Category Archives: Video Link Included

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 Lets Her Birthday Slide

On the Spokane River, May 2017

As the calendar turned to February, things started looking up. Rain lessened, days got a bit longer, we got a new rug in the living room with more pile than the old one, so it’s better for scratching my back.  Heather’s attention to my tummy cleared up my skin rash and my diet reverted to normal, as in never enough.

I had been looking forward to celebrating my birthday (Feb. 5) in style, but it turned out to be no big deal. There were no cards, no presents, no extra treats, no fuss. Although I’m more or less at the halfway point of my canine career (in dog years, at least), I suffered through no midlife crises. At least none that I can remember.

This is the first birthday that I didn’t get together with my brothers Frank and Stanley, who are vacationing in Arizona. They got presents, according to an email Mike received from their dad Andrew. Did I mention that I got no presents, and that I have to go outside every day in Seattle’s horizontal rain and blustery cold with no raincoat or other protective gear?

In tamer times.

Instead, I’ve been cooped up and getting into still more trouble with Heather. She even yelled at me a couple of times. OK, I have to admit that sometimes I deserve it, but more often this happens because Heather continues to deny the notion that everyone was put on the planet to serve me, on my time-table. Heather maintains that I am supposed to serve her, pay attention only to her (Mike, sometimes), and always do exactly what she tells me, when she tells me. Mike, on the other hand, harbors no such delusions. Mike gets it! But Heather, she can be so–dare I say it?–stubborn!

Amidst the tall trees.

Anyway, I turned 8, and I feel and look no different, save for one random gray hair between my shoulders. During my birthday week I went for a long hike in an old-growth rain forest, I dug holes, I ran away a few times, I ignored orders, I chased a ball as long as I wanted to, I ran down our block to chase cats, I barked when the mail came and at people who park their cars in front of our house, I got into Mike and Heather’s bed whenever I could, I whined every time I got impatient, and I taught Mike a new way to play catch on the kitchen floor. So do I feel any older? Hell no. Where’s Wiffie? I’m ready to rock and roll. Check out Heather and I playing fetch in the rain forest.

 

 

 

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 Gets a Squeaky New Toy

It’s high time I got a new toy. I’ve been good, right? Good enough, anyway. And yet,  I’ve gotten no new toy since I  silenced my last Mushabellie on my birthday back in February. That’s an eternity in dog years! So I was due.  And thanks to my pal Charlie, I got one. Charlie got it for me, his favorite Seattle Dog, because this toy is the only one his dog Logan, a Jack Russell terrier, has not been able to destroy.

 

With that recommendation, I was anxious to put the new toy to the test.

Cow

Cow

It is officially a Charming Pet Tennis Head Cow, and on some websites it’s listed as Out of Stock or a Manufacturer’s Discontinued item, which does not bode well for the future of its breed. It figures; the one model from this manufacturer that I heartily endorse is the one about to become extinct, or at the least an eBay-auction rarity. And that’s too bad: While I haven’t been able to destroy it or even silence its squeak so far, eventually I’m going to need another one, and I don’t want to be forced to mortgage my retirement dog house to get it. I guess I can always just switch to another model.

Initially I thought about giving this new toy a bovine name like Bossie or Elsie, but I have elected to just call it Cow. Mike told me he has a friend from college known as Cow, and what a great guy  he is. That sounded good to me…and to my Cow, who is suitably honored.

From the outset, Cow has given Wiffie a good run for my attention. After my initial curiosity wore off, I have thankfully backed away from nonstop squeaking of Cow, but I pay attention to him every day. Right now, breakfast, dinner, snacks, marrow bones, Frozen PBBs , sleeping and walks all rank higher on my food chain than Cow, but I do enjoy chasing and throttling Cow as well. I don’t need to squeeze him in my mouth every second….

 

…only when I feel like it. Thanks, Charlie.

