Tag Archives: Discovery Park

Chloë Has a Ball

Throwing on Chloë’s Lane.

Why, I ask, is every lost ball my fault? Not once have I tossed a ball that went missing. OK, I admit I’ve dropped a few in the woods when something better came along, but other than that, in my view, Mike and Heather deserve the blame. They threw it, so they are responsible for losing it. End of story.

No longer as frequent a story as it once was, however.  The purple-and-white Visi-Balls I learned on are hard and yet springy, and they take crazy bounces. I’ve lost count of how many we lost in my younger days. When Mike plotted them on a map of Discovery Park, there were a lot of Xs on that paper, and that doesn’t count the ones lost in the creek at Carkeek Park, the blackberry thickets along Magnolia Boulevard and many other far-flung locations. Those balls are not coming back. But since we switched to the Chuckit Whistler balls, we hardly ever lose them. Either my senses have vastly improved with age, or these newer balls, with their softer texture and deep indentations, hold a scent better, making them easier to find. Guess that Ahimsa scent-training class paid off after all!

The new-old ball

I hadn’t used one of the purple-and-white balls in quite a while when I stumbled upon one in the woods along Chloë’s Lane while I was fetching another ball to bring back to Heather. I’ve gotten pretty good at finding stuff that lies on the ground, especially if it reeks of questionable digestibility,  but finding this particular ball made me especially proud, even though it wasn’t anything I could eat. I was so happy with my discovery that I carried triumphantly it all the way home and proudly presented it to Mike as soon as  I got through the door. Then I took it onto the living room rug and rubbed myself on it for about 10 minutes, getting its scent all over me, just in case Heather decided to break out the OxiClean to buff it up. Since we haven’t been throwing with this kind of ball for some time, Mike estimated it might have been there for a couple of years. What a find this was! For a few days, I couldn’t let it out of my sight.

Chloe cradles cherished ball.


Heather hasn’t cleaned my new-old ball yet, but it seemed a little shinier after I strutted  around the house with it in my mouth for a few days. So far, Mike let me keep it, and he even rolled it along the floor of the living room and kitchen, like he does with Wiffie, but I have a feeling this game will end as soon as we break something, most likely the glass doors on the dining room cabinets. Which could be any day now, come to think of it. Better enjoy this while it lasts.


Chloë Rates Salad Bars

Off the beach at Golden Gardens

Off the beach at Golden Gardens

It was slim pickins along the Wendy* Way buffet line last week, but as the same crusty lettuce pieces rotted away on the grass I managed to find some substitute rations. I snagged a slimy apple core one day near Chloë’s Lane, and on another day the loop trail featured a pleasant subtrail off popcorn, five kernels in all, conveniently located in my homeward direction so I could find them without losing any time.

One day last weekend was warm and sunny, and we walked along Shilshole Marina and the beach at Golden Gardens, but not on it, unwilling to risk the fines (Heather) and the dangerous waves of Puget Sound (me). I made sure we stayed far away from the water as possible so that the sloshing of sound on shore wouldn’t bother me.

Salad bar is open.

Salad bar is open.

The next day, when we walked with my pal Charlie, it was cold and cloudy with a few showers, but I enjoyed the long walk anyway. We did lots of throwing the ball, and when we walked through the South Meadow the first signs of spring were evident. For me that means the opening of my favorite of the many canine salad bars of Puget Sound. I am indeed lucky to have a meadow full of my favorite variety of grass practically right outside my door. I don’t know if it’s the late-afternoon sunshine or the moisture-laden wind, but something makes the grass from the area known as Bird Alley extremely sweet, and I dig it. Until, of course, Heather figures out that I’ve stopped following her and in favor of a lengthy stop at the salad bar. This time she stormed back to get me and threaten me with her impending retirement “boot camp” that is intended to improve my overall obedience and pave the way for me to become a certified service dog.

Frankly, I’d rather just do what I want to do: chase balls, cats, rabbits and squirrels, followed by eating and sleeping. We’ll see how far Heather’s plan goes. I am sure this retirement thing is going to be a big adjustment for all of us, but we’ll have fun working our way through it.

