Tag Archives: Stupid Pet Tricks

Chloë Fears Development

Chloë's Lane, Fall

Entry to Chloë’s Lane, Fall

My favorite spot in the park  lies along a lightly used trail behind what’s known as the Headquarters Building. I call it Chloë’s Lane. It has the best spring greens and the best course for playing fetch and  “find it” (when the ball gets buried in the underbrush and I have to sniff it out). It’s also the gateway to the small hill where Mike and I play my other game, catch, with him throwing the ball uphill and over my head, so I have to sprint into the woods to retrieve it and then “throw it back” by dropping it and nosing it down the hill until it gains momentum and rolls all the way to back to Mike at the bottom. I refer to this as my “stupid pet trick,”  giving a huge shout-out to David Letterman on his impending retirement. Maybe Dave’s dog will be blogging soon.


Playing fetch in front on new landmark

Playing fetch in front of new landmark

Anyway, one day recently we returned to Chloë’s Lane and found something new at the head of the trail. Atop the mound of grass, weeds and twigs that had been accumulating there for a year or more was a round plastic reservoir, with the pile fortified with logs. Further investigation revealed that it was the same unit previously deployed at the top of the South Meadow, complete with its graffiti. Within days, hoses appeared in the asphalt parking lot between the Headquarters Building and Chloë’s Lane.

Waiting to play catch

Ears back, waiting to play catch

I’m  not exactly sure why the tank and hoses are there or how long they will stay. Clearly, the reservoir deploys around the park as needed, so it won’t be there forever. But as for why it showed up, I’ve yet to see any of the hoses hooked up to the spigot.  The tank might be empty, for all I know, and there are no recent plantings in areas close by that are crying out for water.  I can only hope that this equipment does not a signal that further improvements are planned for this lightly traveled corridor, which is not far from where private developers have taken over the former naval residences along Officer’s Row and plan to renovate them for resale this summer. As you might imagine, I prefer that Chloë’s Lane stay just the way it is.



Chloë Impresses a New Pal

Chloë introduces Charlie to her park

Chloë introduces Charlie to her park

I met Charlie, a friend of Mike and Heather from back in Syracuse, a few weeks back, but at the time I had no idea he would come back again so soon. Apparently he got the job he was interviewing for that day, moved to Seattle, and will be staying with us until he finds an apartment.  He better find one that allows dogs,  because I plan to visit.  I could tell from the first time I met him that Charlie is a dog guy: He knew exactly where I like having my head rubbed, and he did it for a long time.

Here’s what a dog guy he is. Since he didn’t know that UPS is my preferred package delivery service. he shipped his stuff here on competitors; I won’t embarrass them by printing their names. The packages arrived, and each time I got excited in vain: No UPS, no bickies. However, as soon as Charlie learned that he had made a faux pas, he pledged to buy me a whole box of biscuits to make up for it. I’m still waiting for that delivery, but it’s only been a day, and Charlie also had to start his new job at the daily newspaper and look for an apartment, so I’ll cut him some slack. I want to stay on his good side, just in case he can give me an inside track to syndicate my blog posts to other markets and platforms.

Guarding Chloë Lane

Guarding Chloë Lane

Until he started working, Charlie came along with Mike and I on our afternoon walk.  Charlie is trying to get used to the park’s geography, so I am showing him around the nooks and crannies of the trail system.  He quickly put my lessons to use, running the whole Loop Trail twice in about 45 minutes one morning. Yikes, that’s more than five miles, with lots of hills. I later heard him tell Mike that he sometimes takes his Jack Russell terrier Logan running with him (Logan lives in what we call “the other Washington”). I never thought I’d be saying this, but thank god I just have to put up with Mike’s demands on my fitness. I realize now that things could be worse.

Of course, even on the walks when we were showing Charlie around, Mike always made sure I got in enough aerobic exercise. Every day we did at least 15 fetches on Chloë Lane, my favorite location, and an equal number of chances in my favorite game, catch.  I have previously reported about the strides I’ve made in both areas, but apparently I haven’t been giving myself enough credit. After seeing me chase down and return his throws (see the video below), Charlie told Mike and Heather that he was “amazed” by my talent. He said he was particularly impressed with my ability to gauge exactly where to release the ball and how hard to fling it to the ground to make it roll to my catcher some 50 feet away. Charlie compared it to a professional golfer lining up a putt. And he was right: It’s all about concentration and  touch. Check it out for yourself:


In fact, at dinner on the evening we shot the video, Charlie couldn’t stop gushing about how amazed he was. However, one aspect of his otherwise glowing comments rubbed me the wrong way. He referred to it as my “trick,” and he advised Mike to try to get me on Dave Letterman’s Stupid Pet Tricks.

But that’s selling me short. This is no trick, it’s skill, pure and simple. And I may be just scratching the surface of my potential. Maybe I’ll run off and join the circus. or replace Derek Jeter. I’m a work in progress. Excelsior!