Category Archives: Milestones

Chloë Matriculates

Practice makes perfect.

Shortly before the spring quarter classes ended, Mike, Heather and I  had the chance to walk around campus at the University of Washington, and I managed to soak up enough atmosphere to earn my advanced degree in fetchology.

Here’s an excerpt of my thesis presentation.

 

I was proud to do so well in quickly adapting to a new campus setting. All those Huskies on campus have nothing on me. They bowed down to me and the orange Syracuse collar I wear around my neck. I bow to no one.

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Chloë Collects Belated Presents

Well centered.

Surprise, surprise. My disclosure that I received no presents on my recent 8th birthday produced little response from my faithful readers. In fact, I am aware of only three protests lodged: from my longtime pal Charlie, from my Syracuse aunts, and from most loyal reader and longtime sitter, Lynn.

All of them have come through with gifts. Unfortunately, I have to wait to get the ones promised by aunts Susie and Debby until Mike and Heather bring them back from their next trip to Syracuse. That could take months, for all I know. By that time, my aunts’ new kittens may have eaten my treats. Can’t trust cats.

Easy to chew

I got excited when Mike told me Charlie had something for me, but my enthusiasm dissolved when I found out what it was:  A bag of balls. Racquet balls, that is, the kind I chew into little, bitty edible pieces. No way Mike and Heather will let that bag into the house. Thanks a heap, Charlie.

But the biggest surprise (and best gifts) came from my old pal Lynn, who arrived  unexpectedly on a weekday afternoon and in good spirits. When she walked in the front door I leaped at her from all the way across the room and showered her with squeals and kisses. Since she was using a cane to walk, I no doubt put her life in jeopardy, but Lynn didn’t seem to care. I sat with her the whole time she was here having tea with Heather, and she lavished much attention upon me. And even better, she came bearing gifts.

Birthday bounty

Luckily, I didn’t even have to unwrap them; Lynn had done it for me. We opened the bag of Fruitables Deliciously Healthy Dog Treats right away. I like the blueberry ones over the pumpkin, but both flavors clearly beat the ordinary egg, beef and cheese Vita Bones that Mike feeds me. Not that I’m knocking the Vita Bones, which seem just fine when there are no premium brands around.

Another treat Lynn gave me we had to put away for a while, because it’s kind of like a bone that I will have to consume under constant surveillance. This handcrafted Himalayan Dog Chew, according to the package, is “the original hard smoked cheese chew, 100 percent natural with no additives or binders” and lactose-free. “Chew it until small enough to swallow,” instructions say, “then soak in warm water for five minutes and microwave for 45 seconds, cool for two minutes, and it turns into a ‘homemade puff.'”  We’ll report back on this item when tests are complete later this spring.

Chloe shares her chair with Lamb Chop.

I guess Lynn must have really, really missed me, since she gave me a third present, a stuffed lamb from the Charming Scrunch Bunch that is both a squeaky toy and a tug toy. I call it Lamb Chop (my homage to Shari Lewis), and so far Lamb Chop is, just as the package says,”one tough toy.” I have been giving it a workout, either by myself or in combat with Mike, who has mastered the art of tugging and squeaking at the same time—and with little or no training from me! Lamb Chop has, at least temporarily, taken over from Wiffie for the go-to toy whenever we come in from a walk. I always need something to stretch me out before I dine.

So thanks, Lynn, for all of these wonderful gifts, and, more importantly, for coming over to see me. You are this dog’s best friend. At the moment, of course.

 

Chloë Scales New Heights

New mattress, new problem

New mattress, new problem

After talking about it for months, Mike and Heather finally got a new mattress. Good for them, but did they think about me? They may be more comfortable, but do I get to sleep in it any more often? No, I don’t. And that’s not the worst part.

This mattress is thicker than the last one. That means it’s higher off the floor. And that means I need to be an Olympic high jumper to get up there, whereas I could vault from floor to bed top from a sitting position, no problem, on the old one. Since the new mattress arrived before Thanksgiving, I have gone splat against the side of the damn thing on several occasions. Even eating several cases of Wheaties (which wouldn’t be so bad as long as it they were covered with milk and bananas) won’t get me enough boost to make it over the top. I doubt even performance-enhancing drugs would do the trick.

