Category Archives: Mom and Dad

Chloë Immortalized

Sculpture park

Sculpture park

The “sculpture park” in our front yard is a terrific recognition of my place in the family, and I do appreciate my photo being hung in the hallway outside the kitchen along with pictures of Mike’s other dogs. But the “secret present” that Mike promised last week went light years beyond that. I know of few dogs who get their portrait painted by a noted artist.

For their recent 20th anniversary Mike and Heather commissioned a portrait of our pack by artist-musician Ed Hamell. While touring the U.S. and Europe as the one-man show Hamell on Trial, Ed for many years has also pursued visual arts, with his work featured on some of his own CDs. Working in acrylic on canvas, Hamell paints scenes “inspired by the ‘underground’ and ‘disenfranchised’ of our society,” he says. That’s my pack to a T, right? Ed uses bold and bright colors in his paintings, which contrast to “the darker subject matter, championing the underclass, drawing you into the characters he depicts, endearing you to them and sparking emotions one might not anticipate.” I do declare! Well, here it is, Mike, Heather and I on canvas.

Portrait by Ed-Hamell-

Me and my pack. Portrait by Ed Hamell

Perfect placement.

Perfect placement.

Since it arrived last week, Heather and Mike can’t stop talking about the painting. They are constantly analyzing the underlying meanings behind the colors (green, orange, purple) and imagery (baseball cap, mountains, five stars) Hamell employed. They see in Hamell’s style echoes of the Canadian landscape painters know as the Group of Seven, stressing Heather’s proud heritage. But I ask you: Why am I the only one whose tongue is hanging out?

Anyway, Mike and Heather love the painting, and they immediately installed it in a position of prominence above their bed, where previously nothing hung as a precaution against an earthquake and having a framed picture land on your head. When he was putting it up, Mike told me that if this painting came down on them in an earthquake, he’s suing Hamell.

This certainly put everybody in the pack into a good mood, a nice precursor to the impending great unknown: Heather’s retirement from her job has just become official. And we all know what that means: Heather’s Boot Camp for Chloë is about to begin. Wish me luck.



Chloë Retraces Her Family’s Roots

Could it really be 20 years?

At Redmond apartment complex

At Redmond apartment complex

Yes, long before I plopped down in the Puget Sound and found myself a home in Seattle, Heather took up residence in a second-floor apartment in suburban Redmond on the other side of Lake Washington, not far from the burgeoning campus of the new software giant Microsoft. It was there in February 1997, while Mike was on mid-winter visit from Syracuse, that he and Heather finally tied the knot after a blissful decade of what used to be called “living in sin” and/or “needing somebody to vouch for me so I can hang onto my Green Card.” As their only child (so to speak), I am so glad they finally made things legal, because if they hadn’t, who knows? Mike might have stayed in Syracuse for the rest of his life, and I might not be here in Seattle talking to you today.

From what I’ve been told, their wedding was quite the affair. The mystic ceremony took place at the King Country District Court in Redmond, right next to the public library, but only the judge heard after all the contentious civil cases and the court’s clerk and stenographer took pity on  Mike and Heather and volunteered to be their witnesses. The judge did his thing, Mike and Heather exchanged plastic spider rings, and they retired to the luxurious Redmond condo for leftover burritos and beer.

Down at the court house.

Down at the court house.

So last Saturday, in the rain , the three of us retraced the steps of that fateful day. First we took a side trip to a furniture store (I think they are planning to get me an ottoman so I can be rolled around room to room). Then we hiked along a greenbelt trail where they used to take my esteemed predecessor, Heidi. Parts of this walk were OK, but I wound up feeling sorry for Heidi. I mean, it had no stretches of secluded trail where I could walk off leash, no fields for chasing my orange ball, no trails that weren’t paved or planked like a boardwalk. I’m sure Heidi liked Discovery Park a whole lot better when Mike and Heather moved over to the other side of the pond in 1999.

Still, our walk had plenty of nostalgia value, as did our stops at their apartment, the courthouse and their favorite Redmond Italian restaurant. While they had dinner, I had to wait in the car, of course, although I did score a leftover lamb shank for later. For the next anniversary, I’d prefer they pick German cuisine.

Mike keeps promising Heather there will be another anniversary surprise, but nothing had arrived yet when I told Mike to roll the presses anyway. We’ll have something to look forward to next week.

Chloë Welcomes Mike and Heather Back from Vacation

As the nights turned cool and crisp (just the way a natural burrower like me prefers), I sensed the change in the air. Then Mike and Heather returned. My honeymoon was over.

