Category Archives: Friends of Chloë

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.

Advertisements

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.

 

 

Chloë Grooms a Protegé

Heather and her girls

Heather and her girls

When we visited my personal getaway in the Cascade foothills last weekend,  I duly noted that the current resident dog Pumpkin has started to feel at home there. Sometimes she even emerged from her two favorite spots — her crate and her giant pillow full of toys — and hung out with the rest of us.

Pumpkin has gotten consistently more comfortable and congenial since her career as a puppy breeder thankfully ended. Probably she’s not sore and worn out all the time, at least. Now she really gloms on to Heather, goes for walks with us and and gives every indication of wanting to be included in our pack. Quite surprisingly, I’m letting her in.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin

But why not? Pumpkin obviously understands that I am the Alpha dog in this group, and she seems intent on following my every lead. I’ve already taught her to sit in a chair and hang out with me when Mike and Heather have dinner. And she’s only too glad to let me have all the scraps and plates to lick.

Pumpkin seems to enjoy us, too. Just check her out on this hike in the woods beyond where she lives. She was so excited the whole way. . . I’m not sure how much that girl gets out when we’re not around.

 

Chloë and Pumpkin solve world problems on a walk in the woods

Chloë and Pumpkin pause to confer about world problems on a walk in the woods

As you can see, I am apparently Pumpkin’s idol, and frankly, she could not have picked any other dog more worthy. The bonus that she’s cute and indifferent to all the treats she’s offered is the icing on the cake.

So we’ll see where this goes. We only had about 48 hours with Pumpkin this time, too short a span to make an informed decision. Let’s try out this new relationship for a bit before I offer to let her write a guest blog post or anything. Baby steps.

 

 

Chloë Greets the Newest Ms. Brown

My UPS guy

My  REAL UPS guy

Since my favorite UPS driver Kevin retired last fall, life just hasn’t been the same. I was making some headway with Craig, his replacement, thanks in large part to Mike giving him a box of dog biscuits on two separate occasions so he didn’t think I was just a beggar without redeeming value. Then Craig suddenly disappeared, and the succession of drivers who followed for the next several months did nothing to engage me or the other dogs on the West Magnolia route. (I heard all about these share complaints while hanging out in the canine chat room around the Dravus water cooler, I mean water tower.)

She went thataway!

She went thataway!

Finally, one day I heard the brown truck roll up our block, and I barked insistently enough that Mike got me leashed up and out the front door while the truck was still parked in front of the driveway next door to us. This time a smiling woman driver came bounding out of the truck with a big hello. There was no one else around, so I realized that she was saying hi to me! And before I even had a chance to squeal and writhe at her feet on the pavement, she reached into her brown shirt pocket and handed me a treat. Not thrown on the ground like Kevin did, but real my mouth-to-her hand contact. After Mike asked her if she would be the regular driver on this route, and she said she would be, she told us that Craig had left UPS to drive huge semi tucks on long-distance trips. Compared to the quiet streets of Magnolia, doesn’t seem a step up to me, but maybe Craig craved a more open road. Then Mike and I exchanged names with the new driver, and Donna gave me another treat.  I didn’t even have to ask.

What’s more, the next two times I saw Donna went even better: She remembered my name! Kevin, bless him, always called me Killer, but I’m sure he said that to all the dogs. Donna remembers my name and says that I’m “so cute.” That’s a direct quote.

On the trail

Stalking brown treats

I do have some quibbles, of course. First, she seems to have a lot of days off. I frequently see other UPS drivers make deliveries on our street, and none of those drivers know me and don’t seem to want to make any eye contact. Frankly, I’d like Donna to have a heavier workload, although I figure she’ll be a lot more regular in the run-up to the year-end holidays.

I also have to point out the size of the treats she’s giving out is on the small size. They are similar to the mini, bone-shaped treats that Heather sometimes brings me from Pet Pros in Magnolia Village. It would take about 10 of them to equal one of the giant Milk Bones that Kevin would toss me from his truck. Mike gave Donna a bag of the good Science Diet baked bones biscuits the other day, so I expect the menu to improve at my favorite brown food truck.

And hey, Donna has a great attitude and high potential. I just hope I get longer to groom her than I got with Craig.