Category Archives: Friends of Chloë

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.

Chloë Frees Willy

Willy in  his bed

Hosting Schatzi for a week wore me out, so I was a bit apprehensive when Heather and Mike took me to meet another dog. Our friend Scott had recently adopted his first dog, and I really didn’t know what to expect. It could be another Schatzi, in my face all the time. But I needn’t have worried; Willy turned out to be an even more docile with other dogs than I am.

Willy is around 7 years old and a terrier mix, previously owned by an elderly couple who apparently didn’t make Willy walk very much or very far. We met  Scott and Willy at the park near Scott’s house, planning to take a walk with them. We had been to this dog park section before, so we knew there are trails through a wooded off-leash area, allowing us to shun the crowded corral where dogs frolic with one another–not for anti-social types like Willy and I. Scott had warned us that Willy had been reluctant to walk with him around his neighborhood, but on these trails he kept up the pace well enough. It was poor Scott who had a hard time with his breathing, and after about 20 minutes he’d had enough. We headed over to his house, but I hope to take longer walks with both of them in the near future.

Two men and their dogs.

On this particular day, however, a shorter walk was fine with me, because that meant I was already closer getting  my dinner, which I had seen Mike preparing and packing for the cooler while I licked the breakfast plates (pancakes!). Even better, Mike forgot to bring along my tooth and hair brushes, meaning I was going to avoid the dreaded brushing and grooming routine, usually the low point of my day.

After dinner, Willy and I retired to our respective beds, blissfully ignoring each other. Based on first impressions, I think Willy and Scott, along with Scott’s niece Caitlin, a doctoral student who lives with them now, make a well-matched pack, and when the Syracuse fans gather again for football (someday!!),  Willy and I will get along fine. How Willy will do when he encounters the likes of  a Schatzi or a Penny remains to be seen.

Chloë Finds Familiar Faces

Donna’s back!

Maybe things are finally loosening up. For months, the only people I saw were Mike and Heather. Caroline, David and Schatzi stopped by once. That’s about it.

Then, lo and behold, things begin to awake. Heather and I encountered my favorite UPS driver on the street one day. Donna had been away several months with an injury, but she’s finally back on our route and still carrying bickies.  I am hoping Mike and Heather keep ordering a lot of stuff online.

Then my favorite house cleaners, Jeré and Channon, made their return, and believe me, as someone who’s down on the floor of this house a lot, their return came not a moment too soon. Heather is a meticulous cleaner, I  have observed over the past several weeks, but she’s not a professional like Jeré and Channon are. They know all the secrets. And beyond that, not only did I get my usual quota of treats from them while they were here, but they also left a few extra ones to make up for the times they couldn’t come since February.

Chloë ‘s pals return from pandemic leave.

There were a couple of other returns of note.  I finally got to see my old pal Penny, who has been quarantined at her house since returning from Florida in March. Now she has a little dog named Phoebe living with her until she goes to New York in another week or so. All that flying! I’ll miss seeing all my Syracuse friends this summer, but you’re not getting me on an airplane any time soon.

The owl returns.

Another return was the threatening barred owl to her favorite local haunts among the tall trees of Discovery Park.  She has stalked us for several years, and this time she swooped down on Heather and me when we got a little too close to her youngster, perched on an overhanging branch nearby. There have been many other owl sightings in the area, but we’ve seen her just one other time, and Junior wasn’t visible. We’ll keep looking, though.

Chloë Sharpens Her Throwing Skills

As the quarantine unfolded over the past three months, you may recall that I  have been forced to take most of my fetch game inside the house for workouts with Mike. Well, all that off-season conditioning followed me outside when my Spring Training 2.0 ramped up. As you’ll see by watching my recent workout video below,  I’ve really improved my control. Watch especially for my monster curve; I put quite the 6-to-12 break on ol’ Uncle Charlie!  In fact, my ol’ throwing partner Charlie would be quite impressed.

