Tag Archives: Getaway

Chloë Makes a Getaway

Reflecting on her recent birthday.

Mike and Heather took me out to my foothills getaway last week, but I could tell from the get-go that things would not be the same on this trip. I knew it as soon as it took so long to get there, since roads were washed out by recent rains and nobody remembered to tell us about it. Heather had to backtrack and take additional winding roads to get us there. My stomach was a bit upset when we finally arrived, and then things got even worse.

Mister Fuzz on the prowl.

Nobody consulted me about the major renovations going on inside, but renovations are well underway, and all of the bedrooms and bathrooms but one are in the midst of a major overhaul. That meant that all of us had to sleep in the same bedroom. And by ALL of us, I mean Mike, Heather, me, Smokey and Pumpkin , the two dogs who live there, and the cat, Mister Fuzz. (Luckily, Pepe the fat burro wasn’t in there with us.) True, I did have my own travel crate to myself, but I was constantly uncomfortable sleeping in such proximity to Mister Fuzz, who parked himself under the bed , not six feet away, and pretty much refused to come out as long as anyone was in the room.  Over the weekend, I had a few long-distance face-offs with Fuzz when he  dared to venture downstairs to eat, but we never tangled the whole time. Judging from how huge he has gotten, that was probably a good idea., but I felt yucky enough to be so near him at night.

Smokey likes to watch.

But Fuzz was much less a bother to me than that buttinski Australian shepherd Smokey, who was constantly in my face all weekend and doesn’t at all understand the word “No!” from man nor beast. I know he’s still a puppy, OK, but I began thinking he’s just not that smart.  He he barked at the TV screen whenever the Allstate commercial with Tina Fey and the Mayhem guy (Dean Gerard Winters) acting like he’s a Saint Bernard puppy was on. I kind of understood him barking at the real pug that appears in the commercial, but mostly he barked at the actor barking like a dog. Maybe Smokey identified with what the dog character labels “lack of impulse control.” I feel sorry for Pumpkin, who has to put up with Smokey’s goofball behavior every day.

The other thing about Smokey—and I really hate bringing this up—is his pooping prowess. Smokey rings a bell when he has to go out. Cute, very cute. What’s not so cute is how much Smokey poops: It could be three or four times on each walk, with three or four puny poops each time, one at a time, usually with a few steps in between. I kid you not. And poor Heather, walking behind him with multiple poop bags, trying to keep track of where his last deposit landed while bending down to scoop the previous one. On our last long walk of the weekend on the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail, my pity for Heather intensified, as poop got caught in Smokey’s ample butt fur and Heather tried to clean it off with a handful of fallen leaf residue. I tried to get Mike to take a picture, but he declined.

Birthday treats for Chloë.

Anyway, for the first time ever I  was happy to get away from the getaway when we packed up and left  on Monday morning, and even happier when I got home and a package arrived from Syracuse. It was actually addressed to Mike and Heather, who were celebrating an anniversary of something or other, but the same box from my aunt Susi also contained a fine selection of gourmet treats for me. I’m glad someone thinks I deserved something special for my recent 10th  birthday, and these are exactly the kind of special, expensive, calorie-laden treats that Mike and Heather would never buy for me. Thanks, aunts Susie and Debby; I’m sure these highly appreciated and anticipated treats will be doled out prudently (with Mike in charge, my heirs might be enjoying them someday—if I had any heirs, that is). And thanks also to Cleo and Bear, my aunts’ cats, who sent me a nice birthday card in the same package. I must caution them, however, that while I may have reached a certain level of detente with Mister Fuzz, when I reach Syracuse this summer I will still look forward to chasing them. Start training and be ready.

 

Chloe Faces Fuzz

Mike, Heather and I spent another week out at my foothills Getaway, but I never did find the orange ball I lost the first week. No big deal, I reasoned. That ball was starting to get a little soft and squishy, anyway, not bouncing as high or far as it used to, and much easier to gnaw. I was sure Mike and Heather will just get me a new one when we got home, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

Mr. Fuzz

Still, I didn’t get to play a lot of fetch on the lawn the second week. Too many distractions. For the most part, I was on a leash or tied to something for the remainder of our stay. I had run away and ignored her commands so frequently that Heather’s coyote-anxiety was at all-time high while her tolerance of me was at an all-time low. Even inside the house she tethered me to a chair or a table, fearful that I would break loose and eat Pumpkin’s food or, worse yet, chase the cat Mr. Fuzz under a bed and start screeching at him. Does Heather forget I’m a dachshund? Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do? Besides, Mr. Fuzz tricked me. He deliberately left some of his cat food upstairs on the bathroom floor just where I could find it if I sneaked upstairs, which I did. His food tasted pretty good at the time, but it gave me diarrhea for days afterward, each time further reminding Heather that I had been a bad, bad dog. Oh well, live and learn.

