Category Archives: Frank and Stanley

Chloë Walks into a Reunion

Lawn flop.

Serendipity. How else can I explain why I turned right when we left for our afternoon walk last Sunday. Instead of heading toward the park as usual, I led the pack in the other direction and across Magnolia Boulevard, sticking to parallel streets so we didn’t have to go too steeply uphill.  It was a warm afternoon, but I found several shady patches of well-manicured lawn on which to flop, so I did.

Frank, Stanley and Chloë.

It wasn’t until we cut  down to the promenade section of the boulevard that I realized why this route was chosen. As I strode down the sidewalk of the last block to park level, I saw them on the grassy area across the street.  It had been a while, but who could forget those portly profiles? It was my brothers, Frank and Stanley.

As I hustled us over to where they were sitting, the guys tagged-teamed me, one on each side, just like they always do.  But with a burst of speed I was able to shove past them and leap at the real targets of my pent-up affection: their owners, Andrew and Tiffany. I bestowed many squeals and nose bites upon them.

Heather rubs noses with Frank.

Since the boys have been wintering in Arizona and do a lot of sailing in the summer (a tough life, eh?), it had been four years since we had seen each other. Both of them look like they’ve shed a few pounds, but their style and personalities haven’t changed. Stan’s still the instigator, while Frank likes to lay back, cuddle and pose. We tussled around for a while, but it was hot and sunny, and the boys didn’t push it too long. Hey, we’re seniors, at least according to Dr. Kimmel, who is the personal physician for all three of us.

Frank, the furry one.

After this chance occurrence, I’m hoping we can get together with my brothers again, sooner than later. They seem to be more my speed than that rambunctious puppy Schatzi, who’s going to be staying with us for the Fourth of July. I was glad to have a couple of days to rest up for her before she comes.

Chloë Gets Ready for a Sleepover

Exchanging financial secrets.

I thought it was a bit odd that I was spending a lot of time lately with my friend Caroline, who is of course doubles as the only financial adviser I have ever known. Caroline has handled all my business affairs since I was a tiny pup, and was also the person who gave me my very first toy, Sharkey. I don’t pay much attention to Sharkey anymore, but I keep him around on my toy pillow because he’s special to me.

I remember going for walks with Caroline when I was still a puppy and she had two dachshunds of her own. The only times I’ve seen her more recently have been on visits to her office, where there are always lots of treats. About a month ago, however, I started seeing her more often. First Heather and I went over to her house, which is not far away from ours, and we all took a walk together. Then we went inside her house, and I sniffed all around inside and in the back yard.  Caroline gave me the tour and pointed out where she kept important things like dog treats and toys. Can’t hurt to know, I figured, but I didn’t think much more about it.

Wylie and Chloë face off in the park.

A few days later, Mike drove me over to Caroline’s house again. I knew immediately where I was, and  I started my “can’t wait” whine as soon as the car pulled in the driveway. I ran inside and dashed for the same crinkly-sounding toy I had played with briefly on my previous visit.  When Mike left, I wasn’t even aware he was gone, so engrossed was I in chomping on that crinkly toy. Mike must have been gone a while, though, because before he returned I managed to chew through part of it, and believe me, this was some tough plastic.

A few days later, we met again. Heather, Mike and I joined Caroline and her friend David at my regular park for another walk. This time Caroline brought Wylie, a 2-year-old miniature dachshund she was taking care of while his owners were away. I’m usually not too interested in meeting other dogs, especially young ones, but Wylie seemed OK, for some reason. He kind of reminded me of my brothers Frank and Stanley, without their heft. Wylie and I even danced around a little in the South Meadow in some chase-and-tackle games, like I used to do with my bros. I know better than to tangle with them now, but Wylie was more my size. I could dominate.

It was about halfway through this walk when I noticed that David was holding onto Wylie’s leash, and Caroline was holding onto mine. It was like she was getting used to it, and getting used to how I behaved on a walk in comparison to her own Pinot and Ida. That’s when I started putting two and two together.

Putting two and two together.

