Chloë Escapes Dangers on the Road

Our summer trip was fun, but it was not without a few difficult situations. And I won’t even count my continued frustration with chasing down my Syracuse aunts’ cats.

Devil’s Tower, WY

For instance, when we stayed in East Glacier, MT, for three nights, every time I stepped outside for a pee, a pack of large neighborhood dogs descended upon me, intent on sniffing my butt, or worse. Heather or Mike managed to shoo them away every time, but still. They made me nervous.

In Syracuse, things doubled down. I took two trips to the vet with an ear infection and two drenchings from thunderstorms as I waited in the car while Mike and Heather ate pork and drank beer inside.  Did I complain?  NO. Syracuse was also where I also suffered the only tick bite on the trip, leaving a large, hard bump on my chin. It got a little bigger and hurt for a week, but then it went away and I did not come down with Lyme disease, as Heather had feared.

Flooded highway in Valentine NWR, NE

On to Canada, where two large dogs leaped upon me while I was minding my own business on the side of a hiking trail. I had always been told all Canadians are nice, but those two were not at all nice. Their owner was a little cranky, too.

Danger stalked me from coast to coast. In Massachusetts, I had to survive some choppy seas on a boat ride and a nest of yellow jackets, the latter of which sent me to the doggie emergency room with multiple stings around my mouth. In Pennsylvania, gnawing on an animal carcass might have brought infection or even poison into my system; at least, that’s what Heather said, although she seems prone to voicing worst-case scenarios.

Milwaukee Railroad Trail, MT

The western part of the trip was no less stressful for me. In St. Louis, it was so hot and humid that I sometimes refused to walk. In northwestern Nebraska, standing water on the road came up as high as my window when Heather drove the car through; I thought I was in a submarine. In Montana, thunderstorms brought rain and hail so hard that we had to pull off the road for a while. When conditions died down, we went hiking on an old railroad trail with tunnels so long that they were totally dark in the middle. Bring a flashlight next time, Mike.

OK, some troubling stuff happened to me, sure, but it could have been much worse. Look on the bright side: In nearly three months on the road, I never got lost, never barked at or ran after a large animal, and never tried to bite anyone.  In addition, everyone treated me like a queen. When did you say we are leaving again?

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, WA

Chloë Visits Friends Back East

On Roaring Brook, Lowville NY.

After nearly three months on the road, we finally got home to Seattle a couple of weeks ago. We had lots of fun, but all of us were glad to be home and sleeping in our own beds. (Not to mention being able to chase Wiffie around the house, play fetch off-leash and burrow into bed with Heather, all off limits on the trip.)

Conferring with Heather about the seating plan.

Sometimes, I admit, it was tough on me, being hustled in and out of my harness in the car four or five times a day. On the other hand, as long as we were driving, everyone in the pack was together, which is always OK with me.

On the way back to Seattle we visited a lot of Mike’s and Heather’s friends and family, which was a lot more fun than staying in hotels. Everybody we stayed with was just so nice to me, going out of his or her way to make me as comfortable as possible, which is important to me. We went on many walks to new and exciting places, too.  Sometimes things got a little too exciting, as you’ll read about below. So I wanted to take a minute to thank all of my hosts for a job well done, and I hope they will all visit me in Seattle sometime soon.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We were on the road a long time. After leaving Syracuse, first we spent a week or so in Canada and a couple of nights with my pal Penny in the Adirondacks. Then we wound our way through New England and northern Pennsylvania. All those narrow, twisting roads we took made Heather slow down the car, which made me start to whine in the back seat. She and Mike finally figured out that I was trying to tell them to open the window in the backseat so I could sniff the countryside. That’s all l I ever wanted with my whining–unless I needed a bathroom break or a snack, of course. I only whine for good reason, and it’s always a fine whine.

Letting it all hang out the rear window.

When they moved my bed closer to the rear window, things got even better. Soon I was sticking nose, my head, my neck and eventually half my body outside the car with reckless abandon every time we slowed to 30 mph or less. In fact, a few times Mike got nervous, reached out, grabbed my harness and yanked me back into the car.

