Category Archives: Getaway

Chloë Makes a Getaway

Reflecting on her recent birthday.

Mike and Heather took me out to my foothills getaway last week, but I could tell from the get-go that things would not be the same on this trip. I knew it as soon as it took so long to get there, since roads were washed out by recent rains and nobody remembered to tell us about it. Heather had to backtrack and take additional winding roads to get us there. My stomach was a bit upset when we finally arrived, and then things got even worse.

Mister Fuzz on the prowl.

Nobody consulted me about the major renovations going on inside, but renovations are well underway, and all of the bedrooms and bathrooms but one are in the midst of a major overhaul. That meant that all of us had to sleep in the same bedroom. And by ALL of us, I mean Mike, Heather, me, Smokey and Pumpkin , the two dogs who live there, and the cat, Mister Fuzz. (Luckily, Pepe the fat burro wasn’t in there with us.) True, I did have my own travel crate to myself, but I was constantly uncomfortable sleeping in such proximity to Mister Fuzz, who parked himself under the bed , not six feet away, and pretty much refused to come out as long as anyone was in the room.  Over the weekend, I had a few long-distance face-offs with Fuzz when he  dared to venture downstairs to eat, but we never tangled the whole time. Judging from how huge he has gotten, that was probably a good idea., but I felt yucky enough to be so near him at night.

Smokey likes to watch.

But Fuzz was much less a bother to me than that buttinski Australian shepherd Smokey, who was constantly in my face all weekend and doesn’t at all understand the word “No!” from man nor beast. I know he’s still a puppy, OK, but I began thinking he’s just not that smart.  He he barked at the TV screen whenever the Allstate commercial with Tina Fey and the Mayhem guy (Dean Gerard Winters) acting like he’s a Saint Bernard puppy was on. I kind of understood him barking at the real pug that appears in the commercial, but mostly he barked at the actor barking like a dog. Maybe Smokey identified with what the dog character labels “lack of impulse control.” I feel sorry for Pumpkin, who has to put up with Smokey’s goofball behavior every day.

The other thing about Smokey—and I really hate bringing this up—is his pooping prowess. Smokey rings a bell when he has to go out. Cute, very cute. What’s not so cute is how much Smokey poops: It could be three or four times on each walk, with three or four puny poops each time, one at a time, usually with a few steps in between. I kid you not. And poor Heather, walking behind him with multiple poop bags, trying to keep track of where his last deposit landed while bending down to scoop the previous one. On our last long walk of the weekend on the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail, my pity for Heather intensified, as poop got caught in Smokey’s ample butt fur and Heather tried to clean it off with a handful of fallen leaf residue. I tried to get Mike to take a picture, but he declined.

Birthday treats for Chloë.

Anyway, for the first time ever I  was happy to get away from the getaway when we packed up and left  on Monday morning, and even happier when I got home and a package arrived from Syracuse. It was actually addressed to Mike and Heather, who were celebrating an anniversary of something or other, but the same box from my aunt Susi also contained a fine selection of gourmet treats for me. I’m glad someone thinks I deserved something special for my recent 10th  birthday, and these are exactly the kind of special, expensive, calorie-laden treats that Mike and Heather would never buy for me. Thanks, aunts Susie and Debby; I’m sure these highly appreciated and anticipated treats will be doled out prudently (with Mike in charge, my heirs might be enjoying them someday—if I had any heirs, that is). And thanks also to Cleo and Bear, my aunts’ cats, who sent me a nice birthday card in the same package. I must caution them, however, that while I may have reached a certain level of detente with Mister Fuzz, when I reach Syracuse this summer I will still look forward to chasing them. Start training and be ready.

 

Chloë Mentors Another Pup

Schatzi

The very day after I frolicked with Schatzi, we took off for my Getaway in the Cascade foothills. I normally have a great time out there, roaming free on woodsy walks and playing fetch on the lawn.

Smokey

This time, however, because of recent rabbit and cougar sightings, I was leashed at all times and forbidden from walking into the state forest land beyond the lawn. And that wasn’t even the worst part: Smokey, the Aussie puppy who somehow moved in when I wasn’t looking, had gotten bigger and more invasive than he was the last time we stayed out there.  He wasted no time in sticking his nose in my face (and other body parts). The first thing that came to mind was, “Schatzi, I miss you!” It’s a lot more fun fooling around with a puppy I can dominate.