If any doubt remained in my mind, events of the next week erased it. On Friday afternoon, Mike and Heather bundled up my travel crate and packed up my food, treats, pillows and camp chair into the car, just like we did every night when we drove to Syracuse last summer. This time we only got as far as Caroline’s house, where they brought all that stuff inside and said a quick goodbye, leaving me there with Caroline, David and a recently scalped Wheaton terrier named Marley, who lives across the street. I ignored them all and crawled into my bed, comfortably situated near the front door and beside a heating vent, and started gnawing on the crinkly toy again.  And I was gnawing on it again when Mike and Heather picked me up the next day. At least I think it was the next day; I was having so much fun that it really didn’t matter. It was just like going to sleep-away camp!

Keeping all that training in mind, I suspect I will be heading back to Caroline’s house again soon, probably for a longer stay this time, days or perhaps even weeks. Heather had told Mike she was waking up at night, worrying about leaving me with anyone except my good pal and usual sitter Lynn. Truthfully, all of the separation anxiety is hers, and hers alone. I know I’ll be happy with Caroline and, frankly, with anyone willing to provide a warm bed, fresh toys and plenty of high-grade treats. Don’t cry for me, Argentina—or you either, Heather.

 

Chloë Celebrates Her Birthday Quietly

On the trail with Frank and Stan.

On the trail with Frank and Stan.

I got together with my brothers Frank and Stanley last weekend for our annual birthday visit. We turned 7 on Feb. 6. Although we hadn’t seen each other in a whole year, after an initial rush that lasted about 30 seconds, it wasn’t all that exciting. I was more excited to see their owners, Tiffany and Andrew, than I was to see the boys. I’d rather chase rabbits, or at least a ball. The boys don’t appear too wild about seeing me, either. Stan has gotten especially standoffish, the Greta Garbo of the wirehair breed. Too good for the rest of us? Someday it will catch up with him, and he’ll be a bitter old man.

Stan: He vants to be alone.

Stan turns his back: He vants to be alone.

Frank? Frank has still to meet a camera he didn’t like.

Furry Frank

Furry Frank

My actual birthday passed with little fanfare. It was a snow day, so Heather worked at home, and school was closed, so she took the kids next door to the park. Too much commotion for me. I stayed home with Mike and whined until Heather came back. But with our routines subsequently thrown off, it was almost dinner time before my birthday was even acknowledged, and even then it was only matter-of-factly noted, not celebrated boisterously with videographed ceremonies as in past years. No birthday cards, no presents. Not a Mushabellie or special food treat in sight.

Junior senior?

Junior senior?

Perhaps it’s an acknowledgement that, at 7, my puppyhood is finally over. Mike has already noted to Heather that the dog food packaging reads “active, 1-6” and “senior, 7 & up.” I can see the handwriting on the bag. I’ve crossed the line: I’m officially a junior senior. I foresee more fiber in my future.

Frankly, I think the food I’m getting right now is fine already, so I wouldn’t change a thing. Except to get more of it, of course.

Chloë Celebrates with Frank and Stan

Stanley, Frank and Chloë

Stanley, Frank and Chloë, age 6

I got together with my brothers Frank and Stanley in the park just after our sixth birthday. Predictably, I took one sniff of the boys near the parking lot and high-tailed it into the brush to chase rabbits. The boys were more interested in their ball than in me, too. I guess we’re at that awkward age, too young for senior dog food, too old to chase, tackle and wrassle like we did when we were younger.

Stanley, Frank and Chloë

Stanley, Frank and Chloë on the trail

Actually, we must be junior seniors for the amount of time the boys and I spent catching up about our medical conditions. Both of the boys have shed some pounds and been allergy-free since changing their food, but Frank was on “injured reserve” for six weeks with a bulging disc, which are two words a dachshund (or dachshund owner) ever wants to hear. At one point, Frank couldn’t move his rear legs, but he miraculously recovered without surgery. Maybe that explains why he and Stan wore these cute red sweaters even though it wasn’t all that cold out. Gotta keep that chill off Frank’s back.

To me, Frank looked plenty fast and nimble enough when we took a brisk, one-hour tour of  the park that morning. Mike lost his treat bag, however, partially spoiling the day for me but making a terrific day for the lucky dog who found it. I’m not too worried about Mike getting a new treat bag by next weekend.

 

Chloë Expresses Herself

Mike was trying to be funny with that headline, of course. Certainly I can express myself eloquently, as my loyal readers already know. However, I can’t really express myself, in the sense of emptying, my overflowing anal glands. If I could, and believe me, I’ve tried, Mike and Heather could save all the money they pay the vet’s assistant to do it (once or twice a year at least (so far, anyway). It’s a smelly job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

What are you doing in there. Chloë?"

