Tag Archives: ups driver

Chloë Finds Familiar Faces

Donna’s back!

Maybe things are finally loosening up. For months, the only people I saw were Mike and Heather. Caroline, David and Schatzi stopped by once. That’s about it.

Then, lo and behold, things begin to awake. Heather and I encountered my favorite UPS driver on the street one day. Donna had been away several months with an injury, but she’s finally back on our route and still carrying bickies.  I am hoping Mike and Heather keep ordering a lot of stuff online.

Then my favorite house cleaners, Jeré and Channon, made their return, and believe me, as someone who’s down on the floor of this house a lot, their return came not a moment too soon. Heather is a meticulous cleaner, I  have observed over the past several weeks, but she’s not a professional like Jeré and Channon are. They know all the secrets. And beyond that, not only did I get my usual quota of treats from them while they were here, but they also left a few extra ones to make up for the times they couldn’t come since February.

Chloë ‘s pals return from pandemic leave.

There were a couple of other returns of note.  I finally got to see my old pal Penny, who has been quarantined at her house since returning from Florida in March. Now she has a little dog named Phoebe living with her until she goes to New York in another week or so. All that flying! I’ll miss seeing all my Syracuse friends this summer, but you’re not getting me on an airplane any time soon.

The owl returns.

Another return was the threatening barred owl to her favorite local haunts among the tall trees of Discovery Park.  She has stalked us for several years, and this time she swooped down on Heather and me when we got a little too close to her youngster, perched on an overhanging branch nearby. There have been many other owl sightings in the area, but we’ve seen her just one other time, and Junior wasn’t visible. We’ll keep looking, though.

Chloë Finds Christmas Secrets

Secret tree

The first time I found the Secret Christmas Tree in Discovery Park, just Heather and I were walking. Mike must have been at some appointment or other. It was in a fairly out-of-the-way location in the South Meadow, not far from the wooded area called Spruce Island. We had to traverse some narrow trails to get there. It was still light out, so at first we saw only its colored ornaments. Upon closer inspection, we saw it also had a string of colored lights powered by two solar collection discs wired to the trunk of the 6-foot tree. It’s actually more visible at night, when its sparkling lights can be seen from paved park road above. A sign at the base of the tree begs for benevolence toward the clearly illegal decoration and solicits comments about it. I did my part for Secret Christmas Tree preservation, leaving as quickly as possible after the photo because the recently clipped blackberry branches were doing a number on my feet.

Ouch! Those thorns !

Other than that, we enjoyed a quiet Christmas at home. My pal Charlie came over for dinner, and I hung out with him in the living room watching LeBron James while Mike and Heather were busy getting the various dishes on the table. Outside in the rain, Mike roasted beef, which usually means good things for me later. However, while I got plenty of dishes to lick after they ate dinner, I was distressed to learn that neither of those delicious rib bones from the roast were coming my way. As a recent visit to my dentist-veterinarian for a six-month, post-surgery checkup again illustrated, last spring’s root canal and the titanium crown protecting it preclude real bones from touching my lips forever. The best I can hope for from Christmas dinner will be some quality trimmings and some tasty bone broth. That and dental chews are my new normal.

Personal delivery for Chloë?

My only Christmas presents came from my old reliables. My  Syracuse aunts and my pal Charlie both came through with  treats and a ball, while Mike and Heather gave me a brand-new orange SU collar, just in time for the big bowl game (which we’re watching at Penny’s house). But the highlight of the gift-giving season was not a present, but rather when Donna, my favorite UPS driver, pulled her big brown truck into our next-door neighbor’s driveway. I figured she had done that because Heather’s car was in our driveway, but no, her delivery was really for the kids next door. I had to settle for Donna’s treats, but it was very exciting while it lasted. My frenzied barking to get out of the house got every dog in the neighborhood going. Sorry about that.

