Category Archives: Friends of Chloë

Chloë Overcomes a Few of Her Fears

Chloe Sleeps In

Chloë sleeps in before a big day.

This summer’s trip was a little different. I got a lot more ice cream, for starters, and more Frozen PBBs in the car, delivered personally by Mike in little plastic cups usually reserved for white wine at parties. But even beyond the cut on my nose, this trip has also been fraught with potential mental trauma that I had to confront and conquer. It was a journey of growth and change.

  • Normally, I am wary of people I don’t know. Yet on two occasions, both days on the road when it was too hot for me to stay in the car, Mike and Heather went off to museums or someplace else I couldn’t go, and I walked off with complete strangers who Mike met surfing the Internet (actually, on Rover.com–ed.). Both times, when I might have walked off whimpering and flush with anxiety, I trotted off happily and returned the same way a few hours later. Well, the second time was a bit harder, since the sitter person had a little dog of her own who gave me bad vibes at first. But when the sitter sensed I was nervous, we cuddled, and then she took me on a walk to a dog park that was great, because I was the only dog there! If Mike and Heather ever have to leave me with a sitter on the way home, I’m sure I can handle it.
  • Logan and Chloe, Washington, DC

    Logan shared patio and toys.

    Normally, I look the other way when I see another dog. On this trip, I’ve been trying to be friendlier, at least giving dogs a sniff and a few meek wags before ignoring them. I had little choice, really. Not only am I meeting dogs in hotels, on trails, in parks and in elevators, but I’ve had to visit the homes of several: Pippa in Alexandria, Logan in Washington, D.C., Myles and Nelu in Tully, Abby in Mexico (New York, that is) and Cleo in Innisfil, Ontario. There were probably a couple more that I’ve omitted (dogs, write in and I’ll correct my slight!). I got along well with all of them, and also got to play with their toys. Logan had the best collection, by far.

  • Chloe and a Kid in Rocky Mountain National Park

    Put a treat in that hand, kid.

    Normally, when I see a kid coming, I run the other way or hide behind Heather’s legs and hope he or she goes away. On this trip, I wasn’t exactly giving them kisses, but I did let a few invade my space and place a finger or two on my body. Baby steps.

Heck, I even survived an intense lightning and thunder storm while stranded alone in the house Mike and Heather rented. Boy, was I brave that night, if I do have to say so myself. I have to admit, however, that I gave Mike an extra enthusiastic welcome when he finally walked through the front door. I’m still a work in progress.

 

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Chloë Mentors Merrie

Merrie

I know it’s hard to envision me as a role model for anyone. I see myself more as a Charles Barkley, don’t-call-me-a-role-model type. But Merrie, the Basset hound who lives down my street, really needs my help if she is ever going to mature into a well-behaved, well-rounded dog. When they put it that way, I just couldn’t say no. So Heather and I and Merrie and her owner Jane all went to the park one morning for our first lesson. We ran around, and they did a lot of talking. I thought it went well, but I could see there’s a lot of work left to do.

Learning a thing or two.

Merrie wants to romp around and play with other dogs, but she doesn’t understand how to do it. When she was young, she never got socialized with other pups like I did in my puppy kindergarten.  Now, as an adult, Merrie is big, but she doesn’t know her own strength. Dealing with her girth is fine when she and I are just running around on the parade ground, but when she wants to pounce and sit on me, that’s not OK, and I had to let her know it.. I could have nipped at her and bared my teeth, but I figured if I just rolled over on my back and showed her my belly, she would get that same message in a gentler way. It worked, too.

Ready for action

Moving forward, if I can just get Merrie to reign in her enthusiasm a little, we’ll be good together as frolickers for years to come. Heather and I plan to resume her lessons as soon as we return from summer vacation. We all have too many things to do before we leave to make any real progress at this point. Baby steps.

Chloë Hits Her Target

Figure 1: Chloe Weight Chart May 2018

As we all knew would happen, my food honeymoon is over. After nine glorious weeks of uber-rations, I reached my target weight (18.5 pounds) at my most recent vet visit, when I weighed in at 18.69 pounds. That visit was the one after the last one on the accompanying chart (Figure 1). On that very day, twirling his imaginary handlebar mustache like the mean Simon Legree we know him to be, Mike immediately cut me back to his unilaterally imposed and strictly observed meager limits. Oh, the agony of it all! The only saving grace right now is the extra broth Mike is adding to all my meals, since I have to eat softened kibble until Dr. Crocker installs the cap on my recently root-canaled chipped tooth. (Meaning more sedation and great dreams to come, no doubt!)

Double dose of goo.

While I was sad when my bulk-up menu ended, I will always savor the glorious nine weeks that it was! I gained almost two pounds in nothing flat. I can see how some members of the dachshund breed can get precipitously porky. Not me. . .at least not as long as Mike and Heather are paying attention, anyway. I’d settle for some middle ground.

I also had a great visit with my buddy Lynn, who came over for some play and cuddles one evening when Mike and Heather went out to watch the first-place Seattle Mariners. I always go absolutely nuts when Lynn comes over. She really knows how to talk “dog talk” in a higher pitch, if you know what I mean.  When she’s around I always get plenty of attention, plenty of play and plenty of treats. Heather even moved my big, round toy pillow back to the middle of the living room, so Lynn and I could get at them easier while she was here. So we did a lot of playing, upstairs and downstairs, too. But the best parts of Lynn’s visit were cuddling on the couch, jumping up on her lap and biting her nose. Every time I look in her eyes, it’s true love. Thanks for coming over, Lynn!

