Category Archives: Chloë’s Excellent Adventures

Chloë Admires Her Pelts

Lounging with Ranger the Reindeer.

Lots of bunnies in Discovery Park at this time of year. Babies from the longtime inhabitants, and usually a few new arrivals from Easter-gift discards. All those newcomers are easier to catch than the regulars, who are less reckless and more cunning. I haven’t actually seen any of these newbies yet, but I know they’re around. I can smell them. On our afternoon walks, my usual passion for fetch wanes when so many distractions fill the air.

As far as hunting expeditions go, getting into trouble with Heather last week didn’t help my prospects. She has been keeping me on a tight leash, sometimes tied to her belt, like we’re hiking a national forest trail or something. It’s my sentence for running away from her on successive days on the Parade Ground, galloping toward some perceived threat and barking loudly. The “threats” were actually a German shorthair pointer running along with its master who paid no attention to me, and an elderly woman with a floppy, wide-brimmed hat and a cane who was not at all pleased. Both times, Heather screamed at me to me to come back, and I ignored her, compounding her wrath. Mike wasn’t walking close to us either time, which may have made me a bit over-protective, I guess. Or else I was just being my nervous dachshund self.

Hanging around Chloë’s trophy case. (l.to r.) Lamby, Ranger and Foxy.

Since then, my fetch opportunities are severely limited to areas and situations that can be tightly controlled. The wide expanse of the Parade Ground is strictly off limits. And the chances of me being off leash long enough to track a rabbit became even more a longshot.

I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with the pelts already hanging in my trophy case:  Lamby, Ranger and Foxy, each ready to be yanked down for a good throttle. That’s always fun, right up there with rolling around on a rug as a way to let off some steam.

Chloë Joins the Culvert Club

Checking out a culvert.

We’re still a few weeks away from astronomical spring on the calendar, but the TV weatherperson said meteorological spring began March 1, and that’s good enough for me.

Indian plum.

This week, signs of spring were everywhere. The plum tree next door emerged in  full bloom. On our walks, Mike pointed out new growth on evergreen trees and young leaves and flowers on shrubs and ground covers. Heather’s snowdrops provided a bumper crop in our front yard, with crocus and hyacinth following soon after. Our back yard featured Lenten roses and fragrant sarcococca, with the currants not far behind.

Heather’s snowdrop crop.

Chloë checks another culvert.

That’s all fine, but to me they were no better than secondary attractions. I preferred the walks that took us downhill towards the Discovery Park Visitors Center, where the former military base’s  inner roads and drainage are more prevalent, and the water flows downhill through culverts below or ditches next to the trails. I’m always interested in sticking my nose where it don’t belong, and all of these dark places smell particularly attractive come spring. I can sometimes access six or eight of them in one circuit. When it comes to spring, that’s what I’m talking ’bout!

 

Chloë Revels in Snow Daze

Finally, Seattle got its first snow of the winter. Temperatures had been so mild that I had almost given up hope. I love playing in the snow, and snow smells great, too, for some reason (maybe it insulates all  those aromas). We don’t see a lot of snow here, and when it does snow it’s either a dusting that disappears quickly or a slushy mess that turns into ice overnight. This time the snow started Friday evening and lasted until Sunday, was lighter than usual, and the air stayed cold. I got two full days of opportunities to burst through snowbanks, bark at skiers and run around uncontrollably. What fun!

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What was not nearly as much fun was getting all those ice balls off my four legs and chest when I got home. Since I would not ever sit still long enough to have them melt off by themselves into a towel wrapped around me, Heather put me in a towel on her lap and went at them with a combination of brushes and combs. I forbade Mike from taking my picture in this compromised position. By the time this ordeal was over, I was due several extra Charlee Bears.

By Monday afternoon, temperatures rose above freezing, and the snow mostly disappeared, along with the all the sledders and the many snowmen and snowwomen, some of them appropriately masked, who temporarily stood as silent sentinels on the Discovery Park Parade Ground for two brief, snowy days.

 

Chloë Uncovers Further Rewards

Recent birthday girl.

When you’ve been around the game as long as I have, you learn that you win some, you lose some. And thus my favorite new fetch ball, discovered in front of the house barely three weeks ago, just as suddenly vanished, the victim of an apparent miscommunication between Heather and me about who would be carrying it. But no sooner did that happen that another, more mysterious and desirable ball dropped into my life.