Christmas presence


Chloë Inspects Brown’s Belly

Every time my ultra-sensitive dog ears hear a UPS truck coming up our one-way street, I go nuts. Springing from bed or chair, I sprint to the front door, barking uncontrollably. Mike, who startles easily, jerks to attention. Heather yells at me to keep quiet. I could care less. I have to get outside to greet Donna, my favorite uniformed agent of a large, multinational corporation, who occasionally brings us stuff and gives me biscuits even when she doesn’t.

Waiting for brown

Usually when we meet, Donna is out of her big, brown truck with a package, so we greet each other at street level. But one day when I dragged Heather outside, Donna had parked her truck down our block and paused to eat her lunch, so she was sitting inside. Heather let me hop right up into the cab, and after Donna and I said our hellos, I investigated the back of the truck, where all the packages were stacked on shelves that went all the way to the roof. Frankly, not nearly as exciting as the vast emporium of treats I had imagined. Getting treats from Donna on the sidewalk is definitely more exciting than that. Nevertheless, when I had the opportunity to hop inside for a second look, I seized it gladly. Unfortunately, it wasn’t vastly more interesting the second time through.

Chloë gets a peek inside.

Now, of course, the busy season for package deliveries has arrived. Donna now has an assistant who helps carry packages to houses from the truck. But more often than not, when a brown truck comes up our street, it’s not Donna’s. I hate it when that happens! These extra-shift drivers never try to cultivate relationships with the customers and their canine companions. Come on guys, it’s a relationship business! Throw the dogs a bone or two. It’s that most wonderful time of the year!

Oh, well. The new drivers make me appreciate Donna even more. I’m going to have to get Heather to give her a better holiday gift this year. Just put it on my tab.


Chloë Pines for Brown

When UPS is near, the waiting is the hardest part.

With Santa Monkey and Rudolph

As much as I enjoyed this holiday season, I also noticed something different. Rudolph the Reindeer and Santa Monkey didn’t provoke the same enthusiasm I showed for them in the past. Approaching 8 years old, am  I too grown up for Santa and kisses under the mistletoe?

No, something else put the pall on my holiday: Far fewer personal encounters with UPS drivers.  In past years I’ve stalked them through Magnolia, sniffing out their trails. This season, not so much. Needless to say, “No-Presents” Heather wasn’t generating many deliveries, but that’s a given. It’s all the other deliveries to neighbors on our street that I was missing. Once the drivers get to know me, they may give me a biscuit even when the delivery is for someone else. When I  hung out in Mike’s office all day, I could hear the brown trucks two blocks away, and I could make a barking beeline to the front door in time for Mike to get me out in the street and position myself so the driver couldn’t miss seeing me.

But this past December, spending all my time downstairs in front of the fireplace in Heather’s work area, apparently Brown sound waves cannot penetrate. I don’t think UPS deliveries in our neighborhood were fewer; when my driver buddy Donna delivered a package to Heather the other day (I got two bickies!), she said she was still working extra hours well after Christmas. The Brown trucks are still rumbling by, I just can’t hear them like I used to. I can’t hear much of anything down there, especially when the fireplace blower is on. I don’t even bark anymore when Tony the mailman drops stuff through the slot in the front door.

Biscuit Delivery Machine

While I love hanging out with Heather all day, I realized that being sealed off from the outside world  on our lower level resulted in fewer treats and less love from UPS drivers. And this comes at a particularly bad time, because recently UPS drivers and the dogs who follow them have been getting positive national publicity (Huffington Post and Facebook ).  So, with my diminished exposure to the UPS drivers in our neighborhood, I don’t foresee any photo ops in my immediate future. I sense a missed opportunity to boost my brand.

Guarding the stockings.

Overall, being downstairs with Heather all day has been great. Compared to Mike’s office, it’s warmer and more comfortable, two conditions that always top my list. But it was not until the holiday season ended that I recognized the unintended consequence of my womb-like new lair. Yes, as comfortable and warm as I was, less brown made my holiday more blue.

