Tag Archives: fetch

Chloë Goes Yard

A perfect spot for fetch?

I found a great new location for playing fetch. Increases in park use and various critter distractions have put a severe crimp in my favorite game. It has gotten hard to find a secluded place where I can just concentrate on the ball. That’s why the park’s maintenance yard driveway was such a find. I can’t believe we haven’t used it before.

It’s in a relatively low-traffic area and fenced in on two sides, should I entertain any thought of escape. It has enough slope to allow me to catch Heather’s throw and roll it back to her from my selected location. At the hour we walk in the late afternoon, nobody is ever working there, so we’re not going to be chased away. And for ball security, Mike can stand in front of the fence and kick away any loose throws trying to sneak through underneath it.

Delivering a strike.

Unfortunately, that’s what happened twice already. The first time, I am forced to admit, it was my fault. Mike had not yet assumed his assigned post, so when I pounced upon Heather’s hard, skipping throw, I knocked it forward and under the fence into the maintenance yard, where it continued to roll until it came to rest on the far side of the lot.  It was fenced in.

Don’t do me like that!

The next morning Heather and I walked back there, and the gate was open. At first I didn’t see my ball, but once we walked around the yard a bit I found it under a parked dump truck. I carried it home in triumph.

That’s why we decided to station Mike in front of the fence the next time. And indeed, that’s what we did when we returned there a few days later. Mike dutifully stood in front of the fence at the point of the tallest gap at the bottom, ready to block any throw that managed to get past me. With Heather throwing from the bottom of the hill, I would touch the ball before she released it and race uphill after it, often catching up to it and grasping it mid-bounce. I then turned and carried it back to Heather, dropping it neatly at her feet so we can do it again, or else pausing mid-hill, dropping the ball and letting it roll downhill to her waiting hands. When I get into a rhythm, I am world-class.

Fenced in.

Things were going so well that Mike decided to take out his camera to document my achievements. And thus he had the camera up to his face, paying attention to my movements, when Heather’s next throw sailed past me and skittered under the fence and into the maintenance yard.

Heather and I went back again the next morning, and for a second time I managed to find it and carry it back home. I still think the maintenance driveway is a good location for fetch;  if I can only get Mike to concentrate on just one thing at a time, we’ll be fine.

The winning team.

Chloë Matriculates

Practice makes perfect.

Shortly before the spring quarter classes ended, Mike, Heather and I  had the chance to walk around campus at the University of Washington, and I managed to soak up enough atmosphere to earn my advanced degree in fetchology.

Here’s an excerpt of my thesis presentation.


I was proud to do so well in quickly adapting to a new campus setting. All those Huskies on campus have nothing on me. They bowed down to me and the orange Syracuse collar I wear around my neck. I bow to no one.

Chloë Goes Underground

Spring mix

Spring is my favorite season in the South Meadow of Discovery Park.  There’s lots of sweet-tasting grass on the salad bar and plenty of small critters darting about, birds as well as vermin. I love it when Heather drops my leash and sets me free to hop around the tall grasses and between the bunny holes. When there are no other people or dogs around, Heather will even  throw the ball for me for a while.

Fetch in the meadow

Hole in one

But one day the ball bounced far off the trail into a field pock-marked with holes. I did take off after it, but only until a more exciting scent came along.  Still, when Heather kept yelling at me to “bring it,” I did find the ball, but it was stuck in a hole, about three inches below grass level. That’s what I kept trying to tell Heather, but she wasn’t interested in listening to me, and she wasn’t leaving until I found that damn ball. She was a bit outta control, frankly. I finally got Mike to carefully inspect the right area, and in a cluster of three holes that were close to one another, he finally found the ball wedged inside the third one he looked into. Way to go, Mike.

For me, it was peaches and cream. It should be a while before Heather dares to deride my tracking prowess again.

A defiant Chloë and her ball: Look out below.


Chloë Resumes Her Routine

Wiffie: Chloë Official Autograph Model

Waiting for Wiffie.







It didn’t take me long to get back into the swing of things at home after my lengthy road trip. As soon as the front door swung open, I pounced right into my toy pile to grab the thing I missed most on the journey: Wiffie!  I’ve been batting that plastic ball around the first floor like crazy, irritating Mike every time I knock it under the couch or someplace else where he has to get down on the floor to free it. It’s fun to drive Mike nuts, and not too hard, either.

