Category Archives: Holidays

Chloë Celebrates a Best-Ever Holiday

I needn’t have worried about the tight quarters in front of our fireplace for stocking-filling. Santa came through just fine for me. In fact, I had already enjoyed two special events by the time the big day arrived.

Re-gifted her toys.

Re-gifted her toys.

Mike and I were just walking down our block one day, minding our own business, when Merrie’s mom Jane came running out of her house and calling to Mike. She wanted to re-gift me with two brand-new toys that had been given to her Basset hound Merrie. She was certain Merrie would chew them. Being somewhat of an expert on toy-chewing myself, however, I doubt that scenario, but are you kidding? I wasn’t saying no. Although Mike told Jane that if I wasn’t interested in the toys, he would drop them off at the Seattle Animal Shelter, by the time we got back to our house, I had already knocked them out of Mike’s hands, scooped them up and claimed them as my own. I was so excited.

Soft green boney

Soft green boney

I immediately adopted both. One is a small orange bear that I have so far been unable to silence from its squeaking, despite my many efforts. The other is a fabric-covered green bone that has “Been there chewed that” stitched on one side. This one was easy to quiet and thus far has become a popular participant in indoor fetch sessions. Sometimes the soft green bone even supplies a good target for some tug-o-war with Mike. Heather doesn’t do tug-o-war. I haven’t named the orange bear or the green bone yet, but I’m working on it.

My good fortune continued. A couple of evenings later, my new UPS delivery person Donna came to my own front door! I heard her truck come down the block and park, and as Mike looked out the window to verify my warning, Donna was actually bounding down our walk, delivering a package for Heather and biscuits right to my doorstep. She gave me two, my first personal double-biscuit delivery since my favorite Mr. Brown Kevin left the route a bit more than a year ago.

Chanukah gelt for Chloë.

Chloë surveys her Chanukah gelt.

Come Christmas morning, my stocking was full. I got Paul Newman’s personal dog treats from Charlie and all-natural chewies from my aunts Susie and Debby. Mike gave me lots of extra treats all day, a rarity for that tightwad. And Heather, who stayed home from work all week (in a sneak preview of what this “retirement” thing might be like), gave me one “Get Out of Jail Free” card for when I get in trouble on her watch and took me on several long walks in the park, just the two of us, followed by some power-napping. With all of this loot coming on top of the comfy new mattress in the bedroom that has now returned to easy dachshund accessibility, my stocking haul was more than I could possibly ask for.

It was nice to have my pack all together and under the same roof all day. Over two days of the Christmas weekend, the three of us (along with my pal Charlie on Christmas Day) hiked to six of my favorite fetch locations in the park, pausing for some spirited throw-and-return at each stop. The six were Chloë’s Lane, the Hill Below the 500 Area, Behind the Visitors Center, the Cemetery, the South Meadow and the Capehart Fence. I just hope Animal Control Officers aren’t faithful readers of my blog. The potential for drone surveillance worries me.

That’s why I’ve decided to lie low ’til 2017. Happy New Year.

 

Chloë Rides a Perfect Storm of Holiday Cheer

Prowling for tasty morsels.

Prowling for tasty morsels.

I know I’m prone to complaining, but sometimes I am forced to admit I lead a pretty charmed life. Consider these examples. Just days after Mike put me on a special pre-holiday diet, and barely one hour after he had deftly steered me away from the latest feast our  generous neighbor had laid out along Wendy* Way, a stranger approached us on the sidewalk near the park entrance. She was a catering worker looking for an event at the Daybreak Star Cultural Center at the other end of the park, and she asked Mike if he could point her in the right direction. That was all the break I needed.

As Mike launched into a lengthy and no doubt confusing description of her easiest route through the darkening park, his attention was diverted sufficiently that I was able to maneuver him and myself into prime position for grabbing a piece of toast and a good hunk of lemon chiffon cake. My good friend Wendy* (not her real name) really has a good eye for baked goods.

Mike was about to give the young lady one of his park maps when she waved him off and rushed through the park gate perusing her phone. That was OK, since I had pretty much eaten my fill by then, and dinner was less than an hour away.

Besides, another perfect storm was brewing. Just a few days later, Mike was doing a good job of not letting me anywhere near the freshly served smorgasbord along Wendy* Way. That is, until he saw a stranger with two big dogs about to cross the street and into our path. Wanting to avoid the fearsome threesome, Mike reluctantly gave in and let me turn left over to the Wendy Way side of the park gate. The way the scraps were scattered all over the sidewalk and grass, he could not possibly divert me from them all. I nabbed some Italian bread and cheese on the way through.

