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Chloë Gains at Home

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Mike and Heather went somewhere again, this time sneaking out one morning while I was busy eating my breakfast. What seemed like many, many days later they came back a lot browner. I’m not sure where they went, although I detected the taste of sea salt when I was biting Mike’s nose after he came through the front door. You’d think they would have sent me a postcard or brought me a souvenir, but no. What am I supposed to do with a piece of coral or coffee beans?

Aiming high.

Aiming high.

No big deal. Lynn showed up a couple of hours after they left and stayed with me until they came back.  I had fun with Lynn, who knows the way to my heart is through my stomach and likes to snuggle besides. Lynn did a good job of making me get in and out of the new towering bed in the proper manner, using the steps instead of jumping. Lucky for me, Lynn used treats to bribe me over to the corner where the steps are. I’m not turning down any treats, but I’m not dumb. After a couple of ill-thought-out attempts, I could see for myself that the steps, and not the bone-jarring leap, was the only safe and sane way to go.

Chloë's "oeuvre"

Chloë’s “oeuvre”

Charlie and Jill took me for some long walks, but I still had a lot of pent-up energy every evening when Lynn got home from work, so I made her throw Wiffie around the living room or help me play with my toys. In one game, Lynn called out the name of a toy, and I  would search for it in my toy pile. The Cow was one of my favorites with Lynn, who remembered it was a gift from my good friend Charlie. Every time Lynn called out, “Charlie’s Cow,” I raced to the front door, assuming Lynn was telling me Charlie was coming in. She did that on three separate occasions over a 2-hour period, apparently never figuring out that Charlie wasn’t really there.  Oh, well, I just played along.

We had a little excitement on one of the days Charlie did appear. When he arrived, I managed to squeeze out the front door, zip down the street and turn into the Bartons’ driveway and fenced back yard. This was just like it happened once last summer, so this time Charlie knew exactly where I was headed, and two people on the street verified my whereabouts. When Charlie first called me, of course, I just looked at him with indifference and held my ground. Then he yelled “Treat Party!!!”  and I was compelled to come a-running. With ol’ Charlie, treat parties are few and far between! I couldn’t afford to have him change his mind. Or worse, lie about throwing me a treat party. Luckily, Charlie gave me treats this one time.

Knows what's coming.

Knows what’s coming.

There was, alas, a sad bi-product of all the treating that I enjoyed when Mike and Heather (a.k.a. Ms. Grim) were away. When I had my follow-up visit with Dr. Sherrie Crow at the Elliott Bay Animal Hospital, there was some bad news. While it was great to learn my skin rash and ear infection have cleared up and that the doctor thinks hair may again grow in the currently bald spot on top of my head, we also found out that  the trim, muscular body that weighed in at 18.6 pounds in the vet’s lobby on Nov. 17 had gained a full pound only three weeks later. A full pound! That’s about 5 percent of my body weight, a noted Seattle statistician observed. And as Dr. Crow wrote in her ominous official visit report: “Chloë is at the top of her ideal weight range.”

Uh-oh. I’m afraid I know what’s coming next, and that’s not good. Mike will be on the warpath. And during the normally festive holiday season, no less. Sigh. It will be hard to cut back on my eating, but my past transgressions will still have been worth it. Just like love, diet’s just a four-letter word.

Chloë Scales New Heights

New mattress, new problem

New mattress, new problem

After talking about it for months, Mike and Heather finally got a new mattress. Good for them, but did they think about me? They may be more comfortable, but do I get to sleep in it any more often? No, I don’t. And that’s not the worst part.

This mattress is thicker than the last one. That means it’s higher off the floor. And that means I need to be an Olympic high jumper to get up there, whereas I could vault from floor to bed top from a sitting position, no problem, on the old one. Since the new mattress arrived before Thanksgiving, I have gone splat against the side of the damn thing on several occasions. Even eating several cases of Wheaties (which wouldn’t be so bad as long as it they were covered with milk and bananas) won’t get me enough boost to make it over the top. I doubt even performance-enhancing drugs would do the trick.

Solution: Proper positioning.

Solution: Proper positioning.

Even using my personal Stairway to Heaven is not as easy as it used to be. The top step of my unit now leaves me several inches short of the goal. Luckily, Heather figured out how to re-position the steps (two inches from the side of the bed and even with the foot) to give me the maximum efficiency for speed and angle. I can make it to the top of the bed with ease, but I still need to get a running start. Getting down from the new mattress via the steps is a breeze, as long as I can stay clear of Heather’s dresser when I hit the floor.

But getting down is still the tricky part. I am not supposed to jump off the new bed directly to the floor, ever, because landing hard like that is going to eventually be bad for my delicate dachshund back. Why didn’t Mike think about this inherent danger to me before he brought this new mattress into MY bedroom?

