Tag Archives: Chloë the Wirehaired Dachshund

Chloë Learns How to Dominate

Novice NCAA picker.

The final results are not in yet, of course, but there’s no doubt that my NCAA Tournament bracket is going to trounce Mike’s. All of his Final Four picks were gone the first weekend, and I’ve still got three alive heading into the Sweet 16. As Jimmer would say, “Fredette about it, Mike.”  And although it’s already mathematically impossible to win the pool in Heather’s office, I made a big improvement over my NCAA bracket last March. Of course, I was only five weeks old at the time and not quite as familiar with the nuances of the college game as I am now.

Frankly, as we approach the start of my second year here at the ol’ Magnolia Manse, I’ve figured out that getting my way is how I like it. Mike keeps telling me that Heather is our pack leader, but I’m not buying it. Not while she’s at work, anyway, which seems like most of the time to me.

I like to dominate my canine friends, too, so if I don’t think they’re willing to play along with my game, I won’t even bother engaging them. As they approach me, I can tell right away, so I either lie down or turn my head away from their glare and pretend to sniff something until they pass. More than size, it’s their attitude. These dogs want to be the boss, too. I can tell. Swell, let them–as long as they boss around somebody else, not me.

Chloë and Kiki (Photo by Lynn)

I like dogs who see things my way. Like Moose, a golden retriever puppy, whom I met in the park last week. He was just three months old, about the same size as me but not nearly as coordinated. He was perfect for rolling around with on the parade ground. Tons o’ fun. And Kiki, a 1-year-old white Havanese who I went to visit a couple of times with my buddy Lynn. Kiki’s a little lighter and a tad bigger than I am, so we were pretty evenly matched. We have similar play styles, too, which means chasing each other around, hiding behind furniture for ambushes, tackling each other and rolling around, bottoms up and front paws in a bow, with lots of playful growling and launching ourselves for midair collisions.

Chloë flies at Kiki (Photo by Lynn)

Kiki thinks that we took turns being alpha dog, but that was just my intended ruse. Since we were playing at her house, I tried to be polite, when truthfully I could have been her boss for every second I was there.  All I had to do to control her was swing my butt around, knock Kiki on her backside and go in for the pin. If Kiki tried any butt swinging, I moved blithely out of the way. So let her think whatever she wants to; I was just being magnanimous for a change. Not always, though, as you can see from the photo below.

Chloë gains the upper hand (Photo by Lynn).

Now that it’s officially spring, I’d like to extend my domination to the wild parts of the animal kingdom–at least the parts of it located within the boundaries of Discovery Park. The rabbits were put on notice several months ago, right after I got that rat outside the house. The voles and field mice must have gotten the message, too (or maybe the hawks and bald eagles that have been hanging around the South Meadow got them all). But those damn squirrels, they are my current aggravation. I think I can outrun one in a fair race, but they all seem to run vertically up a fence or a tree when they see me coming. I haven’t been able to get farther up a tree than a few feet, and it’s not from a lack of trying. I might still be at the base of that tree, barking and looking for a foothold, if Mike hadn’t yelled to tell me it was almost my dinner time.

Chloë climbs a tree in quest of squirrel.

But don’t cry for me yet, Argentina. Squirrel domination will yet be mine. Just don’t Fredette about it.

Chloë Fills Out Her NCAA Tournament Bracket

Mike considers himself a diehard college basketball fan. Well, that may be so, but when it comes to picking the Big Dance, I’m going to whip his butt.

My first thought was to pick all of the teams that have dogs as mascots. However, when the first game I looked at was top-seeded Kansas against the Boston University Terriers, I thought better of that strategy. Besides, I couldn’t give a damn about Huskies and Bulldogs, especially that Georgetown clown. There are far too many of those big, mean breeds in the Big Dance, and from what I’ve seen, large dogs don’t dance none too good. When a bigtime school becomes the Fighting Wieners, call me.

Anyway, I’ve watched enough basketball games by now to know what to look for in this tournament. Those blowhard TV announcers keep saying the same things before, during and after every game, so learning the logic isn’t hard. At tournament time, every winning team needs:

  • Strong guard play;
  • Accurate 3-point shooting;
  • A stingy defense;
  • Upper-class leadership, on and off the floor;
  • A positive turnover margin;
  • To hold its own down low;
  • Clutch free-throw shooting;
  • An experienced coach who can make in-game adjustments;
  • A pep band with a good sense of humor.

