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Chloë Gets Ready for a Sleepover

Exchanging financial secrets.

I thought it was a bit odd that I was spending a lot of time lately with my friend Caroline, who is of course doubles as the only financial adviser I have ever known. Caroline has handled all my business affairs since I was a tiny pup, and was also the person who gave me my very first toy, Sharkey. I don’t pay much attention to Sharkey anymore, but I keep him around on my toy pillow because he’s special to me.

I remember going for walks with Caroline when I was still a puppy and she had two dachshunds of her own. The only times I’ve seen her more recently have been on visits to her office, where there are always lots of treats. About a month ago, however, I started seeing her more often. First Heather and I went over to her house, which is not far away from ours, and we all took a walk together. Then we went inside her house, and I sniffed all around inside and in the back yard.  Caroline gave me the tour and pointed out where she kept important things like dog treats and toys. Can’t hurt to know, I figured, but I didn’t think much more about it.

Wylie and Chloë face off in the park.

A few days later, Mike drove me over to Caroline’s house again. I knew immediately where I was, and  I started my “can’t wait” whine as soon as the car pulled in the driveway. I ran inside and dashed for the same crinkly-sounding toy I had played with briefly on my previous visit.  When Mike left, I wasn’t even aware he was gone, so engrossed was I in chomping on that crinkly toy. Mike must have been gone a while, though, because before he returned I managed to chew through part of it, and believe me, this was some tough plastic.

A few days later, we met again. Heather, Mike and I joined Caroline and her friend David at my regular park for another walk. This time Caroline brought Wylie, a 2-year-old miniature dachshund she was taking care of while his owners were away. I’m usually not too interested in meeting other dogs, especially young ones, but Wylie seemed OK, for some reason. He kind of reminded me of my brothers Frank and Stanley, without their heft. Wylie and I even danced around a little in the South Meadow in some chase-and-tackle games, like I used to do with my bros. I know better than to tangle with them now, but Wylie was more my size. I could dominate.

It was about halfway through this walk when I noticed that David was holding onto Wylie’s leash, and Caroline was holding onto mine. It was like she was getting used to it, and getting used to how I behaved on a walk in comparison to her own Pinot and Ida. That’s when I started putting two and two together.

Putting two and two together.

If any doubt remained in my mind, events of the next week erased it. On Friday afternoon, Mike and Heather bundled up my travel crate and packed up my food, treats, pillows and camp chair into the car, just like we did every night when we drove to Syracuse last summer. This time we only got as far as Caroline’s house, where they brought all that stuff inside and said a quick goodbye, leaving me there with Caroline, David and a recently scalped Wheaton terrier named Marley, who lives across the street. I ignored them all and crawled into my bed, comfortably situated near the front door and beside a heating vent, and started gnawing on the crinkly toy again.  And I was gnawing on it again when Mike and Heather picked me up the next day. At least I think it was the next day; I was having so much fun that it really didn’t matter. It was just like going to sleep-away camp!

Keeping all that training in mind, I suspect I will be heading back to Caroline’s house again soon, probably for a longer stay this time, days or perhaps even weeks. Heather had told Mike she was waking up at night, worrying about leaving me with anyone except my good pal and usual sitter Lynn. Truthfully, all of the separation anxiety is hers, and hers alone. I know I’ll be happy with Caroline and, frankly, with anyone willing to provide a warm bed, fresh toys and plenty of high-grade treats. Don’t cry for me, Argentina—or you either, Heather.

 

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Chloë Spurns Treats

My longtime readers might be shocked by that headline. After all, I boast quite a reputation for my voracious gourmand appetite, known for never meeting a food scrap in the road that I didn’t like. Alas, I have to admit the headline is true, I did turn down treats last Sunday, even some high-quality ones. I claim extenuating circumstances, however.

Chloë’s tempations

Here’s what happened. Mike, Heather and I went for our regular Sunday jaunt with my pal Charlie. One of the reasons Charlie is such a good pal is because he brings me his used racquet balls, softer and smaller than the balls Heather and Mike throw for me. I love them because it’s easy to gnaw on them. So I do gnaw on them, incessantly, until they break. Then it’s lots of fun to chew on the bigger pieces to break them up further, and eventually into pieces small enough to swallow. That’s where Mike and Heather seem to draw the line.