Chloë and Pumpkin vie for position.

By the end of our second week at the Getaway, Mr. Fuzz got bolder and started coming downstairs for visits, even during the day. I only got to chase him once, though, when I was briefly left unattended while Mike was exercising and Heather was doing laundry, or maybe the other way around. Anyway, besides that brief encounter on the second floor, Fuzz and I kept our distance. And the next time I got upstairs, Fuzz had already eaten most of his food. Smarter guy than I gave him credit for.

Chloe and Pumpkin April 2017

Pumpkin tried again to be my pal, which was OK, as long as she understands her place in my pack. It was not OK, for instance, for her to instigate playful chasing with me out on the forest trails. I’m the one in charge of that, and everything else, for that matter. I did let her sit in the back seat of Heather’s car with me, but I made her get in first, so she can check it for danger and then stay out of my way. Most importantly, I made it clear to Pumpkin that her place was definitely NOT on the couch or bed spread out on top of or tightly beside Heather. That’s MY place. Pumpkin got the message.

Portage survivors.

One more thing: While Pumpkin was always happy to go hiking with us, on more than one occasion she showed what a wuss she is. Sometimes Heather had to carry Pumpkin through the swampy sections of the trail when Pumpkin refused to wade through on her own. To Pumpkin’s credit, she was getting much better about being comfortable outside after she two weeks of walking with us to toughen her up. I hope Pumpkin ventures out more in the real world when I’m not around to lead her.

Meanwhile, All Clear, Mr. Fuzz! You can come downstairs now. I’m leaving Pumpkin in charge until I come back.

Mr. Fuzz spies from landing

 

Chloë Lives with a Cat

Where's Pumpkin?

Pumpkin perched atop her toys.

Heather, Mike and I headed out to my “getaway” in the Cascade foothills for the first time in a long while. Maybe we all needed some separation after my dog mentor Tara died, or maybe it’s just coincidence and Tara’s owners haven’t needed us for house- and horse-sitting. I do miss Tara, but so far this time in her house has been a lot less stressful for me: No growling every time I drag something out of the toy pile, and no pilfering of Heather’s attention and sometimes even my treats. So now there is no hindrance to making Mike throw stuffed toys around the living room for me to chase, catch and throttle until their stuffing spews forth. That’s when Heather jumps in for damage control.

That little mop Pumpkin is still around, but she’s so docile that I feel and sometimes act like the big, badass alpha dog of the house. Pumpkin does cute really well, but she is pretty much clueless about anything else. Any dog that has no interest in treats is clueless in my book. On the other hand, more for me.

Pny time

Pony time

We’re out here for almost two weeks, and I had a great time when we first arrived. We had great weather, and we went on several long hikes in places with lots of wildlife to sniff after.  I  also played fetch with Heather something like 75 times in a row on the huge lawn, and did a lot of munching of grass, or as Mike refers to it, my salad bar. I particularly enjoy the long blades in the fenced-in pasture, even more so because Mike hates to chase after me when I go in there, so I do it every chance I get. At the end of one walk I thought about checking out a pony in a field, but when we went across the road to visit we realized the pony was behind an electric fence, and I wanted no part of that. Besides, I can get as close as I want to real horses back at my getaway any old time I want to. It’s just that I don’t want to, ever. That barn is still a place I prefer to avoid. It’s loud, dark and scary in there.

Lounging by the pool

Lounging by the pool

In fact, apparently one of the barn cats hated living there so much that he wormed his way into becoming a house cat. I kind of sensed that he was around, but in my first week here I’ve only had one brief encounter with Mister Fuzz. Heather quickly got between us before I could do any damage. Even so, the incident allowed me to certify the existence of Mister Fuzz, who until then had been only a faint scent and a big rumor to me. Now I knew for sure that he was upstairs, and even in what rooms he liked to hang in.

Stairway barrier

Stairway barrier

All of a sudden, going upstairs to flush him out became a much higher priority for me. Heather was forced to erect a barricade of throw pillows at the base of the stairs to keep me on the first floor, but I’ve already breached it once, so it’s hardly insurmountable. For our remaining time here on this trip, it will be my job to get around it and stalk Mister Fuzz. In our tete-a-tete, he looked huge, and as a barn cat he must be tough enough, even if he does seem to be hiding out silently most of the time. 

