Tag Archives: Magnolia

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 Conquers a Titan

Titan

Titan

The first time I saw Titan, I thought I was hallucinating. From my height, he looked like a giraffe. We met suddenly one day last summer when I was turning the corner onto Magnolia Boulevard. His dog walker told Mike Titan was a puppy, 8 months old. I’ll bet he gets more to eat than I do. Titan is his name, but Mike thought she said Tyson, like the weird boxer. Later on, Heather met Titan and his owner Lou, and she got it right. It seems to me that Heather is always right.

Needless to say, Titan made me nervous. For the first few months I kept a wide berth when I saw him on the street. Sometimes we passed him sitting in a pen in front of his house, and I would always walk by real fast and pretend not to notice he was there. (I really did.) If I saw him coming down one side of the street, I maneuvered Mike over to the other side. I didn’t want to get too close if I could help it.

Sharing the sidewalk

Sharing the sidewalk

But Titan also intrigued me. In stark contrast to the indifference I display towards most canines, I was curious about him. I started to  study him from a distance, either from across a street or from the upper slope of the parade ground in the park, where Titan and his master often came for exercise an hour before sunset, the time Mike and I  always walk  in winter. As he grew and grew and grew toward a year old, Titan remained gentle, playful and friendly, and dogs large and small would stop to play when he was around. Too many dogs for me, but I liked to watch them from afar.

One drizzly day before Christmas, Titan and Lou were out on the parade ground alone, no other dogs in sight. I saw them and made Mike lead us closer, until he dropped my leash. I approached tentatively, in stages, and when I got within 20 feet, I dug in my paws and gave Titan my shrill, defensive bark. He cowered, yet I ran anyway, taking several steps and tucked into a roll, one of the moves I used to flash for my brothers Frank and Stanley. Prone on my back, I lifted my stubby paws to the sky and showed him my belly. Titan sniffed me a couple of times and trotted away. Not wanting to push my luck, I hid behind Mike’s legs for the rest of the time he talked to Lou.

After that, Titan and I saw each other a couple more times on the street or in the park, and I was starting to feel a little more comfortable around him, as long as there weren’t any other dogs in the mix. That is, until a couple of weeks before Christmas, when a For Rent sign went up in front of Titan’s house. Soon thereafter, Titan’s pen was gone and so was Titan.

I thought we might see Titan and his guy in the park once in a while, but so far that hasn’t happened. Maybe Titan and Lou moved far away. Here, the days are getting a little longer, spreading out dog-walking time, and the gaggle of dogs at Titan’s ersatz dog park on the parade ground has dissipated. Mike and I walked past Titan’s house this week, and we could tell different people were living there. From what we could see through the windows, the new residents looks like more of a family than Lou and Titan did. I guess they’re gone for good, just when I was starting to look forward to seeing that big lug, giving him my “best-friend ” butt wiggle as I approached. I guess I’m going to have to find another Great Dane to pal around with.