Tag Archives: Fort Lawton

Chloë Starts the New Year Right

Trying out a raincoat.

What is usually a dreary month turned out to be not so bad. Rainy, of course, but I generally don’t let that slow me down. Unless it’s really pouring and windy, I’m OK with a little rain, at least once my nose is outside. There’s always lots of good smells on a rainy day. It’s those first steps toward the door that are the hardest.

So Mike and Heather borrowed a doggie raincoat from Caroline (her Schatzi has one of her own) to see if wearing one would make me more enthusiastic about getting my butt outside. After trying it a few times, however, they realized the raincoat protected my back but made no difference in keeping my chest or underneath clean, nor making me much drier when we got home. Thus the raincoat experiment ended abruptly. I have solidly established myself as real mossback, through and through.

Our mossback walks Azalea Way in the Arboretum.

We had several dry days toward the end of the month. Mostly we took our walks in Discovery Park, keeping an eye out for animal control patrols, although one afternoon we walked all the way to Magnolia Village and back, and a few times we stopped at the neighborhood grocery store or the flagpole at Fort Lawton for a deserted place to play fetch. Oh, and we returned to the Washington Park Arboretum with George and Debbie on one of their visits from Juneau. Its Winter Garden was blooming and fragrant at this time of year—and the Arboretum always has lots of squirrels!

Chloë’s new coupon toy.

I even got a couple of terrific new playthings this month. My pal Channon gave me a soft, crackly, squeaky toy when she and Jeré came to spiffy up the house. It’s supposed to be a dog-centered replica of the Bed, Bath & Beyond  coupons that come in the mail. Frankly, I could do without the bad puns, but I instantly took a liking to its texture and the various sounds emitting from within, a perfect blend of three squeaks and a crackle that go together like peanut butter and jelly.

New ball on the block.

And then, to top it off, I found myself a new Chuck-it! ball! Well, it’s not actually new, but new to me, and I did find it myself, on the sidewalk right outside our house. Finders keepers, I said. Some other dog may have dropped it on the way to the park, but thems the breaks. It was mine now, and for the rest of the month it became my go-to fetch ball. But it’s not hollow like my usual Chuck-it! Whistler balls, so this one is a bit heavier to carry around in my mouth, and heavier for Heather to throw. In fact, her back and her throwing-arm shoulder are starting to bother her, but so far not enough to send her to the IL (that’s the Injured List, for non- baseball fans). Luckily, whenever I get tired of carrying the ball around, Heather is always there to pick it up and carry it for me.

I’m grateful for that, too. Good caddies are hard to find.

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.