Behind the crated curtain: What are you doing in there. Chloë?”

What am I talking about? For the uninitiated, we talkin’ ’bout canine anal glands here. Can I make myself any clearer? Should I draw you a picture? Read this, and the photo alone should be all you need to know. Dachshunds seem predisposed to this condition, too, or so I’m told. My brothers Frank and Stanley and I have discussed this topic extensively.

But as far as Mike was concerned, I had not exhibited any of the usual telltale signs of packed anal glands (butt dragging and excessive butt licking). Heather, on the other hand, told Mike that my breath smelled bad, a sign I was licking my itchy butt. (Now, I have to admit doing this every once in a while, but always in the privacy of my own cloaked crate). Heather wasn’t surprised that Mike didn’t notice it, because her sense of smell is much more advanced and sensitive than his. (As in other areas, Mike is a bit deficient). So he dutifully scheduled a vet appointment for me, throwing in a pedicure on the same visit so I could get a double dose of physical agony and emotional torture in one 15-minute period.

After two weeks of scaled-back rations, I was looking forward to another weigh-in in the hospital lobby, but unfortunately I tipped the scale at 18.9 pounds, a gain of another tenth since the last weigh-in. Not the greatest news, but the rest of my visit wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared it would be. I managed to exit the premises with extra treats and my dignity intact. Passing Heather’s sniff test that night was the icing on my cake.

Mike goes on disabled list.

Mike’s knees.

There is an addendum to my vet appointment, however. Hustling me out the door that day, Mike dropped something, and I parlayed his momentary lapse of attention into a sprint down the street to stalk the Bartons’ cat, which I had recently sniffed in the vicinity. Mike tried vainly to step on my leash to stop me, but in his haste took two stumbling steps and sprawled forward, skidding down the front walk on his hands and knees ad coming to rest with face on the sidewalk, where he could see me take a hard right toward the Bartons’ fenced back yard. When he came hurriedly to the gate to lure me back with Charlee Bears so we could get to the vet on time, he was bleeding profusely from both knees. After corralling me, he had to bandage himself up quickly and get to the animal hospital, but when we got back from there he made me take pictures so everybody could see how hurt and mangled he was. No sympathy from me; as the Romans said, “tufus est” (that’s tough). It was his own damn fault, wasn’t it?

Chilling before the rain.

Chilling before the rain.

Mike may have been pissed at me, though, because the next morning after breakfast he and Heather  drove off somewhere in her car and left me home alone. It didn’t turn out to be much of a punishment, however, when my best friend Lynn came over a few hours later to stay over, and my other best pal Charlie took me for walks on Saturday and Sunday, although Sunday’s walk was cut short by heavy rain. Even that worked out well for me, because I got a nice bath out of it, washing away any nasty stuff I may have been carrying around since my vet visit the day before. Now I’m as fresh as a June day in Seattle is long.

Anyway, mostly when I hear the phrase “express yourself,” I think not of canine anal glands but this fine tune, which has demonstrated great staying power from its debut in 1970. Enjoy, and feel free to express yourself in the comments below.

 

Chloë Turns Five with Her Bros

Frank, Stanley and I quietly passed our fifth birthday in February. Sometimes when my brothers and I get together, we wonder what happened to the other two boys and three girls in our litter. Not for long, though.

We met the guys as usual near the park’s south parking lot, and the three of us sniffed butts and rubbed noses for about 15 seconds to renew acquaintances before I got a strong scent of rabbit and took off into the underbrush.

Stanley burrows

Stanley burrows

Frank and Stan were more interested in chasing their ball, anyway. Stan was still into harassing me whenever he got the chance, while Frank was his usual aloof self, considering pouncing after rodents much more fun than paying attention to his sister.

We had not seen the boys in quite a while, and I was happy to see they have slimmed down a lot. Eating a different kind of food, we heard. More exercise, too, from the look of them. They’re looking more like linebackers than offensive linemen these days. Both were decked out for the Super Bowl in Seahawks gear. Their owner-mom told Heather I would be a 2T (toddler) if they wanted to get a onesee for me. Thank goodness I didn’t see Heather running out to Fred Meyer before the game. To me, Super Sunday just means more crumbs on the floor than on a normal weekend. Crackers, cheese, that kind of stuff. Sounds super to me! My day turned out better than the game did, too.

