Category Archives: Video Link Included

Chloë Squeaks Through the New Year

Chloë with her treasure

I’ve always been pretty good at finding other dogs’ balls out on the trail, but normally the tattered tennis balls I rerieve with don’t in any way measure up to the higher-quality balls I have, let alone all the ones that I’ve lost. That is, the balls that Mike and Heather lost and I was unable to find. But  a few days after Christmas, I hit pay dirt. Coming home from a walk with Heather, I spied a spanking new, blue-and-orange sphere that must have been in the holiday stocking of some other neighborhood hound. In the true spirit of Christmas, I scarfed it up and carried it home.

I was SO proud of my find, in fact, that I ran inside to show it to Mike, who unexpectedly decided it was small enough to play with inside the house. What fun! When I’m not happily gnawing on it, I’m parading it around the house to show it off or, even better, pushing it under some piece of furniture where I can’t retrieve myself it with my paws or snout. That’s when I get Mike. He’s always so pleased to get it for me.

Chuckit Ultra Squeaker, medium and small

My good luck only got better. When we finally got around to emptying our own Christmas stockings hanging by the fireplace, I finally got a good look at the ball that aunts Susie and Debby sent me (along with great edible gifts). It turned out to be a bigger brother of the one I had just found. It’s a Chuckit! Ultra Squeaker medium, while the one I found is a Chuckit! Ultra Squeaker small. I must confess I like them both. I can get a good gnawing grip on either one, and they are both versatile enough to use indoors or out. The best part of having two is they have different squeaks. The small one sounds like a tiny bird, the medium more like a duck. Nobody has sent me a large one to test yet, but I’m thinking crow. In this brilliant “how-to” video, I’m playing with the smaller ball.

 

The Leave-It Place

Whenever I drive Heather and/or Mike nuts with incessant squeaking and/or gnawing (which makes an obnoxious sucking sound), Heather puts the two balls in the drink holders of my personal camp chair. She calls them “the Leave-It Place,” because that’s where the balls sit when I’m supposed to leave them alone. This arrangement was OK for short stretches, as long as I got to keep a close eye on my trophies. Unfortunately, it only took me a few days to break the mesh on one of the drink holders by swatting at it from below, trying to pop the ball out. Sorry, Heather. Mike will fix it.

Chloë guards her balls.

 

 

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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.

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.