Some of my other return trip highlights included hiking in Connecticut with Scott (although I was not treated to any leftovers from their lunch at Ted’s World-Famous Steamed Cheeseburgers). In Boston, I chased geese along the Charles River Esplanade and took a ride up the North River on Gary’s boat. We anchored where the water was calm, I didn’t have to worry about waves, and I could chase sticks unencumbered.

Swimming with Jake, Massachusetts.

A couple of days later, when we visited John and Peggy in Massachusetts, I went swimming again, this time in a pond with a loveable old retriever named Jake. That was fun, and so was running around Jake’s huge, fenced-in back yard when Mike and Heather went off to a wedding. That is, I was having fun until my enthusiastic digging unearthed a nest of yellow jackets, whose stings on my snout sent me to the doggie emergency room and brought Heather and Mike scurrying back from the wedding. I was in bad shape at first (I will spare you the gory details!), but Peggy and John took good care of me, and after the doctor injected me with Benadryl, I felt fine the next morning.

Rob showed me carcasses, Pennsylvania.

From there it was back into the car for the ride home. We drove from New England to northwestern Pennsylvania, where we got a cook’s tour of Warren, Pa., from favorite son Rudy and visited his camp on the Allegheny River. Then we spent a lovely night with Denise and Rob on their bucolic farm north of Pittsburgh. Mike’s friends Dave and Wayne drove up from the Burgh to see us, and Rob cooked lasagna for everyone (I licked a few plates, so I know how good it was.) Next morning Rob took us on a tour of the property and I got to sniff some really cool animal carcasses. Of all the places we walked on the trip, this was my favorite.

At Charlie’s house, St. Louis.

My biggest surprise, though, was when we stopped for a couple of nights in St. Louis, where I enjoyed a reunion with my best pal Charlie. I knew he had moved back there from Seattle just before we left in June, but I had no idea we would be visiting him on this trip. And I was really glad to find out his house was air-conditioned, because it was hot and humid the whole time we were there. I even got to nap in Logan’s bed a few times, much to Logan’s chagrin when he came home a few weeks later.

There’s lots more to tell, but I hear Heather calling me to go for our afternoon walk, and I don’t want to keep her waiting (not prudent!). I’ll continue next time. It’s good to be back.

 

Chloë Finds America Great Again

Great Sacandaga Lake

The final afternoon walk on the Canadian leg of our coast-to-coast excursion didn’t go so well.  While the place—Lemoine Point Conservation Area outside Kingston, ON—had nice, wide trails that kept me away from its Lake Ontario waves, in the middle of a large meadow on our trek, two dogs who were both a lot bigger than me and not at all under the control of their owner leaned far over to where I was lying down on the side of the trail and lunged. Even though they were on leashes, they got pretty close to me. Luckily, Heather reacted quickly and yanked me away by my leash. When I was safely out of harm’s way, she started yelling at the dogs and their owner, who was dragging them away and muttering apologies that Heather wasn’t buying.

Actually, that owner exhibited the kind of me-first behavior usually associated with Americans, and yet here we were in Canada. Apparently bad behavior knows no boundaries.

Chloe chills by the lake,

On the other hand, after we returned to the U.S., everybody from the border patrol agents to people we meet on our walks has been so darn nice to me. Instead of motels, we stayed at the homes of several of Mike’s and Heather’s friends, and every one of them lavished praise and attention on me, telling them how physically fit and well-behaved I am. (Let’s just say I am practiced at the art of deception.)

Our first stop on this part of the trip was with the people I already know the best, my Seattle friends Mike and Carol and my dog buddy Penny, who frequently comes over to our house when everyone except us watches Syracuse games on TV.  Before we arrived at their camp on Great Sacandaga Lake, Mike and Carol were smart enough to hide all of Penny’s Mushabellies (I tend to silence them forever), but I did get to play some Wiffie (I left some pretty good tooth marks on the ball, too).

With Heather, Mike, Carol and Penny at camp.

While we were staying there, Heather went to a local pet and feed store and bought me a new toy of my own, a stuffed one with a squeaker. It was the first new toy I’ve had in quite a while, in fact. And Mike bought himself a sweatshirt and a pair of scissors at America’s first “5 and 10” in Northville, NY.  Apparently the American economy is booming.

Yes, it was great to be back in the U.S.A.

 

 

 

Chloë Hikes Canada, Eh!

