Tag Archives: fetch

Chloë Finds Treasure

Usually the part of my daily walk from our house to my favorite fetch location is not all that exciting. I like to sniff around at the park entrance to see who has signed the guest book, take care of my toileting needs, check the chapel area for anything that may have fallen from picnic tables and then hurry across the parade ground to the secret spot where I can chase that ball. That’s pretty much all I want to do these days. Mike is worried he’ll need Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm.

But the other day when we hit the parade ground, something caught my nose and stopped me in my tracks.

Chloe's Treasure 1

I moved in quickly for a closer look. What could it be?

Chloe's Treasure 2

One deep sniff was all I needed for confirmation. YES! It was a plastic baggie containing four Milk Bone biscuits (medium), each a different flavor. Just sitting there, waiting for me. I wasted no time getting my snout in the bag and chomping.

Chloe's Treasure 4

I ate them so fast that they were gone by the time Mike’s camera was ready to take their picture. But to me, however, not forgotten.  I think of that wonderful discovery every time we pass the spot where I found it, making sure to crane my neck and turn up my nose to check again, just in case.

Chloë Picks Her Favorite Spot

Chloë heads down the trail.

Chloë heads down the trail.

Behind the Headquarters Building has become  my designated favorite spot in my park. I go there practically every day at least once to play two games with my purple-and-white ball: fetch (I chase the ball and bring it back to the thrower) and catch (I catch the ball in my teeth and throw it back!). I’m getting pretty good at both of these games.

I learned to play catch almost two years ago. That was on the other side of the Headquarters Building, down the hill a bit. That particular spot isn’t as  good now, as weeds have proliferated and bicyclists intrude on my court with more regularity. The nerve of some people to get in my way.

Chloë dines at the salad bar.

Chloë dines at the salad bar.

My favorite spot is more secluded, on the back side of the building. A paved parking area remains, currently being used as a staging area for replanting. The pavement gives way to a wooded trail that winds through a grove of red alder and native evergreen trees, keeping  it relatively protected from wind and other park visitors. If I see anybody, I just bark at them and they leave, petrified. When I have it to myself, it’s perfect for throwing and chasing my ball, and whenever I get a little tired or hungry, I’ve got plenty of sweet grass to munch on at the nearby salad bar.

The top photo above shows where I start my games. First I fetch the ball from throws that end up in the weedy understory that stretches from the pavement to the first bend in the trail. Sometimes I have to ferret the ball out from the weeds, and  I’ve gotten pretty good at digging it out. Luckily there’s no stinging nettle or blackberry around here, which can be a deterrent. I like to play fetch like this for 20, maybe 30 throws. Then it’s time for a big drink of water and snacks (of course;  salad bar only goes so far). Then maybe another 20 or 30 throws for good measure. By that time, Mike and Heather are usually moaning that their arms hurt.

On some days we play additional fetch further down the wooded trail, but when the trail gets to the bottom of a slight downhill slope, we turn around and Mike or Heather tosses the ball back toward the top of the incline. When I track it down, I bring it back to the crest of the hill, size up my target and the narrow, twisting route and drop the ball to the ground with a slight flip of my head. It starts rolling slowly, but builds up just enough momentum that it rolls all the way down to my catching partner waiting below. Then he or she picks it up and throws it toward me again. Here’s what it looks like:

 

Sometimes I snag the bouncing ball right out of the air, like an infielder  (not necessarily a Mariner infielder). But even if a throw gets past me, I’m quick enough to run it down and get it back to the pitcher’s mound, where I wind up, check the base runners, and release it again so it can roll downhill to Mike or  Heather, who pick it up and throw it towards me again.

For a change of pace, let’s take a look at playing catch  from my perspective:

 

I’m usually good for 15 or 20 of these, sometimes more. Maybe playing catch will be my ticket to the 2016 Olympics or an appearance on  David Letterman’s Stupid Pet Tricks. Even if it’s not, I defy anybody to tell me that they’re not impressed with my endurance and athleticism. I sure am, and after all, that’s what really counts!

