Fuzz is as smart as I think he is, he’ll just stay under a bed and out of my way. Otherwise, fur will fly. I guarantee it.