Tag Archives: dog toys

Chloë Spreads Holiday Cheer

Sammy and Chloë

Just a day after Mike and Heather returned from their trip, my aunt Sammy came to visit. She was here to listen to some poet she follows, so we didn’t get to hang out with her as much as I usual. But her visit still paid off, as she and Heather made a macaroni and cheese recipe that provided excellent plate-licking material for a good week after she left. I would have preferred an encore, but she left anyway.

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Mike finally got around to hauling up the holiday decorations from the garage, and he was very proud of himself for expanding the number of lights and areas covered. Heather installed permanent hooks for our stockings under the mantel, so they will hold more weight, which is always a good thing as far as I’m concerned. However, seeing my favorite singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer hanging high in a corner where I couldn’t get close enough to lust after it did not sit well with me. I gave the decorations a big yawn (see photo).

Stocking up on rawhide

My mood brightened on Christmas Day, especially when my stocking was unloaded (on the couch no less, where I am never allowed except on very special occasions) with assorted treats and toys from my Syracuse aunts Susie and Debby, including rawhide sticks that look and taste like candy canes. I haven’t had much rawhide since my titanium crown was installed, so I particularly treasured these treats. After I unloaded my stocking it was Heather’s turn, and she got several different kinds of chocolate, which of course she won’t be sharing with me because chocolate can be deadly to dogs. Even I know that!

Content of Mike’s stocking

Finally, it was Mike’s turn, and guess what was in his stocking? Nothing but coal! Two lumps! I guess we know who hadn’t been nice enough to the girls around here.

My best gift this Christmas came from my new best dog friend Schatzi, who came over to visit on Christmas Eve and brought me a holiday gingerbread house stuffed with squeaky toys: a gingerbread man, a Christmas tree and a candy cane. It’s lots of fun to pull all the squeaky toys out of the gingerbread house and leave them around the floor so Mike can lean down, grumble, pick them up and stuff them inside the little house again. The house is good for tugging, too, and I’m making sure that Mike knows it.

Chloe Inspects gift from Schatzi.

Anyhow, Schatzi has her own gingerbread house over at her place, so we quickly got bored with my present and started wrestling instead. I’ll get back to the present it when she goes home.



Chloë Vacations in Style

Taking it easy.

One evening before dinner, Mike and Heather packed up all my traveling stuff  and, without any warning, herded me into the car. We drove off with me in the back seat, whining in trepidation. I feared the worst. That is, until the car stopped in front of a house I recognized immediately: I was going to the vet for an operation, I was going on another vacation with my friends Caroline and David . My whimpers instantly modulated from mournful to excited. So was I at all nervous to be abandoned? Hell, no! As soon as Mike and Heather shut the door, I settled in. This was like a spa week for me.

Dozing on the couch.

This time I didn’t get to visit Caroline’s new financial planning office, but she came home to check on me several times a day. One day David stayed home and I got to watch him do some engineering. Since David and Caroline are expecting to get a dachshund puppy of their own later this spring, he seemed to want to be my pal so he could practice. We got along great. One night I even jumped up on the couch and put my head on his lap. He didn’t chase me away, which I took it as a good sign. I’m hoping that if I’m nice to him, maybe after they get their puppy he’ll invite me onto his boat. I’ve never been on a boat, so the puppy and I could get our inaugural sea legs together. Assuming there are no waves involved, of course.

Waiting for a treat.

Even though Heather made me leave my indoor plastic ball Wiffie at home, I got plenty of exercise over there, inside and out. We had so many games of “chase the muddy ball” in the back yard that Caroline’s arm got sore. We sometimes took walks with Marley. a dog who lives across the street. Marley and I got along fine, and he was nice enough, but mostly I treated him like any other dog: I chose to ignore him. Most of the time Caroline and I walked over the to  city park near the end of her street, which has a nice view but doesn’t have real trails like there are in my own park. For a longer trip, we walked along Magnolia Boulevard, next to the Sound. It wasn’t Chloe’s Lane, but it was OK.