Chloë Makes Strides with Brown

Biscuit Delivery Machine

Biscuit Delivery Machine

My new favorite UPS driver, Donna, visited my house twice last week. Like right to the front door. One time she left a biscuit on top of the package she left outside, thinking no one was home. We must have been downstairs, I guess, for me not to have heard her coming. When she heard me barking inside, and Mike finally got the door open and me outside on a leash, she came back and gave me a big greeting and biscuit No. 2. She even sat down on the steps for a few seconds to talk to me! I’m in love. My former favorite Mr. UPS, Kevin, was great with the biscuits, but he was a taciturn, John Wayne-type. The most endearing thing he ever said to me was, “Here, Killer.” He always called me Killer. Donna actually knows my name.

The brown standard.

The brown standard.

On another day the UPS truck stopped outside our house, and I hustled Mike out the door in plenty of time for the driver to see me, but when we got outside I could see the driver wasn’t Donna. Even my favorite UPS delivery person needs a day off now and then! I yanked Mike out to the street anyway, and when I stared up at the young man in the cab he got the message immediately, fumbling around on the dashboard until he found a piece of biscuit to toss my way. I pounced, Mike yelled a thank you, and I waited expectantly for the second huge biscuit that Kevin would throw my way. None was forthcoming.

Oh, well. Mike seems to be on an Amazon Prime binge, so I expect to be seeing a lot of brown delivery trucks around. Maybe next time.

Chloë Celebrates a Best-Ever Holiday

I needn’t have worried about the tight quarters in front of our fireplace for stocking-filling. Santa came through just fine for me. In fact, I had already enjoyed two special events by the time the big day arrived.

Re-gifted her toys.

Re-gifted her toys.

Mike and I were just walking down our block one day, minding our own business, when Merrie’s mom Jane came running out of her house and calling to Mike. She wanted to re-gift me with two brand-new toys that had been given to her Basset hound Merrie. She was certain Merrie would chew them. Being somewhat of an expert on toy-chewing myself, however, I doubt that scenario, but are you kidding? I wasn’t saying no. Although Mike told Jane that if I wasn’t interested in the toys, he would drop them off at the Seattle Animal Shelter, by the time we got back to our house, I had already knocked them out of Mike’s hands, scooped them up and claimed them as my own. I was so excited.

Soft green boney

Soft green boney

I immediately adopted both. One is a small orange bear that I have so far been unable to silence from its squeaking, despite my many efforts. The other is a fabric-covered green bone that has “Been there chewed that” stitched on one side. This one was easy to quiet and thus far has become a popular participant in indoor fetch sessions. Sometimes the soft green bone even supplies a good target for some tug-o-war with Mike. Heather doesn’t do tug-o-war. I haven’t named the orange bear or the green bone yet, but I’m working on it.

My good fortune continued. A couple of evenings later, my new UPS delivery person Donna came to my own front door! I heard her truck come down the block and park, and as Mike looked out the window to verify my warning, Donna was actually bounding down our walk, delivering a package for Heather and biscuits right to my doorstep. She gave me two, my first personal double-biscuit delivery since my favorite Mr. Brown Kevin left the route a bit more than a year ago.

Chanukah gelt for Chloë.

Chloë surveys her Chanukah gelt.

Come Christmas morning, my stocking was full. I got Paul Newman’s personal dog treats from Charlie and all-natural chewies from my aunts Susie and Debby. Mike gave me lots of extra treats all day, a rarity for that tightwad. And Heather, who stayed home from work all week (in a sneak preview of what this “retirement” thing might be like), gave me one “Get Out of Jail Free” card for when I get in trouble on her watch and took me on several long walks in the park, just the two of us, followed by some power-napping. With all of this loot coming on top of the comfy new mattress in the bedroom that has now returned to easy dachshund accessibility, my stocking haul was more than I could possibly ask for.

It was nice to have my pack all together and under the same roof all day. Over two days of the Christmas weekend, the three of us (along with my pal Charlie on Christmas Day) hiked to six of my favorite fetch locations in the park, pausing for some spirited throw-and-return at each stop. The six were Chloë’s Lane, the Hill Below the 500 Area, Behind the Visitors Center, the Cemetery, the South Meadow and the Capehart Fence. I just hope Animal Control Officers aren’t faithful readers of my blog. The potential for drone surveillance worries me.

