It’s hard to believe, I know, but I celebrated my 10th birthday this week. Ten years! It seems like only yesterday that I was rolling around with Frank, Stanley and the rest of my littermates up in Monroe, WA. I wonder what has become of them all. I never hear from anybody anymore; the rest of my Cousins’ Club must have marked me lousy.
So at 10, I’m still feeling—and often behaving—pretty puppy-like. I’m as stubborn as ever, and as apt to take off after a squirrel or scarf up mud from the ground as I’ve ever been. I’m spry enough to jump in and out of my camp chair several times a day and play fetch for 50 or more throws at a time—if I happen to be in the mood and there are no interesting distractions nearby, that is. My weight holds steady at a solid 20 pounds, which means Mike can’t cut my daily rations even though he’ like to. I have a few gray hairs, sure, but none around my muzzle yet. And that spot between my shoulders where I seem to be losing some hair? No problem; if it gets any worse, Mike will give me a combover when he grooms me before dinner.
Although I received no birthday cake and nary a card in the mail, I did enjoy a little recognition that day. Mike and Heather’s friend Kevin from Syracuse sent Mike an email: “I see on my calendar that Wednesday is Chloë’s birthday. When I mentioned it to my cat Tucker, he yawned, wondering why anyone would celebrate the birth of a dog. But tell her that I wish her a happy birthday.” What a magnanimous guy! I might have to pay Tucker a visit this summer and give him a growl.
My Aunt Susie in Syracuse sent her regards via telephone, and contributed all the gourmet chewy treats I enjoyed all week. There was also a nice voice mail from Yankee, the doodle dog who belongs to my pal Juneau George. I want to get up to Alaska to visit him before I’m deemed “too old to travel” or some other nonsense.
Even Mike and “No Presents” Heather came through. They gave me extra treats all day, and after my cheese-laden dinner that evening they delivered the piece de resistance: a double-barrel gift of a Racket Raccoon Mushabelly AND a gourmet dog chew stick made from 100 percent, open-pasture, grass-fed beefhide. The chewy treat was tempting, but there was no doubt which one I squealed for: There is nothing like a fresh Mushabelly.
Although this Racket Raccoon Mushabelly was hard to get out of his box, Heather finally helped me extricate him, and when we hit the floor together Mike started his stopwatch to see how long it would take me to break Mr. Racket Raccoon.
Luckily for you, my faithful readers, I won’t subject you to every second of my tussle with the aptly named Racket. Mike soon realized that Racket shut up whenever I wasn’t applying constant pressure to his belly, so he stuck the chewy stick in my mouth and earned a respite for the six minutes or so it took me to grind up and inhale the gourmet chew. I must admit I enjoyed it, and I would have gladly gobbled down a second and third, but when none was offered I turned my attention back to Racket and proceeded to throttle him but good. It didn’t take long. By the 27 minute and 43 second mark on Mike’s stopwatch, I had Racket’s innards scattered around the living room rug, his infernal voice box silent by his side.
Mike dutifully picked up Racket’s innards and stuffed them back inside his torso, and the next morning Heather sewed up him back together and gave him to me, alleviating much of my angst over his disappearance. I chased Racket around the house, just like I do with Lamby and Wiffie, but without his constant cackle his appeal to me will soon wear off, just like it did with all my previous Mushabellies after I silenced them. I never pull any of them out of my toy boxes anymore.
Oh well. I guess I’ll just have to wait until my buddy Penny returns from Florida in March. She always has some fresh Mushabellies at her house.