Needless to say, it took Mike less than an hour before he unwittingly left the front door open and unguarded, allowing me to escape down the street to renew my futile pursuit of the Bartons’ cats.  A lot of good they are: While we were away, they presumably enjoyed the run of our yard without me to get after them, and they might have done us some good by guarding the premises. Fat chance. Instead, they sat back and let a mouse into my garage, where it devoured a 4.5-pound bag of my Hill’s Science Diet dog food and apparently ate itself to death. Those cats are worthless.

Frozen PBB., fully loaded.

Anyway, being back has many other advantages. Every morning now  I am able to score a full-sized Frozen PBB, not one of the small, travel-size ones that Mike was passing off to me on the trip. That’s good! On the other hand, the leftovers buffet generally laid out on the grass outside the park entrance, a.k.a. Wendy* (not her real name) Way, has been spotty since my return, just a few random bread crusts. Maybe the crows are getting to it first,  since I haven’t been around  all summer to keep them at bay. All I know is that I haven’t seen a good leftover on the smorgasbord since I’ve been back. I just hope Wendy* (not her real name) is eating OK these days. I’m worried about her.

Let’s see, what else is new? I still bark every day when the U.S. mail comes through the slot and do a loud, whiny dance whenever I hear a UPS truck. I was overjoyed to find my favorite driver Donna is back on our route, although she seems to have more days off and dole out smaller biscuits than previous driver Kevin did. Now, I really like Donna, but I’m just saying, Kevin’s biscuits were bigger, much bigger. I’ll have to make my displeasure known without risking alienating Donna. I’ll have to proceed with some of that subtle, Trumpian diplomacy.

Mr. Owl is back

With Heather home every day now, I’ve been doing much more walking and playing a lot of fetch with Heather all week long and with my pal Charlie on Sundays. Lately, we’ve been throwing more on the hill by the park Visitors’ Center, next to the fence outside the Capehart area, or in the military cemetery rather than on my regular course on Chloë’s Lane. Part of the cause is that the lane is pretty well covered with fallen leaves now, making a lost ball more likely. The other reason is that the mean old owl has returned to stalk me again. We all felt his gaze on our necks last week, and there it was above us, perched in a tree above the lane. The way it looked at us creeped us out, so we left. We haven’t seen it since, but we’re always on the lookout. Better safe than sorry!


Chloë Plays Finders Keepers

Many people park their cars on my street when they go to the park. It happens all the time, even though there’s plenty of free parking in the lots inside the park, which rarely fill up. As you can probably tell, I don’t like it.  The only vehicles I want on my street are UPS trucks. When those other cars unload dogs, I like it even less.  I don’t want them around. If I’m outside, resting in my peanut bed on my front walk,  I glare at these dogs defiantly, and sometimes even let out a threatening bark or growl. It is MY street, after all.

1-Chloe and Her Orange Ball-002

Chloë eyes her prize.

Two weeks ago, I got even with all those dogs. Some dumb mutt whose owner parked a car across the street in front of my friend Claire’s house left his dog’s ball behind on the gravel between the gutter and the sidewalk. Since the ball was orange, I saw it immediately, and Heather took me across the street and let me pick it up. I’ve barely taken it out of my mouth ever since.

Mike quickly put the kibosh on interior usage, correctly surmising that this bouncy orange ball was likely to careen into something breakable, and that if I had it in the house it would be found in only two locations: inside my gnawing jaw or at his feet next to my pleading eyes, demanding a game of fetch. So Mike hides it inside his pack when we come inside the house. I know where it is, but I can’t get at it until we go out for our afternoon walk for extended fetch. I am playing this game with renewed enthusiasm.

How much do I crave that ball in my mouth? One day Heather came home from work early but immediately plugged in her computer and told me to take a walk with only Mike. Normally Mike would have to drag me out of the house if Heather doesn’t come. This time, I could not have cared less: Mike had the orange ball, and all I wanted to do was fetch it, which I did for at least 45 minutes straight. Heather was almost done working by the time we got back,, for crying out loud.

Chuckit Whistler Ball

Chuckit! Whistler ball

The ball is an orange Chuckit! Whistler, and I heartily recommend everything about it whether or not they approach me for an endorsement deal. Yes, the ball whistles when it’s thrown, due to the four holes that open to an empty core inside a bumpy, rubbery surface. The noise is fun, but there are other things about this ball  that I like even better. I haven’t been able to break it (yet), and when I chew, it’s soft enough to compress  without a lot of effort and small enough to fit comfortably  in my mouth. In other words, maximum gnawability. I also love its bounciness and its orange color, which makes it easy for me to find when it ricochets onto the forest floor.