That’s why I’ve decided to lie low ’til 2017. Happy New Year.


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 Makes New Friends

Alone again naturally.

Alone again naturally.

Quite surprisingly, even to myself, I’ve been getting more social of late with other dogs. While I’m normally apprehensive, content to watch them from afar, recently I’ve been more curious, approaching warily, almost willing to engage. Sometimes I’m even starting to seek out their company, tentatively, then slinking away if my presence draws their interest,  or in a few cases even playing for a bit before retreating to safety behind Mike or Heather. It’s a process.

Meanwhile, I always do better with humans. I finally met the new UPS delivery guy, Craig. Unlike the reports from Merrie’s mom Jane that he gave Merrie five bickies at once, he gave me only one,  so I stalked his truck at every stop on our block. He waved at me when he drove off, but he didn’t throw me a second biscuit from the driver’s seat. I guess M & H will have to order more stuff online so he will see what important customers we are. He will have to be trained, that’s all there is to it!

Wait, don't leave without throwing another biscuit!

Wait, don’t leave without throwing another biscuit!

Of course, if anyone is planning to send any year-end holiday gifts our way, please don’t screw around with long lines at the post office or those white trucks from Federal Express…go BROWN, people!

I also have a new pal in Jill, my new dog walker. Mike and Heather went somewhere…they had been packing for days, so it must be farther than Syracuse. Lynn is staying with me as usual, but now she has to work more, so Jill comes during the day and takes me out for a long walk, but no off-leash time or ball-throwing. Jill is now my third walker this week, after Lynn and of course Charlie, who comes on the weekend. Jill must be some kind of specialist, I figure. Maybe this is part of the boot camp that Heather is always threatening me with. We’ll see. In the meantime, Jill puts my Kong Wobbler on the kitchen floor when she leaves, so it seems no training is necessary for her. If it is, I’ll get Mike to take care of it whenever he comes back from wherever he and Heather went. I’m certain it won’t be that much longer…it never is.



Chloë Feels Blue Over Brown


Merrie: Another fan of UPS.

I had already heard the rumor from Merrie down the street, so the it didn’t shock me when Heather read me the news from  the Magnolia Voice blog the week that Mike was visiting Syracuse:

My favorite UPS guy, Kevin

My favorite UPS guy, Kevin

“After 35 years of delivering for UPS in our neighborhood, Kevin is retiring.  Kevin’s official last day is Oct. 30.”

Apparently Merrie and I were not the only Magnolia dogs to perk up their ears at the sound of his truck. Just  check out some of the comments to the blog post. Personally, I went absolutely nuts with barking, squealing and running around in circles every time I head that mighty truck engine roar down our block. And my two-biscuit gravy train was about to end? Say it isn’t so!

Luckily, Heather had ordered something on Amazon.com (Countertop Magic, I think it was), and we had a delivery that week while Heather was home working during the day. As usual, I started yelping and ran to the front door as soon as I heard the brown truck downshifting on Magnolia Boulevard. Heather leashed me up, holding on firmly, and we greeted him at the door. Heather gave him an envelope containing one of my special thank-you cards, my business card and a gift in return, a small token of my esteem for all the great service and Milk Bones he has delivered to us all these years. I scarfed up my last two Kevin biscuits with relish, since Mike wasn’t around to beat me to it and save it for later. No saving them on this special day!

When Mike got back, Merrie’s owner Jane told us that Kevin had already introduced them to his replacement driver, and that the guy gave Merrie five biscuits. Five! she said. Mike blanched when he heard that. We have had no corroboration yet, but clearly, educating all new UPS drivers on biscuit etiquette will be top priority.