Walking in Toronto

Apparently Americans get more of everything in Canada. More poutine and Canadian bacon, for starters. And our dollar is worth about a dollar and a quarter,  making me even more priceless than I am in the USA. I was told an American mile is little more than 1.6 kilometers, but I think it must be more like 3 km, because every time I went for a walk up here, it seemed to take forever. My normal one hour afternoon walk invariably turned into an hour and 20 minutes or more. Even worse, weather reporters kept saying it was 28 or 30 degrees outside, but to me it always felt like it was 90, with the humidity making it even worse. I felt tired and worn out the entire week we were there.

Still, we did explore some areas of Ontario we hadn’t seen on our previous excursions. In Toronto we explored Taylor Creek Park, where we were able to walk on both sides of the creek and the ravine was lush and fairy quiet despite being the middle of the city. Heather wouldn’t let me near the creek, though, because she didn’t want me taking my muddy feet into her sister Robin’s swanky 13th-floor apartment. I had to be on my best behavior while we were there.

Diving into the Humber River.

Walking the plank.

Things were looser when we visited her brother Robert. The stairs to his apartment were steep and slippery, so Heather carried me up and down every time we visited there. Robert went hiking with us, and when we walked along the Humber Valley Heritage Trail, no one prevented me from getting my feet wet and muddy. After all, there were a couple of pink plastic chairs in the river already, so I figured I’d find my own spot to lie down in the water. Didn’t have time for any digging, though. I also had to climb some steep stairs that I ultimately navigated by walking up the rain gutters on the side.

The next day we had our longest hike of the week, to a place with a waterfall called the Forks of the Credit (River), where it was a hilly hour in and another hilly hour back. It must have been pretty strenuous, because we saw several people who turned back before even getting to the falls, and on the way back we passed a mountain biker who had crashed and had to be rescued by what looked like the whole fire department with an ambulance and several other emergency vehicles. We got out of there before anybody started asking questions or checking IDs.

Despite the lengthy walk and excitement, I had a red-letter day: I got many treats, a cup of vanilla ice cream from Heather, and sat on Mike’s lap in the back seat of the car for the whole trip in both directions. Much more than I would have gotten on a Sunday afternoon in the states, eh?

Chloë Finally Conquers a Cat

Cat lair territory.

In our summer neighborhood, cats were everywhere. I was forced to remain on constant vigil lest they overrun us. Two lived in the house right next door, an orange one and a gray one. They taunted me by sunbathing in their driveway. Sometimes they hid inside the flower beds in MY back yard, right in there among the purple coneflower, loosestrife, yarrow and dill. I know, because I could smell them, long after they had retreated to other lairs. There’s nothing worse than the smell of rotting cat hurl. Yuck.

Cleo and Bear get their last meal before their nemesis arrives.

 

Cleo and Bear, the cats who belong to my aunts Susie and Debby, lived on the other side of Meadowbrook, but I was constantly scheming to get a walk over there. Those cats were afraid of me. And well they should be, especially since I loudly chased after them on my most recent visit. One went upstairs and the other ran downstairs, into the basement. My outburst got them quarantined to the second floor for the rest of our visit, while I was similarly confined to my bed at the base of the stairs, from which I cast a menacing gaze upward whenever I felt their eyes upon me. The cats stayed put. In fact, I saw so little of them on this trip that I can barely recall what they look like. No matter, I still know they’re there, and I will corner them one day.

Thankfully, I found one cat in the Salt City that knew its place. I just had to look this guy firmly in the eye one time and he immediately turned to stone.

 

Who’s the boss?

Chloë Dives into Water Sports

Not comfortable enough!

The traveling part of our cross-country trip can be tough on all of us. Mike’s legs and butt hurt from sleeping in so many different beds. Heather gets rankled when damn New York drivers cut her off or, even worse, tailgate her car on city streets even when she’s already doing over the speed limit! And I get irritated every time something disrupts my daily routine so I don’t get treats on time, which has happened far too often for my liking.

One routine we followed at home in Seattle was Heather cleaning my ears every single week in order to ward off my too-frequent ear infections. The trip interrupted  our habit, however. Sure enough, soon after arriving in Syracuse I found myself in the Jamesville clinic of Dr. Gary Rothman, the vet Mike and Heather used when they lived in Syracuse way back in the last century. In fact, they were still in the clinic’s computer system, and everyone who treated me there seemed very impressed that we had such a low client number (from 26 years and two dogs ago). Anyway, the medicine that Heather dutifully squeezed into my left ear twice a day seemed to do the trick, and all the yucky stuff and the itching went away almost immediately. We will do better on the trip back, Heather vowed.