Here’s what it looks like.

Restore Ultimate Foot Massager

Gnarly ball.

Mike got it so he could massage the bottom of his feet. He tried to use it while watching TV, taking his shoes off and rolling this ball under and between his feet. I was having none of that. I immediately decided it  was my ball, and I’ll do what I want with it. For example, I can chew on it, I can knock it around, I can push it under the coffee table and whine until somebody gets it for me. I can sit on the floor beneath the basket where I know it’s sitting and stare up at it. Lots of neat stuff.

Water trap.

Heather acknowledged it was my ball, and she advised Mike to get himself a second massage ball. Mike’s too cheap for that, however, so he and I now share the ball. He rolls it around under his foot, and I watch intently until he flicks it across the floor and I pounce. Mike’s not allowed to throw it, because this ball is so bouncy and hard that it will break something. That’s what Heather said, anyway. We try to comply by just rolling the ball along the floor, but even then, it takes some funny bounces, like into my water bowl.

So we’ll see how long this ball-sharing arrangement lasts. While this new ball has currently pushed all other balls, including the two that were Christmas presents from my Syracuse aunts, into the surplus toy bins, this tends to be cyclical. Only Wiffie has real staying power. Besides, Mike will no doubt lose interest, too, once he admits that, despite rolling the massage ball under his arches and the ball of his right foot twice a day, it still hurts.

Birthday munchies.

A bigger surprise this week was a belated and unexpected birthday present from my Syracuse aunts Susie and Debby. Inside a big box from my new favorite online store, Chewy.com, were two bags of Charlee Bears, including a new cheesy flavor, and one bag of premium jerky. These Charlees came not a moment too soon, too: The last time Mike went to Trader Joe’s, he saw no Charlees on the shelf. Meanwhile, our favored brand has redesigned it’s packaging, making it slicker, and added to its product line. I fear the days of cheap Charlees at TJ’s may be over. I’m glad to have a good supply, just in case.

Chloë Starts the New Year Right

Trying out a raincoat.

What is usually a dreary month turned out to be not so bad. Rainy, of course, but I generally don’t let that slow me down. Unless it’s really pouring and windy, I’m OK with a little rain, at least once my nose is outside. There’s always lots of good smells on a rainy day. It’s those first steps toward the door that are the hardest.

So Mike and Heather borrowed a doggie raincoat from Caroline (her Schatzi has one of her own) to see if wearing one would make me more enthusiastic about getting my butt outside. After trying it a few times, however, they realized the raincoat protected my back but made no difference in keeping my chest or underneath clean, nor making me much drier when we got home. Thus the raincoat experiment ended abruptly. I have solidly established myself as real mossback, through and through.

Our mossback walks Azalea Way in the Arboretum.

We had several dry days toward the end of the month. Mostly we took our walks in Discovery Park, keeping an eye out for animal control patrols, although one afternoon we walked all the way to Magnolia Village and back, and a few times we stopped at the neighborhood grocery store or the flagpole at Fort Lawton for a deserted place to play fetch. Oh, and we returned to the Washington Park Arboretum with George and Debbie on one of their visits from Juneau. Its Winter Garden was blooming and fragrant at this time of year—and the Arboretum always has lots of squirrels!

Chloë’s new coupon toy.

I even got a couple of terrific new playthings this month. My pal Channon gave me a soft, crackly, squeaky toy when she and Jeré came to spiffy up the house. It’s supposed to be a dog-centered replica of the Bed, Bath & Beyond  coupons that come in the mail. Frankly, I could do without the bad puns, but I instantly took a liking to its texture and the various sounds emitting from within, a perfect blend of three squeaks and a crackle that go together like peanut butter and jelly.

New ball on the block.

And then, to top it off, I found myself a new Chuck-it! ball! Well, it’s not actually new, but new to me, and I did find it myself, on the sidewalk right outside our house. Finders keepers, I said. Some other dog may have dropped it on the way to the park, but thems the breaks. It was mine now, and for the rest of the month it became my go-to fetch ball. But it’s not hollow like my usual Chuck-it! Whistler balls, so this one is a bit heavier to carry around in my mouth, and heavier for Heather to throw. In fact, her back and her throwing-arm shoulder are starting to bother her, but so far not enough to send her to the IL (that’s the Injured List, for non- baseball fans). Luckily, whenever I get tired of carrying the ball around, Heather is always there to pick it up and carry it for me.