Solution: Proper positioning.

Solution: Proper positioning.

Even using my personal Stairway to Heaven is not as easy as it used to be. The top step of my unit now leaves me several inches short of the goal. Luckily, Heather figured out how to re-position the steps (two inches from the side of the bed and even with the foot) to give me the maximum efficiency for speed and angle. I can make it to the top of the bed with ease, but I still need to get a running start. Getting down from the new mattress via the steps is a breeze, as long as I can stay clear of Heather’s dresser when I hit the floor.

But getting down is still the tricky part. I am not supposed to jump off the new bed directly to the floor, ever, because landing hard like that is going to eventually be bad for my delicate dachshund back. Why didn’t Mike think about this inherent danger to me before he brought this new mattress into MY bedroom?

Victory achieved.

Victory achieved.

So far, I’m coping. I’ve heard NO JUMPING more times in the past couple of weeks than I have in the rest of my time on earth combined. Heather, especially, and even my good friend Lynn when she came over to stay with me last week, have kept harping on it, trying to make me learn. We’ll see if this loud, Trumpian campaign works, or if somebody comes up with a better solution. In the meantime, I know I can get away with bed-jumping on Mike’s watch, since he never pays attention to anything. Yahoo, I’m flying, just like Peter Pan!

 

 

Chloë Receives Birthday Gifts

I generally don’t like to make a big deal of birthdays (although if readers dig back to Februaries past, you can see some past violations!), and so I didn’t expect much at all (if anything) this year for birthday #6. But lo and behold!

In the morning, I got an extra-large Frozen PBB from Mike and a birthday greeting from my vet that even has a dachshund in it!

Dear Chloe,
Sniff Sniff…Do I smell birthday cake?
Happy Birthday!
Stay Healthy! Be Happy!
Sincerely,

Your Friends at Elliott Bay Animal Hospital /

And then…

 

Buzzie Bee, still in box

Buzzie Bee, still in box

Wow, I never expected presents like those.

Bliss didn’t last long, however. I knocked the buzzing out of Buzzie Bee in less than 20 minutes. Now I’m left with a trio of mute Mushabellies to take care of. But don’t worry; I’ll survive.

 

Chloë Gets Seasonably Wet

In my last post I groused about how early darkness threw off my routine, and I didn’t like it. This time I’ll add the other thing I hate most about fall: The weather. True, this fall has been unseasonably warm so far, but I knew that sooner or later that El Niño effect was going to kick in. Over the past couple of weeks it rained sideways a few times, and those strong winds make walking harder and the trails and sidewalks messier with fallen leaves. Even so,  once I get out in the rain, I just try to tolerate it as best I can and then dry off afterwards with vigor. At least I don’t wimp out with weird costumes like the poor dogs in this picture that one of Heather’s co-workers sent her.

2-Dachshunds in the Rain

 

Pathetic. They look silly, and what difference will these rain coats make? Unless these dachshunds were completely and tightly wrapped in plastic like sausage from Costco, there is no way the moisture and dirt from the ground isn’t clinging to their wet little bellies that hang exposed mere inches above the ground.

No clothes for me. I embrace the rain.

Rainy day hike

Rainy day hike

Fording Big Creek

Fording Big Creek

in the rain forest.

In the Quinault Rain Forest.

Mike's Tingley rubbers ad rain pants

Mike does the old soft shoe in his Tingley rubbers and rain pants

Of course, getting me dry and clean afterwards is the necessary epilogue to every rainy day walk. As I said, I don’t suit up in rain gear from head to toe like Mike does, so even after I’ve shaken myself off outside the front door, when I get inside the house I can be soaked.