Chasing down brown.l

Chasing down brown.l

And wait, there’s more. Not wanting to make an about-face and walk down Wendy* Way a second time, Mike marched us right up to the stop sign at the corner, and there, just two houses down Magnolia Boulevard, was my favorite big brown truck. Excited, I pulled Mike toward it like a sled dog, but as we got close my heart sank. The truck was parked for a delivery, but it wasn’t my pal Donna who got out with the package. Still, this new UPS guy smiled at me as he returned to the truck, making me think he might give me something anyway, when I noticed he was not alone. Then Donna emerged from the back of the truck with a wide smile and big hello for me, and two biscuits to boot. I’m hoping to see a lot more of her before the holiday rush subsides.  More deliveries means more treats, so I’m good for business.

Order restored!

Order restored!

Maybe there’s something to this notion of holiday magic after all. A few days ago I came back to the house after a whole day of being out, either on a walk in the park or a trip in the car. As I searched every room to see what may have fallen on the floor while I was gone, I noticed that the new, big, tall bed had miraculously shrunk back to its normal size, making it a lot easier for me to get in and out. I still can’t figure out what happened to shrink it, but it was a great Christmas present for my middle-aged knees and spinal column every time I forget that there’s “NO JUMPING.” Thank you, Macy’s, for putting things back the way they was.

Close quarters for Santa

Close quarters for Santa

In fact, I would be fine if the lowered mattress height turns out to be my only holiday gift this year.  Not that I don’t appreciate gifts, particularly the edible kind. I’m just being realistic. I can see with my very own eyes that my stocking has already been hung by the chimney with care. But I’m not at all sure Old Saint Nick will be able to squeeze his fat, jolly self between the chimney and the couch in order to fill it. The new living room alignment may be good for watching TV, but turning the back of your couch on Santa can’t be a good idea.

 

Chloë Counts Her Blessings

Even though my UPS-delivered bickies were down this holiday season, the results in other areas were very favorable overall.

Aunts Susie and Debby from Syracuse came through again, this time with a whole selection of delectable treats. And my good friend Charlie came over for Christmas dinner, bringing me even more presents. If only Mike weren’t rationing them out so slowly, I would be able to really enjoy all my holiday loot. But around here, they always make me work for treats, dammit.

Like this: Before letting me enjoy the treats from my stocking, they buried all the good stuff deep inside and made me find it!  I had to worm my way all the way to the toes to get anything.

Putting herself into it.

Putting herself into it.

Don’t worry, I found them, and my Syracuse aunts sent me a fine selection of jerky logs, snausages and steak-shaped  items. Thank you, aunts, you know I love meat products of all kinds and descriptions.

Holiday treats from the Cuse.

Holiday charcuterie from the Cuse.

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries

But I appreciate balance, too, which is why I’m thankful that Mike includes some raw vegetables in every one of my meals, and my vegetarian pal Charlie always finds the healthiest veggie treats for me.This time he gave me dried sweet potatoes cut like crinkly french fries. I love eating vegetables, too. In fact, I love pretty much anything that’s edible when I really think about it. Those sweet potatoes go down about as quickly as anything that’s meat-flavored. Or cheese, for that matter. Dairy products? Of course! And sweets, sweets are good.

Aunt Susie also sent some of her famous holiday cookies, but these were for Heather and Mike. Mostly Mike, based on what I’ve observed. I’ve seen him sneak into the kitchen at night and sneak a couple of Susie’s cookies into the bedroom after Heather is snoring sleeping. I couldn’t test any of these cookies, I was told, because they all had chocolate in them, and chocolate is not good for dogs. (By the way, I’d like to see some documented proof of this. This could be urban legend, for all I know, and I would have missed out on a lot of potential good stuff. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about hot fudge sundaes.)

Dachshund Cookie

Broken dachshund cookie mostly pieced together

Aunt Susie wanted us to know that some of the cookies were shaped like dachshunds instead of the traditional Christmas tree. It was hard to tell at first, because every dachshund cookie broke into pieces during shipping — via USPS, of course. I’d be remiss if I did not point out to Aunt Susie that had she chosen UPS as her carrier, the dachshund cookies would have arrived intact and the real dachshund on the premises might have had the lagniappe of having a large brown bickie delivered to the front door along with her aunts’s gracious holiday gifts. On the other hand, most of the people who saw the dachshund cookie thought it looked like  a Springer spaniel.