Last Sunday, when Charlie brought along two racquet balls for me to chase, I was still gnawing on one when we got home, and I refused to take it out of my mouth. Heather couldn’t pry it out or get me to let it go. When she tried to trade me Charlee Bears for the ball, I scoffed. Mike upped the ante with salmon hearts and mini-bones in addition to Charlee Bears, all to no avail. Only when Heather produced a Frozen PBB and put it right under my nose did my jaw slacken a little, enough that Heather could yank the ball out of my clinch.

Waiting to play fetch

I fooled her, though: I still had a small part of the ball in my mouth, and I quickly tucked it under my belly as I began eagerly licking the Frozen PBB. As soon as Heather looked away, however, I got cocky. I stopped licking the PBB and placed the hidden piece of racquet ball back into gnawing position in my mouth. I might have gotten away with both of them were it not for the thwack of the rubber bending between my teeth. This time Heather pounced and held my jaw open while Mike pried the hunk of ball out and threw it away. That’s OK, though. My pal Charlie always says he has “plenty” more racquet balls to bring over.

Besides, while I  lost that particular ball, I still had the PBB, which was a nice consolation prize. With order restored, I could turn my nose up at a quality treat for only so long.

 

Chloë Slims Down for Boot Camp

Exam room: The weighting is the hardest part.

With Heather officially retired and  boot camp looming, I approached my annual physical with some trepidation. After all, my most recent weigh-in last December hadn’t gone so well: an all-time high of 19.5 pounds. That explains why on our February staycation,my best friend Lynn was much stricter with portion control. But the diligence paid off: At last week’s weigh-in I has dropped a whole pound to 18.5, which Heather says is my “ideal” weight, and she should know. The vet’s assistant weighed me twice just to make sure I wasn’t cheating.

Don’t touch me there!

My regular physician, Dr. Aimee Kimmel, was back from maternity leave, and even though I had no new concerns to report, Dr. Aimee made sure to poke her instruments (or fingers) through every orifice in my body. While she, as usual, praised my dental work (“Beautiful!” she exclaimed), she did chip a big hunk of tartar from my upper right molars, which are understandably hard for Mike to get with a toothbrush. “Please keep brushing her teeth daily,” the doc told Mike. “It is really helping.”

Bonding with Dr. Aimee post-exam.

On the down side, literally, was that the rash on my underside has returned (or never really left), meaning another course of little antibiotic pills that Mike sneaks into my dinner when he thinks I’m not looking. I also get weekly shampoos from my personal trainer, Heather, in which the lather has to stay on my sensitive skin for 10 minutes. Trust me, it’s a long 1o minutes for everyone.

If the treatment for this skin rash doesn’t do the job, Dr. Kimmel said, “We should discuss possible allergic causes and allergy medication.” That didn’t sound good. My brothers Frank and Stanley have been down that road, and I would rather not go anywhere that might involve giving up such favorites as chicken broth on my food or, worse yet, Frozen Peanut Butter Boneys.

That’s why I put up with this shampoo for now. The things you do for love.

 

Chloë Investigates a Pipe

I have detected increased raccoon activity in my park of late. I came across a dead one near Chloë’s Lane close to my primary fetch location. I was very interested in spending some quality time with it, but as soon as Heather saw its bloated body she had other ideas. Subsequent emails and phone calls to park maintenance resulted in Rocky being buried in a shallow grave. While I have already sussed out the exact location, I haven’t had the chance to do any serious digging yet. And that’s not all; I have also noted strong raccoon scent around the Visitor Center and along the driveway behind it. All of a sudden, I had a lot more holes and tunnels to check out, sticking my nose into pipes and thickets I hadn’t been at all interested in before.

Preliminary investigation

Preliminary investigation.

A closer look

Taking a closer look

5-chloe-investigates-pipe-001

Getting very interested.

Uh-oh, I can't turn around in here.

Wait a second, I can’t turn around in here.

I didn’t find anything of interest in there, although a headlamp would have helped.  It was getting pretty dark in there when I decided to back out, figuring out that turning around would have been difficult, if not impossible. As it was, a backup camera like the one in Heather’s car would have made my exit a little easier. Maybe I’ll have Mike order me one on Amazon Prime.

Chloë Takes Summertime Easy

Snoozing in bedroom

Snoozing in bedroom

I’ve been taking the summer off from writing. It’s too much like work.

The warmer weather makes me lazy, anyway. I’ve found this particular corner of Mike’s and Heather’s bed particularly appealing for afternoon napping because of the cool breezes that blow right over me on their way through the house. I’d much rather snooze here than sit across the hallway in Mike’s office in the hot afternoon sun and watch him plunk down my innermost thoughts on his keyboard. That would not be the most effective use of my time.