Messy Mutts Mitt

Messy Mutts Mitt

For this extensive yet still delicate drying job, we have been auditioning the Messy Mutts Mitt so graciously donated by my Uncle Bill, a.k.a. Mr. Pickle (maybe there’s some kind of cross-marketing deal going on?). Unfortunately, unlike my longstanding endorsement of Visi-Ball and my own line of autographed Whiffies, this product and simply I haven’t clicked. The “twin-sided chenille grooming mitt” might be OK for some lap-dog or a chihuahua, but a soaking, squirming dachshund needs the old-fashioned,  two-handed, oversize-terrycloth-beach-towel approach — still the most effective drying method for the first pass, BY FAR. And since I use the front of Heather’s mother’s living-room chairs or the Oriental rugs for my self-service secondary and tertiary drying, by the time I circle back around to Mike to apply the Messy Mutts Mitt, it has been rendered totally non-essential. And the MMM is simply not large or absorbent enough to ever become my go-to equipment. Not even a Messy Mutts Mitt on each hand could top the towel.

Sorry,  Messy Mutts Mitt, no endorsement deal for me. The tried-and-true terrycloth towel prevails again.

At least the forecast for Thanksgiving weekend is dry. That will keep the carpet cleaner so it will be easier to see any random food that might fall on the floor.

 

Chloë Turns Five with Her Bros

Frank, Stanley and I quietly passed our fifth birthday in February. Sometimes when my brothers and I get together, we wonder what happened to the other two boys and three girls in our litter. Not for long, though.

We met the guys as usual near the park’s south parking lot, and the three of us sniffed butts and rubbed noses for about 15 seconds to renew acquaintances before I got a strong scent of rabbit and took off into the underbrush.

Stanley burrows

Stanley burrows

Frank and Stan were more interested in chasing their ball, anyway. Stan was still into harassing me whenever he got the chance, while Frank was his usual aloof self, considering pouncing after rodents much more fun than paying attention to his sister.

We had not seen the boys in quite a while, and I was happy to see they have slimmed down a lot. Eating a different kind of food, we heard. More exercise, too, from the look of them. They’re looking more like linebackers than offensive linemen these days. Both were decked out for the Super Bowl in Seahawks gear. Their owner-mom told Heather I would be a 2T (toddler) if they wanted to get a onesee for me. Thank goodness I didn’t see Heather running out to Fred Meyer before the game. To me, Super Sunday just means more crumbs on the floor than on a normal weekend. Crackers, cheese, that kind of stuff. Sounds super to me! My day turned out better than the game did, too.

Frank in uniform

Frank in uniform

After we took  a short walk through the meadow with the boys, they had to run off to another activity, but before they left they kinda posed for pictures. Mike tried to get the three of us together for an official fifth birthday photo, but from these shots, everyone will be able to see who pays attention to instructions and who does not. What goes on in those large heads of theirs, anyway?

Frank, Stanley and Chloe

Frank, Stanley and Chloe: Ready for action

Chloë Gets Her Own ID Card

Last week, on a really rainy day, Mike and I drove all the way up to Shoreline so he could get a new driver’s license. I waited in the damp, chilly car while Mike went inside to pay the fee and have his photo taken.

“What about me?” I thought, lying there in the front seat under a sleeping bag. And lo and behold, within a few days word came that our vet had installed a new system for communication and record-keeping. How neat is it to have all of my sensitive medical information available at the flick of Mike’s fingers! Even better: It had a template that Mike used to make me an ID card:

Chloë's ID Card

Chloë’s ID Card

Now, some might ask why a dog would need an ID card, but I see it making me seem more official, and providing me possible entry into the world of government surveillance and intrigue. Why not me?  I have watched enough episodes of The Unit and NCIS with Heather to know all the procedures and lingo needed to be a spy dog. Certainly my excellent olfactory skills give me a big nose up when it comes to tracking suspects. And I’m pretty sure there is currently no canine component to any of the three NCIS (Washington, Los Angeles, New Orleans) crews — and I should know, since I’ve sat through most of those episodes with Heather six or eight times at least.

Being a secret agent spy dog might be fun. We could use a little excitement around here that isn’t related to the Super Bowl.