Caroline kept telling me how much of an angel I am, which is always nice to hear, so I actually tried to be on my best behavior for her most of the time. She knew that Heather always calls me “Chloë TULLY,” when she’s scolding me, which  seems to me happens way too often. In the week or so I stayed with Caroline, she only had to say it a few times, no doubt when I was being a little too stubborn or spoiled for my own good. Her delivery lacked Heather’s pointed emphasis, I might add.

Pulling a donut out of the mug.

My favorite part of this stay was the quality of Caroline’s dog toys. She let me play with a stuffed alligator and a big, soft coffee mug that had fabric donuts inside that I had to pull out. It was kind of like my toy Chinese food takeout container with dumplings, except much better: bigger, plusher, more colorful and much more fun. And that pretty much summed up my whole time at Caroline’s: Similar to the high-quality treatment I get from Mike and Heather, only better. This was too much fun.

Even so, I got very excited when Mike and Heather returned to pick me up. When they rang the doorbell and entered I ran around in circles and squealed with glee, but Heather still refused to bend down to let me jump into her face. Even though she was happy to see me, she doesn’t want to encourage such excited behavior. Mike, on the other hand, had no compunctions, so when he stooped down to my level I tackled him, licking his face and biting his nose for quite a while before I settled down.

When we finally drove back to our house, before I went inside I inspected the whole block, both sides of the street, to make sure no new cats had moved in while I was away. I was thrilled to report the coast was clear.

With a stuffed gator.


Chloë Does Her Laundry

Sniffing out Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving is far and away my favorite holiday, the  only day of the year when the whole pack is in the kitchen all day long. From my perch in my camp chair, I can see, hear and smell everything that’s going on when Mike and Heather put dinner together. There are always lots of pots, plates, bowls and spoons to lick, from morning til night. In the late afternoon, before dinner, Charlie usually comes over, and it’s not  even a Sunday. That’s how I know this must be some kind of a big deal, and when I realize I’ll be getting several weeks of chopped turkey gizzards and barbecued skin mixed in with my food. Yum.

This year after Thanksgiving, we had a lazy weekend. Only Scott came over to watch the football game on Saturday, which was fine with me. Since their team was winning for a change, they were too giddy to pay much attention to me. Which was fine, since it gave Heather and me a free morning to ourselves, which we took advantage of by running all my dirty toys through the washer and dryer. They made quite a racket in the dryer, but they all looked quite a bit cleaner when their click-clacking, bouncing ordeal was over. Lamby has never looked so good.

Lamby (top left) and friends return from the wash.

Chloë Unharnessed and Harnessed Again

Chloë models her new harness.

Heather told Mike weeks ago that something was wrong with the harness that goes over my head before we take our long walk of the day, or when I’m outside guarding the sidewalk. She said one of the clips that hold the straps together was slipping. When it broke, cheap skate Mike had to agree. Well, this particular harness lasted through six years of heavy wear and tear, so Heather just ordered another one. The same exact kind. And unlike six years ago, this time she easily figured out how to adjust it correctly  and strap me in. She’s come a long way in six years.

Actually, I don’t mind wearing the harness. It gives me some degree of security when I’m out and about, and more control over Mike and Heather. When they attach a leash to it, the harness is strong enough that I can pull them in any direction I want to go. Most of the time, anyway.

Guarding the relocated Peanut Bed.

Since the new harness was the same as the old one, that wasn’t much of a change, but something else changed while Mike was away visiting his mom, and my pal Charlie was also out of  town for work. That’s when Heather shifted around my beds in the living room. Without consulting any of us, she moved my peanut bed from next to the TV to between their fancy new chairs (on which I am not allowed, by the way!).

Wiffie and toy pillow pushed to  corner.

Meanwhile, the huge, round pillow that stores my toys was exiled to the furthest corner of the room, under the shuttered windows and behind the couch, where only stray Wiffie tosses had ever ventured before. To get to my toys, I have to squeeze down a narrow corridor between the couch and the bookcase, especially irksome when I try to turn around to get myself out.