I’m grateful for that, too. Good caddies are hard to find.

Chloë Starts a New Holiday Tradition

Sniffing out the Secret Christmas Tree in Discovery Park.

‘Tis the season, all right. In our house, we have been reviving and expanding all of our holiday traditions. The big plastic storage bin that holds all the lights, ornaments and puppets came out of the garage while we were still eating Thanksgiving turkey. Not only are the mantelpiece and shutters aglow, but this year the trellises on either side of the front door have lights. A winter wonderland, indeed.

We were all happy to see Discovery Park’s Secret Christmas Tree return to the South Meadow to further brighten the pandemic pall. The tree, decorated with ornaments and a string of colored lights powered by a solar battery, first appeared two Decembers ago. Last year, some Scrooge must have cancelled it.

Chloë’s tree in its natural habitat..

News media report that sales of live Christmas trees are booming this year, as people seek a little joy, solace and tradition in these gloomy times. And so I decided to dig up my own living tree, choosing a tiny cedar sapling that must have been blown by the wind into a nesting place in our front yard. After diligently tending it through the growing season, I had Mike dig it up, pot it and bring it inside to add to our holiday display.

That smiling elf penguin moved right in with the tree, and  Mike promised to get a string of lights for it once it’s a little bigger. The tree will move in its pot into the portable greenhouse outside the kitchen door for the winter, and Mike will replant it outside in the spring.

First ornament.

Now that Mike has mounted my favorite Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer puppet on top of a cabinet where I cannot hope to reach it, my live Christmas tree will be my new favorite holiday tradition. Well, my favorite right after that special moment of opening all the goodies that fall out of my stocking on Christmas morning, that is. I can smell that there’s already something inside my stocking that’s been hung by the chimney with care, but I have been on my best behavior in order not to spoil any surprises that might be planned. While I’m not expecting anything close to a new car with a big red bow or anything else that I see advertised on TV at this time of year, a couple of biscuits and a tasty rawhide chewy would be nice.

Holiday mantel with Chloë’s tree (on right) and stocking (lower center).

Chloë Goes Cold Turkey

Chloë with her new best friend.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I was disappointed, of course, when I found out my pal Charlie wouldn’t be coming to our Thanksgiving dinner this year, as his cauliflower parmesan has been a Turkey Day tradition, and always a tasty leftover whenever I got to lick the remains of a plate or casserole dish of it. Other than Heather’s special no-sausage stuffing for vegetarian Charlie (which leaves out the best parts, as far as I’m concerned) and pie, Charlie’s own dish was his main attraction. This year Charlie had to eat his cauliflower parmesan alone in St. Louis, so there must have been leftovers. I hope he’ll send me some via UPS. since my driver biscuit deliveries could use a holiday boost.

While missing the cauliflower parmesan, I was still able to enjoy the spoils of Mike and Heather’s annual turkey feast. For me, it’s actually a month-long celebration that starts on Thanksgiving and continues through Christmas and the New Year, ending only when the last remnants of turkey broth and giblets disappear from my kibble. And  a plethora of gravy-covered plates to be licked in between.

Cauliflower Parmesan by Charlie (file photo).

So how much do I love turkey? Let me count the ways! I crave dark meat most, because it’s the moistest, and I’m partial to the fattier thigh meat than the drier leg. On the other paw, I would gladly take either. Breast meat is OK, too, but if it’s been warmed up too many times before it gets to me, it can become stringy and stick in between my teeth. Bones, of course, are off  my menu, but gristle and cartilage can be tasty. Mike tries to remove as much congealed fat as possible before I get it, dammit, but when it comes to skin, he filters out only the fattiest  specimens. There’s no doubt that the fatty and flavorful skin is my favorite part, particularly after being gently roasted with Mike’s secret turkey paste slathered all over it.

Beyond plate-licking, I didn’t get any major windfall of turkey in my diet last week, just a steady stream mixed in with my regular fare, and I expect it will continue for the next several weeks. If I’m lucky, though,right after Mike and Heather’s first holiday meal I may get a few real pieces as a treat with dinner or instead of my usual 2 o’clock jerky. I just have to be careful when all the treats and the enhanced diet together get a little too rich even for me.  Onc year I wound up having a poop the next day that was so rank that after Heather picked it and had to carry it home, she didn’t want to have anything to do with me for a day and a half.

