Fetching along the hatchery path.
Nearly every day since Christmas it’s been “raining like stink,” as Heather likes to say, but we went for a walk every afternoon anyway. Most days we walked in the park, but sometimes we walked to the library or Magnolia Village and back instead. On a couple of days we caught a break: The rain stopped or slowed to a drizzle, or the sun broke through for an hour or two. Then the wind picked up and the rain started again. Even when wasn’t raining, the ground stayed muddy. The towels stationed near the front door to wipe me down when I come inside get quite a workout. So do the washing machine (for the towels) and eventually the bathtub (for me).
One day it stopped raining long enough for us to drive to Carkeek Park. I’m not sure we had been there sincelast spring, when my good pal Charlie moved to St. Louis. Not only were there good trails and new scents to explore, but we also visited two of my favorite places for fetch: the path to the salmon hatchery and “the Rock,” where Charlie and I perfected our carom toss and return.
Chloë on the Rock in better days.
They tried valiantly, but neither Heather nor Mike could execute this delicate maneuver as well as Charlie. Even though he never would never give me any treats (except of course the bagsful he gifted me at Christmas and for my birthday), I miss Charlie. He was a skilled and dependable thrower. Now, just like the Mariners, I’m stuck here in Seattle with Triple-A level hurlers. I guess I’ll have to make do.
Figure 1: Chloe Weight Chart May 2018
As we all knew would happen, my food honeymoon is over. After nine glorious weeks of uber-rations, I reached my target weight (18.5 pounds) at my most recent vet visit, when I weighed in at 18.69 pounds. That visit was the one after the last one on the accompanying chart (Figure 1). On that very day, twirling his imaginary handlebar mustache like the mean Simon Legree we know him to be, Mike immediately cut me back to his unilaterally imposed and strictly observed meager limits. Oh, the agony of it all! The only saving grace right now is the extra broth Mike is adding to all my meals, since I have to eat softened kibble until Dr. Crocker installs the cap on my recently root-canaled chipped tooth. (Meaning more sedation and great dreams to come, no doubt!)
Double dose of goo.
While I was sad when my bulk-up menu ended, I will always savor the glorious nine weeks that it was! I gained almost two pounds in nothing flat. I can see how some members of the dachshund breed can get precipitously porky. Not me. . .at least not as long as Mike and Heather are paying attention, anyway. I’d settle for some middle ground.
I also had a great visit with my buddy Lynn, who came over for some play and cuddles one evening when Mike and Heather went out to watch the first-place Seattle Mariners. I always go absolutely nuts when Lynn comes over. She really knows how to talk “dog talk” in a higher pitch, if you know what I mean. When she’s around I always get plenty of attention, plenty of play and plenty of treats. Heather even moved my big, round toy pillow back to the middle of the living room, so Lynn and I could get at them easier while she was here. So we did a lot of playing, upstairs and downstairs, too. But the best parts of Lynn’s visit were cuddling on the couch, jumping up on her lap and biting her nose. Every time I look in her eyes, it’s true love. Thanks for coming over, Lynn!
Big, round toy pillow makes brief reappearance.
The downside of the week was yet another ear infection, this time in my “good ” right ear. Heather and Dr. Kimmel each took a bunch of ugly black goo out of my ear and squirted some soothing white goo in. I don’t like it one bit; when Heather says the word “ears,” I run. But after this now-daily ordeal is done, Heather gives me cheese. Not the little bits of chopped-up mozzarella sticks Mike gives me, but thick pieces of smoked Gouda. Less goo, more Gouda, dat’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout! For that level of payoff, sign me up for an ear massage every day.
Wiffie: Chloë Official Autograph Model
My ball-playing exploits with the purple-and-white Visi-Ball and Wiffie have been well documented over the years. I am adept at catching grounders like Ozzie Smith and throwing to the plate as accurately as Ichiro. Now Mike is taking me to the major leagues.
Thankfully, he has thus far abstained from the dreaded Bark at the Park nights, when Mariners fans bring their pooches to Safeco Field for a game. Last time more than 500 dogs showed up with owners in tow. Come on, standing around for three hours with 500 stranger dogs? No, thank you. I like hot dogs and peanuts, but not that much. And check out that website about it. Did you see all the hoops you have to jump through to go? And the big pay-off at the end is I get to walk around the bases? Big deal. Let me know when they Mariners let dogs roam free in the outfield.
Besides, I’m more than a dog. Instead, Mike signed me up for the Mariners Kids Club, and so far it’s working out well. I’ve already received two pamphlets from the Mariners and a personalized greeting from M’s ace Felix Hernandez.
Then came the tricky part, when Mike had to visit the stadium without me and convince the young ladies behind the Kids Club registration desk to give him my official Mariners Kids Club ID card, lanyard, tote bag and wiffle ball without me actually being there. They were reluctant, but Mike shamed them into it.
The Mariner Moose came through with all the promised items delivered in a plastic tote bag. I’m not sure I’ll be able to use the bag, unless Heather can take a scissors to it and cut enough holes that I can use it as a rain coat. But the ID card came out fine.
