Category Archives: Getaway

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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

Chloë Lives with a Cat

Where's Pumpkin?

Pumpkin perched atop her toys.

Heather, Mike and I headed out to my “getaway” in the Cascade foothills for the first time in a long while. Maybe we all needed some separation after my dog mentor Tara died, or maybe it’s just coincidence and Tara’s owners haven’t needed us for house- and horse-sitting. I do miss Tara, but so far this time in her house has been a lot less stressful for me: No growling every time I drag something out of the toy pile, and no pilfering of Heather’s attention and sometimes even my treats. So now there is no hindrance to making Mike throw stuffed toys around the living room for me to chase, catch and throttle until their stuffing spews forth. That’s when Heather jumps in for damage control.

That little mop Pumpkin is still around, but she’s so docile that I feel and sometimes act like the big, badass alpha dog of the house. Pumpkin does cute really well, but she is pretty much clueless about anything else. Any dog that has no interest in treats is clueless in my book. On the other hand, more for me.

Pny time

Pony time

We’re out here for almost two weeks, and I had a great time when we first arrived. We had great weather, and we went on several long hikes in places with lots of wildlife to sniff after.  I  also played fetch with Heather something like 75 times in a row on the huge lawn, and did a lot of munching of grass, or as Mike refers to it, my salad bar. I particularly enjoy the long blades in the fenced-in pasture, even more so because Mike hates to chase after me when I go in there, so I do it every chance I get. At the end of one walk I thought about checking out a pony in a field, but when we went across the road to visit we realized the pony was behind an electric fence, and I wanted no part of that. Besides, I can get as close as I want to real horses back at my getaway any old time I want to. It’s just that I don’t want to, ever. That barn is still a place I prefer to avoid. It’s loud, dark and scary in there.

Lounging by the pool

Lounging by the pool

In fact, apparently one of the barn cats hated living there so much that he wormed his way into becoming a house cat. I kind of sensed that he was around, but in my first week here I’ve only had one brief encounter with Mister Fuzz. Heather quickly got between us before I could do any damage. Even so, the incident allowed me to certify the existence of Mister Fuzz, who until then had been only a faint scent and a big rumor to me. Now I knew for sure that he was upstairs, and even in what rooms he liked to hang in.

Stairway barrier

Stairway barrier

All of a sudden, going upstairs to flush him out became a much higher priority for me. Heather was forced to erect a barricade of throw pillows at the base of the stairs to keep me on the first floor, but I’ve already breached it once, so it’s hardly insurmountable. For our remaining time here on this trip, it will be my job to get around it and stalk Mister Fuzz. In our tete-a-tete, he looked huge, and as a barn cat he must be tough enough, even if he does seem to be hiding out silently most of the time. 

Well, if Mister Fuzz is as smart as I think he is, he’ll just stay under a bed and out of my way. Otherwise, fur will fly. I guarantee it.

Chloë Finds Plenty to Do

Pausing In the pasture

Pausing In the pasture

Mike grumbled that it was a “lost weekend” because all of his teams lost every game they played. My view of sports is different: I’m into doing, not watching.

So while Mike lost, I found.  All kinds of great things to do just appeared under my nose. Friday we went to Heather’s office party, which was held at my regular getaway. On the way there, Mike and I stopped for a walk on the “watch out for bears” trail,  which is always fun, even when we don’t see any bears. When we got to the party, Sheila was the only other dog on the premises, and I already knew her from Heather’s office. Jaeger and his young friend Rocco, the two brown Labs, showed up later, but I knew them from the office, too, so everything felt OK. I was by far the smallest one there, but I realized that without my late friend Tara, I was the senior dog on the premises. I did my best to show the other dogs the lay of the land and keep them in line, but mostly I just left them alone and kept my nose out for falling hors d’oeuvres.

Chasing Rocco and Jaeger

Chasing Rocco and Jaeger

The next afternoon we stopped at Carkeek Park on the way home from watching the football game at Penny’s house. Our walk would have been uneventful  were it not for discovering a new variation of our fetch game. Looking for a secluded spot along the trail, we stumbled upon a large erratic, a smooth boulder that sloped upward on a diagonal, providing a great runway for my Visi-Ball and me. Heather’s throws never bounced the same way twice, and digging those errant tosses out of the thick underbrush was no little feat. See for yourself:

Sunday was unseasonably hot, and I’m glad this was the day Mike and Heather decided to meet my pal Charlie for a walk on the trail that goes along Elliott Bay. The park is a bit hazardous because of cyclists whizzing by, but it does afford great views and, on this hot day, a cooling breeze off the bay.

On the bridge

On the bridge

We also got to check out the new pedestrian bridge that crosses the highway and train tracks that divide the shoreline from the office buildings and neighborhood beyond. I wanted us to walk over to the other side of the bridge and back, but Heather told me it would take too long, and it was already getting late. Late? Late for what? Another game? I hope not. I would have rather gone home to chase Wiffie or play tug with Ropey and Mike.  Or rub my back and head on the rug! Anything but watch another game.

