Category Archives: Hiking

Chloë Walks Far, Naps Long

West Point Lighthouse

West Point Lighthouse

Last weekend was great, beautiful and clear but cold for here, down into the 20s. I saw a lot of dogs sporting sweaters, but that’s not my style, Besides, I’d hate to make Heather do my laundry all the time.

Elliott Bay from West Point

Elliott Bay from West Point

Heather had a long weekend, four days in a row at home with me. On Friday she worked here on the dining room table while I slept in my chair next to her. It was almost like being at Heather’s real office, where as we well know dogs are no longer allowed. We made the most of those four days, taking lots of naps and extra walks together. On Sunday we trekked for two hours to the West Point lighthouse and back with Mike and my pal Charlie. Since it was such a nice day, there were more people on the beach than I’ve seen there in August. Charlie and Heather threw the ball for me a while in the fenced-in lawn area behind the lighthouse, until they got paranoid about a possible dog patrol officer siting . It proved to be a false alarm, but we hurriedly left the scene of the crime and started the steep climb back up the bluff with me on leash. Not my first choice for a hike in the woods, but I made do.

Napping on Heather's pillow

Napping on Heather’s pillow

The next day was more of the same because it was MLK Day. We took a long walk in the park and played fetch on the hill. But on Tuesday, Heather had to go back to her office, and even worse, it started raining. Feeling a little low, I spent most of the day sleeping on Heather’s pillow or in my bed next to Mike’s chair in his office, even skipping my usual afternoon pee-and-treat break when I heard rain pelting the window above me. Late in the day, I reluctantly allowed Mike to take me outside for a walk, but as soon as I handled my immediate business and checked out the Wendy* Way buffet (only lettuce remained, dammit, not even a soggy piece of toast!), I began steering Mike homeward. We were outside for barely 25 minutes, one of my shortest walks ever. Not that I let Mike off the hook. When we got home, I made him play Wiffie and tug for more than a half-hour. After all, a girl needs some exercise every day to keep herself slim and trim.

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 Burr-ows

 

Covered with burrs.

Covered with 28 burrs.

Mike keeps muttering “brrrr,” like he’s shivering from the cold, but we’re having a typically hot August around here. No, it’s “burr” that he mutters, as he bends down to pluck another sticky, round kernel out of my fur or sometimes his own heel. These “burrs” get into my fur around my mouth, in my beard, on my chest and belly, on the underside of my ears and sometimes even inside my nose. My feet get so tangled that Mike can spend a good half hour picking them off of me before dinner. If he doesn’t do this, I will spend many slobbering hours trying to do it myself.

My Mom, Banshee: Happy Mother's Day!

My Mom, Banshee

I’m hungry, so to speed things along, mostly I let Mike do his plucking, because he’s really more skilled and efficient at getting the burrs off than my own teeth are. And some of the them stick to places that my mouth can’t get to. My “help” for Mike consists of being relatively calm and compliant, at least until the moments Mike tugs so hard  on my fur that it hurts. That’s when I let out an awful, high-pitched squeal that is no doubt my legacy from my mom, named Banshee. What a noise! You’d think Mike had stabbed me repeatedly with a serrated knife (I may have been watching too many TV cop shows with Heather).

Wild geranium seeds

Wild geranium seeds

After repeated field observation sessions, Mike determined that these tiny implements of aggravation are seeds from the weed geraniums that populate the woodlands in the park (and occasionally in our yard, until Mike pulls them). When the geranium’s flower petals drop, a pod remains that eventually opens to reveal a roughly 1/16th-inch-diameter seed. Its skin is rough and sticky, and a wirehair dachshund’s torso is low-lying fruit, providing the perfect escape vehicle for these jagged little pills. Whenever  I tear into the under story, chasing a squirrel or” burr-owing” into the weeds after a ball, running into these geranium seeds is unavoidable. They come in bunches. And no matter how many of the little suckers Mike manages to pry off me before dinner, a few invariably remain, happy to stick on me for a day or two, until they dry out and eventually fall to the floor in any room of the house. There they lie in ambush for the bottom of Mike’s unsuspecting bare feet. It’s like stepping on a sharp stone, Mike screams. Ouch.

By the way, a little girl on a bicycle yelled out thea I was very cute today! I guess I've still got "it."