Chloe Under Ass

Chloe under ass

As it was, I managed to make do with the treats that I got. Even more than the food, I enjoyed having  lots of time over the holidays at home with Heather. When she’s around the house every day like she is on weekends, there is always more walking, more ball-throwing, more treating, more degrees on the thermostat and more stuff to do all day. Sometimes I am having so much fun that Mike has to literally sit on me to rein me in. I’m losing so much daytime napping that I’m spent, and I’m looking forward to going to bed early on New Year’s Eve. What the heck? See you next year.

 

 

Chloë Searches for a Brown Christmas

Training my new UPS driver is not going so well. When first I met the new guy, Craig, he seemed friendly enough, but he gave me only one bickie, no matter how many times I chased his truck down the block and stared at him. Plus, since our meeting occurred down the block in front of Merrie’s house, I’m not sure that he knows in which house I live. In fact, since that day, we’ve had at least two UPS deliveries to our front door, both apparently coming when Mike wasn’t home, since he did not personally witnessed any of my trademark obsessive-berserk UPS truck reaction, sometimes referred to as “Chloë’s going brown on us again.” Multiple deliveries with no bickies left on top of the package can’t be totally chalked up to wind gusts. Clearly, this new guy doesn’t get it yet. I resolved to do something about that.

On the Boulevard

On the Boulevard

At least every other day, when Mike and I went out for our afternoon walk, I steered Mike away from the park and southward through the streets of Magnolia, tracking the scent of brown trucks. One day along Magnolia Boulevard I spied one, driven not by my new friend Craig but another driver, one who I’ve met and received treats from. On this day, she had a helper, and she sent him to our side of the street with a package, so I dragged Mike back several houses to the spot where he would cross the sidewalk. He saw me and smiled—and he was still smiling when he climbed back into the brown truck alongside the driver. She checked behind her for oncoming cars, released the brake, merged into the traffic lane and pulled around the corner, never making eye contact with a dumbfounded dachshund on the sidewalk across from her.

Dravus tower

Dravus tower

When I sense brown trucks are in the neighborhood, I usually try to steer Mike up to the water tower on Dravus, where a couple of UPS routes seem to cross. The brown truck fumes linger around there, for some reason, because we’ve had multiple visits lately without actually seeing a brown truck in the vicinity. The last time I plowed right past the water tower without stopping, descending the hill on the other side and hustling pasts the play fields in the valley. Unfortunately, at that point we got caught in a sudden, heavy downpour of rain, freezing rain and sleet. Mike and I were drenched, and a long way from home.

That’s when my instincts kicked in. Before we reached Magnolia Village, I guided us on a serpentine course through the Pop Mounger Pool, Catherine Blaine School, the Magnolia Community Center and the Magnolia Playfields, and then past the Chase bank, the fire station, the automobile repair garage, the bus stop and the dry cleaner, right to the door of my Edward Jones broker Caroline. It made sense: It was a familiar place where it was dry and where I am always treated like a queen (meaning lots of high-quality treats). Only then did I find out the real reason I had been lured so strongly over the mountains (well, over the big hill where the water tower is) and through a fierce storm to this particular place: Caroline told Mike that Kevin, my recently retired UPS Guy, had actually been in her office recently as her client, and that he looked great. Good for him, I thought, but what about me and other Magnolia dogs, the ones he left behind with no bickies?

So close and yet so far...

So close and yet so far…

But as the dark days of December wore on, I began to accept my fate. Brown trucks drove up our street, stopped right outside our door, and I slept right through. On walks, I saw brown trucks turning left and let Mike steer me to the right. Finally, on the day before Christmas Eve, I saw that same brown truck on Magnolia Boulevard. For two blocks, I pulled Mike toward it, and then directly into the paths of both the driver and her assistant as they hurried to make deliveries, neither making any contact with my pleading eyes. They must received a directive from headquarters, I figured, pressure from above to speed deliveries along, with no time for socializing. Amazon and other mega-clients demand it, or they might decide to buy some planes and trucks and deliver the boxes themselves.

But I digress. After I failed to get noticed in two more passes of the brown truck, I sat down on the sidewalk and stared back at it forlornly, waiting helplessly for a driver to provide some hint of recognition, disappointed when nothing came my way. When Mike told me to “leave it” and to follow him away from the truck, I didn’t argue. I realized that my  puppy-hood was really over. I didn’t believe in my own personal Santa Claus anymore, and I worried it would be a blue Christmas without him.

 

 

Chloë Recaps Her Holidaze

Chloë's shortcut

Chloë’s shortcut

Sorry I haven’t written in so long, but the holiday season just got in the way. When I wasn’t taking long walks, napping or playing with new toys, then Heather was hogging the computer keyboard and Mike couldn’t get on it to take my dictation. Picky Mike claimed he cannot type fast enough on his tablet to keep up with me. (He’s not as tech-savvy as I would prefer in an executive assistant, but he is what he is, and I’ve got to live with it.)

