Category Archives: Chloë’s Toys

Chloë Redecorates

New layout in living room

So far, not much has changed since Heather retired. Except that now I hang out with her all day, usually downstairs with the fireplace on. After Mike gives me my breakfast and my morning treats, I pretty much abandon Mike for the rest of the day. What good is he until dinner time? Heather’s surroundings are much warmer.

Heather has also done a lot of rearranging of furniture in the living room. It’s almost like checkers with heavier pieces. I’m not so sure I like the current arrangement, with the couch in front of the window. Somehow it’s not as easy for me to jump up on the couch, for one thing. Must be the angle. And all those little scatter rugs on the hardwood floor make it slippery. Even worse, for a couple of days, Heather removed my huge round bed, filled with my toys,from the living room. Out! Entirely! Thankfully, Mike and my best pal Charlie intervened on my behalf,  pointing out I need it as a place to rub my back. and they seem to have talked her out of it, at least for now.

Bed remains, for now.

My biggest complaint remains: This layout is not at all conducive to playing Wiffie. With the entry bench he used for tossing now facing away from the kitchen, Mike no longer has a straight shot across the room, and he has not yet found a comfortable spot for a launching pad. Since I want Mike to be remain engaged in playing Wiffie with me, I will be pushing Heather to follow through on her announced plan to get some different rugs and furniture in the living room that will address these shortcomings as well as improving comfort.  If the changes come to pass, I would even be willing to renegotiate this whole bed thing. Let’s see what any new rugs look like first. In the meantime, as long as thoughts of Asian rugs and swivel recliners keep her mind off ramping up my boot camp, I’ll be on board with any plan that keeps Wiffie in play.


Chloë Starts the New Year Right

Chloe with new orange bear

Chloe with new orange bear, one of her holiday haul.

Mike, Heather and I ran errands last Saturday, but between Costco and the shoe outlet we had time for an extended walk in Saint Edward State Park on Lake Washington, where we had not been in quite a while. It was great to walk in a place other than Discovery Park for a change. We have been real homebodies of late.

Anyway, Saint Edward is a good place to go because it has both trail walking and, when nobody else is around, expansive lawns for fetch. We did a little of both, walking all the way down to the lake and back up to the lawn, where we did a little throwing until I got distracted by joggers and Heather shut the game down. Mike said the landmark seminary building, badly in need of renovation on the inside, is likely going to become a hotel, which does not bode well for future fetch opportunities on this site.

Playing fetch at Saint Edward State Park

Playing fetch at Saint Edward State Park.

Park sign

Park sign

If the hotel is indeed developed, the park would still surround it, similar to the houses currently being renovated and sold in Discovery Park near our house. Hotel guests and dog walkers alike will share the trail system, and informative interpretive signage like this one on the left will continue to dot the landscape.

Our errands trip also included a brief stop at Heather’s office, at least that’s what I was told, since I was left in the car. Not allowed to go inside on a Saturday? That Heather can sometimes be just so Canadian.

Chloë Celebrates a Best-Ever Holiday

I needn’t have worried about the tight quarters in front of our fireplace for stocking-filling. Santa came through just fine for me. In fact, I had already enjoyed two special events by the time the big day arrived.

Re-gifted her toys.

Re-gifted her toys.

Mike and I were just walking down our block one day, minding our own business, when Merrie’s mom Jane came running out of her house and calling to Mike. She wanted to re-gift me with two brand-new toys that had been given to her Basset hound Merrie. She was certain Merrie would chew them. Being somewhat of an expert on toy-chewing myself, however, I doubt that scenario, but are you kidding? I wasn’t saying no. Although Mike told Jane that if I wasn’t interested in the toys, he would drop them off at the Seattle Animal Shelter, by the time we got back to our house, I had already knocked them out of Mike’s hands, scooped them up and claimed them as my own. I was so excited.

Soft green boney

Soft green boney

I immediately adopted both. One is a small orange bear that I have so far been unable to silence from its squeaking, despite my many efforts. The other is a fabric-covered green bone that has “Been there chewed that” stitched on one side. This one was easy to quiet and thus far has become a popular participant in indoor fetch sessions. Sometimes the soft green bone even supplies a good target for some tug-o-war with Mike. Heather doesn’t do tug-o-war. I haven’t named the orange bear or the green bone yet, but I’m working on it.

My good fortune continued. A couple of evenings later, my new UPS delivery person Donna came to my own front door! I heard her truck come down the block and park, and as Mike looked out the window to verify my warning, Donna was actually bounding down our walk, delivering a package for Heather and biscuits right to my doorstep. She gave me two, my first personal double-biscuit delivery since my favorite Mr. Brown Kevin left the route a bit more than a year ago.