Awaiting dinner

Still, the good points about the latest stay more than outweighed Smokey’s antics: There was lots of grilling, which meant more meaty plates to lick. I pretty much ate like a pig, several times able to scarf up food from the bowls of Smokey, Pumpkin and the puffy black cat, Mr. Fuzz. And that cute little Pumpkin still does whatever I tell her to. Although I felt sorry for her whenever Smokey tried to harass her, I came to see where that the feisty little dog could take care of herself. She showed she knows the value of a low growl.

Sharing the front seat

 

The best part was taking Smokey and Pumpkin with us on our afternoon walks and having to drive to the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail to do it. Heather decided she didn’t want all three of us dogs in the back seat, so I got to sit in the front seat, restoring the True World Order I had enjoyed originally but have been deprived of in recent years, relegated to the back seat inside a padded sling and attached to clothesline harness, all in the name of safety and proper pet etiquette.  A pox on safety and etiquette, I say!

Chloë’s view

I got to sit in front for the whole week, alternating between dozing in Mike’s lap and sitting up to stare out the front windshield to see what fast-food or ice cream places were passing, although there were not many in this neck of the woods.

Beyond regaining the front seat (I have already been warned that this special privilege will not continue on our impending road trip), the other highlight of the week was luring the increasingly social Mr. Fuzz downstairs and getting a brief chance to sniff his butt. Big surprise: He smelled like a cat.

Mr. Fuzz

I must have  pissed him off, though, because the next day when I was asleep in my camp chair in the kitchen after supper, Mr. Fuzz snuck downstairs, creeped into the kitchen behind the large center island and leaped at me in a full frontal attack. Luckily, his claws only grazed my fabric chair, and when I let out my patented chasing-squirrels bark, he hightailed it back upstairs, where he belongs. I wasn’t about to let him sniff my butt.

Pumpkin rests along the trail.

Along the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

Chloë Ramps Up Her Recovery

Chloë takes over Heidi’s ramp.

I was meaning to write sooner, but I’ve been injured. For the second time in just three months, a bad wheel was slowing me down. The first time, when we were in Canada in August, it was my right front leg with a pulled muscle that made me limp. This time, it was muscle soreness in the back left. Some days this new injury didn’t seem to bother me at all, and I continued to leap into my camp chair, but the next day I would let out an unexpected yelp of pain just by leaping off a curb to the street. I had no problems going down a flight of stairs, but there was no way I was climbing back up, not even the two little steps in front of our house. Mike and Heather dragged Heidi’s ramp out of the garage just for me. The tread on the ramp needed a little mending, but I began using it on every trip up. Not down, just up.

To prevent further damage to my leg, Heather put me on what she called “modified bed rest.”  That meant when we went out to the Olympic Peninsula for Heather’s birthday, we didn’t go on any long, up-and-down hikes in the forest, like we usually do. This time I walked only on paved or flat trails like the Olympic Discovery Trail in Sequim. When Heather and Mike hiked to the top of Hurricane Hill in Olympic National Park, I stayed in the car. Fine with me, frankly.

Olympic snoozing.

When we got back home, Heather didn’t make me stay in bed all day, but I was not allowed to play ball, not even inside with Wiffie. And I wasn’t allowed to run after squirrels or chase cats, either. Our afternoon walks were shorter, too. And with so much less exercise, I was getting crabbier every day, not to mention gaining weight. I feared the dreaded word “diet” might resurface when Mike came back from his trip east.

This lingering physical malady started to change my personality as well. I got more standoffish and timid around other dogs.  I started sleeping later, whining less, declining to get into bed and take a nap with Heather. I’d rather be alone in my beds in the office or living room. When Mike got back, I let him groom me without trying to get away. If I went downstairs with him to get a biscuit, I refused to go back up on my own. Eventually Heather would relent, come downstairs, pick me up and carry me up stairs, unsure whether my leg was still bothering me or if my reluctance to climb the stairs was all in my head.  When I demanded similar service for the two steps up to her bed, she drew the line. Dammit. As long as she thought I was hurt, I planned to make the most of it, but apparently my jig is up. Heather put Heidi’s ramp back in the garage.