Heather at first didn’t like the part of the game when she would throw the ball and I catch it and roll it back to her instead of running all the way back to her and dropping it at her feet. But you can see from her enthusiasm in the video that she finally came around on this, conceding the diminished running to my advancing age, and also impressed with my skill and dexterity at both ends of the court. As you can see, I’ve grown adept at catching the ball on the run, I go back on the deep ball like Willie Mays, I can dig it out of the dirt like Don Mattingly, I’m as quick to the ball as Charlie Hustle and now I’ve added a devastating yakker to my repertoire. A five-tool player for sure.

We also had some visitors to the house last week. George and Debbie from Juneau came over one afternoon to take a walk in the park and have a drink on the back yard deck (six feet apart and me in my bed in the middle). And my doggie pal Schatzi spent the night with us,. Even though she’s more than a year old, Schatzi still does puppy things and demands constant attention from me or whatever humans are around. After we do a little get-reacquainted running around and I see what toys she brought with her, I’ve had enough, but she doesn’t ick up on my non-verbal  message. So I’m getting back at her here by divulging that on this visit to our house she whined in her crate at night, woke everybody up at 5 a.m., barked whenever she wasn’t getting enough attention and peed on the downstairs carpet. Sorry to bring it up, but listen, girl, you can only get by on cute for so long.

Schatzi, Lamby, Chloë and Heather chillin’.

Chloë Volunteers Again

Seward statue tourists.

We drove over to Volunteer Park again this week to meet up with George and Debbie. This time we walked around a lot longer than we did last time, so George must be feeling OK so far, which also makes me feel good.

Since the park roads are closed off to cars these days, we could walk around the hills unhindered but for occasional bicycles. We looked into he windows of the Conservatory, which is also closed of course.  Then we paid our respects to the statue of William Seward, the famed fellow Central New Yorker (from Auburn, near Syracuse, like Mike and Heather) the guy who purchased Alaska for the United States when he was Secretary of State after the Civil War. A century later, George and Debbie took advantage of that prescient maneuver and moved up to that goregous part of the county.

Volunteer Park Rhodies

All the rhododendrons were in full bloom, so we strolled around not only within the park but also in the surrounding neighborhood, which is full of stately old homes and well-tended gardens. All of that was fine, but for me it paled in comparison to what was the unquestioned highlight of the afternoon: As we walked back into the park to find a picnic table for chatting, I discovered a hole in a tree that had been the site of recent squirrel activity, although not nearly recently enough for me to let out my corner-the-critter wail.

I just hope George and Debbie will be staying in for Seattle another week, because I believe another return trip to investigate Volunteer Park is warranted.

Treasure hunt

Chloë Enjoys a Quiet Week

On the lawn at Volunteer Park

I’ve got to admit, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with something exciting or clever to report about this week, and I’m having a hard time.  Except for taking different walking routes in the park, every day was pretty much the same.

Let’s see. Schatzi came over for a visit one afternoon, but I was less than excited about that. Her desire to be in my face all the time was wearing a bit thin. Luckily, Heather and I tired her with lots of walking, and she conked out from dinner until when Caroline picked her up.

Heather, Mike and I did meet my Juneau friends George and Debbie in Volunteer Park one afternoon. That park has beautiful landscaping and lots of squirrels, but we only walked on trails for 15 minutes or so before the four of them found a picnic table and sat down for more chatting. I seized the opportunity to revel in one of my favorite things, sunning on a grassy lawn.  My own yard has no lawn, ahem, so I have to take advantage of every opportunity I get.

Who was that masked man?

That trip to Capitol Hill  was the only time I went anywhere in the car all week. When Mike and Heather drove to Ballard to pick up groceries, I stayed home, and it’s just as well. When Mike wades into public as the Orange Bandit, I don’t want to be seen anywhere near him.

Chloë on Guard

Chloë shows off her protective sock

The pain from my recent injury didn’t last long. As you can see from the video above, within a couple of days I ditched the protective sock (shown in the photo) and got back to running around as usual, even romping in the cemetery with my little buddy Schatzi.

Chloë hogs Schatzi’s toys.

Just a few days later, Mike and Heather went away again (!), so I went over to Schatzi’s house for another staycation. Just like last time, I took over all of her toys (hers are much better than mine), and we played a lot of Bed Bingo, when Schatzi occupies my bed and I take over hers. Observing proper social distancing, we did not sleep in the same bed together, and for the most part we dined separately, although there was one night when Schatzi tried to get at my food, and I had to growl at her.