Chanukah gelt for Chloë.

Chloë surveys her Chanukah gelt.

Come Christmas morning, my stocking was full. I got Paul Newman’s personal dog treats from Charlie and all-natural chewies from my aunts Susie and Debby. Mike gave me lots of extra treats all day, a rarity for that tightwad. And Heather, who stayed home from work all week (in a sneak preview of what this “retirement” thing might be like), gave me one “Get Out of Jail Free” card for when I get in trouble on her watch and took me on several long walks in the park, just the two of us, followed by some power-napping. With all of this loot coming on top of the comfy new mattress in the bedroom that has now returned to easy dachshund accessibility, my stocking haul was more than I could possibly ask for.

It was nice to have my pack all together and under the same roof all day. Over two days of the Christmas weekend, the three of us (along with my pal Charlie on Christmas Day) hiked to six of my favorite fetch locations in the park, pausing for some spirited throw-and-return at each stop. The six were Chloë’s Lane, the Hill Below the 500 Area, Behind the Visitors Center, the Cemetery, the South Meadow and the Capehart Fence. I just hope Animal Control Officers aren’t faithful readers of my blog. The potential for drone surveillance worries me.

That’s why I’ve decided to lie low ’til 2017. Happy New Year.


Chloë Wins While Orange Loses



My friend Penny’s back in Seattle for a few months after her summer in the Adirondacks. Two Saturdays ago, she came over to my house for a football game , and last Saturday we went over to hers. The Syracuse football team was routed both times (and pretty much whenever it plays, to tell the truth), but it’s always a lot more fun for me when we go over to her place. I get tired of playing around with Penny pretty quickly, but she has a great toy collection for me to rummage through, and another long, dull football game is plenty time enough to examine every single one. Wrestling with Penny and going on walks around the neighborhood with her is OK, but I’m much more interested in those toys. And the carpet. I can never get too much carpet.

George and Debbie with Chloë

George and Debbie with Chloë

My Alaska pals George and Debbie came with us to Penny’s house, apparently because they share an allegiance to the Orange Nation (class of 1972).  George and Deb stayed at our house for one night before flying to Europe. I was sorry they couldn’t stay longer, because they paid a lot of attention to me. They quickly picked up my visual and aural cues to find my downstairs treat container, too. Being dog owners themselves, however, they broke the biscuits in half before bestowing them, which was of course totally unnecessary. No need to skimp down here in the Lower 48.

I’m still holding out hope that Mike and Heather will take me with them when they go up to Juneau for a visit. I want to commiserate with George and Debbie’s dogs, Max and Bob, and both of them are getting on in years. Mike and Heather have discussed it, but they are reluctant to take me on a plane, having heard horror stories about stranded and stricken dogs on planes and tarmacs.

I’m torn on the subject. Penny flies on planes all the time, and she’s not complaining. But she’s a lot tinier and more docile than I am, however, so she gets to fly in the cabin with passengers, not with the freight and luggage. Steerage is not my style, and there’s no way I’m going on an intense weight-loss program just so I can squeeze into an under-seat carrier.

So pass me those treats, please. Whole ones!

Chloë Learns About Fencing

En route to Headquarters.

En route to Headquarters.

My worries about development along my primary fetch corridor, a.k.a. Chloë’s Lane, have thus far proven unfounded. Still, when a chain link fence suddenly appeared around the perimeter of the parking lot that doubles as the entrance and staging area for my lane, I was justifiably concerned.

It turned out to be another false alarm, however. Several of the historic buildings in the park have been painted this summer, and it was the Headquarters Building’s turn. Before work even started, the painting contractor put a fence up around the building and its small parking lot. For a couple of weeks, Mike, Heather and I had to walk around the perimeter of the fence to get to the head of Chloë’s Lane. This wasn’t too hard for Mike and Heather, who just had to trample through some weeds or push a low-hanging alder branch out of the way to get through. But for little old me, it was a slog through heavy brush. I wanted a better way.

Fenced out.

Fenced out.

After a couple of days of frustration, I decided it was a lot easier to cut through the job site by squeezing myself under the fence. That way I could lounge on the building’s parched lawn if I wanted, or merely take a shortcut across the parking lot to the other side of the fence, where Mike could show me where to scoot under the fence again, ready for playing fetch on Chloë’s Lane.


Fenced in.

While the fencing didn’t deter us, it kept most other people and dogs out. We saw just a few people the whole time the fence was up, most of them wandering up our trail from below and in need of directions when they were surprised to come across a fence in the middle of a forest.