Since on Christmas Day I wasn’t quite sure whether I was going to get any gifts from my owners Mike and Heather (just as likely a lump of carrot was headed my way),  I considered myself lucky − and was extremely thankful − to get gifts from my friend Charlie and my aunts Susie and Debby (whose package did NOT arrive via UPS, by the way). Charlie gave me more of the  yummy dried sweet potato treats that I like and a so-called indestructible ball that I destroyed and partially devoured in about 10 minutes. I had a great game of keep-away with its remains, until I finally got a treat for giving it up.

People's exhibits A and B

People’s exhibits A and B

My Syracuse aunts sent a smorgasbord of chewy things along with Mike’s tin of Susie’s holiday cookies. Mike (who’s too damn weight-conscious, if you ask me) of course wanted to ration out everything, small bets at a time. But he was foiled by two large rawhide bones that were too hard to break into pieces. He made the mistake of seeing if the rawhide was hard enough to withstand a full-bore dachshund onslaught, hoping that it would take several sittings for me to whittle it down to a nub. The first time, I got through about half of it before Mike was able to wrest it away from me with a Treat Party as bait. The next time, a week or so later, I  grabbed the other half from Mike, ran under the dining-room table and refused to come out or let him touch me until I was done chomping on it. When Mike pleaded with me to drop it, I didn’t growl at him, but I coiled up menacingly, gripped the remaining rawhide between my teeth and glared. Mike gave up, knowing he was no match for my will.

Chloë and Heckle

Chloë and Heckel

Hurby

Hurby

Luckily, that last part happened well after Mike and Heather gave me my Christmas present: Heckel the Hedgehodge, another of the talking Mushabellies toys that my pal Penny turned me onto last year. I still have an attachment for Hurby, my original Mushabellie, even after I destroyed his vocal chords in about two hours, rendering him chewable but permanently mute. Heckel took a full 24 hours to silence, so he’s a tougher dude than Hurby. Even speechless, I still like Heckel, but not as much as I liked Hurby, judging by the relative slobber that I left on them during their respective peaks of popularity.

Heckel

Heckel

Besides Heckel, I received another good new toy in December: an orange rubber ball that I found outside a neighbor’s house while we were borrowing her yard waste bin. The neighbor told Heather that since I found it, I could keep it, and it’s become a favorite. It’s hard enough that it bounces high, but soft and small enough to chew on. Gnawing on it makes a squishing sound that Mike hates. So what? I like this orange ball because we can use it inside as well as outside, and because it’s something different than Whiffie, quieter and not as fast or easy to spin backwards. I like to push the orange ball under the coffee table in the living room and take the short cut between the shelves to bring it back.

Napping with Heather: The best.

Napping with Heather: the best present.

Between the chewy treats, the new orange ball and Heckel, I certainly got some great new stuff at Christmas. But the greatest gift was having Heather home every day for walking, napping and hanging out. I don’t know about her, but I definitely know when it’s time to retire.

Chloë Talks Turkey…and Ziti

On Thanksgiving morning, Mike sneaked out for the airport well before dawn. I got out of my crate to say goodbye to Mike, then hopped into bed with Heather for a few hours. Good deal! And Mike’s absence only got better from there.

Chasing the ball on a walk with Charlie

Chasing the ball on a walk with Charlie

My pal Charlie came over to take me for a late-morning walk in the park, which was very nice thing to do for his self-proclaimed “favorite Seattle dog.” We walked at least a couple of miles so we could burn off a few calories before our Turkey Day feast. Well, a turkey feast for Heather and me, anyway; Charlie, a vegetarian, was going back to his lonely apartment to cook himself a casserole of baked ziti with cheese. I hoped he made enough so he can eat leftovers for a week, amortizing his culinary effort. Charlie admits that he used to make a mean eggplant Parmigiano (verified by my Aunt Susie) but switched to ziti because it’s easier to cook. He showed us a picture, though, and Mike had to admit it looks at least 10 cuts above any ziti casserole  served in large aluminum foils trays at wakes, church suppers and political fundraisers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Charlie’s looks like something worth licking right down to the caked-on burned cheese on the perimeter of the casserole dish.

