Tag Archives: magnolia boulevard

Chloë Walks into a Reunion

Lawn flop.

Serendipity. How else can I explain why I turned right when we left for our afternoon walk last Sunday. Instead of heading toward the park as usual, I led the pack in the other direction and across Magnolia Boulevard, sticking to parallel streets so we didn’t have to go too steeply uphill.  It was a warm afternoon, but I found several shady patches of well-manicured lawn on which to flop, so I did.

Frank, Stanley and Chloë.

It wasn’t until we cut  down to the promenade section of the boulevard that I realized why this route was chosen. As I strode down the sidewalk of the last block to park level, I saw them on the grassy area across the street.  It had been a while, but who could forget those portly profiles? It was my brothers, Frank and Stanley.

As I hustled us over to where they were sitting, the guys tagged-teamed me, one on each side, just like they always do.  But with a burst of speed I was able to shove past them and leap at the real targets of my pent-up affection: their owners, Andrew and Tiffany. I bestowed many squeals and nose bites upon them.

Heather rubs noses with Frank.

Since the boys have been wintering in Arizona and do a lot of sailing in the summer (a tough life, eh?), it had been four years since we had seen each other. Both of them look like they’ve shed a few pounds, but their style and personalities haven’t changed. Stan’s still the instigator, while Frank likes to lay back, cuddle and pose. We tussled around for a while, but it was hot and sunny, and the boys didn’t push it too long. Hey, we’re seniors, at least according to Dr. Kimmel, who is the personal physician for all three of us.

Frank, the furry one.

After this chance occurrence, I’m hoping we can get together with my brothers again, sooner than later. They seem to be more my speed than that rambunctious puppy Schatzi, who’s going to be staying with us for the Fourth of July. I was glad to have a couple of days to rest up for her before she comes.

Chloë Has a Ball

Throwing on Chloë’s Lane.

Why, I ask, is every lost ball my fault? Not once have I tossed a ball that went missing. OK, I admit I’ve dropped a few in the woods when something better came along, but other than that, in my view, Mike and Heather deserve the blame. They threw it, so they are responsible for losing it. End of story.

No longer as frequent a story as it once was, however.  The purple-and-white Visi-Balls I learned on are hard and yet springy, and they take crazy bounces. I’ve lost count of how many we lost in my younger days. When Mike plotted them on a map of Discovery Park, there were a lot of Xs on that paper, and that doesn’t count the ones lost in the creek at Carkeek Park, the blackberry thickets along Magnolia Boulevard and many other far-flung locations. Those balls are not coming back. But since we switched to the Chuckit Whistler balls, we hardly ever lose them. Either my senses have vastly improved with age, or these newer balls, with their softer texture and deep indentations, hold a scent better, making them easier to find. Guess that Ahimsa scent-training class paid off after all!

The new-old ball

I hadn’t used one of the purple-and-white balls in quite a while when I stumbled upon one in the woods along Chloë’s Lane while I was fetching another ball to bring back to Heather. I’ve gotten pretty good at finding stuff that lies on the ground, especially if it reeks of questionable digestibility,  but finding this particular ball made me especially proud, even though it wasn’t anything I could eat. I was so happy with my discovery that I carried triumphantly it all the way home and proudly presented it to Mike as soon as  I got through the door. Then I took it onto the living room rug and rubbed myself on it for about 10 minutes, getting its scent all over me, just in case Heather decided to break out the OxiClean to buff it up. Since we haven’t been throwing with this kind of ball for some time, Mike estimated it might have been there for a couple of years. What a find this was! For a few days, I couldn’t let it out of my sight.

Chloe cradles cherished ball.


Heather hasn’t cleaned my new-old ball yet, but it seemed a little shinier after I strutted  around the house with it in my mouth for a few days. So far, Mike let me keep it, and he even rolled it along the floor of the living room and kitchen, like he does with Wiffie, but I have a feeling this game will end as soon as we break something, most likely the glass doors on the dining room cabinets. Which could be any day now, come to think of it. Better enjoy this while it lasts.

