Category Archives: Friends of Chloë

Chloë Aids a Friend

Scott and Mike (top row) with Willy and Chloë.

I have been getting an inordinate amount of compliments from strangers on my walks lately. People saying how “cute” I am is (of course!), the most common, but it’s hardly the only one. Many people admire my joyful walk (although they don’t see me when I’m dragging my ass along or flopping entirely). Last week, an Asian woman started making funny faces and waving at me from 15 feet away, and continued  to turn around and do 15 feet past. Then a runner stopped to ask what breed I  was and said I reminded him of a wolf.  A fox, maybe. But a wolf?

I attribute all this notoriety to having walked in tandem for the past two weeks with Willy, a small, pudgy, scruffy-looking dog of terrier and other indeterminate breeds. In comparison, I must have looked good.

Willy

Willy came to stay with us when my good friend Scott, who I’ve known since my own puppyhood, died suddenly. In fact, I think me sitting beside Scott on our couch during Syracuse football games was part of the reason Scott adopted Willy last summer. He wanted a dog of his own to cuddle with, and Willy likes to be petted, even more than eating. That priority is far from the only thing Willy and I don’t have in common.

Walking the dogs.

But I went out of my way to be nice to Willy while he was here. He arrived the day Scott died, along with Scott’s niece Caitlin, who lived with them. Caitlin stayed with us about a week and then flew back east for the funeral, leaving Willy at our house. We all took good care of Willy while she was away, especially Heather, who was looking out for him 24 hours a day. The first night Caitlin was gone, Willy still wanted to sleep downstairs by the bed she had been using, but Heather left the lights on for him, just in case he wanted to come upstairs to sleep. By the second night, he did, and his bed stayed right below Heather’s the whole time.

Willy on the trail.

Even though Willy disrupted my routine and horned in on Heather’s affection, I never got snippy with him. We didn’t really pal around like I do with Schatzi, though. There was no wrestling or running after balls together. Mostly I just left him alone and let him do what he wanted (be next to Heather). I even left his food alone, except one day when I scarfed up a rawhide chewy he had walked away from. Mike and Heather had to corner me  by the fireplace to get it back. What ever happened to finder’s keepers?

Willy’s bed was next to Heather’s.

Caitlin and her mother (Scott’s sister) picked up Willy a couple of nights ago on the way back to Scott’s house in Snohomish to pack and get it ready to sell. Eventually they will drive back to Virginia, where Willy will be the second dog in the house again, but much better off to deal with another new environment after two weeks of boot camp with Heather. She didn’t love him to death like Caitlin does, but she pay him lots of attention, groomed him, took him on lots of long walks (sometimes we went 75 minutes or more) and let him sleep wherever he wanted, including on the couch and even under their bed. I survived. As long as Willy stayed out of their bed, he could sleep wherever he wanted. That bed is my spot, and I’m still top dog around here.

 

Chloë Scores Market Savvy

Heat exhaustion.

After the heat dome lifted, I spent some more time with Schatzi. She was a lot more alert on those occasions than she was the last time.

One day we met at her downtown Magnolia office. Mike and Heather were there to discuss financial stuff with Schatzi’s owner Caroline, who is also of course my own personal financial advisor. When Caroline talks, absolutely nobody listens to what E. F. Hutton has to say.

Nose for news.

When I found out Schatzi was going to be at this meeting, I figured she was there for the air conditioning. But as I wandered around the premises, checking every office and conference room for random potato chips or crackers the cleaning staff may have missed, it dawned on me that Schatzi might actually be getting the inside scoop on Wall Street from discussions she overheard in client meetings. Suddenly, I was concerned that her portfolio might outperform my own.

Searching under the mattress for stock tips.

While our people were yakking at the table above us, I investigated Schatzi’s office bed for tips, to no avail. But a couple of days later I was lucky enough to have Schatzi stay with us for a whole weekend. That’s when I was able to delve deeply into her market perspective. Not surprisingly, Schatzi is energetic and aggressive, likely to follow any scent and reluctant to let go. At age 2, she can afford to have that long-term outlook. At 11,  my investment horizon is shorter.

Schatzi and I danced around that issue one afternoon during her visit. Being a gracious host, I rolled over and let her win.

Face off.

Take down.

Pinned.

While Schatzi visited, whenever we went for walks in the park, Heather took Schatzi’s leash and Mike took mine, because Schatzi is a load to handle. It was the first time Mike had led me on a walk since we took care of  two dogs at the Getaway in April. And what do you know, I liked it! After two days of Mike, I deduced that he is not nearly as tough on me as Heather is. What can I do to bring him back?

 

Chloë Beats the Heat

Looking for relief.

As you probably heard, we had a heat wave here in Seattle, over 100 degrees for three days in a row. Unprecedented heat! We have no air conditioning, so during the day we retreated downstairs. With the windows closed, the shades pulled down and a fan blowing, it was much cooler than upstairs, where the living room thermostat read 98. We took our late afternoon walks early in the morning, and in the evening walked to the park’s breeziest bench and sat in the shade for a while.

How hot was it? When Schatzi came over for a visit, she didn’t even think about getting in my face and goading me into wrestling with her. The two of us just staid still and laid low all day long, and Heather put ice cubes in our water. That was about it. I’d really like it if this were the only heat wave I’ll have to face this summer, but readily admit this is wishful thinking.

Letting sleeping dogs lie.

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 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.