Well, if Mister Fuzz is as smart as I think he is, he’ll just stay under a bed and out of my way. Otherwise, fur will fly. I guarantee it.

Chloë Unearths Some Treats

No snoozing

No snoozing

Mike hit the road again to move his mom, meaning another stint at Heather’s office for me. Going to work with Heather always tires me out, because I don’t sleep all day like I do at home with Mike (until the mail slot clangs or UPS truck arrives). Perched on my chair behind Heather’s desk, however, I must be on guard all the time. People keep coming in to see her or leave things on her desk, even when she’s not there. Ergo, no snoozing allowed.

But everybody at Heather’s office seems to loves having me around. Sometimes they don’t come into Heather’s office to visit Heather, they come in to visit me– even people who work on the second floor! Cassandra, who seems to be in charge of everything in the office, must really like me, because she sent me about a dozen of the pumpkin treats she bakes for her own collie, Jasper. Spoilsport Mike cut each little pie into four pieces and put most of them in the freezer before he left, so Heather could dole out just a few at a time while he was away. I was hoping Heather would forget and give me all of them at once, but she  just forgot to take them out of the freezer in the first place, damn it.

Dachshund mobile

Dachshund mobile

Mike left me another gift before he left:  A dachshund mobile in the front yard. He and Heather like it. Me? I see a red dog, and I want to paint it black. I guess Mike wants to make it easier for the tourist bus drivers to pick out our house when they roll by, like having a map to the home of a Hollywood star.

Routing for field mice

Routing for field mice

A few days after Mike got back we spent a long weekend at my getaway home in eastern King County, taking care of the horses and dogs, old Tara and sedate Pumpkin. It wasn’t warm enough to lay out by the pool,  but Heather, Mike and I went on a long walk on Tiger Mountain, I chased mice in the horse pastures, and I almost got to scarf down part of an old bird carcass before Mike got it away from me. That’s why I like it out there: lots of stuff to sink your nose into.

Since the other two dogs can’t do much of anything active, I have to make my own fun.  On our last day there, however, I could tell Heather wasn’t feeling well, so I made it my duty to climb into a comfortable resting place between her legs and the back of the couch, under a couple of blankets, to make sure she was warm enough. Sometimes chillin’ works just fine for me.

2-Napping with Heather and Pumpkin

Chloë (left), napping with Heather and Pumpkin: Goodnight, you moonlight ladies.

Chloë Earns More Freedom

I’ve noticed that ever since my third birthday a few weeks ago, Mike and Heather have started to trust me more, letting me wander a bit on my own without holding onto my leash. And I’ve been rewarding them by sticking pretty close by. When I decide to go off on a toot, it’s usually a brief one. I’m back to scarf up a treat or two without too much coaxing, unless I’m onto something better, such as discarded pieces of sandwich or a partial mouse carcass.

Chloë on a log

Chloë on a log 

I tend to find more of that kind of stuff in Discovery Park than I do when we’re out at my foothills getaway, where we went for a whole week.  Several times Mike took me walking without attaching a leash to my harness at all. We did a lot of walking out there, just the two of us, because Heather was mostly working and Tara, bless her grumpy heart, knows she’s too sore to come along.

Tara is really slowing down. She limps around, and her only brief spurts of energy come when she’s trying to head me off from playing with one of her toys. She gets between the toy and me and charges with a growl.  I think that’s as far as Tara would take it, but I just take a wide berth and let her think she’s still boss. Then I immediately get another toy from her endless toy pile. She can’t head me off from all of them, and as a lagniappe, I got repeated praise from Heather for treating Tara so kindly and respectfully. That’s what I call win-win.

While we were out at the Getaway we had to drive into the city and back a couple of times. I got to sit in the front seat every time, even though my seat belt is hooked up in the back seat like I’m supposed to sit there. I was happy with the front-seat arrangement, even when I had to stay in the car alone for a couple of hours while they went to a restaurant. I snoozed and survived, even though it was pouring rain outside. I was warm enough.

Mossy trees

Mossy trees

We also walked in some places I hadn’t been to before, Lake Sammamish and Cougar Mountain. Most of the trails were wide enough for ball-chasing, and Mike was into all the moss on the leaf-barren alder and maple trees, especially green at this time of year due to winter rains and popping out in intricate networks against the gray under story. We didn’t run into any bears, bobcats or cougars (always Heather’s biggest worry), but we did get to the top of the Fantastic Erratic, a large boulder in the middle of the forest.  I actually found the gently rippling Lake Sammamish a lot more erratic than that big rock.

Chloë atop the Fantastic Erratic

Chloë atop the Fantastic Erratic

Chloë Parties Hearty

Along the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail.