 

Chloë Takes a Puppy to School

Mr. Fuzz

I was excited to to return to my mountain getaway in east King County last week. As soon as we exited I-90 and climbed into to the foothills, I knew where we were going, back to the palace of wall-to-wall carpet and lawns galore. It’s my absolutely favorite place to play fetch, 50 or more throws at each session. And I love being the undisputed leader of the pack with Pumpkin, the little dog who lives there, and the mysterious Mr. Fuzz, the bushy cat who mostly stays upstairs when I’m around. They know their place.

Smokey

Unfortunately, sometime after our last visit, Smokey showed up. About 8 months old when we arrived, Smokey is the successor to Tara, the brilliant Aussie who showed me the ropes out here when I was a but a wee pup. Supposedly it was my turn to pass some wisdom on to Smokey, except for one thing: Smokey just didn’t want to listen. Every single time he could, he just wanted to bite me on the ears or stick his nose up my butt, like I was going to smell different every time. Heather yelled, “Leave!” and “No” more than I’ve ever heard them yelled before, even in my own frolicking puppyhood. Heather was worn out after a week of grappling on the other end of a leash with Smokey, a strong and growing boy.

Chloe and Smokey rest on the trail.

Heather said Smokey hadn’t been out much beyond the grounds of his home property. He didn’t know anything about taking a walk, so we taught him how to do it, and we walked on the Preston-Snoqualmie and the Snoqualmie Valley trails. By the end of our time there, he was getting better at following the pack, although he kept trying to pick up large sticks at the end instead of in the middle, and he turned out to be a serial pooper, meaning he took several long strides between each deposit, so it was hard to know when he was done and harder to find those nuggets when he was. Heather needed a lot of bags. And she also had to teach Smokey about how to ride in the back of the car, although it took a lot of pushing and shoving from Heather and Mike in the front seat to keep him there. On the plus side, since Smokey had to be by himself in the back seat tied to my harness, I finally regained my rightful place in the front seat in Mike’s lap. Good timing, too; in this comfortable spot I could lay my head down, close my eyes, and not think about the twisty roads we were driving on, which make me queasy.

Chloë smugly watches Smokey suffer in Heather’s Boot Camp.

Heather tried valiantly to teach Smokey better manners, but even a week in Heather’s infamous Boot Camp could not make much difference. Hopefully Smokey will grow out of his rambunctiousness and be a nice guy to be around, but at this time he’s still a work in progress. While we were in the house, he mostly had to stay in his exercise pen in the living room, just to keep him out of everyone’s face and give Pumpkin and I some respite from his constant advances. We all felt sorry for Pumpkin, because when no one is around to tell Smokey “no,” he will hound her constantly and drive her into her crate or onto seats of chairs that are pushed in under the dining room table, where she crawls up in her little lair and hopes he doesn’t find her.

Status reclaimed.

Anyway, I missed out on the other Big Excitement of our week at the getaway. I was inside the house with Mike in the middle of the afternoon when Heather took Pumpkin and Smokey outside for some exercise. She threw the ball for Smokey (and he was making some progress on bringing it back!) while Pumpkin ran unleashed in in the horse ring until Heather saw a cougar standing at the edge of the property, on a trail that goes into the state forest land out back. She yanked on Smokey’s leash, called Pumpkin to come and hightailed it with them to the house, while the cougar hightailed it in the opposite direction.

It was a good thing that I didn’t happen to be out there fetching my ball on the back lawn when that big cat appeared. Everyone knows how much I love to chase cats. It could have been good practice for the Bartons’ cats down the street., and no one doubts I would have been deterred by its size.

Chloe on Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

Although I missed that opportunity, and sometimes Smokey got to be a bit intimidating, it was a worthwhile time out there. It made Heather appreciate much more just what a good dog I am. And as I always like to say, better him than me.