Chloë Returns to Port

Chloe and Smiley-003

Chloë and Smiley

I enjoyed my first trip to Port Townsend two years ago so much, I decided to take Mike and Heather there again for my third birthday. This time was almost as good, the only disappointment being that on this visit our hotel didn’t have a lobby; I missed being able to strut through several times a day and receive compliments and treats every time. This hotel was a little noisier, too, and I had to deliver a lot of quick warning barks over the weekend to let everyone know that I heard something. Nobody is sneaking in on my watch. Not with me and my pal Smiley on duty.

On the Upper Big Quilcene Trail

On the Upper Big Quilcene Trail

During the day we went hiking at a couple of places that used to be forts in World War II, just like Discovery Park was. But these parks were much woodsier than our park, with more real animals running about that needed chasing. I did my part to make sure no humans were threatened by any of them.

On one of the days away we drove deep into the national forest and hiked in some very tall woods. To me, any sword fern might as well be a Sequoia, but even I can tell that the trees where we hiked are a lot bigger than the ones I normally see. I like to stick closer to Mike and Heather when we go on trails like this one.  Some of those drops over the side look pretty steep.

Subaru on the Upper Big Quilcene Trail

Big trees

No ball playing is allowed on those trails, according to Mike and Heather. Luckily, we also found plenty of wide, flat trails on those former military bases, so we had some good games of fetch, and then we found out that the abandoned structures called gun batteries made great amphitheaters for a spirited game. Check out my video;  as usual, Mike screwed up the sound, but his camera technique actually seems to be improving. Hard to believe, I know.

I had few complaints. I had to sleep inside my travel crate all weekend, of course, and I wasn’t supposed to get on the furniture in the hotel at all. But on the second afternoon after I ate my dinner, Heather put a couple of towels on the bed and let me snuggle with her while she took a nap.  I loved the hiking and the ferry ride, but for me, that nap was the highlight of the weekend. All three of us had a great time, but there’s no doubt my time was the best.

Chloë relaxes in her room.

Chloë relaxes in her room.

Chloë Plays Fetch on a Rainy Day in the Woods

Mike’s idea of fetch is to send me repeatedly on short distances to see how many times in a row I’ll bring in back. We’ve done as many as 25, 30. And other days none, depending on my mood and degree of pent-up energy.

Heather sends me on more challenging routes,  more likely to be longer and to go off course, so I have to dive into piles of leaves or vines. Heather has a powerful arm, but she’s erratic and lacks Mike’s finesse as a slow-pitch softball pitcher and Skee-Ball devotee.

Below is an example of the paces Heather puts me through. This video was shot in October on a rainy afternoon in Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. That background noise that sounds like tin foil crackling is the rain bouncing off trees. I apologize for the shaky video and botched soundtrack.  I just don’t know; I ask for Spielberg, and they send me Mike. Go figure.

 

 

Chloë Becomes a Media Celebrity for Real

First I thought that this would be a really big deal for my career development, having my videos on the website for the Visi-Ball. They are the first videos on the site, and thus are certain to set the standard for all others that follow.  In no time at all, I’m sure, my videos will go viral, and I’ll become an Internet sensation.

Chloë relaxes at home.

Then I remembered: I’m already an Internet sensation. And a published author to boot.

Meanwhile, the new Visi-Balls arrived and I started using them. These are the ones the company so graciously promised after the one I had mysteriously popped open. There were two new balls, so Mike finally trashed the broken one. A good thing, too: Although we haven’t been using the broken ball for fetch, I couldn’t help noticing it was sitting on top of the TV cabinet, and I haven’t lost my jones for gnawing on it (particularly that small inner ball).  Now it’s out of sight, out of mind. I’ve moved on.

The Visi-Ball

I’ve decided to retire the two other Visi-Balls that I’ve been using and chase my  new ones exclusively until they are either lost or destroyed, so I can report back to the company about their quality and durability. I have a feeling that if I give these new balls my personal seal of approval, it can only be a matter of time before the debut of the Chloë Autograph Model, to be followed by my first national tour. Hey, when you sleep as much as I do, it’s good to dream big.

Chloë in blue bed with bone