Needless to say, I wasn’t down with this move at first. But at my age, maybe I needed a little challenge. Within days, I had  navigated an alternate approach to the pillow corner and left toys strewn all over the first floor. I’m never the one who picks them up and puts them back in place on the round pillow, and yet every time I venture over there, they are back. I think I came out ahead.

We do it my way.


Chloë Recaps Her Holidaze

Chloë's shortcut

Chloë’s shortcut

Sorry I haven’t written in so long, but the holiday season just got in the way. When I wasn’t taking long walks, napping or playing with new toys, then Heather was hogging the computer keyboard and Mike couldn’t get on it to take my dictation. Picky Mike claimed he cannot type fast enough on his tablet to keep up with me. (He’s not as tech-savvy as I would prefer in an executive assistant, but he is what he is, and I’ve got to live with it.)

Since on Christmas Day I wasn’t quite sure whether I was going to get any gifts from my owners Mike and Heather (just as likely a lump of carrot was headed my way),  I considered myself lucky − and was extremely thankful − to get gifts from my friend Charlie and my aunts Susie and Debby (whose package did NOT arrive via UPS, by the way). Charlie gave me more of the  yummy dried sweet potato treats that I like and a so-called indestructible ball that I destroyed and partially devoured in about 10 minutes. I had a great game of keep-away with its remains, until I finally got a treat for giving it up.

People's exhibits A and B

People’s exhibits A and B

My Syracuse aunts sent a smorgasbord of chewy things along with Mike’s tin of Susie’s holiday cookies. Mike (who’s too damn weight-conscious, if you ask me) of course wanted to ration out everything, small bets at a time. But he was foiled by two large rawhide bones that were too hard to break into pieces. He made the mistake of seeing if the rawhide was hard enough to withstand a full-bore dachshund onslaught, hoping that it would take several sittings for me to whittle it down to a nub. The first time, I got through about half of it before Mike was able to wrest it away from me with a Treat Party as bait. The next time, a week or so later, I  grabbed the other half from Mike, ran under the dining-room table and refused to come out or let him touch me until I was done chomping on it. When Mike pleaded with me to drop it, I didn’t growl at him, but I coiled up menacingly, gripped the remaining rawhide between my teeth and glared. Mike gave up, knowing he was no match for my will.

Chloë and Heckle

Chloë and Heckel



Luckily, that last part happened well after Mike and Heather gave me my Christmas present: Heckel the Hedgehodge, another of the talking Mushabellies toys that my pal Penny turned me onto last year. I still have an attachment for Hurby, my original Mushabellie, even after I destroyed his vocal chords in about two hours, rendering him chewable but permanently mute. Heckel took a full 24 hours to silence, so he’s a tougher dude than Hurby. Even speechless, I still like Heckel, but not as much as I liked Hurby, judging by the relative slobber that I left on them during their respective peaks of popularity.



Besides Heckel, I received another good new toy in December: an orange rubber ball that I found outside a neighbor’s house while we were borrowing her yard waste bin. The neighbor told Heather that since I found it, I could keep it, and it’s become a favorite. It’s hard enough that it bounces high, but soft and small enough to chew on. Gnawing on it makes a squishing sound that Mike hates. So what? I like this orange ball because we can use it inside as well as outside, and because it’s something different than Whiffie, quieter and not as fast or easy to spin backwards. I like to push the orange ball under the coffee table in the living room and take the short cut between the shelves to bring it back.

Napping with Heather: The best.

Napping with Heather: the best present.

Between the chewy treats, the new orange ball and Heckel, I certainly got some great new stuff at Christmas. But the greatest gift was having Heather home every day for walking, napping and hanging out. I don’t know about her, but I definitely know when it’s time to retire.

Chloë Plays with Wiffie

Playing with Wiffie, my plastic baseball, is my favorite indoor pastime. It is better than tug and better than tackling Mike and biting his nose. It is almost as good as eating. Even after a 90-minute walk that included several batches of fetch and catch, I still have room for Wiffie. It’s a lot like Jello in that respect.