Chloë Loses Another Mentor

Mike recalled that Tara was a puppy, just a little ball of fur, when he moved to Seattle in September 1998. He and Heather first met her during a party at Tara’s owners’ ranch, the place that would later become my personal vacation getaway whenever we go out there to take care of her and the horses. For me, Tara was the first dog beyond my own family (Frank and Stanley, et. al.) that I ever knew. Just a couple of weeks after Mike and Heather brought me home, all three of us stayed at Tara’s house for several days. I was young and tiny (see photo in slide show below), but I learned a lot that week, especially to stay out of Tara’s way when she gave me the Stink Eye.  In the overall scheme of things, that was a good thing to learn.

My friend was old and pretty gimpy when she died, but spunky and grumpy to the end. No matter how many times I tried to be nice to her and follow her butt around, she never stopped giving me that menacing growl whenever I got too close to her or to a toy she wanted (she didn’t really want it, only that I shouldn’t have it). After all, this was her house, she was the boss, and don’t anyone forget it. Regardless, I learned from, loved and respected Tara, and now I’m going to miss her a lot.

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On the other hand, all sentimentality aside, I hope they don’t pack away her Rattling Santa toy.

Chloë and Rattling Santa

Chloë and Rattling Santa

 

Chloë Unearths Some Treats

No snoozing

No snoozing

Mike hit the road again to move his mom, meaning another stint at Heather’s office for me. Going to work with Heather always tires me out, because I don’t sleep all day like I do at home with Mike (until the mail slot clangs or UPS truck arrives). Perched on my chair behind Heather’s desk, however, I must be on guard all the time. People keep coming in to see her or leave things on her desk, even when she’s not there. Ergo, no snoozing allowed.

But everybody at Heather’s office seems to loves having me around. Sometimes they don’t come into Heather’s office to visit Heather, they come in to visit me– even people who work on the second floor! Cassandra, who seems to be in charge of everything in the office, must really like me, because she sent me about a dozen of the pumpkin treats she bakes for her own collie, Jasper. Spoilsport Mike cut each little pie into four pieces and put most of them in the freezer before he left, so Heather could dole out just a few at a time while he was away. I was hoping Heather would forget and give me all of them at once, but she  just forgot to take them out of the freezer in the first place, damn it.

Dachshund mobile

Dachshund mobile

Mike left me another gift before he left:  A dachshund mobile in the front yard. He and Heather like it. Me? I see a red dog, and I want to paint it black. I guess Mike wants to make it easier for the tourist bus drivers to pick out our house when they roll by, like having a map to the home of a Hollywood star.

Routing for field mice

Routing for field mice

A few days after Mike got back we spent a long weekend at my getaway home in eastern King County, taking care of the horses and dogs, old Tara and sedate Pumpkin. It wasn’t warm enough to lay out by the pool,  but Heather, Mike and I went on a long walk on Tiger Mountain, I chased mice in the horse pastures, and I almost got to scarf down part of an old bird carcass before Mike got it away from me. That’s why I like it out there: lots of stuff to sink your nose into.

Since the other two dogs can’t do much of anything active, I have to make my own fun.  On our last day there, however, I could tell Heather wasn’t feeling well, so I made it my duty to climb into a comfortable resting place between her legs and the back of the couch, under a couple of blankets, to make sure she was warm enough. Sometimes chillin’ works just fine for me.

2-Napping with Heather and Pumpkin

Chloë (left), napping with Heather and Pumpkin: Goodnight, you moonlight ladies.

Chloë Takes Pumpkin to School

Pumpkin with Tara's toys

Pumpkin with Tara’s toys

We had another guest at my getaway last weekend: Pumpkin. We didn’t know at the time what breed of dog Pumpkin is (later we found out she is a mix of Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu called Zuchon), but we had heard ahead of time that Pumpkin is a “breeder,” having lots of puppies already, including another litter since when we met her briefly last fall.

Frankly, I think popping all those pups has taken a lot out of her. Pumpkin’s about the same size as my pal Penny, so I figured we could do some chasing and wrestling around on the carpet together. But Pumpkin spent most of her time in her crate with the door shut because she always had a full bowl of kibble in it. Pumpkin didn’t eat much, and I would have been happy to help myself to her food if the door were open. You can count on it. But whenever Pumpkin ventured out  and the crate door was open, Heather always moved the food on top of the crate and out of my reach…so far, anyway. Pumpkin showed no emotion when I waltzed into her crate, sniffed around, picked up her dinosaur squeaky toy and sauntered out with it. She just watched. I am the alpha dog in this relationship.

There’s no denying Pumpkin is a cutie, and she loves getting attention. But as far as I could tell, she’s a one-trick pony. Cute is all she does. She’s not a hunter or an athlete, like me. Maybe her docile nature was a good thing, though, because Tara is really slowing down and would no doubt have gotten cranky if we had tried to have too much fun right under her nose. I compare Tara to the dowager countess on Downton Abbey.

Mike, Heather and I had a great walk in the pouring rain on Saturday afternoon, but my favorite time the whole weekend came late Sunday afternoon, the first day of Daylight Savings Time. The whole pack took a walk together, the three of us plus Tara and Pumpkin. This was just the right length of walk for Tara, who steadfastly brought up the rear. For Pumpkin it might have been the longest walk of her life. And who was out in front of this momentous procession? None other than me, the undisputed leader of the pack.  It was quite a weekend; here’s the slide show.

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