Chloë does the Big Dance.

So this morning I curled up on my orange blankey and filled out my bracket with some research from the daily newspaper and USA Today and Mike’s SU basketball sweatshirt for inspiration. After thinking it over for about five minutes, I just zipped right through it. Now, I realize I didn’t go too far out on a limb, picking all four #1 seeds to go to the Final Four. I’m about as daring as President Obama on that score. Unlike Bo’s master, however, I like the Ohio State Buckeyes to prevail. When I was done with my bracket, I barked twice and rose up in my own version of the Big Dance.

Chloë’s NCAA Bracket is similar to President Obama’s.

Well, that was my big effort of the day. Now I better rest a while before tonight’s opening round games get going again. Check back in three weeks to see how I did, especially weighing my picks against Mike (that chump picked the ‘Cuse to beat Ohio State and go all the way) and Heather (gimme a break; like Canadians know anything about this game, eh?).

Meanwhile, on my walk in the park with Mike today I found two more balls: a lacrosse ball (kind of hard and heavy) and another baseball (with its cover already coming off!).  As soon as this basketball madness is over, it will be spring, and I can hardly wait.

Chloë Has an Eventful Week

March came in like a lion, but now I can definitely feel the change in season. The mosses and ferns in the park puff up in brilliant greens after every rain. And it must be March Madness when Mike shunts me out to the car for most of the day to watch basketball tournaments; why else would he not want me to bother him?

Ron and Cathy visit from Juneau.

In between the rain and the games, Ron and Cathy visited from Juneau. Nervous Nellie- me barked at them for the first two days they were here. My bad. We were becoming good friends by the time they went home, so I invited them outside for one  of my soon-to-be-famous Visitor Portrait series. (Aunts Susie and Debby were my first visitor portrait, but I didn’t quite have the format down yet; I’d like to have Mike reshoot them on their next visit.)

I also enjoyed several eventful walks during early March’s turbulent weather. I’m used to strangers along the trail telling me how cute I am (goes without saying, actually), but one day an exercise walker going in the opposite direction passed us and told Mike, “She’s an excellent walker.” Indeed.

Chloë’s baseball

A few days later, I was walking along Magnolia Boulevard about dusk when I smelled horsehide. The next minute I was darting under some bushes, stuffing an old, waterlogged baseball into my mouth and hustling down the sidewalk homeward. Damn thing was heavy, so Mike helped me out carrying it home. As soon as he opened the front door, however, I reclaimed it and started gnawing. Took me just a day and a half to tear the cover off the ball, literally. This baseball, it has been very, very good to me.

Chloë rips the cover off the ball.

And so is my favorite UPS guy. Last Monday he delivered a package when Mike and I were out walking, and on top of the box was one of those huge Milk Bones. What a prince the guy is. And yesterday came the piece de resistance:  Mike took me to my first drive-thru, at the Chase Bank in Magnolia. As soon as Mike rolled down the car window and I saw a smiling man behind the glass, I knew something good was going to happen. The man went away briefly, and Mike told me that he would come back and give me a treat, but only if I sat back down in the passenger seat. So I did, and when he came back, Mike gave him the thumbs up and he slid one of those big Milk Bones into the metal tray and pushed it towards us. Mike gave me the whole thing, and I was so happy that I didn’t even try to chew up the money and receipt that he got with the Milk Bone.

Drive-thru! What a concept. What will they think of next?

Chloë Has a Suite Weekend

Ferry crossing from Edmonds.

After the great weekend I just had, I’m officially forgiving Mike and Heather for deserting me on my birthday. They took me to Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula for two nights and three days to celebrate all of our February birthdays and anniversaries, with two ferry rides, three long hikes and even a little danger along the way.

Chloë in her suite at the Bishop Hotel in PT.

Staying two nights at the Bishop Hotel was my favorite part. We had two rooms all to ourselves, plus our own huge bathroom. I had to stay off the furniture, of course, but I had my orange blankey and my traveling crate, so I was happy. Heather napped with me on the floor, and every time we waltzed through the lobby the person behind the high desk in front made a big fuss over me and gave me treats. That’s the kind of service I deserve, so I rate this hotel 4 paws all the way.

Chloë and Mike on the ferry from Kingston.

The ferry rides were neat, too, although the howling wind and white caps on Puget Sound Saturday morning were a bit intense. Heather’s lap was better than being outside. But the trip back from Kingston on Monday afternoon was much more pleasant, since we had calmer waters and we were in the stern of the ship. All in all, I’m looking forward to many more sailings.

