Category Archives: Slideshow Included

Chloë Revels in Snow Daze

Finally, Seattle got its first snow of the winter. Temperatures had been so mild that I had almost given up hope. I love playing in the snow, and snow smells great, too, for some reason (maybe it insulates all  those aromas). We don’t see a lot of snow here, and when it does snow it’s either a dusting that disappears quickly or a slushy mess that turns into ice overnight. This time the snow started Friday evening and lasted until Sunday, was lighter than usual, and the air stayed cold. I got two full days of opportunities to burst through snowbanks, bark at skiers and run around uncontrollably. What fun!

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What was not nearly as much fun was getting all those ice balls off my four legs and chest when I got home. Since I would not ever sit still long enough to have them melt off by themselves into a towel wrapped around me, Heather put me in a towel on her lap and went at them with a combination of brushes and combs. I forbade Mike from taking my picture in this compromised position. By the time this ordeal was over, I was due several extra Charlee Bears.

By Monday afternoon, temperatures rose above freezing, and the snow mostly disappeared, along with the all the sledders and the many snowmen and snowwomen, some of them appropriately masked, who temporarily stood as silent sentinels on the Discovery Park Parade Ground for two brief, snowy days.


Chloë Interprets Her Dreams

Hanging out with Mr. Monkey

Just as I am while I am awake, when asleep I am a vocal dreamer. Rare is the night that I don’t startle my crate-mate Mr. Monkey and even at times Mike and Heather with my yips, whines, low growls and, at the least, gentle snoring.

There’s no doubt that I dream. Noted pet behaviorist Patricia McConnell accepts the concept of dog dreaming, but wonders what we’re dreaming about. She argues that, like humans, dogs probably dream about recent events through a funnel of memory-processing and consolidation. “Thus, it is reasonable to speculate that our dogs are dreaming about something that might have happened during the day, but not necessarily in context. (Herding the rabbit they saw in the woods in the afternoon, but this time in a sheepdog trial in the snow under a purple sky?)” McConnell writes on her blog, The Other End of the Leash.

I bring this up now because of my recent oral surgery, for which Dr. Crocker, who otherwise seems like a nice man, had to put me under anaesthesia. See, despite the anti-anxiety medication Mike administered twice before forcing me into the car and taking me on what could have been the last ride of my life (and they didn’t even let me sit in the front seat!), I  was afraid. Not of having my tooth drilled, filed and filled. I was afraid of the nightmares I was certain to have while I was off in another dimension.

“Do dogs have nightmares?” McConnell asked in the same post. “It seems very likely. Our experiences, the biological continuum between all mammals, and the emotional content of REM dreams, suggest that they do. So many of us have seen and heard dogs growl and whine while dreaming. I’ve had clients whose dogs woke up in a panic, sometimes even running across the room and trying to hide. Science teaches us to be ‘parsimonious’ in our explanations of what we observe, and surely it is simpler to explain what we observe, and what we’ve learned about neurobiology, to assume that dogs do indeed have nightmares until evidence appears that tells us that they don’t. I wouldn’t bet on that happening, myself. But it is also probably true that most of a dog’s dreams aren’t nightmares, and are either pleasant, or just bizarre.”

I considered myself lucky when my hours of stupor produced only these wonderful thoughts.

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When I awoke, I was still a little woozy, but Mike and Heather were there to greet me and told me I had done a great job. And there was good news: Dr. Crocker managed to save my tooth with a root-canal procedure instead of extracting it. In a couple of weeks, I get to go back to finish the job, putting a permanent crown on the tooth and enjoying another few minutes of drug-induced dreaming. This time I’m looking forward to it.


Chloë Journeys to the East and Back

On the Kootenai River, Idaho

So, did ya miss me?

I do apologize to my loyal readers for not writing in such a long time, not even a postcard. Sorry, but life on the road turned out to be more time-consuming than I had originally anticipated. As we traveled from place to place,  we usually rode all day in the car, and at night Mike was too busy putting together the next day’s itinerary to sit down for an hour and listen to my prattling. Reluctantly, I deferred. Besides, I was having too good a time.

Mike, Heather and I left Seattle on June 15 and didn’t get back home until Aug. 23 – 10, 939 miles, 20 states and provinces and 69 days later. Quite the journey! While I can’t deny that I endured some minor hardships along the way, I had a blast. I had never dreamed there were so many neat places and people to see and sniff beyond my Magnolia neighborhood.

Although this extended road trip upset my normal routine, I got treated so well that I was able to settle into a new routine after only a day or two.  In the car, I had the back seat all to myself, and from my propped-up perch I could keep track of everything going on inside and outside. I happily report that Heather never fell asleep at the wheel once, while navigator Mike dozed off more times than I did. Good thing he wasn’t driving. In case of a sudden jolt, I was strapped to a harness so I couldn’t fly through a window, but I could still move around as much as I needed to, which wasn’t much. Any time I needed anything, such as a cold drink, a Frozen PBB, a pit stop or a treat, all I had to do was whine a couple of times. It drove Mike and Heather nuts, but it got results. “Stifle!” Heather would bark at me, applying a sternly worded reprimand. It worked – until the next time, that is.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

After a day of driving, every afternoon the three of us  took a long walk, and we visited some incredible locations. We didn’t do a lot of ball-throwing on these walks, because Mike and Heather were afraid of me running off. Right, like I would have the nerve to do something like that so far from the security of home. Not me; the pack was all I had. So I stuck close to the pack when we hiked in forests from Washington to New York and back. I really enjoyed all the places we walked, even when they turned into harrowing experiences. Once Mike got us lost at dusk, deep in a Ohio forest preserve. Another time Heather carried me down and back up several flights of metal-grated stairs to the base of a waterfall on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The steps had a sharp surface that hurt my feet.