Chloë is in the club.
I’m not sure yet whether I’ll be able to use the Mariners wiffie. It’s got the holes on half of its area, making it vulnerable to my constant gnawing; at least, that’s what happened to earlier balls of this design. It may have to be designated “for display purposes only.” Within the next few days Mike will toss it into the kitchen and we’ll see if my taste in balls has changed.
Chloë displays her card.
The Kids Club lanyard is a little large for my neck, but it’s adjustable. Mike told me that Heather would adjust it for me the next time we go to play some fetch. I’m concentrating on improving my play of caroms off the tree stumps on Chloë’s Lane just in case the Mariners Kids Club has a picnic and softball game.
Official Hot Dog of the Seattle Mariners
Mike wasn’t around much last weekend. He was with his friend Larry Baashe watching the Chicago Cubs. This didn’t sit well with me, since, as we know, I am the official hot dog of the Seattle Mariners, who were playing the Cubs.
Despite all my rooting, the Cubs took two of three from the M’s, but I’m used to that. My Mariners suck, and they will continue to suck until they get new management. At least that’s what the loud morons on the radio cry all day. No, the loss I mourned was losing most of my time with Mike before he headed back to Syracuse for a visit. The only good part about it was that it was real hot outside, and they didn’t have much time to make me take long walks in the park. So I did a lot of lounging, and when my friend Lynn came over because Heather went to one of the baseball games with them, I got a cooling bath and lots of bananas.
Larry and friends: Cubs win! Cubs win!
Anyway, Larry’s team won the series, and he could hoist the “W” banner known by their fans to signify another Cubs win. The Mariners fans in the crowd had to stop chanting “1908!” for a few moments. How can they make fun of the Cubs for not winning a championship since 1908 when the lousy Mariners have never even gone to the World Series? Civility has left us, especially in the realm of sports. It’s just appalling, really.
I didn’t get to spend too much time with Larry, but he kept telling Heather that he loved his accommodations here so much that he would be returning in a few weeks for a longer stay, without the Cubs. That said, I figured I’d be a good sport and let him take a “Visitor Portrait” with me. It’s been a while since we had any visitors, but I remembered how to do it.
The Official Hot Dog of the Seattle Mariners looks lovingly at Larry Bashe.
Maybe Larry will post the photo to his Facebook page, and news of my fame and good looks will be spread even further. So I’ll play along: Go Cubs! Go Orange! Go get me another treat, please. I am worthy.
When I got up that morning, it didn’t feel so special. On the other hand, it didn’t seem like a particularly bad Friday, and I knew Friday the 13th was still a whole week away. But I failed to see anything particularly good about it, either. My breakfast and morning walk were uneventful. Heather had to go to work early, so I had to get by with a morning walk with Mike, who in the morning is always in a big rush to get back home and eat his Cheerios. Later, though, after Mike had finished his cereal and a couple of cups of coffee, my day started getting better. How? Let me count the ways:
Kongs hold more!
- Mike gave me a rubber Kong overstuffed with peanut butter, fruit and yogurt, not one of those lower-calorie stuffed marrow bones. Those are OK, but let’s face it: Kong rules.
- Perhaps guilty from short-changing me on the morning walk, Mike took me on a extra-long afternoon walk and played lots of fetch along the way as he listened to the Seattle Mariners’ pregame show on the radio. No doubt inspired by the advent of a new baseball season, I made several excellent catches and throws of my purple-and-white ball, earning extra praise and treats from Mike. But we were barely getting warmed up on “goodness.”
Chloë’s favorite delivery service.
- When we were coming back down our street, I spied none other than my favorite UPS driver pulling up to the Bartons’ house down the block. I yanked Mike all the way down there, and not only did my #1 guy throw me one of his trademark large biscuits, but he also said that he had a package for us, too! And when he handed it to Mike, he slipped me another of the biscuits that he keeps inside that huge brown truck of his. If I could only get in!
- And wait, there’s more: That UPS package was for me! It was from the company that makes Visi-Ball, and inside were two brand-new Visi-Balls in their spiffy new packaging. I wonder if I’ll get to chase both of them at the same time. To be continued.
Chloë’s new Visi-Balls arrive.
- Almost tuckered out by all of the afternoon activities and surprises, I might have appeared a bit slow on my feet when Heather came home and wanted to play some tug of war with me. Next thing I know, she’s pulled the new toy box out of the hall closet, and she’s urging me to stick my head in and pull out any new toy I like! Yikes! All I could do was wonder what it was that made this night different from all other nights.
Rather than dwell on it, however, I chose a squeaking tug toy that seemed to be a cross between a leopard, a koala bear and a cheetah. So far I’m calling him Tiger and paying a lot of attention to him, carrying him around and tossing him at Heather’s feet when I want to see Tiger hurled across the room. We’ll see how long he lasts in my favor after he hits the big pillow in the living room with Wiffie, Foxy, Sharkie, Squeaky and the rest of my crew.
All in all, I’d have to call this a great Good Friday, my best one ever, and pretty damn good for any other day of the week.