Heather felt guilty for not trying to find the  ball’s rightful owner, but there’s no way I would ever consider giving up this ball to some carpetbagging dog from some other neighborhood that I don’t even know. Finders keepers, losers weepers, I say. Isn’t that the Law of the Pack?

So leave me alone, OK? I’ve got important work to do.


Chloë Makes the Fuzz Fly


Record-setting fetching  on the lawn.

I had a crazy time out at my Getaway this last time. Mike went to Syracuse about halfway, through, which really turned it into a holiday for me. Luckily, he prepared meals for Heather and me before he left, so neither of us starved. So he is good for something.

The highlight of my time together with Heather was setting (and resetting several times) the world dachshund record for fetching a ball thrown by hand (no plastic ball-flingers or jai alai cestas allowed!). The last count I remember was 180 straight, with only brief water breaks. After that many throws, I can barely remember anything, and I don’t think we rely on Heather to count anything greater than pi. Regardless of the number, Heather is a real trooper for throwing that ball so much, and I appreciate her effort. Both of us were sore for a couple of days afterwards.

The Pump on her perch

The Pump on her perch

Docile Pumpkin and I got along fine, although it is getting a little disconcerting when she keeps sniffing my butt and peeing on the same exact spot where I did. That little mop must think she owns the place or something. But she’s benign.

Stairway barrier

Staircase barrier

I can’t say the same about Mister Fuzz. That damn cat tried sneaking down the back spiral staircase one day when Mike was still around. I caught his eye when he was about halfway down, and he wisely retreated. He wasn’t so lucky the next time, when Mike was doing laundry on the second floor and left the main staircase barrier down for a minutes. I cornered Fuzz under a bed and barked up a storm until Mike collared me and dragged me back downstairs.

Mister Fuzz

Mister Fuzz

After Mike left, however, the cat was out of the bag, so to speak. Fuzz and I faced off about a half-dozen times more, and I chased him under the bed every time. Fuzz has yet to take a swipe at me, by the way. He just runs and hides. Advantage, Chloë.

Poor Mister Fuzz doesn’t seem such a bad guy.  It’s just too bad he’s a cat. Sure hope he likes it upstairs.





Chloë Practices the Neighborhood Play

Not much happened here in January besides dodging the raindrops. Rain doesn’t matter much to me once we start walking, but those first few yards out the front door and into the wetness take a bit more coaxing, to put it mildly. Once I get out there, I can handle it, unless it’s a cold, heavy, horizontal rain. When that hits, I want to take care of business and get back home to chase Wiffie ASAP.

Chloe practices the neighborhood play.

Chloe puts the ball in the neighborhood..

I’ve been using this quiet time to develop a new technique for my fetch repertoire. Mike calls it the neighborhood play. According to Wikipedia, in baseball, “a neighborhood play is a force play where a fielder receiving the ball in attempting to force out a runner at second base, catches and quickly throws the ball to first base in a double play attempt without actually touching second base, or by touching second base well before catching the ball.”

Nowadays, video replay has all but eliminated the neighborhood play in major-league games, but thankfully (and hopefully!) no surveillance cameras have been installed above Chloë’s Lane, my favorite field for fetch. Therefore, when I retrieve my purple-and-white ball and return it to the thrower, I don’t have to actually deliver it to their feet. If the ball is “in the neighborhood,” that should be close enough. At least, that’s the way I see it.

But it depends on who’s throwing, I guess. It’s usually close enough for Mike, who might even put his left hand in his treat pouch to get me to bring the ball another 5 feet. Heather, on the other hand, likes to be a hard-ass about it. She refuses to throw the ball again until she gets ball-to-toe delivery.

And here’s what my alleged best pal Charlie had to say when I tried out my neighborhood play on him.

That Charlie, he can be tough! He has obviously been in the game a long time and adheres to high standards. Personally, I like to cut corners as much as I can get away with.


Chloë Sets New Fetch Records

We finally came home from my getaway. Being there almost two weeks took its toll on my body, so I have been resting up a bit while Mike watches baseball playoffs on TV seemingly 24 hours a day. At the getaway, I get so busy that I often don’t get my full quota of afternoon naps, so it’s good to catch up.

On the back lawn

On the back lawn

The highlight of the recent vacation was the new dachshund fetch records that I set Sunday, Oct. 4, on my getaway’s back lawn. Heather certified that I set new marks for single-session (85 throws-and-returns) and single-day (175). My two-day total of 300 has yet to be certified, but we expect official word soon.