 

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 Practices the Neighborhood Play

Not much happened here in January besides dodging the raindrops. Rain doesn’t matter much to me once we start walking, but those first few yards out the front door and into the wetness take a bit more coaxing, to put it mildly. Once I get out there, I can handle it, unless it’s a cold, heavy, horizontal rain. When that hits, I want to take care of business and get back home to chase Wiffie ASAP.

Chloe practices the neighborhood play.

Chloe puts the ball in the neighborhood..

I’ve been using this quiet time to develop a new technique for my fetch repertoire. Mike calls it the neighborhood play. According to Wikipedia, in baseball, “a neighborhood play is a force play where a fielder receiving the ball in attempting to force out a runner at second base, catches and quickly throws the ball to first base in a double play attempt without actually touching second base, or by touching second base well before catching the ball.”

Nowadays, video replay has all but eliminated the neighborhood play in major-league games, but thankfully (and hopefully!) no surveillance cameras have been installed above Chloë’s Lane, my favorite field for fetch. Therefore, when I retrieve my purple-and-white ball and return it to the thrower, I don’t have to actually deliver it to their feet. If the ball is “in the neighborhood,” that should be close enough. At least, that’s the way I see it.

But it depends on who’s throwing, I guess. It’s usually close enough for Mike, who might even put his left hand in his treat pouch to get me to bring the ball another 5 feet. Heather, on the other hand, likes to be a hard-ass about it. She refuses to throw the ball again until she gets ball-to-toe delivery.

And here’s what my alleged best pal Charlie had to say when I tried out my neighborhood play on him.

That Charlie, he can be tough! He has obviously been in the game a long time and adheres to high standards. Personally, I like to cut corners as much as I can get away with.

 

Chloë Discovers Treasures on the Trail

Being of low stature and superior olfactory prowess, I find a lot of shit on the ground, literally and figuratively. Most of it is just flotsam in the sea of life, but every once in a while my nose leads to something of real value. A piece of ham sandwich, for example, or a half-eaten bag of oyster crackers.  In fact, that’s the reason it’s always important to sniff the block between the park entrance and the bus stop. Bus riders seem to toss a disproportionate amount of food compared to the general population of park-goers. Maybe they think they’re doing their bit for wildlife, such as the park’s rabbits, raccoons and feral cats, as well as me.

Playing hardball

Playing hardball

But last week, within the span of a few days, my daily travels turned up two more significant items. First I dug an old baseball from under a bush on a street above the Ship Canal. The ball was stuck under some vines, but I could smell its sodden horsehide, and I clawed at it excitedly until I pried it free, grabbed it in my teeth and carried it all the way home. They actually let me keep it.

It’s not official Major League Baseball material, but it is a regular baseball,  about the size of Wiffie, but a LOT heavier. It’s just small enough that I can get it into my mouth for gnawing, which I like. When it comes to chasing it around the house,  however, Mike cannot toss it around like he does with Wiffie. This ball makes a big clunk when dropping from my mouth to the floor, which is just a couple of inches. When I roll it around myself in the dining room, downstairs it sounds like a bowling alley. Here’s a sampling of the action:

 

Mike normally laments me gnawing on something until I break it apart, but in this case, I think he would rather I stick to gnawing this ball instead of tossing it around until something breaks. Unlike those purple racquet balls, there’s no way I can chew this one into oblivion.

Just give me money...

Chloë watches over her latest find (lower left): Just give me money, that’s what I want..

While he was OK with my baseball, Mike liked my next discovery even better.  Remember, it was just a couple of weeks ago that I rescued a woman’s iPhone, so I must be getting good at scavenging.  A couple of days after I found the ball, I led Mike to a wad of money. Well three bills, piled together and neatly folded into quarters, but wet, indicating they had been there a while, at the upper edge of the parade grounds, not far from the Discovery Park historic district’s flagpole. Since it wasn’t something I was interested in eating or even gnawing on, I let Mike pick up the soggy bills ($10, $5 and $1)  and put them in his pocket for safe keeping until we add it to our annual donation to the park’s plant fund. I’m sure all of you thought Mike would just buy beer.