Frank in uniform

Frank in uniform

After we took  a short walk through the meadow with the boys, they had to run off to another activity, but before they left they kinda posed for pictures. Mike tried to get the three of us together for an official fifth birthday photo, but from these shots, everyone will be able to see who pays attention to instructions and who does not. What goes on in those large heads of theirs, anyway?

Frank, Stanley and Chloe

Frank, Stanley and Chloe: Ready for action

Chloë Loses Another Mentor

Mike recalled that Tara was a puppy, just a little ball of fur, when he moved to Seattle in September 1998. He and Heather first met her during a party at Tara’s owners’ ranch, the place that would later become my personal vacation getaway whenever we go out there to take care of her and the horses. For me, Tara was the first dog beyond my own family (Frank and Stanley, et. al.) that I ever knew. Just a couple of weeks after Mike and Heather brought me home, all three of us stayed at Tara’s house for several days. I was young and tiny (see photo in slide show below), but I learned a lot that week, especially to stay out of Tara’s way when she gave me the Stink Eye.  In the overall scheme of things, that was a good thing to learn.

My friend was old and pretty gimpy when she died, but spunky and grumpy to the end. No matter how many times I tried to be nice to her and follow her butt around, she never stopped giving me that menacing growl whenever I got too close to her or to a toy she wanted (she didn’t really want it, only that I shouldn’t have it). After all, this was her house, she was the boss, and don’t anyone forget it. Regardless, I learned from, loved and respected Tara, and now I’m going to miss her a lot.

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On the other hand, all sentimentality aside, I hope they don’t pack away her Rattling Santa toy.

Chloë and Rattling Santa

Chloë and Rattling Santa

 

Chloë Honors an Old Friend

Spiff with Frank and Heather

Spiff with Frank and Heather

There are few dogs that I look forward to seeing, especially big dogs. Titan, a Great Dane puppy, sneaked up on me a few days ago and I just about died; at least I was immediately flat on my back with all four paws up in the air, pretending I had died. Luckily, he just sniffed me and moved on.

However, I always wiggle gleefully when I run into Spiff, who is a big dog. I’ve known him since I was a puppy hanging out on the sidewalk in front of our house in my exercise pen. Spiff’s owner, Andy, always made sure I had enough water and shade, and let Heather know about it if I didn’t. While I barked at most of the dogs that tried to walk up my street, I always let Spiff nuzzle me through the pen. I just liked his gentle way and the way he smelled. Spiff was old, even then. Now, more than four years later, Spiff is really old. But Spiff is still living large, thanks to Andy, who is a saint. Andy makes sure Spiff gets around to all of his old haunts. He calls him “honey” and uses a harness to help get him around. Spiff is a big boy; Andy is not.

Not his good side

Not his good side

Spiff usually holds court on the weekends near the parking lot in Discovery Park.  But the other day we found him  lying by a bench along Magnolia Boulevard, a popular place for dog walking, especially for senior citizen dogs who can’t manage the terrain of park trails. It’s pretty flat along the sidewalk, and there are lots of grassy areas for resting.

Spiff rose when we approached and let us all say hi.  I jumped up and licked his nose. Then I dashed off  to play ball with Heather and see what kind of rabbit activity I could find in the underbrush, while Mike paused to take Spiff’s picture. “Make sure you get his good side,” Andy advised,  but by then it was too late. As soon as Spiff sensed what was going on, he refused to cooperate any further.

Spiff and Andy Relax Along the Boulevard

Spiff and Andy Relax Along the Boulevard

Chloe on Steps-002

Facing the future

I just hope I can still enjoy life as much as Spiff does when I get that old. And that Mike and Heather remain as dedicated to me as Andy is to Spiff. I think they will. Mike, especially, seems very familiar with that particular stretch of parkland along the boulevard where old dogs walk, like he’s been there many times before. When my time comes, I’m sure I’ll be in good hands.

Chloë Turns Four with a Flourish

Frank and Stan upend Chloë.

Frank and Stan upend Chloë.

Frank

Frank

I got together with my brothers Frank and Stanley the weekend prior to our fourth birthday. It’s still good to see them, but it’s not the raucous good time of our youth. Not more than once or twice in an hour do the boys gang up on me, and I generally know how to steer clear of their shenanigans.  Besides, Frank is far more interested in rodents than he is in rolling me.