Besides, Mike and Heather were away for a good portion of the time since my last post, and their absence came at a good time for me. Not only did was I spoiled as usual by Team Chloë (sitter Lynn, walker Jill and best friend Charlie, who walked me both weekends and even dropped my leash and threw the ball for a while, a solo first for him), but it was also nice to get a break from Heather. She had been really tough on me for at least a week before they left, after I barked at neighbor kids again. Heather went ballistic with harsh words and many threats about what awful things would befall me after she retires from her job (not real quickly, I hoped). Heather shortened my leash, literally and figuratively, and gave Mike many orders about how to treat me, all boiling down to “when kids are outside, Chloë goes inside.” Better safe than sorry, I guess. I can blame no one but myself.

2-Snow Goose Sign

The Snowgoose

When Mike and Heather came home from their trip, everything seemed back to normal, except for when I jump up on the living room couch when I think nobody’s looking. I went nuts when I saw them come through the front door, biting Mike’s nose so many times that I even drew a little blood (don’t tell Heather, please, she might euthanize me!). Even Ms. Grim (Heather) seemed glad to see me, even telling me several times how much she missed me. She has summoned me into bed for afternoon napping on several occasions. I realized I was totally back in her good graces when she left me a big wedge of her black licorice ice cream cone at Snowgoose Produce near LaConner last weekend. I didn’t even have to ask for it.

Waffle cone made on premises.

Chloë wolfs down a waffle cone made on premises at Snowgoose.

I’m trying to get more comfortable with kids, I really am. But I don’t get a lot of practice, and when I see one, I tend to get nervous and defensive and bark. It’s hard to change, but we’re working on it. I know I have the energy for it, because I’m well rested.  When your summer activity consists of afternoon naps and ice cream cones, life is good.

Chloë Gets a Squeaky New Toy

It’s high time I got a new toy. I’ve been good, right? Good enough, anyway. And yet,  I’ve gotten no new toy since I  silenced my last Mushabellie on my birthday back in February. That’s an eternity in dog years! So I was due.  And thanks to my pal Charlie, I got one. Charlie got it for me, his favorite Seattle Dog, because this toy is the only one his dog Logan, a Jack Russell terrier, has not been able to destroy.

 

With that recommendation, I was anxious to put the new toy to the test.

Cow

Cow

It is officially a Charming Pet Tennis Head Cow, and on some websites it’s listed as Out of Stock or a Manufacturer’s Discontinued item, which does not bode well for the future of its breed. It figures; the one model from this manufacturer that I heartily endorse is the one about to become extinct, or at the least an eBay-auction rarity. And that’s too bad: While I haven’t been able to destroy it or even silence its squeak so far, eventually I’m going to need another one, and I don’t want to be forced to mortgage my retirement dog house to get it. I guess I can always just switch to another model.

Initially I thought about giving this new toy a bovine name like Bossie or Elsie, but I have elected to just call it Cow. Mike told me he has a friend from college known as Cow, and what a great guy  he is. That sounded good to me…and to my Cow, who is suitably honored.

From the outset, Cow has given Wiffie a good run for my attention. After my initial curiosity wore off, I have thankfully backed away from nonstop squeaking of Cow, but I pay attention to him every day. Right now, breakfast, dinner, snacks, marrow bones, Frozen PBBs , sleeping and walks all rank higher on my food chain than Cow, but I do enjoy chasing and throttling Cow as well. I don’t need to squeeze him in my mouth every second….

 

…only when I feel like it. Thanks, Charlie.

 

Chloë Receives Birthday Gifts

I generally don’t like to make a big deal of birthdays (although if readers dig back to Februaries past, you can see some past violations!), and so I didn’t expect much at all (if anything) this year for birthday #6. But lo and behold!

In the morning, I got an extra-large Frozen PBB from Mike and a birthday greeting from my vet that even has a dachshund in it!

Dear Chloe,
Sniff Sniff…Do I smell birthday cake?
Happy Birthday!
Stay Healthy! Be Happy!
Sincerely,

Your Friends at Elliott Bay Animal Hospital /

And then…

 

Buzzie Bee, still in box

Buzzie Bee, still in box

Wow, I never expected presents like those.

Bliss didn’t last long, however. I knocked the buzzing out of Buzzie Bee in less than 20 minutes. Now I’m left with a trio of mute Mushabellies to take care of. But don’t worry; I’ll survive.