Big, round toy pillow makes brief reappearance.

The downside of the week was yet another ear infection, this time in my “good ” right ear. Heather and Dr. Kimmel each took a bunch of ugly black goo out of my ear and squirted some soothing white goo in.  I don’t like it one bit; when Heather says the word “ears,” I run. But after this now-daily ordeal is done, Heather gives me cheese. Not the little bits of chopped-up mozzarella sticks Mike gives me, but thick pieces of smoked Gouda. Less goo, more Gouda, dat’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout! For that level of payoff, sign me up for an ear massage every day.

Chloë Collects Belated Presents

Well centered.

Surprise, surprise. My disclosure that I received no presents on my recent 8th birthday produced little response from my faithful readers. In fact, I am aware of only three protests lodged: from my longtime pal Charlie, from my Syracuse aunts, and from most loyal reader and longtime sitter, Lynn.

All of them have come through with gifts. Unfortunately, I have to wait to get the ones promised by aunts Susie and Debby until Mike and Heather bring them back from their next trip to Syracuse. That could take months, for all I know. By that time, my aunts’ new kittens may have eaten my treats. Can’t trust cats.

Easy to chew

I got excited when Mike told me Charlie had something for me, but my enthusiasm dissolved when I found out what it was:  A bag of balls. Racquet balls, that is, the kind I chew into little, bitty edible pieces. No way Mike and Heather will let that bag into the house. Thanks a heap, Charlie.

But the biggest surprise (and best gifts) came from my old pal Lynn, who arrived  unexpectedly on a weekday afternoon and in good spirits. When she walked in the front door I leaped at her from all the way across the room and showered her with squeals and kisses. Since she was using a cane to walk, I no doubt put her life in jeopardy, but Lynn didn’t seem to care. I sat with her the whole time she was here having tea with Heather, and she lavished much attention upon me. And even better, she came bearing gifts.

Birthday bounty

Luckily, I didn’t even have to unwrap them; Lynn had done it for me. We opened the bag of Fruitables Deliciously Healthy Dog Treats right away. I like the blueberry ones over the pumpkin, but both flavors clearly beat the ordinary egg, beef and cheese Vita Bones that Mike feeds me. Not that I’m knocking the Vita Bones, which seem just fine when there are no premium brands around.

Another treat Lynn gave me we had to put away for a while, because it’s kind of like a bone that I will have to consume under constant surveillance. This handcrafted Himalayan Dog Chew, according to the package, is “the original hard smoked cheese chew, 100 percent natural with no additives or binders” and lactose-free. “Chew it until small enough to swallow,” instructions say, “then soak in warm water for five minutes and microwave for 45 seconds, cool for two minutes, and it turns into a ‘homemade puff.'”  We’ll report back on this item when tests are complete later this spring.

Chloe shares her chair with Lamb Chop.

I guess Lynn must have really, really missed me, since she gave me a third present, a stuffed lamb from the Charming Scrunch Bunch that is both a squeaky toy and a tug toy. I call it Lamb Chop (my homage to Shari Lewis), and so far Lamb Chop is, just as the package says,”one tough toy.” I have been giving it a workout, either by myself or in combat with Mike, who has mastered the art of tugging and squeaking at the same time—and with little or no training from me! Lamb Chop has, at least temporarily, taken over from Wiffie for the go-to toy whenever we come in from a walk. I always need something to stretch me out before I dine.

So thanks, Lynn, for all of these wonderful gifts, and, more importantly, for coming over to see me. You are this dog’s best friend. At the moment, of course.

 

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 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.

Chloë Confronts Change

Chloë with her new sky blue ball.

After a couple of weeks of leisure out at my Getaway, I returned to my Seattle digs ready to work. With Heather slowly settling into her new at-home routine, I see a lot more intense training in my immediate future. While I’m pretty sure I can be disciplined enough to get the job done, frankly, it’s Mike I’m worried about. He can be a bit too laissez-faire about my obedience for Heather, who stresses consistency in tone and command verbiage. Unless he tightens up his act, Mike’s going to be in for even more lectures than I will get.

As I suspected, a brand new whistling ball appeared to replace the one I lost out at my Getaway. I like it a lot, once I get past the color, this one being a shade of Carolina blue instead of my favorite orange. Beyond that, it has good bounce and a nice feel in my mouth. Even better, after a couple of weeks of carrying it around practically non-stop, it still has that “new ball” smell.

Chloë’s Lane resurfaced

While a new ball was expected, quite the opposite upon our return was that Chloë’s Lane, my favorite field of fetch, had been carpeted with a thick layer of bark mulch. Quality stuff, too. This mulching makes the course much softer and eliminates many of the embedded rocks and roots that lead to bad hops and ricochets (or wild pitches, as Heather calls them). Chloë’s Lane looks like a more formal trail, too, so I continue to be wary about any long-term development plans park management may have for my seldom-used pathway.

Chloë with Jan and Brooke, 2015

There was also a bit of sad news for me. A few days after our return, Mike and I bumped into my favorite park walkers, Jan and Brooke. After Brooke gave me several treats, as he usually does, I laid down in the grass where the couple sat on a log bench, and I listened attentively as they told us they would soon be leaving Magnolia to live on Bainbridge Island, on the other side of Puget Sound from the park. While we will still be able to wave at them across the water, our frequent meetings on these park trails will be no more. However, that won’t stop me from charging toward any people with walking sticks that I happen to see. Maybe one of those surprised strollers will get the message and hand over a treat or two. I remain ever hopeful.