Anyway, I felt much better by the time we went to Brantingham Lake to visit my Alaska pals Debbie and Juneau George and the rest of Debbie’s family. Her brother Jaimo took us on a long, slow boat ride around the whole lake and the next day on a long car ride on forest roads. I got to sit on Heather’s lap the whole way in the car and most of the time on the boat ride, so I was happy, even when I had to pee real bad and there was no stopping.

I reciprocated those favors by showing everybody how to get to a nearby place called Shingle Mill Falls that I had discovered the day before. No waves or lapping water there, so I was able to walk both up and downstream with ease, leaping between the rocks and changing the course of Otter Creek by digging new channels in several locations. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lest anyone think I went overboard with this newfound devotion to water sports, a few days later I respectfully declined to be lured down the steps into Tuscarora Lake for a swim, nor did I jump into a motorboat with Mike and Heather to make a beeline across the lake to a concert on the opposite shore. I was perfectly happy to snooze in the car for a couple of hours and rest up for the next phase of my exciting vacation.

Chloë Loves the ‘Cuse

Wow! Rabbits and squirrels and deer galore!

Although my trip eastward was a bit harrowing at times,  as soon as we hit Syracuse my mood improved right away. As soon as we pulled into our neighborhood,  I started to whine with recollection. And when Heather put my window down, I went crazy. Syracuse, just like I pictured it.  It even smelled the same. I was happy to be there.

I was also looking forward to staying in one place for a while, too, especially now that our gracious hosts have installed air conditioning. Not having to pack up and move on every morning means everyone’s pace is a lot more relaxed. I even caught up on some sleep.

Chloe and Olivia at Lorenzo State Historic Site’s garden

Mike and Heather have already taken me to several of my favorite local spots: Mill Run Park in Manlius, the Meadowbrook Basin, the Old Erie Canal (in two separate sections), the Syracuse University campus and Oakwood Cemetery, whose abundance of wildlife (deer, squirrels, rabbits and birds) makes it my equivalent of Disney’s Adventureland. I even got to strut my stuff at the annual horse and carriage driving competition at Cazenovia’s Lorenzo State Historic Site. Mike’s and Heather’s friend Ginger watched me while they went to the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, continuing to waste valuable time with baseball fandom when they could be home or in a park tossing a ball for me. Luckily, Ginger had a Wiffle Ball in her house, and she let knock it around and gnaw on it for a while, my first near-Wiffie experience since leaving Seattle. Ginger also gave me a ride in her car to pick up her granddaughter Olivia, who was very nice to me, bestowing many treats while we were together at Ginger’s house and Lorenzo. Luckily, we just walked around in the gardens at the back of the house and avoided all the horses and crowds, which was fine with me.

Sleeping off her IPA-flavored treats

The other highlight of my first week in the Salt City was receiving a package in the mail from my good friend Charlie, who just moved back to St. Louis. It turned out to be, as I suspected, a bag of dog treats. That Charlie always comes through for me. This time he sent a 30-piece bag of “peanut butter IPA”-flavored treats from the Crafted Bone of St. Charles, MO, which is near Charlie’s new hometown. “Share the passion of craft beer with your dog,” the package said. Consisting of “spent” grains left over from the brewing process, these handmade bickies are alleged to contain no alcohol, but I ate two of them and conked right out.

Matriculating on the SU Quad

Charlie enclosed a nice, handwritten note with his gift, and Mike read it to me. “Chloe,” he wrote, “Finally an IPA for dogs. Make sure Mike and Heather don’t imbibe yours! I cannot believe how many rabbits there are in my neighborhood. You would be gone in a second. Say hi to Mike, Heather, Susie and the cats for me.”

Consider it done on the human side, Charlie, but Susie’s and Debby’s cats have yet to show their faces in my presence. I’m not giving up, though. Every time we leave the house I try to guide our walk in that direction, hoping somebody will be home to let me in.  I’m looking forward to making visual contact one of these days. After that, fur will fly.