Something was different about this visit, however. Schatzi, who just turned one year old, went into heat for the first time a few days before I got there. Since I had been spayed when I was just six months old (Heather being a  staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood), I wasn’t able to offer my young pal any first-dog advice on what to expect or how to deal with it, but I was able to perform a crucial function nonetheless: Guarding her against any slobbering male dogs who might be hanging around the property, drooling over my fruitful friend. Marley from across the street seemed to be sniffing around more than usual, but after I gave him a hard stare, he kept his distance. I must have done a good job while I was there, because when I left the premises, Schatzi’s virginity was intact. Not on my watch, boys!

Schatzi contemplates her life in her idol’s bed.

Listening intently on the trading floor.

The other highlight of my stay was going to Caroline’s financial adviser office in Magnolia Village. Everyone there is always so nice to Schatzi and me, even at this difficult, frenzied time when the stock market was crashing all around them!  Still, just by sitting in her office for a little while, I was able to pick up some valuable insight about what to do with my portfolio. Unlike certain members of the U.S. Senate,  however, I have resisted the urge to cash in on my inside knowledge. But Schatzi, with her reckless youth and feelings of  invincibility, may not be so inclined. As our illustrious president likes to say, we’ll see what happens.

Schatzi soaks in the financial news.

 

 

 

 

Chloë Spreads Holiday Cheer

Sammy and Chloë

Just a day after Mike and Heather returned from their trip, my aunt Sammy came to visit. She was here to listen to some poet she follows, so we didn’t get to hang out with her as much as I usual. But her visit still paid off, as she and Heather made a macaroni and cheese recipe that provided excellent plate-licking material for a good week after she left. I would have preferred an encore, but she left anyway.

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Mike finally got around to hauling up the holiday decorations from the garage, and he was very proud of himself for expanding the number of lights and areas covered. Heather installed permanent hooks for our stockings under the mantel, so they will hold more weight, which is always a good thing as far as I’m concerned. However, seeing my favorite singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer hanging high in a corner where I couldn’t get close enough to lust after it did not sit well with me. I gave the decorations a big yawn (see photo).

Stocking up on rawhide

My mood brightened on Christmas Day, especially when my stocking was unloaded (on the couch no less, where I am never allowed except on very special occasions) with assorted treats and toys from my Syracuse aunts Susie and Debby, including rawhide sticks that look and taste like candy canes. I haven’t had much rawhide since my titanium crown was installed, so I particularly treasured these treats. After I unloaded my stocking it was Heather’s turn, and she got several different kinds of chocolate, which of course she won’t be sharing with me because chocolate can be deadly to dogs. Even I know that!

Content of Mike’s stocking

Finally, it was Mike’s turn, and guess what was in his stocking? Nothing but coal! Two lumps! I guess we know who hadn’t been nice enough to the girls around here.

My best gift this Christmas came from my new best dog friend Schatzi, who came over to visit on Christmas Eve and brought me a holiday gingerbread house stuffed with squeaky toys: a gingerbread man, a Christmas tree and a candy cane. It’s lots of fun to pull all the squeaky toys out of the gingerbread house and leave them around the floor so Mike can lean down, grumble, pick them up and stuff them inside the little house again. The house is good for tugging, too, and I’m making sure that Mike knows it.

Chloe Inspects gift from Schatzi.

Anyhow, Schatzi has her own gingerbread house over at her place, so we quickly got bored with my present and started wrestling instead. I’ll get back to the present it when she goes home.

 

 

Chloë Stays with Her New Best Pal

Vacation greetings.

Mike and Heather went away somewhere right after Thanksgiving. I didn’t ask any questions, because my personal “staycation” was fine. They dropped me off at my new best pal Schatzi’s house, which was a lot more fun  for me than traipsing around somewhere with them. I knew I made the right choice when I saw the photo greeting they sent from whatever beach they were on. Just looking at those waves smashing onto the shoreline was enough to make me hide under a warm blanket.

Playing with Schatzi’s bear.