Chloë Searches for a Brown Christmas

Training my new UPS driver is not going so well. When first I met the new guy, Craig, he seemed friendly enough, but he gave me only one bickie, no matter how many times I chased his truck down the block and stared at him. Plus, since our meeting occurred down the block in front of Merrie’s house, I’m not sure that he knows in which house I live. In fact, since that day, we’ve had at least two UPS deliveries to our front door, both apparently coming when Mike wasn’t home, since he did not personally witnessed any of my trademark obsessive-berserk UPS truck reaction, sometimes referred to as “Chloë’s going brown on us again.” Multiple deliveries with no bickies left on top of the package can’t be totally chalked up to wind gusts. Clearly, this new guy doesn’t get it yet. I resolved to do something about that.

On the Boulevard

On the Boulevard

At least every other day, when Mike and I went out for our afternoon walk, I steered Mike away from the park and southward through the streets of Magnolia, tracking the scent of brown trucks. One day along Magnolia Boulevard I spied one, driven not by my new friend Craig but another driver, one who I’ve met and received treats from. On this day, she had a helper, and she sent him to our side of the street with a package, so I dragged Mike back several houses to the spot where he would cross the sidewalk. He saw me and smiled—and he was still smiling when he climbed back into the brown truck alongside the driver. She checked behind her for oncoming cars, released the brake, merged into the traffic lane and pulled around the corner, never making eye contact with a dumbfounded dachshund on the sidewalk across from her.

Dravus tower

Dravus tower

When I sense brown trucks are in the neighborhood, I usually try to steer Mike up to the water tower on Dravus, where a couple of UPS routes seem to cross. The brown truck fumes linger around there, for some reason, because we’ve had multiple visits lately without actually seeing a brown truck in the vicinity. The last time I plowed right past the water tower without stopping, descending the hill on the other side and hustling pasts the play fields in the valley. Unfortunately, at that point we got caught in a sudden, heavy downpour of rain, freezing rain and sleet. Mike and I were drenched, and a long way from home.

That’s when my instincts kicked in. Before we reached Magnolia Village, I guided us on a serpentine course through the Pop Mounger Pool, Catherine Blaine School, the Magnolia Community Center and the Magnolia Playfields, and then past the Chase bank, the fire station, the automobile repair garage, the bus stop and the dry cleaner, right to the door of my Edward Jones broker Caroline. It made sense: It was a familiar place where it was dry and where I am always treated like a queen (meaning lots of high-quality treats). Only then did I find out the real reason I had been lured so strongly over the mountains (well, over the big hill where the water tower is) and through a fierce storm to this particular place: Caroline told Mike that Kevin, my recently retired UPS Guy, had actually been in her office recently as her client, and that he looked great. Good for him, I thought, but what about me and other Magnolia dogs, the ones he left behind with no bickies?

So close and yet so far...

So close and yet so far…

But as the dark days of December wore on, I began to accept my fate. Brown trucks drove up our street, stopped right outside our door, and I slept right through. On walks, I saw brown trucks turning left and let Mike steer me to the right. Finally, on the day before Christmas Eve, I saw that same brown truck on Magnolia Boulevard. For two blocks, I pulled Mike toward it, and then directly into the paths of both the driver and her assistant as they hurried to make deliveries, neither making any contact with my pleading eyes. They must received a directive from headquarters, I figured, pressure from above to speed deliveries along, with no time for socializing. Amazon and other mega-clients demand it, or they might decide to buy some planes and trucks and deliver the boxes themselves.

But I digress. After I failed to get noticed in two more passes of the brown truck, I sat down on the sidewalk and stared back at it forlornly, waiting helplessly for a driver to provide some hint of recognition, disappointed when nothing came my way. When Mike told me to “leave it” and to follow him away from the truck, I didn’t argue. I realized that my  puppy-hood was really over. I didn’t believe in my own personal Santa Claus anymore, and I worried it would be a blue Christmas without him.



Chloë Honors an Old Friend

Spiff with Frank and Heather

Spiff with Frank and Heather

There are few dogs that I look forward to seeing, especially big dogs. Titan, a Great Dane puppy, sneaked up on me a few days ago and I just about died; at least I was immediately flat on my back with all four paws up in the air, pretending I had died. Luckily, he just sniffed me and moved on.

However, I always wiggle gleefully when I run into Spiff, who is a big dog. I’ve known him since I was a puppy hanging out on the sidewalk in front of our house in my exercise pen. Spiff’s owner, Andy, always made sure I had enough water and shade, and let Heather know about it if I didn’t. While I barked at most of the dogs that tried to walk up my street, I always let Spiff nuzzle me through the pen. I just liked his gentle way and the way he smelled. Spiff was old, even then. Now, more than four years later, Spiff is really old. But Spiff is still living large, thanks to Andy, who is a saint. Andy makes sure Spiff gets around to all of his old haunts. He calls him “honey” and uses a harness to help get him around. Spiff is a big boy; Andy is not.