Hiking was even better. The beaches were a little scary, especially at Point No Point Lighthouse, where the north wind pushed those waves pretty hard. Big surf is not my cup of tea. I really liked the hike up the Big Quilcene River, with snow underfoot but sunshine streaming through the tall trees. We had to cross some neat wooden bridges and ford several small streams.

Dodging waves and leaping across boulders were nothing compared to our hike around Fort Worden’s Artillery Hill, where huge guns once guarded the entrance to Puget Sound. On a woodsy trail between the batteries, a large animal crossed about 50 feet in front of us, and instantly I took off in hot pursuit. Heather thought it was a coyote or a fox, because of its bushy tail. Mike thought it was much too big to be a fox and too furry to be a coyote, so he had no idea what it was; to him it looked like a maned jackal. Me? I was running too fast after it to have an opinion. In seconds I was at the spot where it disappeared into the woods, and I was eagerly eyeing the animal’s path until I heard Heather’s call: “Chloë! Treat Party! Treat Party!” Aha! Remembering once again that old “one in the hand is worth two in the bush” theory, I turned and raced right past the fast-closing Mike to where Heather had strewn small pieces of salmon jerky on the ground. All for me.

Yes, I came back, and later on, I was glad of it. A volunteer working in the park office told Heather the animal was definitely a coyote. It seems that among the Fort Worden State Park inhabitants are a few of the biggest, bushiest coyotes anyone has ever seen, no doubt attracted and fattened up by all the deer that are overrunning the Quimper Peninsula. (I saw several deer myself, in fact, but frankly they didn’t do much for me. At this stage, at least, I prefer rabbits, squirrels and mice.)

Chloë at Fort Worden’s “Memory Vault” Sculpture.

Now, I’m not sure if I’m buying those stories about these huge coyotes eating small dogs, but I’m more than happy that I didn’t get the chance to find out. I don’t want to miss out on any future birthday/anniversary weekends if they’re as good as this one.

Needless to say, the trip took a lot out of me. I missed a lot of rack time. After we got back, I had to sleep it off in Mike and Heather’s bed for at least an hour or two before I rousted Foxy and Moosey from the living room for a rousing game of tug and then knocking my whiffle ball around the living room.

Chloë relaxes after coming home.

Chloë Makes Mike Look Silly

In reality, making Mike look silly just ain’t that hard.

Mike wears Chloë’s destuffed buns on his ears.

All I had to do was to start playing around with the buns of the hot dog toy that I destuffed back at Christmas (thanks again, Aunt Susie, for the gift that keeps on giving). As soon as I started paying attention to it, there was Mike, thinking he could turn those buns into earmuffs–for me! Fat chance, Mike. However, just so his vision wouldn’t be totally lost to posterity, Mike put those buns on his own ears, and took a photo to commemorate the auspicious occasion. Good thinking, Mike.

Chloë in her orange blankey.

Anyhow, Mike and Heather are back, and the all-day buffet I was enjoying is over. In addition, Dachshunds Day has been postponed to the last weekend in February because Frank and Stanley’s parents are away somewhere and they can’t come.  I’m beginning to suspect Mike is going to keep putting this off until he thinks I’ve forgotten about it. No chance.

However, Mike returned from Florida with a couple of really tasty lamb shank bones for me, so the homecoming wasn’t all bad. And Lynn, my sitter, gave me a couple of bouncy blue balls for my birthday that are small enough to fit comfortably in my mouth and also knock around the living room. So even if Dachshunds Day turns out to be a bust, I’ve made out pretty well already.

Mike also returned from Florida with an orange knit SU hat, courtesy of his friend Larry, who I met when he visited out here in September for the Syracuse-UW football game. Larry met Mike at the SU basketball game in Tampa last weekend and gave him this souvenir from the almighty Pinstripe Bowl. Now Mike wears this new hat every time he takes me on a walk, hoping someone will engage him in conversation about the Orange.

Mike models his new Orange hat…priceless!

Frankly, I’d rather have nothing to do with Mike’s inane fandom. Yesterday, for instance, he banished me from watching the Georgetown-SU game with him. Why? The last four games he watched with me were SU losses, and then the two games he watched in Florida without me were wins. So while he was in the bedroom, I sat on the living room floor–in the dark!– until Heather came home.