Chloë Walks Wendy* Way

(*) “Wendy” is not her real name.

Wendy* Way

Wendy* Way

As you know, I previously named the wooded path in the park that is my #1 throw-and-fetch location Chloë’s Lane. I am now re-naming another neighborhood thoroughfare, the northern side of Emerson Avenue between Discovery Park’s southern entrance and the bus stop at the intersection with Magnolia Boulevard. Just as the City of Seattle could rename one block of Atlantic Street outside Safeco Field Edgar Martinez Drive in honor of the Mariners slugger, I am renaming this block of Emerson Avenue “Wendy* Way.”

Note: I am using an asterisk (*) here as a visual reminder that “Wendy” is NOT the real name of the person after whom I’m renaming this block. I deliberately changed her name for two reasons: 1) to protect “Wendy*s” real identity and not embarrass her. and 2) for alliteration with “Way,” a peculiarly Seattle term for streets of varying length and degree of importance. But I digress.

Walking Wendy* Way is my favorite part of any stroll. That’s because “Wendy*,” who is one of our elderly neighbors, frequently scatters food in the grassy area between the sidewalk and the park fence. I assume this is her effort to feed birds, rabbits, feral cats and raccoons that might pass by, not for foraging by local pets. However, being civic-minded, I am trying to help out “Wendy” by doing my part to gobble up as much of her deposits as I can, at the same time protecting all other local dogs from themselves and their few remaining lupine instincts. I generously leave a little lettuce behind for them.

Eggs and cheese

Eggs and cheese

Hunk of cheese

Hunk of cheese

Most of Wendy*s contributions along Wendy* Way come from the grain family: crusts of toast and French bread, sometimes a fully dressed piece of Italian sub roll or a wedge of angel cake. Yum! Once in a while, if I really get lucky, I can see the remains of a sandwich. The other day, however, Wendy* went over the top, laying out a veritable smorgasbord of hard-boiled eggs, sliced cheeses, cold cuts and a large hunk of Roquefort or Gorgonzola (Heather wouldn’t let me near it, so I cannot be certain what variety I sniffed from yards away). It was hard for me to figure out why: Wendy* was either laying out Part 1 of a pre-Thanksgiving buffet for the homeless or just clearing out her refrigerator. I doubt we will ever get to the bottom of it.

Soul searching

Searching for scraps

Wendy* doesn’t leave something out there every day, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to check, just to be sure. Policing Wendy* Way has become just one more part of my daily job, with an occasional prize for the effort.

Chloë Smells Smoke

Chloë's chair

Chloë’s chair

Heather and I had lots of fun together while Mike was away. She worked at home a lot, with me in my green camp chair next to her in the dining room all day long, guarding the door and trying to figure out when she was speaking to me and when she was just mumbling to herself about work.

One day Heather left early in the morning for an all-day meeting, and I stayed home by myself for a long time. But wouldn’t you know it, my official walker Jill came over to take me out for an hour mid-day, and my pal Charlie did the same when he got home from work. Quite a surprise to get a mid-week visit from Charlie, and I must have looked particularly forlorn, because even renowned “No Treats” Charlie gave me something when he left. And when Heather finally came home after dark, she felt guilty and gave me extra cheese before dinner, so I guess I managed to survive my day-long loneliness by having a day-long buffet.

Outside Heather's office.

Outside Heather’s office.

Heather and I only had to drive out to her office three times. I had to stay in the car because of the office park management’s no-dogs rule; sneaking me into the elevator in a large canvas bag was considered but rejected. It rained a lot while I was trapped inside the car,  but each time it happened we also took short walks on the office park’s trails and stopped at Carkeek Park on the way home. I got plenty of exercise, too, since I always do a lot more throwing and chasing with Heather than I do with the creaky ol’ southpaw, Mike.

Seattle Times photo of Fort Lawton fire.

