Tag Archives: Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

Chloë Takes a Puppy to School

Mr. Fuzz

I was excited to to return to my mountain getaway in east King County last week. As soon as we exited I-90 and climbed into to the foothills, I knew where we were going, back to the palace of wall-to-wall carpet and lawns galore. It’s my absolutely favorite place to play fetch, 50 or more throws at each session. And I love being the undisputed leader of the pack with Pumpkin, the little dog who lives there, and the mysterious Mr. Fuzz, the bushy cat who mostly stays upstairs when I’m around. They know their place.

Smokey

Unfortunately, sometime after our last visit, Smokey showed up. About 8 months old when we arrived, Smokey is the successor to Tara, the brilliant Aussie who showed me the ropes out here when I was a but a wee pup. Supposedly it was my turn to pass some wisdom on to Smokey, except for one thing: Smokey just didn’t want to listen. Every single time he could, he just wanted to bite me on the ears or stick his nose up my butt, like I was going to smell different every time. Heather yelled, “Leave!” and “No” more than I’ve ever heard them yelled before, even in my own frolicking puppyhood. Heather was worn out after a week of grappling on the other end of a leash with Smokey, a strong and growing boy.

Chloe and Smokey rest on the trail.

Heather said Smokey hadn’t been out much beyond the grounds of his home property. He didn’t know anything about taking a walk, so we taught him how to do it, and we walked on the Preston-Snoqualmie and the Snoqualmie Valley trails. By the end of our time there, he was getting better at following the pack, although he kept trying to pick up large sticks at the end instead of in the middle, and he turned out to be a serial pooper, meaning he took several long strides between each deposit, so it was hard to know when he was done and harder to find those nuggets when he was. Heather needed a lot of bags. And she also had to teach Smokey about how to ride in the back of the car, although it took a lot of pushing and shoving from Heather and Mike in the front seat to keep him there. On the plus side, since Smokey had to be by himself in the back seat tied to my harness, I finally regained my rightful place in the front seat in Mike’s lap. Good timing, too; in this comfortable spot I could lay my head down, close my eyes, and not think about the twisty roads we were driving on, which make me queasy.

Chloë smugly watches Smokey suffer in Heather’s Boot Camp.

Heather tried valiantly to teach Smokey better manners, but even a week in Heather’s infamous Boot Camp could not make much difference. Hopefully Smokey will grow out of his rambunctiousness and be a nice guy to be around, but at this time he’s still a work in progress. While we were in the house, he mostly had to stay in his exercise pen in the living room, just to keep him out of everyone’s face and give Pumpkin and I some respite from his constant advances. We all felt sorry for Pumpkin, because when no one is around to tell Smokey “no,” he will hound her constantly and drive her into her crate or onto seats of chairs that are pushed in under the dining room table, where she crawls up in her little lair and hopes he doesn’t find her.

Status reclaimed.

Anyway, I missed out on the other Big Excitement of our week at the getaway. I was inside the house with Mike in the middle of the afternoon when Heather took Pumpkin and Smokey outside for some exercise. She threw the ball for Smokey (and he was making some progress on bringing it back!) while Pumpkin ran unleashed in in the horse ring until Heather saw a cougar standing at the edge of the property, on a trail that goes into the state forest land out back. She yanked on Smokey’s leash, called Pumpkin to come and hightailed it with them to the house, while the cougar hightailed it in the opposite direction.

It was a good thing that I didn’t happen to be out there fetching my ball on the back lawn when that big cat appeared. Everyone knows how much I love to chase cats. It could have been good practice for the Bartons’ cats down the street., and no one doubts I would have been deterred by its size.

Chloe on Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

Although I missed that opportunity, and sometimes Smokey got to be a bit intimidating, it was a worthwhile time out there. It made Heather appreciate much more just what a good dog I am. And as I always like to say, better him than me.

 

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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.