Last Saturday turned into my red-letter day from my standpoint. Heather left the house early and Mike was in charge, which usually turns out well for me. First he took me on a short walk in the park and then we drove out into the country, way past the rock yard,  for a hike on the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail. We’ve been there before, but this time we took a spur trail to the east and kept on going, past the bridge over the creek where we turned around last time. The trail eventually led to a park in the Snoqualmie Ridge development, where a kiosk had a map of the area and trail system. Mike started talking to me as he looked at the map, telling me this means there will be a lot of new trails to explore in the future. I hope this trail system doesn’t get popular; we’ve yet to see another person or dog on these trails yet, but there’s evidence mountain bikers use them, and Mike says that’s never good news for dog walking.

Rather than going home, on the way back we stopped at my sometime-weekend getaway, where Heather was already waiting for us. But instead of staying there overnight by ourselves, we just stayed for the afternoon, and a lot of other people were there, including Cindy. It was a party for all the people who work with Cindy and Heather, and I’ve met most of them at their office. But these people all brought along their spouses and kids, so there were lots of scary strangers. What might have been a formula for disaster was dissipated by the familiar locale. Whenever I felt hemmed in, I could visit the barn, dig in the field or throw around Tara’s toys. So if there were a few new people and kids around, I could have cared less. I had plenty of other stuff to do, and besides: When it came to the menu, they put out a pretty good spread. I did lots of undercover grazing.

Chloë gets a little nuts after a few drinks.

Even so, the guests were universally lavish in their praise of my behavior, making Heather very proud. Mike, on the other hand, was prouder of his black-eyed pea salad (Texas Caviar).  Men!

Personally, I think I did pretty well at this party, considering there were lots of kids and other dogs around, each of them larger than me. I didn’t go “puppy crazy” or act weird even once. True, I may have left a “stay” a little early once or twice, but heck, nobody’s perfect. Especially with so much food lying around.

And when it came to eating, I did myself proud. After a while I made sure no one was watching me and went inside the house, walked across the family room and nudged open the folding door to the closet where I knew Tara’s open food container would be. In seconds, there I was, head in container, crunching merrily… along until Cindy heard me.

Heather thanks Chloë for being a good girl.

Hey, it wasn’t like I ate every piece of kibble in there! And a good thing, too, since later my new dog friends Sheila and Jaeger and I (but not the ditzy Tara, who never stopped running around the pool and barking at the people in it)  got to split some huge chunks of salmon skin that had just come off the grill. Boy, it was gooooood, but I wolfed down as much as Mike might cut up and mix into my dry food for a month.

Little did I know at the time that I would pay for my wonton overindulgence of Tara’s food and the salmon.  Starting the next morning, my poops doubled in size for several days, and there were lots of them. Mike wasn’t too happy about this, but I’ll go on record right now that I’m always glad to sacrifice a little irregularity for an unexpected feast, no RSVP necessary.

Chloë Begins Summer in Style

Chloë in the fog.

We welcomed the summer solstice out at my country getaway. Even though it was rainy and foggy a lot of the time, I was so happy to be out there that I forgave Mike for leaving the bag of Frozen PBBs (peanut butter boneys) back home in the freezer. There was so much to do out there that I could get by without licking a PBB for a few days.

Chloë surveys the foxglove.

Mike took me on a couple of long walks on the horse trails, stopping for some extended ball-chasing. I enjoyed exploring the trails and wandering through the foxglove,  tall spires of white, purple and blue rising from a sea of green ferns and salal. A little wet here and there, but that never deters me.

Mercer Slough.

As usual, we had some field trips. We took Tara on her kind of hike: Mercer Slough, with flat trails for her gimpy gait. Then we went on a ride to pick up rocks, one of Mike’s favorite shopping destinations. Mostly we just hung out and relaxed.

Tara was snitty with me, as usual, but this time I decided to assert myself when necessary. I can be properly differential most of the time, but I’m old enough now to demand a little respect. So I growled back at her once or twice, and tossed her toys around right under her nose.

Tara’s toys recover in the infirmary.

Later on, every time she tried to herd me away from her stuff, I determined that  stronger signals were needed, so I flung the toys around the living room and went after every hole in their stitching I could find. It didn’t take long until I dispatched a few of them to the stuffed toy infirmary, where they will be slowly recovering until my next visit, which I hope will be later on this summer. I can’t wait to get back there. 

That will be when I’ll try to bring the two cats in the barn into line, or at least keep them at bay. They’d better enjoy their free rein while I’m gone, because they’re really bugging me, and I simply cannot let that continue. They are now on notice.

Napping with Heather.