This video demonstrates a lot of my Wiffie game moves, including the backspin pass, the Foosball-like richochet shot, and my total disregard for any obstacles, most notably area rugs and the hand broom/dust pan. Note all the rolled up towels under the furniture so Wiffie doesn’t get stuck underneath and out of play too often. And listen closely to hear a couple of my trademark growls; I don’t like it when Wiffie gets too far ahead of me.

And for all you young athletes out there, notice how I always wind up my Wiffie session with a long, cold drink of water. Gotta hydrate!

Of course, sometimes the water bowl can turn into a water trap, halting the game of Wiffie.

Wiffie floats.

Wiffie floats in Chloë’s water bowl.

And in rare instances, even after a spirited game of Wiffie that ends in a water trap, I still have more energy to burn. That’s when I nose through my toy pile and come out with something to occupy my attention. On this particular day, it was Krinkles, the round disc-pillow I received last Christmas. I’m barely rushing the season on this one.



Chloë Resurrects Smiley

You remember my buddy Penny, seen below when she had that awful haircut:

Chloë and Penny

Chloë and Penny

Penny went away for the summer, to the Adirondacks in New York state. Why she would want to suffer in high summer heat and humidity when she could be enjoying the pleasant weather out here, I don’t know. I guess when you’re a dog, you do what you’re told, or you don’t last very long.  That’s the bottom line.  I’ll see her in September, but I regret that she has to read the  latest news about Smiley here on my blog before I have a chance to tell her about it face to face (or nose to butt, as the case may be).

Chloë and Smiley

Chloë and Smiley in better times

Penny gave Smiley to me as a present last Christmas, and Smiley has been among my favorite toys ever since. The versatile Smiley can be a squeak toy and a fetch toy and a chew toy and a tug toy, all in one. In toys, as in insurance, the combo is the way to go. Unfortunately, my dear Smiley is now a broken man, broken in many places. It has gotten to the point where no one can be sure how much longer Smiley will survive.

But I do not want to give up on Smiley and just rip the stuffing right out of him, wiping that damn smile off his face once and for all. Alas,  I couldn’t let it end that way. Not until I can finally yank Smiley’s ears off, anyway.


Smiley after early facial surgery

So I begged Mike to fix Smiley, and he said he’d do the best he could. So far, Mike has applied blue painter’s tape (the closest to Smiley’s natural color) to his face and skull on at least four occasions. The first few fixes didn’t hold, and Smiley’s injuries spread. However, poor Smiley never once lost his sense of humor or even grimaced when he had to face surgery again and again. While Smiley stood fast, however, I feared the worst. Sometimes Mike was forced to scoop up Smiley’s stuffing from the carpet, grab him from my embrace and take him to the operating room for more surgery, sometimes keeping him overnight. I suffered without him.

Closeup of Smiley's new bandages

Closeup of Smiley’s new bandages

Luckily, Smiley’s latest layer of adhesive binding is holding so far, and I have my fingers crossed. As of now, Smiley lives for another day. He is back in full service, tugging, fetching and even squeaking if you pound on him hard enough. He is still making my life more fun and more secure. He is one tough little guy.

Sadly, Smiley’s long-term prognosis is not good. We all know that. But it’s important to keep Smiley going as long as we possibly can. It’s the least we can do for one who has given so much.

Chloë and Smiley on a sunny afternoon

Chloë and Smiley share a quiet moment on a sunny afternoon.

Chloë Falls in Love with Greenie


My friend and sitter Lynn came by the other day for a visit. This is a ploy Heather devised that’s supposed to make me think that just because Lynn is here, Mike and Heather aren’t necessarily about to leave on a vacation. Right. Like when Heather starts doing laundry and brings her suitcase up from the garage I’m not going to figure  out what’s happening? Give me a break.