 

Chloe Faces Fuzz

Mike, Heather and I spent another week out at my foothills Getaway, but I never did find the orange ball I lost the first week. No big deal, I reasoned. That ball was starting to get a little soft and squishy, anyway, not bouncing as high or far as it used to, and much easier to gnaw. I was sure Mike and Heather will just get me a new one when we got home, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

Mr. Fuzz

Still, I didn’t get to play a lot of fetch on the lawn the second week. Too many distractions. For the most part, I was on a leash or tied to something for the remainder of our stay. I had run away and ignored her commands so frequently that Heather’s coyote-anxiety was at all-time high while her tolerance of me was at an all-time low. Even inside the house she tethered me to a chair or a table, fearful that I would break loose and eat Pumpkin’s food or, worse yet, chase the cat Mr. Fuzz under a bed and start screeching at him. Does Heather forget I’m a dachshund? Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do? Besides, Mr. Fuzz tricked me. He deliberately left some of his cat food upstairs on the bathroom floor just where I could find it if I sneaked upstairs, which I did. His food tasted pretty good at the time, but it gave me diarrhea for days afterward, each time further reminding Heather that I had been a bad, bad dog. Oh well, live and learn.

Chloë and Pumpkin vie for position.

By the end of our second week at the Getaway, Mr. Fuzz got bolder and started coming downstairs for visits, even during the day. I only got to chase him once, though, when I was briefly left unattended while Mike was exercising and Heather was doing laundry, or maybe the other way around. Anyway, besides that brief encounter on the second floor, Fuzz and I kept our distance. And the next time I got upstairs, Fuzz had already eaten most of his food. Smarter guy than I gave him credit for.

Chloe and Pumpkin April 2017

Pumpkin tried again to be my pal, which was OK, as long as she understands her place in my pack. It was not OK, for instance, for her to instigate playful chasing with me out on the forest trails. I’m the one in charge of that, and everything else, for that matter. I did let her sit in the back seat of Heather’s car with me, but I made her get in first, so she can check it for danger and then stay out of my way. Most importantly, I made it clear to Pumpkin that her place was definitely NOT on the couch or bed spread out on top of or tightly beside Heather. That’s MY place. Pumpkin got the message.

Portage survivors.

One more thing: While Pumpkin was always happy to go hiking with us, on more than one occasion she showed what a wuss she is. Sometimes Heather had to carry Pumpkin through the swampy sections of the trail when Pumpkin refused to wade through on her own. To Pumpkin’s credit, she was getting much better about being comfortable outside after she two weeks of walking with us to toughen her up. I hope Pumpkin ventures out more in the real world when I’m not around to lead her.

Meanwhile, All Clear, Mr. Fuzz! You can come downstairs now. I’m leaving Pumpkin in charge until I come back.

Mr. Fuzz spies from landing

 

Chloë Screws Up Her Training

Snoqualmie Valley Trail

Boot Camp with Heather had been going so well. When we arrived for a two-week stay at my Cascade foothills Getaway, she voiced her amazement at how well I was complying with all of her increasingly difficult commands. On more than one occasion, I heard her tell Mike that I was doing “fantastic.” That was her word, not mine.

And then things got a bit out of hand.  I got out there in the country with my pal Pumpkin and the sweet spring grass and lots of wild smells, and I just lost control. On four straight days, Heather let me off my leash and I ran away from her, at four different locations for four different reasons. She would call me back, and sometimes I would even stop and look at her.  And run.

Shooting range

The first time I was chasing the orange ball that Mike had tossed along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, and it took a bad hop and flew over the embankment right into the local gun club’s shooting range.  When I skidded down after it, I caught my leash on a bush, and both I and the ball needed assistance. But as Heather slid down to get me, I extricated myself and ran back uphill to Mike, who was trying to keep Pumpkin from following Heather down. I dropped the ball in the process, but Heather was able to get it. No harm, no foul, right? I might have gotten away with it if it only happened once. Unfortunately, no.

Heather shows the dogs where the ball flew over embankment.