Screw Mike. With about four minutes left in the game, I stuck my head into the bedroom and  whined once. The Orange didn’t score again. Then I scarfed up all the popcorn and chips Mike had strewn across the floor and wagged my tail. Hoya Saxa.

Chloë Survives a Near-Fatal Experience

On a better day, Chloë follows Heather past the scene of the crime.

Most of this afternoon’s walk had nothing special about it. Darkness had almost fallen when Mike and I were heading home through the South Meadow. That’s Heather in the photo to the right, I know, but that photo wasn’t taken today. It shows about where in the park we were walking when I sucked up a little piece of a stick off the trail to chew. It was more a twig, really, so small that it managed to lodge itself sideways at the top of my throat.

All of a sudden, I was having a hell of a time trying to get it out. It was stuck there pretty good, and my tongue just wasn’t getting it. I wasn’t choking, exactly; it wasn’t far enough down my throat for me to gag. But it was damn uncomfortable, and more than a little scary. I had to let Mike put his fingers into my mouth, which ordinarily I wouldn’t think of doing. Twice, in fact, because the first time his damn fingers couldn’t find the thing. Thankfully, the second time he felt it and was able to pull it out of my throat, freeing me from jumping around with my mouth wide open for the rest of my life, which I doubt would have been all that long.

Boy, was I relieved! I jumped right into Mike’s arms and let him know in no uncertain terms that I would be eternally grateful for him granting me this second lease on life, and that I would absolutely, positively, do everything he tells me to do the very second he gestures or words come out of his mouth.

Luckily, as all those animal psychologists say, dogs really don’t have a memory (if it’s on the Internet, it must be true!). So by the time we got home for dinner, I had conveniently forgotten about any impulsive promises I might have made in the euphoria of the moment.

Chloë contemplates her next move.

Me? Obey? Instantly? Come on, Mike, get real. Where’s the fun in that?

Chloë Has a Lucky Day

Miss Happy-Go-Lucky

Even someone as happy-go-lucky as I am has to admit it’s been pretty bleak around here lately. The days are short enough at this time of year; when it’s raining or heavily overcast, it doesn’t get light until after 7, and it’s dark long before 5. Truth be told, I’ve been getting a bit stir crazy during the day. There’s a lot of energy bottled up in this little puppy body.

But the other afternoon the sun came out, the wind died down, and it got downright pleasant for a few hours. I could even sniff a hint of the tropics in the air–and I’m not talking Pineapple Express rain, neither. Just a brief, vague promise of spring.

Anyway, I bugged Mike until he had to get up from his damn computer and take me outside for a brief saunter down the block. As my butt wiggled along the sidewalk, I spied Kyle, our new mailman, coming our way. The guy seems nice enough, sometimes he even stops to pet me. But he obviously missed the mailman memo about bestowing treats along with the junk mail. I’m pretty certain by now that Kyle’s not coming across with anything to eat anytime soon, if ever. Some kind of health-nut calorie-counter, I suspect. I say that because this guy wears shorts on his mail route, every day. Mike’s in long underwear, and this guy’s wearing shorts.

Kyle had no sooner had passed us when a more promising target approached: the big, brown, rolling box that often delivers smaller boxes to many of the houses on our block. Once in a while it even stops at our house, and that’s how I met the nice man who drives it. When I sat in front of the house all summer, he was always stopping, saying hi and leaving me with a nice BIG Milk Bone. Not one of the tiny ones like Mike passes off as treats. BIG ones. And I didn’t even have to work for it, he just laid it down in front of me. On a silver platter, so to speak.

So I went into high-speed wiggling as soon as I saw the big brown truck come up the street towards us, but then it stopped, and a different guy jumped out and ran a package up to the neighbor’s front door. Damn! I thought. I’m going to be passed by for a treat again.

Then the truck pulled away from the curb, and I saw that the runner wasn’t the driver, but a second guy standing on the passenger’s side. Behind the wheel was my buddy, who then steered that big whale of a truck right over to where Mike and I were standing on our side of the street. When he got close to the curb, he chucked one of those huge Milk Bones out the window, and it landed on the ground about six inches from my nose. Needless to say, it didn’t stay there long.

To me, this incident clearly illustrates why the U.S. Postal Service loses billions of dollars every year while United Parcel Service thrives. I don’t know what UPS is doing for you, but it’s pretty clear what brown does for me.