Let’s see…what else happened on this trip? As you no doubt recall from my previous post, this time I graciously shared my getaway with the mop-like Pumpkin and Mister Fuzz, a black-and-white former barn cat.  Pumpkin turned out to be more fun than I expected. I actually grew to like her, and we even engaged in some mutual butt-sniffing before this stay was over. That’s high praise.

Mister Fuzz, however, is another story. We had but two brief encounters, as Heather expended much energy on keeping us apart. Luckily, nobody tripped on anything, and our tete a tetes were well-controlled.

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That getaway place is just too much fun! Toys, carpets, lawns, forests, even a dog companion. If I can just get that cat back into the barn where it belongs,  it would be perfect.


Chloë Fears Development

Chloë's Lane, Fall

Entry to Chloë’s Lane, Fall

My favorite spot in the park  lies along a lightly used trail behind what’s known as the Headquarters Building. I call it Chloë’s Lane. It has the best spring greens and the best course for playing fetch and  “find it” (when the ball gets buried in the underbrush and I have to sniff it out). It’s also the gateway to the small hill where Mike and I play my other game, catch, with him throwing the ball uphill and over my head, so I have to sprint into the woods to retrieve it and then “throw it back” by dropping it and nosing it down the hill until it gains momentum and rolls all the way to back to Mike at the bottom. I refer to this as my “stupid pet trick,”  giving a huge shout-out to David Letterman on his impending retirement. Maybe Dave’s dog will be blogging soon.


Playing fetch in front on new landmark

Playing fetch in front of new landmark

Anyway, one day recently we returned to Chloë’s Lane and found something new at the head of the trail. Atop the mound of grass, weeds and twigs that had been accumulating there for a year or more was a round plastic reservoir, with the pile fortified with logs. Further investigation revealed that it was the same unit previously deployed at the top of the South Meadow, complete with its graffiti. Within days, hoses appeared in the asphalt parking lot between the Headquarters Building and Chloë’s Lane.

Waiting to play catch

Ears back, waiting to play catch

I’m  not exactly sure why the tank and hoses are there or how long they will stay. Clearly, the reservoir deploys around the park as needed, so it won’t be there forever. But as for why it showed up, I’ve yet to see any of the hoses hooked up to the spigot.  The tank might be empty, for all I know, and there are no recent plantings in areas close by that are crying out for water.  I can only hope that this equipment does not a signal that further improvements are planned for this lightly traveled corridor, which is not far from where private developers have taken over the former naval residences along Officer’s Row and plan to renovate them for resale this summer. As you might imagine, I prefer that Chloë’s Lane stay just the way it is.



Chloë Demonstrates the Difference Between Fetch and Catch

Oh boy, it’s been a chilly week around here! Made a bit chillier with the absence of my biggest warmers, Mike and Heather. Luckily, Lynn is with me to snuggle inside, and she even brought out my sweater for our walks.

There’s a lot to tell you about this Big Chill, but I need some more time to organize my thoughts. In the meantime, I can share a couple of videos that illustrate a key component of my exercise routine: the differences between two of my favorite games, fetch and catch.

As I’ve noted before, afternoon walks have become more of an overall athletic experience. Walking is still part of it — actually power walking is how I’d describe it. Except when I’m nosing every blade of grass or simply flopping on the trail. But walking is but the prelude and denouement of my routine. The main part consists of two other, somewhat related activities: fetch (running after and retrieving the ball for the thrower) and catch (catching or tracking down a ball and pitching it back to the thrower.

I know it’s all pretty confusing to someone who isn’t there (and I think I might be distracted by a live audience, anyhow). Instead, I had Mike take these videos of me in action. First we’ll see fetch. Note my speed, agility and ability to find the ball despite visual obstacles.

When I get tired of fetching the ball and bringing it back, I just drop it at the point furthest away from the thrower and lie down until the thrower finally walks to me, picks up the ball and throws it toward the downhill portion of what I like to call “Chloë’s Lane.” Here the thrower goes to the bottom of the hill and throws the ball towards me. Sometimes I catch it, and sometimes it goes over my head or bounces off to the sides of the trail. But wherever it goes, I retrieve it, bring it back to my “pitcher’s mound,” and let it go, leading it via brain waves down the slope and back to the thrower’s hand. Then repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

There you go. Hope that clears it up for everybody. See you when the temperature rises and I get out from under the covers.