Ziti by Charlie

Ziti by Charlie

But I digress. Heather and I ate Thanksgiving dinner with my pal Penny and her family at their house. I was my usual obnoxious self, playing with all of Penny’s favorite toys and trying to ignore her completely. Although I didn’t get to lick any plates or pans like I would have at home, Penny and I did manage to con a few scraps, and Brian sent me home with a doggie bag of turkey that was doled out to me in ample proportions until Miser Mike returned.

On guard

On guard

On the day after Thanksgiving, I accompanied Heather to her office. I was delighted when we arrived there, expecting to see all my office buddies, but perplexed when none was there. I went dashing from one office door to another, but all were shut or dark and, even worse for me, treat-less. So I was forced to hang out all day in my blue chair guarding Heather’s desk until we went outside for a pee or up to the empty, second-floor conference room for ball-tossing. In between I’m in my chair, but it’s hard for me to relax, even though Heather added a comfortable pillow to my seat.  I just can’t fall asleep, as I would be doing if I were home with Mike. In Heather’s office I must be on guard and ready to pounce at all times, especially when we’re in the building all alone. I take my job seriously. My record remained intact.

We woke up to snow on Saturday morning, so Heather stayed home all day rather than brave the drive up and down and up all the hills between our house and the main drag. This was also great for me, because Heather and I took a long walk through the park in the snow, which we don’t get to do too often. It was AMAZING how great everything smelled; the snow must catch all of those great smells and compress them and hold them down. Or something. Anyway, I enjoyed doing the “Chloë Hop” around the meadow, but I drew the line when Heather took me down to the North Beach. Yikes, those white caps on the Sound were scary; I was afraid I was going to be swept out to sea, only to be rescued by harbor seals and eagles. Come on! Who’s going to buy a story like that?

On the next two days, Heather left me home and went to work, but Lynn came over in the afternoon, which was a lot more fun for me than being in Heather’s office with no buddies to hit for treats. Lynn and I did our usual things:  I jumped all over her, sat with her by the fireplace, ran errands in her car, took walks, had treats, bit her nose. I’m glad I got to spend a little time with Lynn; we had been scheduled to spend the whole weekend together, until Heather had to work and couldn’t go away with Mike. I’m sure Lynn was disappointed that our time together was so limited, but I’ll try to make it up to her.

Chasing a rabbit in the snow

Chasing a rabbit in the snow

Tuesday morning before  I went to work with Heather, I took off in the park during our morning walk , making her late for a meeting. When I finally returned to Heather’s anxious embrace and wrath, I had a couple spots of blood on my designer sweater. At least, that’s what Heather said they were. Mike thought it was just dirt, which is yet another reason why I love Heather more than Mike.

OK, even though I got more to eat and had to endure fewer tooth and hair brushings while Mike was away, I admit I was glad when he was home to greet us when Heather and I returned from our day at her office. Finally, I could relax, close my eyes and get a good night’s sleep. And morning’s sleep. And an afternoon nap. And a couple of short, post-dinner naps for good measure.

Chloë Celebrates That Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Chloe in Antlers PortraitLike most dogs, I love Christmas. In fact, I got excited two weeks ago as soon as I saw Mike untangling the colored lights and hanging our stockings on the fireplace mantel. I checked my stocking at least once a day for those two weeks, knowing that it will eventually be filled with goodies.

I love all the special toys that I get for the season, too. I was jonesing for the reindeer antler on top of the TV cabinet so vociferously that Heather finally relented and gave it to me to play with and fetch.  It held up pretty well, too, until I tried to use it for a tug of war with Mike. Actually the fur parts are still OK, just the frame cracked, so Mike can no longer put the antler on his head and parade around the house like a doofus. Another good outcome, as far as I’m concerned.

Beyond getting presents and the virtual nonstop snacking that seems to go with the season (there are lots more things dropping on the floor!), I just love soaking up the Yuletide atmosphere.

Like dachshunds roasting on an open fire.

Dachshund roasting on an open fire

Lounging in front of downstairs fireplace

 

Jack Frost nipping at my nose.

Chloe Snow Day-001

Discovery Park after recent snowfall

 

My UPS Guy coming three times a day!

ups christmas delays

My guy gets an assistant before Christmas

 

And a stocking full of ho-ho-hos…

Getting into my Christmas stocking

Getting into my Christmas stocking

 

You’re not expecting another photo for each line of the song, are you?

Not even my Mike has that much time to waste.

So I’ll just sign off now by wishing a hearty Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year to all my loyal readers, especially to my favorite aunts Susie and Debby in Syracuse, who were the only ones nice enough to send any gifts this Christmas. Don’t you other guys know where I live? And should there be any changes of heart…ship by UPS, please. Brown always delivers with two biscuits.