Chloë Remininsces About Her First Summer

My first summer couldn’t have been more perfect.  I learned so many things. I saw so many places. The only thing that I had been looking forward to but missed: the drive-in movie.  I’m dying to see those cheesy ads for tasty morsels at the snack bar.

Olympic Mountains

It was a beautiful evening, no doubt one of the last nice ones before “the Rains” come. After my evening walk and dinner, I was feeling kinda nostalgic, so I had Mike pull my blue canvas chair up close to the computer and take me on a slide show of summer highlights.

Chloë and Mike review summer photos.

I made many new friends. There were the horses and cats out at my getaway, and many dogs in my neighborhood. Everybody seems to know my name, and they stop to say hello when I’m in front of the house in my excercise pen (quite the misnomer, I use it for sleeping in the sun and keeping watch on the street, not exercise).

Debby and Susie with Chloë and Tara

Let’s see, what else? My aunts Susie, Debby and Annabelle visited me while we were out at my getaway. When we got back, we had new mailman, Kyle; friendly enough, but so far not one treat. When he tripped over a flower pot on the front steps, all I could say was “Whoops.”

Learning to swim was fun. Still, I was not quite ready to tackle Puget Sound.

Chloë learns to swim.

Low tide on the Sound

I got together a few times with my brothers Frank and Stanley (the boys are much bigger, but I’m much faster!). I also had a ball frolicking on the lawn at the Kubota Garden all by myself. Many thanks to Nick Mazza for appearing in my video without charging a performance fee. What a guy, even if he did get a bit obnoxious when Syracuse lost (who can blame him?).

I also had a great time when Mike and Heather went on vacation and left me home with my sitter Lynn. Unfortunately, Lynn didn’t snap any photos of the wild treat parties we had. When M & H returned, so did my exercise regimen and training table routine. That’s why I look forward to many more vacations with Lynne.

Rat Patrol: One shining moment.

All in all, my summer was great, but there’s no doubt what the absolute highlight was: Killing the rat with Heather. Since then, I have been in dogged pursuit of any number of rabbits, squirrels, crows and other birds, Mittens the cat from down the street, many tree leaves and various joggers and bicyclists.   I haven’t been able to catch a damn thing. As they say at Safeco Field, wait ’til next year (or maybe the one after).

A Seattle girl!

Yes, summer’s gone. My coat got longer and thicker, I’ve started to walk on leash a lot better, I got bones from Bill the Butcher, and I even gained a few pounds. But oh, so much more.

Chloë Does a Bad Thing (or Two)

On the whole, I’ve been pretty good for a puppy. Even that taskmaster Mike is forced to admit it. I’m on board with the important stuff, like peeing and pooping when and where I’m supposed to. But come on, nobody’s perfect.

So I’ve developed this tissue thing. It started outside,  an outgrowth of darting for anything on the ground that’s white, like seagull poop. Or off-white, like chewed-up gum. Yum. So yeah, tissues; they’re white, or at least some of them are. When they’re fresh, I mean. And I don’t care if they’re fresh, anyway. I prefer them rumpled and crusty.

Chloe caught in the act.

I’ve had this strong hankering for tissues for a couple of weeks now, and I know where to find them. In Heather’s waste basket, the tissues are sweet, usually with some kind of syrupy stuff on them. They taste vaguely like the pancake leftovers on Sunday morning.

Mike’s waste basket is just not as good. Not as many tissues in it, for starters. And not nearly as tasty, for some reason.

That’s why I was so mad when Mike caught me taking tissues from his garbage. The take on this heist wasn’t worth getting into trouble–although I always enjoy seeing Mike lapse into one of his really stern “Bad Dog!” routines. Like that’s going to have any effect, right? He’d be better off praising me for getting the tissues out without knocking over the basket.

Chewed handle.

I’ve already gotten back at Mike for getting in my way. He was working at his computer (possibly even on a real job!). I was getting really, really bored, and he wasn’t paying any attention to me. So I slipped under his chair and started gnawing. He later claimed he thought I was chewing that stinky cow hoof that I’ve been working on for a few weeks. Sorry, Mike, the plastic handle of your chair is a lot more appealing than that hard and stinky hoof. When he saw the black plastic handle all chewed up, he felt so dumb he didn’t even bother saying anything to me about it.  He should consider himself lucky that I didn’t chew up something important. (Besides, you should always save something for next time.)

And while we’re on the subject, let’s ditch that damn hoof and get some real marrow bones around here. I demand it.

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.