By the way, today a little girl on a bicycle yelled out that I was very cute! It’s nice to know I’ve still got “it.”

The  geranium burr season is now at full swing, but the best score Mike has counted so far is a measly 28 burrs in a single  day. That just scratches the surface, so to speak. With hot weather holding and no rain in the forecast, our forest floor is about to get even drier, so  I’m confident I can pick up enough of these geranium burrs to make it really “un-burr-able” for Mike in the near future.

 

 

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.

 

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 Marches On

Falls on Boulder River Trail

Falls along Boulder River Trail

I made up with Mike after that cat thing.  You never want to bite the hand that feeds you, right? I’ll just have to accept his need for occasional independence from the rigors of taking care of me. After all, we can all use some respite now and then, even from those we love.

I wasn’t going to tell Mike about an incident that happened while he was away, but when we took a hike last weekend with my pal Charlie, he spilled the beans.  Charlie divulged to Mike that in the park a few weeks earlier while he was taking me for a walk, a mean lady yelled at us, “Get a real dog!” after Charlie verbally scrapped with her about her two unleashed dogs harassing me. At the time, I was somewhat embarrassed, but I sure was glad that Charlie was sticking up for me, the “real dog” who was leashed and cowering behind him at the time. In retrospect, however, who the heck did she think she is, the Queen of Sheba? I am Chloë, hear me roar…from a distance, anyway.

Rescuing a stick

Rescuing a stick from the river

Discussion of that story aside, I had a great time on our hike and was an extremely well-behaved dog for the entire duration ; that’s what Heather said, several times. We drove a couple of hours each way to the Boulder River trailhead and back, but the car ride was worth it. Our 2 1/2-hour walk on this up-and-down trail was both beautiful and good exercise for me, a lot different from my usual ball-chasing. Plus, In addition to hiking, I got a chance to dig and chase sticks in the river on the way back to the car.

With Heather at trail's end

With Heather at trail’s end

That hike tuckered me out, all right, so I slept in the back seat all the way home. Even so, I was conscious enough to know that Mike, Heather and Charlie stopped for ice cream cones, and none of them brought me one damn lick. I will get even, believe me, even if it means hurling my lunch in a particularly embarrassing situation.

Chloë Eludes Catastrophe in the Olympics

The headline exaggerates, but only slightly. Here’s what happened.

At Murhut Falls

At Murhut Falls

Heather, Mike and I were on our annual winter trek to the Olympic Peninsula, delayed a month or so this year because they visited Syracuse in February. Going out to the OP in March turned out fine, though, since the weather was milder and the days were longer. We had one stormy day when Heather and I napped all afternoon, but also enjoyed two beautiful afternoons of sunshine for hikes into the verdant Olympic National Forest. The sun’s rays revealed wisps of moisture rising from the nurse logs and the forest floor.

With Mike on the trail

With Mike on the trail

Our first hike, to Murhut Falls, was good, but I was disappointed that Mike decided the path to the base of the falls was too difficult to try. I didn’t agree, but nobody asked me. That’s probably why, on Monday’s hike along the Big Quilcene River, I didn’t pause to ask  permission when chasing Heather’s errant throw of my purple-and-white ball off the trail and down the side of the embankment next to it.

At Heather's heel

At Heather’s heel

I knew Mike would try to prevent me from bounding down the cliff, a steep and dangerous drop to the roaring river a hundred feet below, so I ignored his yell and followed my ball, which caromed downward but luckily lodged against a fallen branch only about a dozen feet below trail level. Just as Heather started to slither down the bank in my direction for a rescue, I grabbed the ball in my mouth and plowed my way through the moss and underbrush toward the perplexed Mike, who was simultaneously angry and relieved.

Digging the river

Digging the river

Mike made me give him the ball, which he stuffed it inside his pack emphatically. Heather said that it was she who was bad, not me. I wasn’t about to argue. At any rate, there would be no more ball playing on this hike, which took us almost three hours. We did get a break in the middle, when we climbed down to the river’s edge and I tried to do a little stream remediation, to no avail. The Big Quilcene won again.

Oh, and when we got back to the car, I barked at a big German shepherd for no apparent reason. The dog might have attacked me, but seemed wimpier than I am. Once again, catastrophe averted. I lead a charmed life indeed.