Wiggling Chloë welcomes Heather back.

While they were away, I got away with murder. On one morning walk I found a soft, fabric ball, slightly smaller than a tennis ball, so it fit comfortably in my mouth. Mike would have said “yuck” and never would have let me keep it. But my sitter and new best friend Lynn did, and when I took it home she even volunteered to wash it for me. Now, that’s service. Lynn didn’t even seem to care if I sat on her bed or the living room furniture. So I did! She really knows how to overstuff a Kong, too. She can come back and take care of me any old time.

Chloë shows off her handiwork on the refrigerator.

I tried to be fairly well behaved while Lynn was here, but I had to show her some puppy behavior from time to time to keep her honest. Towards the end I was getting a little bored, too.  I actually started to miss those long walks in the park with Mike. So I acted out a few times: I rearranged the lower refrigerator-door photos, gnawed on the handle of my toy bin, even peed on the throw rug outside the bedroom. As if I didn’t know better! But why not? After all, I’m still a puppy, right? This kind of stuff is expected–and I knew I could get away with it.

Now everything is just about back to normal. Yes, my Kongs have less peanut butter and yogurt stuffed inside them. True,  I’ve been ushered off the furniture more than once. And I have to admit it, the force and volume of some of Heather’s sneezes sound like Mount St. Helens eruptions to my sensitive young ears. But the plusses of having them back far outweigh such minor inconveniences. After all, Mike’s around the house all day long, and anytime I whimper or bark he’ll come running to cater to my every whim. In late afternoon I can count on a long walk in the park followed by an impeccably prepared, balanced and nutritious meal (if only there were more of it, dammit!). What’s more, I’ve overheard that new tussles with my brothers Frank and Stanley and a hike with my old friend Tara are on the weekend agenda.

Yes, they’re b-a-a-a-ack, and I’m primed and ready for action.

Chloë Answers Some FAQs

During a short lull in my social whirl, let me catch up with some of the e-mail and letters piling up in my inbox.


Q: I’ve never seen a dachshund with blue eyes before. Why are your eyes so blue?

A:  “Don’t it make my brown eyes blue?” Always loved that tune by Crystal Gayle! But my eyes aren’t really blue, they are brown. It was the flash on the camera made them blue. We don’t know why. Mike explained to me that he knows how to eliminate redeye in a photo, but doesn’t know squat about removing blue eye. That photo peering down at you from atop this page  was one of the first photos of me. Now, of course, there are dozens (maybe hundreds!)  of photos of me to choose from, so we could change that heading photo; that would give my distant readers (and there are many!) a more accurate representation of my regal countenance. But I just don’t know. We’re kind of attached to that surreal, Village of the Damned look. What do you think? 

Q: Are you really bald on the top of your ears? 



A: Come on, isn’t that silly? My ears are not bald, they’re topped with light brown fur that isn’t nearly as long as the fur around it. Heather thinks it’s starting to grow in, while Mike thinks I’ll have these doofy ears forever. The vet, of course, told me I need ear toupees. Eleven weeks old, and already doomed to the character roles. 

Q: I saw the photos of you and your brothers Frank and Stanley. You three are really all from the same litter? You don’t look anything alike! 


 A: That’s what everyone is saying, but it’s true. We’re just a small part of the endless mosaic of wirehaired dachshunddom, I guess. Remember, America is a melting pot, Canada is a mosaic. But I digress. Check out these photos of mom and pop to see where we get the different seeds of our wiredness.

My Mom, Banshee: Happy Mother’s Day!

William, my dear old Dad: A real champion, especially with the ladies.

Q: Are you coming to the East Coast this summer? 



A: The genorosity of my Eastern fans is overwhelming. Fans in Syracuse, New Jersey, Florida and even international fans in Ontario, Canada, have been clamoring for me to come east with Heather and Mike this summer. I am flattered and honored, but sadly I must decline. While I’m sure these guys don’t want to be away from me for even ONE SECOND, I decided it’s just too much schlepping around (to quote Mike). We would have to change planes, change cars, change where we sleep…just too many ch-ch-ch-changes, as my buddy Dave “Diamond Dog” Bowie would say. I’m into my routine. Maybe some other time, when Mike can drive me across. In the meantime, you’ll just have to come out to Seattle, or settle for this crumby blog.


Well, that’s about it for now. As you can see from this photo below, I’ve got some more serious business to attend to. But do keep those questions coming!