Not his good side

Not his good side

Spiff usually holds court on the weekends near the parking lot in Discovery Park.  But the other day we found him  lying by a bench along Magnolia Boulevard, a popular place for dog walking, especially for senior citizen dogs who can’t manage the terrain of park trails. It’s pretty flat along the sidewalk, and there are lots of grassy areas for resting.

Spiff rose when we approached and let us all say hi.  I jumped up and licked his nose. Then I dashed off  to play ball with Heather and see what kind of rabbit activity I could find in the underbrush, while Mike paused to take Spiff’s picture. “Make sure you get his good side,” Andy advised,  but by then it was too late. As soon as Spiff sensed what was going on, he refused to cooperate any further.

Spiff and Andy Relax Along the Boulevard

Spiff and Andy Relax Along the Boulevard

Chloe on Steps-002

Facing the future

I just hope I can still enjoy life as much as Spiff does when I get that old. And that Mike and Heather remain as dedicated to me as Andy is to Spiff. I think they will. Mike, especially, seems very familiar with that particular stretch of parkland along the boulevard where old dogs walk, like he’s been there many times before. When my time comes, I’m sure I’ll be in good hands.

Chloë Entertains Tourists on the Boulevard

Tourists stalking Chloë on Magnolia Boulevard

Tourists on Magnolia Boulevard

I knew it was a Sunday, because in the morning I was allowed to jump into bed with Mike and Heather before breakfast and lick their plates after they ate blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and butter. Those things only happen on Sundays. After that, however, nobody paid much attention to me, which is not at all typical for a Sunday. I was not at all happy about it, either.

Mike stayed outside in the garden all day, busting his ass in the dirt and listening to yet another Mariner defeat on the radio. He was not a happy camper, either.  I hung in the office with Heather, who worked at the computer and cursed to herself all afternoon; except, guess what, I was there to hear it. No way I was going to get her way! I wouldn’t even risk asking her to take me out to pee, even though I had to. I just held it until Mike came inside. Heather made it clear to me that she couldn’t go with us, so I reluctantly went for a walk with Mike. That’s how badly I needed to pee.

By the time we finally got outside, the wind had picked up, and I knew the park would be chilly even on this sunny afternoon. So I guided Mike over to Magnolia Boulevard and set a quick, steady pace towards the south side of the bluff, where you can see downtown Seattle, the harbor and, on a clear day, distant Mount Rainier.  There are some wide, grassy areas over there that provide excellent terrain for chasing my ball for a while before circling back towards home.

Mike and I had  been playing fetch on the lawn, and I wasn’t paying much attention when a tour bus parked along the street. I had dropped my ball in the grass and was busy sampling the local salad bar when I noticed tourists getting off the bus and walking toward me, taking pictures and videos they could share with their friends and family from Nebraska or Japan. I immediately realized that my exploits in the realm of catch and fetch have received widespread exposure on the Internet, so they must have traveled to Seattle to meet me, witness my athletic prowess firsthand and perhaps go home with an autographed Visi-Ball or paw print souvenir. The Tours Northwest website touts “scenic Magnolia Bluff with its stunning homes and views” as the reason for bringing them here, but I know these tourists were really looking for Chloë the Magnificent.

While I can understand such adulation,  I was still shy with these strangers, as usual. Mike didn’t want me to scare them and create a scene, so  he put me into a down- stay at his feet, and I watched them silently from a distance until they gave up on observing my fetch repertoire  and re-boarded the minibus. I was a bit let down at the time, but in retrospect I agree that it was better to leave them wanting more.



After the bus pulled away, Mike flipped my ball downhill, and I took off in hot pursuit, catching up to it on the first high bounce and banging my teeth against it, which knocked it skyward until it landed in the thicket that rings the lower perimeter of the mowed area. Mike investigated, quickly discovered that mowing stopped at that point for a reason (thick vines and steep drop-off)  and aborted his search. Another Visi-Ball gone in a sudden, untimely manner. I have a feeling we’ll be ordering a few more soon.

Chloë,  Queen of the Visi-Ball

Chloë, Queen of the Visi-Ball