Biscuit Delivery Machine

Biscuit Delivery Machine

For the time being, Mike is keeping me inside whenever I hear a brown truck roaring by. If our house gets a delivery, that’s one thing, but he doesn’t want me to be looking expectantly at every person in a brown uniform that I see, or to beg from drivers delivering to our neighbors. Mike and I have already seen a couple of drivers pass by us without slowing down and tossing two biscuits out the truck’s doorway as I stare at them forlornly. With the busy delivery season starting, I don’t know if I will be able to handle serial disappointment like that on a daily basis. It’s going to be hard on both of us.

Still, one day this week I led Mike on a scouting trip around the neighborhood. Although we did not spy a single UPS truck, it happened to be garbage pickup day, and I was lucky enough to snag a loaded pizza crust off the ground just the other side of the boulevard. Mmmmmm…it was the chewy kind, with some sauce and cheese still on top. No way Mike was getting that prize out of my mouth!  Anybody who says that I can’t walk and chew at the same time hasn’t seen me strut down the sidewalk chomping on a slice of pizza. When there are no bickies (dog biscuits) coming your way, you just gotta improvise.


Chloë Dreams of a Brown Christmas

Antlers return.

Antlers return.

I could tell we were zeroing in on That Most Wonderful Time of the Year when Santa Monkey, Rudolf and Mr. Moose came out of the storage bin and into the living room. Stockings and lights were hung. And the best part: My favorite big brown truck started coming more often. December must be some kind of mating season for the big brown trucks; I’ve seen them congregate in the parking lot of the former Bill the Butcher store at the bottom of our hill, rear end to rear end, in broad daylight. I’m certain something’s going on.

On the Boulevard

On the Boulevard

My personal favorite UPS driver has lots of deliveries in our neighborhood. More than once, Mike and I crossed paths with his truck before we even got to our corner. Of course, Mr. UPS throws two biscuits my way every time. So after I scarf them off the pavement (unless Mike grabs one first so I don’t wolf them down), we don’t walk towards the park as usual. Instead, I lead Mike along Magnolia Boulevard and its cross streets, hoping to meet the brown truck again. Even when I can’t hear it, its scent hangs in the moist December air. Or maybe it’s the scent of Milk Bones.

So for the past few weeks, I kept dragging Mike through the neighborhood, noting the tasteful light displays and chortling at the ugly ones. If I sensed we were closing in on the truck, I’d start to walk faster, but I had to be careful, because if Mike saw the truck before I did, he tried to steer me in the wrong direction. If I spied it first and got some forward momentum, however, there was no stopping me.

Dravus tower

Dravus tower

One day I caught him twice, and Mr. Brown gave me double Milk Bones both times. I call that my Ghost of Christmas Past moment. At the other extreme, my version of the dreaded Christmas Future: One day a big brown truck roared up the street near the water tower on Dravus, a favorite destination of mine. I waited for it by the curb, expecting two biscuits to fly my way. But the truck went right past me, turned the corner and stopped.

Mating season?

Mating season?

I dragged Mike across the street after it, and sat on the sidewalk between the truck and the house, waiting expectantly. In the truck were a driver and a runner, neither my guy. The runner smiled, told me I was cute, but shook his head sorrowfully. “No treats,”he said, showing me his empty palms. The truck drove down the block and stopped again. I followed,  and sat. The first time must have been some kind of mix up, I figured. Nothing. After I repeated this futile exercise a third time, I finally believed it. I let the truck drive off, but I was hardly done: I ordered Mike to write down the truck number, and I will be reporting this incident to UPS world headquarters in Atlanta. Two biscuits should be a right, not a privilege.

Chloë''s Stocking

Chloë”s Stocking

I’ve noticed several boxes arrived on our own doorstep of late, some of them even left courtesy of my own Mr. Brown (while I was apparently napping soundly? At least he left biscuits!). Maybe something arrived for me and Mike and Heather are hiding it until the big day. I’m confident, actually. I know I’m going to go to bed on Christmas Eve with visions of new toys and treats dancing in my head, and I fully expect to be rewarded in the morning. I mean, how good does a good dog have to be?