Victory achieved.

Victory achieved.

So far, I’m coping. I’ve heard NO JUMPING more times in the past couple of weeks than I have in the rest of my time on earth combined. Heather, especially, and even my good friend Lynn when she came over to stay with me last week, have kept harping on it, trying to make me learn. We’ll see if this loud, Trumpian campaign works, or if somebody comes up with a better solution. In the meantime, I know I can get away with bed-jumping on Mike’s watch, since he never pays attention to anything. Yahoo, I’m flying, just like Peter Pan!

 

 

Chloë Raids the Kitty Clubhouse

Adversary

A Chloë adversary

The cats down the street are bugging me again. I know they have been wandering around my yard, leaving their scent and occasionally their poops around our property. It’s mostly Ted and Fred, the Bartons’ cats, but recently another black-and-white cat has joined the brigade. Sometimes they even hang out together, waiting for an unsuspecting vole or small bird to flit by. Cats are mean. I hate them. But now that I know where they hide, I will get them.

1-Kitty ClubhouseThey hang out between two hedges, boxwood on one side and rhododendrons on the other, between the Bartons’ house and the one between ours and the Bartons, where the phantom French bulldog Scout lives (we hardly ever see her, so she’s a phantom to me). The sidewalk entry point to the kitties’ lair is well hidden, but I nosed it out. Now I check it a few times every day. Can’t be too careful, you know.

I’ve seen the cats scurry  into that hole many times. And even if they’re not home when I stick my nose in to check, I can tell that they have been, and even how long they’ve been gone. My nose is smart that way. So even though I see no cats when I look, it’s always worth another try. If Mike didn’t have that leash so tight, I’d have seen if there was another exit point further into the hedge. Mike has thus far refused to cooperate.

Chloë investigates.

Chloë investigates.

Those damn kitties wanted me to stay out of their hedge. So they hung out a sign, thinking it would scare me and keep me away.

Kitty Clubhouse Sign

Kitty Clubhouse Sign: “DOGS: DO NOT ENTER, ESPECIALLY CHLOE!! “

My compliance is not likely. At least, not as long as my nose stays unmarked by kitty claws.

Chloë emerges from Kitty Clubhouse.

Emerging from the Kitty Clubhouse.

Nobody tells a dachshund what to do. Least of all a cat.

 

Chloë Plays the Field

Wiffie: Chloë Official Autograph Model

Wiffie: Chloë Official Autograph Model

My ball-playing exploits with the purple-and-white Visi-Ball and Wiffie have been well documented over the years. I am adept at catching grounders like Ozzie Smith and throwing to the plate as accurately as Ichiro. Now Mike is taking me to the major leagues.

Thankfully, he has thus far abstained from the dreaded Bark at the Park nights, when Mariners fans bring their pooches to Safeco Field for a game. Last time more than 500 dogs showed up with owners in tow. Come on, standing around for three  hours with 500 stranger dogs? No, thank you. I  like hot dogs and peanuts, but not that much. And check out that website about it. Did you see all the hoops you have to jump through to go? And the big pay-off at the end is I get to walk around the bases? Big deal. Let me know when they Mariners let dogs roam free in the outfield.

Besides, I’m more than a dog. Instead, Mike signed me up for the Mariners Kids Club, and so far it’s working out well. I’ve already received two pamphlets from the Mariners and a personalized greeting from M’s ace Felix Hernandez.

2-Mariners Kids Club Felix002

1-Mariners Kids Club Offers003Then came the tricky part, when Mike had to visit the stadium without me and convince the young ladies behind the Kids Club registration desk to give him my official Mariners Kids Club ID card, lanyard, tote bag and wiffle ball without me actually being there. They were reluctant, but Mike shamed them into it.

The Mariner Moose came through with all the promised items delivered in a plastic tote bag. I’m not sure I’ll be able to use the bag, unless Heather can take a scissors to it and cut enough holes that I can use it as a rain coat. But the ID card came out fine.

Chloë is in the club.

Chloë is in the club.

Mariners Wiffie

Mariners wiffie

I’m not sure yet whether I’ll be able to use the Mariners wiffie. It’s got the holes on half of its area, making it vulnerable to my constant gnawing; at least, that’s what happened to earlier balls of this design.  It may have to be designated “for display purposes only.” Within the next few days Mike will toss it into the kitchen and  we’ll see if my taste in balls has changed.

3-Chloe with Mariners Kids Club Card

Chloë displays her card.

The Kids Club lanyard is a little large for my neck, but it’s adjustable. Mike told me that Heather would adjust it for me the next time we go to play some fetch. I’m concentrating on improving my play of caroms off the tree stumps on Chloë’s Lane just in case the Mariners Kids Club has a picnic and softball game.