Seattle Times photo of Fort Lawton fire.

Still, I got pretty excited when Mike came home, with much tackling and nose-biting to catch up on. And the excitement was just beginning. Just two days later, there was a big fire in one of the historic duplexes being renovated in the park, severely damaging a porch and roof. The first time Mike and I walked by the site, about five hours after 90 city firefighters answered the alarm, small flames were still shooting out.

There was immediate impact on my personal spot, Chloë’s Lane, a couple of hundred yards downwind. Smoke from the fire blanketed the area with the pleasant scent of a roaring hearth. By the next morning, however, overnight rain transformed the site into a sour, doused-campfire smolder that languished for days.

Ready for action

Ready for action

Personally, I hope this unfortunate fire slows the development and re-population of those large houses on the hill. I’ve noticed that since they have been vacant during the transfer and renovation process, the rabbit and squirrel population of the area has increased dramatically. When people and their pets start living in these houses again, the varmint population, and my access to it, will no doubt be greatly diminished. Who knows what territorial challenges lie ahead?

Chloë Learns About Fencing

En route to Headquarters.

En route to Headquarters.

My worries about development along my primary fetch corridor, a.k.a. Chloë’s Lane, have thus far proven unfounded. Still, when a chain link fence suddenly appeared around the perimeter of the parking lot that doubles as the entrance and staging area for my lane, I was justifiably concerned.

It turned out to be another false alarm, however. Several of the historic buildings in the park have been painted this summer, and it was the Headquarters Building’s turn. Before work even started, the painting contractor put a fence up around the building and its small parking lot. For a couple of weeks, Mike, Heather and I had to walk around the perimeter of the fence to get to the head of Chloë’s Lane. This wasn’t too hard for Mike and Heather, who just had to trample through some weeds or push a low-hanging alder branch out of the way to get through. But for little old me, it was a slog through heavy brush. I wanted a better way.

Fenced out.

Fenced out.

After a couple of days of frustration, I decided it was a lot easier to cut through the job site by squeezing myself under the fence. That way I could lounge on the building’s parched lawn if I wanted, or merely take a shortcut across the parking lot to the other side of the fence, where Mike could show me where to scoot under the fence again, ready for playing fetch on Chloë’s Lane.


Fenced in.

While the fencing didn’t deter us, it kept most other people and dogs out. We saw just a few people the whole time the fence was up, most of them wandering up our trail from below and in need of directions when they were surprised to come across a fence in the middle of a forest.

We never saw any painters, only their progress, their equipment and their garbage, and all of them disappeared one day along with the fence. The building looks a lot better now, but nothing was done about the front porch, and the lawn will need until spring to recover. Traffic on Chloë’s Lane is already back to normal.

Fence gone.

Fence gone.

Chloë Walks in the Park

Guarding Chloë Lane

Guarding Chloë Lane

Mike takes me for a  long walk every afternoon, and  most days go into the park . I generally like to follow the same script every time. I sniff everything in sight between home and the parade grounds, then hustle along past the giant soccer ball to Chloë’s Lane, where we play fetch for about 20 minutes. Then we make a wide circuit of the bluffs and meadows, pausing on the way home for another search for food scraps by the park entrance and a flop on the corner lawn across the street. Unless I break away to chase rabbits and get caught in a blackberry thicket, that’s what we do every day. Mike might like to have more variety, but I love my routines.

Every once in a while, however, something different happens.

Sometimes it’s an encounter with a new dog. The one I’ve liked best lately is Harry. I’m just wild about Harry, a big gallumph of a black labradoodle, mostly doodle. Harry has a big smile and likes to stare at Mike’s treat bag, so I could tell we were simpatico. At the other extreme, one day in the south meadow  a pit bull named Barney barreled through unleashed, his owner telling Mike, “He’s good with little dogs!” I did not encourage Barney to chase me, but he did, and I cowered behind Mike until she finally harnessed Barney up. But as we walked away, I could see Barney bounding through the meadow again, heading towards another unsuspecting dog as the woman yelled, “It’s OK, he’s friendly!”