Stanley

Stanley

My birthday, Wednesday, Feb. 5, was celebrated as a holiday in Seattle and throughout the Northwest.  But instead of heading downtown to the big Seahawks parade, Mike stayed home with me and plied me with special treats, including a real veal shank that he brought all the way from Tampa. I pretty much ate the whole thing.

And if that weren’t enough of a treat, when we returned from our afternoon grocery shopping, my UPS guy had dropped off a package for Mike and two large Milk Bones for me. That’s the kind of service I’ve come to expect from UPS.

Chloë at 4

Chloë at 4

Lest we forget that there’s a lot of puppy left in me, I capped off my fourth birthday by surprising Mike with a flying leap as he was unzipping me from my downstairs crate, knocking him over and brushing my tooth against his forehead. No big deal. When Heather noticed Mike had another scab on his forehead, she assumed Mike had been to the dermatologist again. Just another brick in the wall, I guess.

And beyond my friskiness, I have obviously retained all of my puppy charm and good looks. Here’s living proof:

Mike and I were walking near the water tower when a car pulled over next to us at a stop sign, and a woman rolled down the front passenger’s window. “Is that a wirehair?” she asked. When Mike said I was indeed, she opened the car door and extended her hand toward me. “She’s so cute!” she squealed. The male driver and two girls in the back seat rolled down their windows, craned their necks and voiced their agreement. “We have a wirehair and a longhair at home,” the woman said as I sniffed her fingers. “How old is yours?” Mike told her I had just turned four. “She’s so cute!” she repeated, and at that moment I actually licked the hand of a stranger that didn’t even have a treat in it. Heck, I was close to jumping into her lap in the front seat and going home with them.

Chloë's new business card.

Chloë’s business card

Another car pulled up behind theirs, however,  and she had to close her door. Then the  car turned left and sped south on Viewmont Way before Mike had a chance to hand her one of my business cards. I was certain the gentleman in the driver’s seat was a noted Hollywood producer and his wife was his talent scout. It might have been my big break.

Oh, well; I still have Hurby to suck on.

Chloë Gets Accolades from Her Doctor

I have determined that going to the vet isn’t the trauma that it’s often made out to be by pets much wimpier than I.

Elliott Bay Animal Hospital

When I go to the vet, particularly for my annual physical, I come away filled with praise and a nonstop supply of treats. Other than the anal thermometer, what’s there to be nervous about?

When Mike and I went there the other day,  I had the crucial weigh-in first. My new assistant Corrie put me on a scale recently installed in the lobby that I didn’t even have to step up onto;  it was just flat with the floor. And after I finally planted my butt down, Corrie said, “18.1 pounds, even lower than last time.” Obviously, Mike is not feeding me enough frozen PBBs.

Frozen PBB., fully stuffed.

Frozen PBB., fully stuffed.

Dr. Kimmel

Dr. Kimmel

Then Dr. Kimmel came into the exam room and got things off on the right foot by referring to me as “the healthy one in the family.” She meant that my portly brothers Frank and Stanley, also her patients,  continue to be plagued by skin problems.  Hmmm. . .maybe the broth, eggs and yogurt that Mike mixes in with my kibble every day is having positive, probiotic effects on me, as Mike’s homemade pickles do for him and Heather. I just thought all that stuff he mixed in made the dry kibble taste better, which it does. But I digress.

Dr. Kimmel examined me head to toenail (had them clipped), and she dismissed as insignificant any of the little bumps on my otherwise perfect body that Mike dutifully pointed out to her. One of the bumps turned out to be my microchip, migrated from between my shoulder blades. No big deal, apparently. She also praised my weight and overall physical condition, but she gave her greatest accolades to my dental care. “Beautiful” and “awesome” are but two of her words describing my teeth and gums. On the chart she filled out and gave Mike, under Dental Score (mild to severe), she penciled in a new category below the lowest one the chart and circled it.  In other words,  my dental health lies in previously uncharted territory.

Check out those pearly whites!

Check out those pearly whites!

Mike was so happy about my behavior and my exam results that on the way out he scooped up a handful of the fancy organic treats they leave on the counter, and he gave me a steady supply of treats for the rest of the day. If this continues, that 18.1-pound mark might soon become yet another fond memory of my youth.