Category Archives: Friends of Chloë

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.

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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.

 

Chloë Entertains More Visitors from the East

I  haven’t yet had the privilege of visiting “back East,” which is where Mike and Heather came from, long before I was born. But everyone I meet from “back East” is so much fun, I can’t wait for a chance to get there. Heather has told me many times that she’s going to take me there “after I retire,” whenever that may be.

Cruise ship off to Alaska

Cruise ship off to Alaska

Everybody I’ve met from “back East” is so nice to me. My latest visitors were Gary and Cindy, who came from Boston to go to a wedding near Seattle.  Gary and  Mike have known each other since the Seventies in Syracuse, many dogs ago,  and they have remained close friends. He and Cindy stayed with us twice, at both ends of a week-long cruise to Alaska prior to the wedding near Seattle.  In fact, the day they came back we took a walk and we could see their cruise ship sail past the viewpoints in Discovery Park.

Gary and Cindy

Gary and Cindy

The first part of their visit was too much of a whirlwind for me to make much of an impression on them. It was a record hot day in Seattle, and so I had to stay home, unable to sit on their laps during Mike’s official auto tour of the city. On their return visit, however, I had two whole days to teach Cindy the whereabouts of my downstairs treat container, and I got both of them to walk with me all the way down to the Ballard Locks and back, which was a lot more exercise than they got on that cruise ship, I’m sure. We were out walking almost three hours that afternoon, and trust me, there was no all-you-can-eat buffet laid out when we got back to our house, either. Gary and Cindy more than coped with all the hardships; they had smiles on their faces the whole time they were here.

I could tell they were OK people when they picked me up to pose for their official Chloë Visitor Portrait without regard to the fancy duds they were wearing for the wedding. I approve! I just hope they come back before that downstairs treat container is empty.

Chloë Walks in the Park

Guarding Chloë Lane

Guarding Chloë Lane

Mike takes me for a  long walk every afternoon, and  most days go into the park . I generally like to follow the same script every time. I sniff everything in sight between home and the parade grounds, then hustle along past the giant soccer ball to Chloë’s Lane, where we play fetch for about 20 minutes. Then we make a wide circuit of the bluffs and meadows, pausing on the way home for another search for food scraps by the park entrance and a flop on the corner lawn across the street. Unless I break away to chase rabbits and get caught in a blackberry thicket, that’s what we do every day. Mike might like to have more variety, but I love my routines.

Every once in a while, however, something different happens.

Sometimes it’s an encounter with a new dog. The one I’ve liked best lately is Harry. I’m just wild about Harry, a big gallumph of a black labradoodle, mostly doodle. Harry has a big smile and likes to stare at Mike’s treat bag, so I could tell we were simpatico. At the other extreme, one day in the south meadow  a pit bull named Barney barreled through unleashed, his owner telling Mike, “He’s good with little dogs!” I did not encourage Barney to chase me, but he did, and I cowered behind Mike until she finally harnessed Barney up. But as we walked away, I could see Barney bounding through the meadow again, heading towards another unsuspecting dog as the woman yelled, “It’s OK, he’s friendly!”

I’m usually OK with dogs that we meet on the trail or the parade ground, when I can see them coming. But when I get surprised, I get very defensive and start barking. And I can get territorial when defending my turf along Chloë’s Lane.But when the goldendoodle Toby showed up the other day, I could sense he was lost, so I let him hang. Mike used some treats to lure him back towards the Headquarters Building, and sure enough, a women was striding down the pavement with leash in hand, calling out his name. Toby and his owner were both very relieved and grateful that I had guided him back.

1-Tightrope Walker

Tightrope walker traverses the parade ground.

We’ve seen the tightrope guy do his thing above the parade ground several times. The most recent time a few weeks ago he brought a small entourage along to watch, but they must have left disappointed when he bailed about halfway across. Even so, my feet still hurt just thinking about it.

fishBut the best thing that happened on a walk lately took place just outside the park, across the street on the small patch of grass between the sidewalk and the roadway. One day a small fish was lying on the grass there. Mike saw it first, and wisely steered me to the other side of the intersection before my nose discovered it. Although it was only the size of something you’d see in a fish tank, that’s not where it came from. Mike figured it was a small bait fish that a bird had scarfed up down by Puget Sound and later dropped for some reason, such as being attacked by a larger bird. It just happened to land on Chloë’s favorite corner, where Mike let it stay, expecting another bird or a raccoon would find it and haul it away.

By the time we returned from our walk in the park the next afternoon, Mike had forgotten all about it. Needless to say, I hadn’t. I grabbed it and ate it with quick, forceful bites and thought, “yum and um.”  Mike had the satisfaction of seeing the look on hs child’s face when she catches her first fish. Worth every penny.

Chloë Makes the Fuzz Fly

Record-setting

Record-setting fetching  on the lawn.

I had a crazy time out at my Getaway this last time. Mike went to Syracuse about halfway, through, which really turned it into a holiday for me. Luckily, he prepared meals for Heather and me before he left, so neither of us starved. So he is good for something.

The highlight of my time together with Heather was setting (and resetting several times) the world dachshund record for fetching a ball thrown by hand (no plastic ball-flingers or jai alai cestas allowed!). The last count I remember was 180 straight, with only brief water breaks. After that many throws, I can barely remember anything, and I don’t think we rely on Heather to count anything greater than pi. Regardless of the number, Heather is a real trooper for throwing that ball so much, and I appreciate her effort. Both of us were sore for a couple of days afterwards.

The Pump on her perch

The Pump on her perch

Docile Pumpkin and I got along fine, although it is getting a little disconcerting when she keeps sniffing my butt and peeing on the same exact spot where I did. That little mop must think she owns the place or something. But she’s benign.

Stairway barrier

Staircase barrier

I can’t say the same about Mister Fuzz. That damn cat tried sneaking down the back spiral staircase one day when Mike was still around. I caught his eye when he was about halfway down, and he wisely retreated. He wasn’t so lucky the next time, when Mike was doing laundry on the second floor and left the main staircase barrier down for a minutes. I cornered Fuzz under a bed and barked up a storm until Mike collared me and dragged me back downstairs.

Mister Fuzz

Mister Fuzz

After Mike left, however, the cat was out of the bag, so to speak. Fuzz and I faced off about a half-dozen times more, and I chased him under the bed every time. Fuzz has yet to take a swipe at me, by the way. He just runs and hides. Advantage, Chloë.

Poor Mister Fuzz doesn’t seem such a bad guy.  It’s just too bad he’s a cat. Sure hope he likes it upstairs.