While I never had to sleep in a tent, thank god, my travel crate was wedged in next to the air conditioner in many a cheap motel room. And there were other minor tribulations as well, such as navigating my way around a couple of cats (I got along with docile Dinah, faced off with snarling Spanky, who stalked me for my whole time in Syracuse). I sniffed out and chased after wild animals (deer, elk, prairie dogs, chipmunks and buffalo), managed to ignore many dogs, backed away from many children who wanted to pet me, and turned my back on too many strangers who gushed about my cuteness or my breed, usually guessing incorrectly. “Wirehair dachshund, but not a textbook wirehair,” Heather replied every time, often providing further information on the three dachshund coats and apologizing because I wasn’t a better illustration of my breed. Thankfully, no one demanded to see my papers, not even on any of my border crossings into Canada and back.

I also really enjoyed getting to meet so many of my loyal readers, and to finally give them the opportunity to press the fur with me after reading about my exploits all these years. I hope nobody was disappointed. If so, I’ll try to make it up to you next time. I’ve already overheard Heather talking about making the drive East again. Get my throne ready – with improvements, of course.

Until then, enjoy some scenes from my journey, starting with the test run through Washington state in May, followed by the trip to Syracuse and back. It’s kind of like my version of The Red Couch, starring me instead of a red couch. Enjoy it while I get Mike to take me outside to check whether there’s any new entrees on the Wendy Way* buffet table.

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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 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 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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Chloë Takes a Walk in the Park

After one of the recent Syracuse basketball games (I forget which one, but they must have lost that day because Mike was cranky), we went for a walk in the Richmond Beach Park with Carol and Penny. There’s a big grassy area at the top of the bluff, and we threw the ball there for a while. That’s not a lot of  fun for Penny, because she can’t get her mouth around the ball very well. I was feeling a little sorry for her, so I gave her my leash and let her lead me around for a while, like she’s the boss,  so maybe she’ll gain a little self-confidence. I try to be patient with her, really, but she’s got a lot to learn.

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Chloë Meets Whidbey

Heather and Mike actually tore themselves away from work and Syracuse football, respectively, to take me to Whidbey Island for Labor Day weekend.  As you’ll see from the wonderful slideshow I’ve assembled below, I got to do a lot of neat stuff.  I even got a little of Heather’s black licorice ice cream cone from the famed Snowgoose Produce near LaConner. Typically, I got nothing from Mike.

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Notice that you saw no photos of me frolicking in the Sound? Sorry, I did no frolicking. The closest I wanted to get to waves is the line in the sand where it starts to feel wet. And seriously, we’re talking more ripples than waves here, no ocean surf. Heather thinks it’s the motion that scares me. I”m not sure what it is, but for right now, rivers and lakes are OK, but none of this tidal stuff. Too many moving parts, I guess.

However, there’s no use denying it: I am such a wuss. It’s one of my many charms.

Chloë Salutes the Frozen PBB

Mike did not invent the Frozen PBB (Peanut Butter Boney). No way I can give him the credit for the idea of freezing peanut butter (and/or yogurt, fruit and other treats) inside a rubber Kong as a dog snack. But from my vantage point, Mike perfected it. His Frozen PBB brings midday snacking to a new level of pure delight. And for this, to Mike I will be eternally grateful.

See, Kongs are OK, but I know they’re not cheap. And they’re tough, and hard to get my mouth around. Even worse, sometimes it’s impossible to get my tongue all the way down to the bottom to lick every last drop of the stuffing out. I prefer a real frozen bone.

Frozen PBB: The Ingredients

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Rather than buy more Kongs, El Cheapo Mike recycles marrow bones that I’ve already stripped clean of meat, marrow and gristle. Mike likes them better than Kongs because he can stockpile enough of them that he only has to load them once every two weeks at my strict quota of one  Frozen PBB per day. I like the PBBs better than Kongs because their  irregular shape makes each one different. If I’m really lucky, sometimes after I lick one clean my nose detects the faint bouquet of beef, a perfect aperitif to my midday delicacy.

I finally convinced Mike that Lynn, my friend and sitter, has the right idea for Frozen PBB-stuffing method: Cram it full. No delicate coating on the sides of the cavity, like Mike used to do. Now Mike stuffs them right out to both ends before freezing them. This makes them so hard inside that it takes concerted  licking on my part to get them clean (a good 10 or 15 minutes, anyway). Lynn also taught Mike to blend peanut butter, fruit and yogurt together before shoveling the mixture into the  empty marrow bones. This keeps the filling a little lighter—which is good, because a teenager like me needs to think about maintaining her figure.

In my book, when I come home from my daily post-breakfast walk, there’s absolutely no better morning snack than one of those Frozen PBBs . Followed by a 3-hour nap, of course.

It’s a rough life, but things could be worse. I could be a basketball player in the NBA, for instance. Or a Nittany Lion.