I learned my lesson. With apologies to John Lennon, I deduced that cold turkey/ can leave me/ (pause) with the runs. 

 

Chloë Researches Her Namesakes

Chloe O'Brian (@ChloeOBrian) | Twitter

Chloe O’Brian, inspiration for our dangerous heroine.

We drove to the Arboretum last week, one of the few times I’ve had any company in the back seat of Heather’s car. I got excited when we picked up my Juneau friends George and Debbie  to sit with me, so I could get up into George’s lap and see out the window without teetering, which is usually what I’m complaining about when I’m doing all that whining  in the car (despite much speculation otherwise). Anyway, being able to actually see where we were going, I took notice when our route took us past the Chloe Apartments, which is definitely where I want to live if we ever decide to forsake Magnolia for apartment living. I mean, they named the building after me, right? I should hope so. (Whereas, as I must explain to my younger readers,  I was named after the character Chloe O’Brian in 24, a TV show about American counter-intelligence forces from so long ago that it provides a good indicator of why I’m starting to think about senior living.)

Chloe Apartments - Building Exterior

Chloe Apartments in Seattle.

So in a rare moment when Mike wasn’t at his computer reading about sports, I decided to sneak over to the keyboard to look it up. And I liked what I saw: modern apartments with huge windows, landscaped courtyards, a rooftop deck with mountain and city views, pet-friendly with plenty of pet play spaces, and close to a Trader Joe’s, the Seattle U campus and the Arboretum. Seemed like the perfect locale for my senior years, whenever it may be that chasing after my ball loses some of its luster. I don’t want to break my plan to Mike and Heather quite yet, however, not after they spent all that time and effort replanting the rhododendrons in the front yard.

But look at my namesake apartments! I could definitely dig it!

Chloe on Union Apartments - Rooftop Lounge
Chloe Apartments - Courtyard

Rooftop deck and courtyard at Chloe Apartments.

Chloe, an adoptable Dachshund & Chihuahua Mix in Seattle, WA

Another Chloë.

Then I got to thinking about all the other Chloes I might find if I looked around. Unfortunately, a French restaurant in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood that shared my name (Chloe Bistrot) closed before I ever got the chance to enjoy any tasty leftovers from its kitchen. Further search revealed several other restaurants around the country that have copied my name without permission, as well as a restaurant chain with locations in the USA, Canada and Europe. And that’s  not all.  I also found a dachshund-chihuahua mix who’s 14 years old and looking for a home, a winery and women in pursuits from student to artist to actress to graphic designer to papermaker to hair stylist to fitness instructor to lawyer to yoga instructor to nanny to journalist to performance artist to dog walker to belly dancer.

Our heroine.

Among all these other Chloes, I may not be the sharpest pencil in the pack. But I am the only one with my own umlaut (ë).

 

Chloë Stands Her Ground

Schatzi searches faux takeout container for faux dumplings.

She was back. Schatzi, that is. And in the weeks since she’d been here (but who’s counting?), she hadn’t aged a bit! She was still  a whirling dervish of energy, barking, jumping on the furniture, taking over my bed and my chair. and getting in my face every second that she wasn’t sleeping.  In classic “the other dog’s toys are much better than mine” mode, almost all of my toys came out of their corner bins and onto the living room floor. Some had not been out of their bin in years.

Most of the time, I just let Schatzi do her thing. Whenever I had enough, I gave her a growl or a lip curl, or just stared her down. She would always back away, thank goodness.

 

Side by side by side.

Somewhere along the line, however, I had to put my paw down. Schatzi is the ultimate affection hound, demanding constant attention, but there was no way I was going to let her get more affection from Heather and Mike than I got.  I’ll allow her takeover of my dog bed and my camp chair, but I’m not budging from my space in bed between Mike’s legs on a fleece blanket. I reluctantly let Schatzi in the bed at all (I turned my nose away),  but she was not getting my personal favorite spot. And when we were sitting in front of the TV in the living room, I would let Schatzi have my usual camp chair, as long as I  got the chair closest to Heather, even if I had to crawl over a TV table to get there. Not on my watch, girlfriend.