We never saw any painters, only their progress, their equipment and their garbage, and all of them disappeared one day along with the fence. The building looks a lot better now, but nothing was done about the front porch, and the lawn will need until spring to recover. Traffic on Chloë’s Lane is already back to normal.

Fence gone.

Fence gone.

Chloë Bobs

Drinking on the trail from collapsible dish.

Drinking on the trail from collapsible dish.

I have a new game that I play with Mike. I call it bobbing, because it’s my variation of bobbing for apples. I haven’t tried apples yet, but the season is almost upon us.

In the meantime, bobbing for treats will do. Here’s how we play. Mike fills a bowl with water and throws in a couple of Charlee Bears or small hearts (we mix cheese, salmon and fruit varieties). Some float, some sink. Some do both, depending on how long it takes me to lap them up. When Mike says it’s OK, I stick my snout into the water and slurp, hoping to suck in the treat along with some H2O. If it’s a hot day, and Mike wants me to drink more water, we bob for treats two or three times. I always get them. It’s not that hard.

Checking out the communal bowls.

Checking out the communal bowls.

Recently Mike increased my degree of difficulty. He led me to the large water bowl that sits outside the restroom at the southwest corner of my park. This bowl is  much larger and deeper than my own water bowl (which by the way endured so many workouts that it broke the other day, and Mike had to order new ones). Normally I don’t have much interest in drinking from communal bowls like this one. I never take a drink from the much smaller bowls at the visitor center. But this bowl looked much more interesting to me when Mike tossed a couple of Charlee Bears into it. They floated, and I made quite a splash when I stuck my head in to get them. Quite refreshing in August, in fact. So much so that whenever we walk near the bluff nowadays I lead Mike into that out-of-the-way corner just so I can get in a few dunks on our way home. Unless the water in the bowl gets too cold for my liking when winter comes, I might get in enough practice that I could be ready for the next NBA dunk competition in February.

Slam dunk.

Slam dunk.

In fact, maybe I’ll start to like putting my head under water so much that I’ll dare to conquer the tiny Puget Sound waves that still make me run in fear. Well, maybe I’ll start with a pond or small lake and work my way up from there.

Chloë Plays Finders Keepers

Many people park their cars on my street when they go to the park. It happens all the time, even though there’s plenty of free parking in the lots inside the park, which rarely fill up. As you can probably tell, I don’t like it.  The only vehicles I want on my street are UPS trucks. When those other cars unload dogs, I like it even less.  I don’t want them around. If I’m outside, resting in my peanut bed on my front walk,  I glare at these dogs defiantly, and sometimes even let out a threatening bark or growl. It is MY street, after all.

1-Chloe and Her Orange Ball-002

Chloë eyes her prize.

Two weeks ago, I got even with all those dogs. Some dumb mutt whose owner parked a car across the street in front of my friend Claire’s house left his dog’s ball behind on the gravel between the gutter and the sidewalk. Since the ball was orange, I saw it immediately, and Heather took me across the street and let me pick it up. I’ve barely taken it out of my mouth ever since.

Mike quickly put the kibosh on interior usage, correctly surmising that this bouncy orange ball was likely to careen into something breakable, and that if I had it in the house it would be found in only two locations: inside my gnawing jaw or at his feet next to my pleading eyes, demanding a game of fetch. So Mike hides it inside his pack when we come inside the house. I know where it is, but I can’t get at it until we go out for our afternoon walk for extended fetch. I am playing this game with renewed enthusiasm.

How much do I crave that ball in my mouth? One day Heather came home from work early but immediately plugged in her computer and told me to take a walk with only Mike. Normally Mike would have to drag me out of the house if Heather doesn’t come. This time, I could not have cared less: Mike had the orange ball, and all I wanted to do was fetch it, which I did for at least 45 minutes straight. Heather was almost done working by the time we got back,, for crying out loud.

Chuckit Whistler Ball

Chuckit! Whistler ball

The ball is an orange Chuckit! Whistler, and I heartily recommend everything about it whether or not they approach me for an endorsement deal. Yes, the ball whistles when it’s thrown, due to the four holes that open to an empty core inside a bumpy, rubbery surface. The noise is fun, but there are other things about this ball  that I like even better. I haven’t been able to break it (yet), and when I chew, it’s soft enough to compress  without a lot of effort and small enough to fit comfortably  in my mouth. In other words, maximum gnawability. I also love its bounciness and its orange color, which makes it easy for me to find when it ricochets onto the forest floor.

Heather felt guilty for not trying to find the  ball’s rightful owner, but there’s no way I would ever consider giving up this ball to some carpetbagging dog from some other neighborhood that I don’t even know. Finders keepers, losers weepers, I say. Isn’t that the Law of the Pack?

So leave me alone, OK? I’ve got important work to do.