I’m usually OK with dogs that we meet on the trail or the parade ground, when I can see them coming. But when I get surprised, I get very defensive and start barking. And I can get territorial when defending my turf along Chloë’s Lane.But when the goldendoodle Toby showed up the other day, I could sense he was lost, so I let him hang. Mike used some treats to lure him back towards the Headquarters Building, and sure enough, a women was striding down the pavement with leash in hand, calling out his name. Toby and his owner were both very relieved and grateful that I had guided him back.

1-Tightrope Walker

Tightrope walker traverses the parade ground.

We’ve seen the tightrope guy do his thing above the parade ground several times. The most recent time a few weeks ago he brought a small entourage along to watch, but they must have left disappointed when he bailed about halfway across. Even so, my feet still hurt just thinking about it.

fishBut the best thing that happened on a walk lately took place just outside the park, across the street on the small patch of grass between the sidewalk and the roadway. One day a small fish was lying on the grass there. Mike saw it first, and wisely steered me to the other side of the intersection before my nose discovered it. Although it was only the size of something you’d see in a fish tank, that’s not where it came from. Mike figured it was a small bait fish that a bird had scarfed up down by Puget Sound and later dropped for some reason, such as being attacked by a larger bird. It just happened to land on Chloë’s favorite corner, where Mike let it stay, expecting another bird or a raccoon would find it and haul it away.

By the time we returned from our walk in the park the next afternoon, Mike had forgotten all about it. Needless to say, I hadn’t. I grabbed it and ate it with quick, forceful bites and thought, “yum and um.”  Mike had the satisfaction of seeing the look on hs child’s face when she catches her first fish. Worth every penny.

Chloë Entertains Her Fans

After spending some slow vacation time with my Chloë Care Team (that would be Lynn, Charlie and Jill) while Mike and Heather were away for a week,  my life turned into a social whirlwind  as soon as they returned. Heather’s sister Annabelle drove down from British Columbia for the weekend, and two of Heather’s cousins came dinner on Saturday. Not only was it a Tully Family Reunion (held last July) all over again, but it also gave me a chance to connect with several of my regular readers at one time. I reveled in the attention.

Chloë greets loyal readers Charlie, Heather Sue, Annabelle and Pookie.

Chloë greets loyal readers Charlie, Heather Sue, Annabelle and Pookie on the steps of the Headquarters Building in Discovery Park, Seattle.

Heather’s cousin Pookie lives in Montana and Cousin Sue in Oregon, and they were visiting Seattle for the annual Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Heather and Annabelle were planning to join them at the show  on Saturday, but then Annabelle’s car started making funny noises and she had to deal with that instead. Just as well, as I got to spend the whole day with Heather, always a treat. Besides, Mike was at Scott’s house to watch his basketball game, and it’s always pretty boring there.

In the late afternoon, cousins Sue and Pookie joined Heather, Annabelle and my regular weekend walking partner Charlie for a stroll in the park, giving me a good chance to mingle with my fans.  Mike had to stay home and cook dinner, and because of the ample company I had with me, that was a much more efficient use of his time. It paid off, too, as Mike’s Greek Chicken with Red-Skin Potatoes was a big hit at dinner and yielded enough plate scrapings to enhance my twice-daily kibble for three weeks at least. On top of that, cousin Sue brought me meat loaf; I got a few mouthfuls after Mike and Heather ate most of it.

And then this:  Right on the heels of discovering a painting of a dachshund that resembled me in a San Francisco restaurant, cousin Sue revealed that she also has a dachshund named Chloe (where’s her umlaut?).  A couple of days later, she sent a picture.

Sue Tully's Chloe

Cousin Sue’s Chloe

What’s going on here! How come these other dachshunds get professional portraits and I don’t?  Am I supposed to live my whole life settling for middling photography from Mike to chronicle my existence? Not fair. Just not fair. I deserve Annie Leibovitz at the least. Look at that face.

A settler

A settler