Waiting for Heather.inside the front door.

While I was able to maintain my position in the pecking order during Schatzi’s visit, I’m not totally sure that she got the message. Not from the way she followed Heather around from room to room and whined whenever Heather went outside  without her to work in  the garden or talk to the neighbor kids. Those kids were all crazy about Schatzi, until she barked at them or pulled them along when they were trying to manage her when Heather let them hold her leash on a walk around the neighborhood. That was OK, though. Compared to Schatzi, I was easy to handle,  so the kids liked walking me, and they finally started to appreciate me a little. I got more comfortable with them as well.

Chloë with Schatzi’s toy.

Having Schatzi around was fun (and she even brought a scary Halloween tug toy that I liked a lot), but I needed a good rest after she left. Asserting yourself as the alpha dog is tiring when it’s another dog you have to dominate instead of just the usual humans.

The afternoon Schatzi left was the first one without Daylight Saving Time. That means taking an earlier afternoon walk every day, and as a result having time to get in an extended nap before dinner. I’m looking forward to sinking back into my restful winter routine.

Guard dogs relax in each other’s beds.

 

Chloë Compares Her Chefs

Winterized crate

The temperature will dip into the low thirties this week, meaning it’s about time for Heather  to put a heavier blanket over my crate at night. If I get chilly, I might whine and wake them up. Nobody wants that.

It’s been pretty low-key around here, although I saw some old friends during the past week. No, not dog friends like Willy, Scott’s new dog, who did come over to our house for a football game last week. There were sad faces in the house that morning, but not on Willy, who got a walk with Heather and then sat on Mike’s lap for the whole second half, looking quite content. While that was going on, I went into the office with Heather, got into my bed and ignored the whole thing.

Along Capehart trail.

Much more exciting was seeing my friend Andy, who is dogless since his Spiff died a few years ago. He’s always glad to see me, and he gave me several total body rubs when we ran into him on the Capehart trail in the park. No treats, of course. Andy strikes me as a diet-conscious kinda guy, like my best pal Charlie is. That’s OK, let them be lean. That means more for me, just not anything coming from them.

I also saw my pals from Juneau, George and Debbie, with George returning to Seattle for further chemotherapy treatments. We walked for about 40 minutes in Volunteer Park, where I had to be tightly leashed at all times, thanks to its high pedestrian use and overflowing squirrel population. I could tell there would be no ball-throwing amid the tall trees of this park. Mostly I walked with Heather and Debbie, since Mike and George are both recuperating, and they have to walk like slow old men. Well, older than they really are, I guess.

Heather creates dinner etouffee for the attentive diner as Lamby looks on.

I noticed Mike has picked up his pace a little in the past few days, but he still walks with a leaden gait, and Heather is still doing all the stuff that Mike did to take care of me, such as feeding me, taking me for most walks and grooming, to name but a few. This substitution has had both pluses and minuses for me. Heather is much stricter than Mike, whether it comes to discipline or measuring out the amount of food she dispenses. Mike is less demanding on me, and when it comes to mixing my food, he goes with his gut, which usually limits the size of mine. Heather’s preparation tastes just as good, and there’s sometimes more of it.

But Heather has been much more thorough when it comes to brushing my teeth and grooming me than Mike is. She pushes that toothbrush hard into all quadrants of my mouth, and after a brief break for play with Lamby or Wiffie, we sit down on the kitchen floor and she flips me into her lap so she can brush under my legs and over my tummy. Mike never did that; I wouldn’t have begun to let him get away with it. But I gladly do it for Heather. Not only is she nicer, smarter and better-looking, but there’s something even more important: She bribes me with chunks of Trader Joe’s cheddar cheese sticks. Be advised, Mike. I always respond well to cheese.

Tuck at the keyboard.

Before signing off, I want to give a brief shout-out to a loyal reader and aspiring blogger in Syracuse named Tuck, even though he is a cat. I know from experience how hard it can be to get established in the writing business when you’re inexperienced and unpublished, and nobody takes you seriously when you say, “But please, sir, I really want to be a writer!” So take heart, Tuck! Keep on increasing your vocabulary, keepoing your nails sharp and polishing your craft; someday, maybe you, too, can become a literary giant in the competitive animal blogging field like I am. Good luck.