Lynn is more tuned into my thinking than they are. Knowing my fondness ball-chasing, she brought me a gift, even though she didn’t have to—the little crunchy treats she gave me would have been tribute enough for an afternoon visit. But the best gifts are the unexpected ones, and that’s the case here. I call my new ball Greenie (that’s what some people want to call Mike, but now he’s so old that he doesn’t like it anymore), and Greenie has barely been out of my sight since I got it.

Greenie, like Wiffie, is strictly an inside ball, but it doesn’t make the racket Wiffie makes when it caroms around the furniture and hardwood floor. Greenie is soft and has a hollow center, so it’s easy to get my mouth around it to gnaw on it. And gnaw on it some more. Having seen me eat my way through a bevy of those bouncy blue balls, Mike was wary, but thus far Greenie has lived up to the hype on its package: “Everlasting Fun Ball stops boredom with hours of interactive fun! Virtually INDESTRUCTABLE!” (I’ll be the judge of that!)

Chloë interacts with Greenie.

And wait, there’s more. “The Everlasting Fun Ball can be filled with treats, dog food, or anything your dog likes to snack on. Use it at meal time for interactive feeding fun!” These guys who package Greenie sure do love their exclamation marks, don’t they?

Regardless, I love the concept of Greenie as a rolling smorgasbord of doggie delights. In fact, I’d be glad to take Greenie out of my mouth long enough that  Mike could stuff it full of food, freeze, and roll it through the living room, where I can pounce, reclaim it, lick all the goodies out and gnaw on Greenie some more. That’s what I did the morning Mike and Heather left, and Mike gave me Greenie with some frozen peanut butter and yogurt stuffed inside. It didn’t take me long to lick it clean, and soon enough Lynn was coming through the door for, I assume, several days of fun and lots of treats. Vacations aren’t so bad, really. I’m sure Mike is having more separation anxiety than I am.

Mike thinks Greenie is boring, because I don’t want to drop it out of my mouth so he can bounce it away from me and make me chase it again. He thinks Wiffie is more fun, because he has more to do when we’re playing. From my perspective, however, Greenie is exactly the kind of interactive toy I’m looking for—the eatin’ kind.

My only regret is that Mike didn’t stuff Greenie with enough of that good stuff that morning, like he finally learned to do with a Frozen Peanut Butter Boney. While he’s away, I’m going to formalize the recipe for him. Mike can be tough to train, with a stubborn streak wider than the Pacific Ocean. Eventually, he’ll learn.

Chloë Rescues Mr. Monkey

Out on the street.

He was out there for several days, face down on the sidewalk in front of our house. Many passed him by, most pretending not to see him lying there. Even I ignored him at first. Heather thought he had fallen off a passing stroller on the way to Discovery Park. But when I saw that pumpkin nearby, it finally dawned on me: Halloween pranksters did him in.

Trick or treat.

I took pity. I prodded him in the back with my nose, and he didn’t smell so bad. He was still a little warm, too. So I looked at Mike with pleading eyes and gave him one soft whimper, and he indulged me, taking my new friend inside and running him through a gentle cycle in the washing machine and dryer.

Now,  I’ve already accumulated a fine collection of tennis balls on my walks. I think I’ve got five or six sitting in the basket by the front door, not to mention my red, spongey ball and my tiny fabric ball, both of which I found in Discovery Park. Those are my “inside balls” that I like to push under the furniture so Mike has to get down on the floor and fetch them for me. I keep those in the kitchen. I found all those balls outside, every damn one of them.

Chloë takes Mr. Monkey for a walk.

But this new find is my greatest prize. I call him Mr. Monkey, and I like to carry him around with me inside the house. I even let him hang around in my crate while I’m sleeping. After all, he’s got a nice smile, and he doesn’t seem at all interested in the treats I’ve been stockpiling underneath my pillow. Of all my buddies, he seems like he’d be the most trustworthy, since I know that everybody’s got something to hide except for me and my monkey.

Chloë and Mr. Monkey hang out by her crate.