At Schatzi’s house, I was a lot more comfortable. I had stayed there previously, before Schatzi arrived on the scene, and as long as she continued to accept me as the boss whenever I was there, I was fine with her being around. We had lots of fun together. First of all, Schatzi had great toys, which of course she never paid any attention to until I showed an interest. It’s good for those toys to feel wanted.

Sharing Chloë’s bed

I also liked Schatzi’s bed, which I had tried when Schatzi stayed at our house a couple of weeks ago. As soon as I got to her house, I climbed right in. Schatzi then decided to lie down in the bed I brought, and we starred at each other for a while. Then we started getting into the same bed together, and juggled beds and toys for the next several days. Eventually, however, I asserted my dominance as queen of the beds. I always got first pick.

Schatzi and I also needed designated dining areas on opposite sides of a gate at the entrance to the kitchen. Schatzi caught on that I get a lot better menu (two kinds of kibble, eggs, yogurt, broth) than she does (kibble and yogurt). I can’t say as I blame her, but that’s her problem, and I’m not trading or sharing my meal with her. If that means dining in a gated community, so be it. As fast as she and I eat, it’s only a couple of minutes a day anyhow.

Designated dining areas: Two tables for one.

Another good thing about sleeping over at Schatzi’s house is that we get let out into the back yard without leashes. I’m sure that if I were left unsupervised  long enough I could find a way out, but so far somebody’s always got an eye on us, so they can see if  we are “doing our business. So I only got to sniff around inside the fence and roll around with Schatzi. Sometimes Caroline threw a ball back there, but while I chased the ball a couple of times, Schatzi only chased me. And some seagulls.

Rainy day garb didn’t go over well.

Our walks in the rain that week did not go so well. Caroline tried putting us in raincoats, but we were too embarrassed and demanded to go back inside. Then we had too much energy to burn and ran circles around the house.  We also had disagreements about access to the stairs that went to the lower level of the house, where the back yard door is. But that was minor; the only time we got into any real trouble was when Schatzi discovered the lower -hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree. When confronted with the evidence, a little paw-pointing ensued between us, but Caroline knew immediately that Schatzi was the culprit. My sole interest continues to be in Christmas cookies, not ornaments. And a few gifts would be nice, too.

 

 

 

 

Chloë Entertains Her Pals

Chloë (center) with her pal Charlie

I spent  most of the fall settling back into my old routines after the three-month journey to the East and back. I played a lot of Wiffie with Mike and fetch with Heather, although she declared my favorite spot, Chloë’s Lane, off limits after I ran away into the dense underbrush in pursuit of rabbits once too often.  I can’t blame her, but it’s just the hound in me.

So instead of visiting friends and being catered to, I’ve been the one playing host the past few weeks. First we had a long weekend visit from my best pal Charlie, who came all the way from St. Louis just to see me and eat some of Seattle’s best pizza. Charlie arrived just after Halloween, which may explain whey he dressed like some kind of black-clad commando when we took a walk in Discovery Park. When Mike took our picture, we blended well together.

Schatzi in her car seat

I also spent a lot of time with Schatzi, the dachshund puppy who belongs to Caroline, my personal financial adviser and sometime hotelier. Schatzi got a lot longer over the three months I was away, and each week she’s putting on  weight. Eventually she’ll weigh more than I do, but for now, I’m the alpha dog and plan to keep it that way. She gets in my face a lot, but I can still flip her over by her nose if she gets too bothersome.

Over the fall we took several long walks with Schatzi. When we went to the military cemetery I tried showing her how to fetch, but mostly she wanted to chase me, not the ball. We’ll work on it some more next time.

 

Dachshund Wrestling Federation.

Amazingly, since I generally don’t want to be around other dogs, especially puppies, I really like Schatzi. Two weeks ago Caroline and David dropped her off at our house with her crate and food, and she stayed with us for a whole weekend. Even though Schatzi arrived with one front paw bandaged because of a nail-clipping accident, we had a lot of fun hanging out, walking in the park and wrestling in the living room. Plus, she brought her own treats and dog bed with her, and I liked them all. Sure, she pooped in the house once and whined a bit at night, but as far as I’m concerned, Schatzi can stay with us anytime. I’m looking forward to a lot more of this.