 

 

Chloë Searches for the Perfect Snooze

Chlo in Her Chair

In her chair

I didn’t want to leave the discussion of my sleeping habits without mentioning Chloë’s Chair, my green Coleman camp chair that goes wherever I do. Besides having a comfortable blue pillow to rest my head on, it features the ultimate in portability: It can be folded up and moved with me in it. Not for long distances, of course, just from the kitchen to the dining room and back. I like being as close to the food as possible.

We also take my chair out to my getaway in the Cascade foothills, where we eat right in the kitchen. The new resident dog Pumpkin frequently pulls in next to me in a rolling chair from the dining room. My chair also moves outside in better weather, or in cooler months to the office and the sun room, where it gets quite toasty during the day.

Heather picks up Chloë in her chair.

Chloëpatra

Heather usually does the heavy lifting, making me feel almost like I’m Chloëpatra, being carried by Nubian slaves. I certainly feel pampered when I’m in my chair. That’s normally where I am in the morning while Mike eats cereal and reads the newspaper. But there’s nothing better than finding a warm ray of sunshine on your skin, whether it’s in a bed, in a chair, or just lying around on the floor when it’s warm outside.Wake up, America. Take a nap.

 

Resting in the sunlight

Resting in the morning sunlight.

 

Chloë Celebrates with Frank and Stan

Stanley, Frank and Chloë

Stanley, Frank and Chloë, age 6

I got together with my brothers Frank and Stanley in the park just after our sixth birthday. Predictably, I took one sniff of the boys near the parking lot and high-tailed it into the brush to chase rabbits. The boys were more interested in their ball than in me, too. I guess we’re at that awkward age, too young for senior dog food, too old to chase, tackle and wrassle like we did when we were younger.

Stanley, Frank and Chloë

Stanley, Frank and Chloë on the trail

Actually, we must be junior seniors for the amount of time the boys and I spent catching up about our medical conditions. Both of the boys have shed some pounds and been allergy-free since changing their food, but Frank was on “injured reserve” for six weeks with a bulging disc, which are two words a dachshund (or dachshund owner) ever wants to hear. At one point, Frank couldn’t move his rear legs, but he miraculously recovered without surgery. Maybe that explains why he and Stan wore these cute red sweaters even though it wasn’t all that cold out. Gotta keep that chill off Frank’s back.

To me, Frank looked plenty fast and nimble enough when we took a brisk, one-hour tour of  the park that morning. Mike lost his treat bag, however, partially spoiling the day for me but making a terrific day for the lucky dog who found it. I’m not too worried about Mike getting a new treat bag by next weekend.

 

Chloë Walks on the Wild Side

My pack started off the new year with a walk at Seward Park on Lake Washington. Since it was a rainy Sunday afternoon and the Seahawks were playing football on TV, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. My pal Charlie came with us, and when we first drove into the parking lot, I dragged him away from the car towards the lake before Mike had gotten out of the car. That’s how we just happened to be passing the spot where a woman had just pulled her elderly  Newfoundland from the water with the help of  a kindhearted passerby.

Charlee Bears

Charlee Bears

As the woman struggled to lead the stumbling wet dog away, I alerted Charlie that she had left her iPhone behind on the shoreline. Charlie yelled, “Excuse me, is this your phone?” and she ran back to get it while Mike and Heather talked to her dog. She was very grateful, but unfortunately she did not give me any reward, not even one lousy Charlee Bear.

A previous meeting

A previous sighting

And that wasn’t even my most exciting walk of the week! Longtime readers may remember my earlier tete a tete  with a barred owl that frequents Discovery Park, and we had heard reports that he and his aggressive ways had returned. We finally ran into him last week in his usual roost near the Visitors’ Center. Heather noticed him eyeing me, and we decided to throw elsewhere, without incident.

But this week, two times Mike and I were minding our own business, playing fetch on Chloë’s Lane, when he swooped in out of nowhere, catching my eye and trying to taunt me into dropping my ball and charging at him with a barrage of barks. The first time it happened Mike got nervous, and we fled the scene after a measly dozen throws.  We returned to the same spot the next day, and after Mike decided the coast was clear, we were up to about 30 throws when the owl swooped in and perched on an alder tree about 10 feet above the trail. As the owl watched me, Mike moved closer and snapped a photo. Then the owl left its perch and flew down even closer, flapping his entire 5-foot wingspan so violently that we could feel the breeze on our heads.

Owl stalks Chloë

The owl that stalked Chloë

Mike yelled at the bird and waved his arms around to scare it, and the owl flew off to a another nearby alder, where he again sized me up as a potential dinner engagement. Mike had seen enough, however, and he called me to follow him towards the front of the Headquarters Building. I wasn’t about to argue, but at the same time, I did not at all think this would be my last encounter with this dirty bird.