Charlie was with us for the next incident. He drove out to visit on a Sunday, and we took him for a walk on a different branch of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. I was leading the pack on the way back to the car when I caught a fresh scent of fox or weasel and took off on a small game trail that ran under some barbed-wire fencing and Posted signs. This sliver of a trail led to a much wider one some 20 feet below, which then wound further into farmers’ fields and ultimately toward the busy highway beyond them. Heather and Charlie kept calling me to return, but I ignored them, put my nose down to the ground and scurried another few yards in the opposite direction. At one point I bounded toward the highway, but soon reversed course and headed steadily back to the main trail, where Mike stood waiting at my original point of egress. This time Heather ordered Mike to keep me leashed up for the rest of our walk.

Wanted: Chloë’s missing ball

But did anybody learn anything from this? Apparently not, because on the following day, in between the heavy rains and hailstones I endured, I split again on yet another section of the Sno Valley Trail. (Heather likes this former railroad bed trail because it’s flat, and I like because it has lots of small critters lurking about.) This time I ran circles around a muddy field before returning to Mike and his waiting leash, again the prescribed punishment from Staff Sergeant Heather, who was amused by my recent performances. She was even less pleased the following day, when she and I were playing fetch on the back lawn, for both of us by far the most favorite activity on the Getaway agenda. She threw the ball, I retrieved it, and then I ran right past her and all the way down to the landscapers’ garage down the hill, ball in mouth – until a big dog named Coconut who lives there intercepted me and chased me back towards the Getaway house. Heather was made when she came to get me, and she was even more so when she saw the ball was no longer in my grip.

At least I’ve got another week out here at my Getaway to find that ball. Meanwhile, I figure I am on a leash for the duration of our time here, even when I’m inside the house. It’s like house arrest! And who knows how long it will last with Heather in charge? Might be forever, come to think of it.

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 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.

 

 

 

 

Chloë Searches for the Perfect Snooze

Chlo in Her Chair

In her chair

I didn’t want to leave the discussion of my sleeping habits without mentioning Chloë’s Chair, my green Coleman camp chair that goes wherever I do. Besides having a comfortable blue pillow to rest my head on, it features the ultimate in portability: It can be folded up and moved with me in it. Not for long distances, of course, just from the kitchen to the dining room and back. I like being as close to the food as possible.

We also take my chair out to my getaway in the Cascade foothills, where we eat right in the kitchen. The new resident dog Pumpkin frequently pulls in next to me in a rolling chair from the dining room. My chair also moves outside in better weather, or in cooler months to the office and the sun room, where it gets quite toasty during the day.

Heather picks up Chloë in her chair.

Chloëpatra

Heather usually does the heavy lifting, making me feel almost like I’m Chloëpatra, being carried by Nubian slaves. I certainly feel pampered when I’m in my chair. That’s normally where I am in the morning while Mike eats cereal and reads the newspaper. But there’s nothing better than finding a warm ray of sunshine on your skin, whether it’s in a bed, in a chair, or just lying around on the floor when it’s warm outside.Wake up, America. Take a nap.

 

Resting in the sunlight

Resting in the morning sunlight.

 

Chloë Sets New Fetch Records

We finally came home from my getaway. Being there almost two weeks took its toll on my body, so I have been resting up a bit while Mike watches baseball playoffs on TV seemingly 24 hours a day. At the getaway, I get so busy that I often don’t get my full quota of afternoon naps, so it’s good to catch up.

On the back lawn

On the back lawn

The highlight of the recent vacation was the new dachshund fetch records that I set Sunday, Oct. 4, on my getaway’s back lawn. Heather certified that I set new marks for single-session (85 throws-and-returns) and single-day (175). My two-day total of 300 has yet to be certified, but we expect official word soon.

Let’s see…what else happened on this trip? As you no doubt recall from my previous post, this time I graciously shared my getaway with the mop-like Pumpkin and Mister Fuzz, a black-and-white former barn cat.  Pumpkin turned out to be more fun than I expected. I actually grew to like her, and we even engaged in some mutual butt-sniffing before this stay was over. That’s high praise.

Mister Fuzz, however, is another story. We had but two brief encounters, as Heather expended much energy on keeping us apart. Luckily, nobody tripped on anything, and our tete a tetes were well-controlled.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That getaway place is just too much fun! Toys, carpets, lawns, forests, even a dog companion. If I can just get that cat back into the barn where it belongs,  it would be perfect.