Tag Archives: wirehair dachshund

Chloë Walks Behind

Walkabout.

I just don’t like anyone or anything walking behind me. Makes me nervous. I slow down, slink to the side of the trail, plop on the ground, avert my eyes from whatever’s sneaking up on me. I don’t like surprises. I let them pass, and then I’ll start walking again. That’s just the way I am.

While this has always been among my idiosyncrasies, during the recent stays of my house guests Willy and Schatzi, this reaction became more frequent. That’s because whenever I go for a walk with another dog, I can’t be the one leading the way. If I did, there would be someone behind me. And I couldn’t tolerate that.

Schatzi gets groomed during her recent spa visit.

So when Mike was holding my leash, Heather walked ahead with Willy or Schatzi. Those younger dogs are faster walkers than I am, anyway. Since neither Mike nor I walk very fast these days, Heather and the other dog sometimes got too far ahead, so I couldn’t see them. I didn’t like that, either.

After first Willy and then Schatzi left our house, we reverted to our walking ways since last September, when Mike had back surgery and ceded the leash and other care responsibilities to Heather while he was rehabbing, which must still be in progress, since Heather has shown no signs of relinquishing the reins.

Staying ahead of the curve.

As far as our daily walks go, that means Heather leashing me to her belt with a carabiner and dragging me along at the speed she desires, not the slowpoke pace Mike lets me get away with. Thus she and I usually walk a good 25 yards ahead of Mike, still clicking along valiantly with his trekking poles. That’s enough distance that I can accept Mike walking behind me. But I wouldn’t want him to get any closer.

Chloë Aids a Friend

Scott and Mike (top row) with Willy and Chloë.

I have been getting an inordinate amount of compliments from strangers on my walks lately. People saying how “cute” I am is (of course!), the most common, but it’s hardly the only one. Many people admire my joyful walk (although they don’t see me when I’m dragging my ass along or flopping entirely). Last week, an Asian woman started making funny faces and waving at me from 15 feet away, and continued  to turn around and do 15 feet past. Then a runner stopped to ask what breed I  was and said I reminded him of a wolf.  A fox, maybe. But a wolf?

I attribute all this notoriety to having walked in tandem for the past two weeks with Willy, a small, pudgy, scruffy-looking dog of terrier and other indeterminate breeds. In comparison, I must have looked good.

Willy

Willy came to stay with us when my good friend Scott, who I’ve known since my own puppyhood, died suddenly. In fact, I think me sitting beside Scott on our couch during Syracuse football games was part of the reason Scott adopted Willy last summer. He wanted a dog of his own to cuddle with, and Willy likes to be petted, even more than eating. That priority is far from the only thing Willy and I don’t have in common.

Walking the dogs.

But I went out of my way to be nice to Willy while he was here. He arrived the day Scott died, along with Scott’s niece Caitlin, who lived with them. Caitlin stayed with us about a week and then flew back east for the funeral, leaving Willy at our house. We all took good care of Willy while she was away, especially Heather, who was looking out for him 24 hours a day. The first night Caitlin was gone, Willy still wanted to sleep downstairs by the bed she had been using, but Heather left the lights on for him, just in case he wanted to come upstairs to sleep. By the second night, he did, and his bed stayed right below Heather’s the whole time.

Willy on the trail.

Even though Willy disrupted my routine and horned in on Heather’s affection, I never got snippy with him. We didn’t really pal around like I do with Schatzi, though. There was no wrestling or running after balls together. Mostly I just left him alone and let him do what he wanted (be next to Heather). I even left his food alone, except one day when I scarfed up a rawhide chewy he had walked away from. Mike and Heather had to corner me  by the fireplace to get it back. What ever happened to finder’s keepers?

Willy’s bed was next to Heather’s.

Caitlin and her mother (Scott’s sister) picked up Willy a couple of nights ago on the way back to Scott’s house in Snohomish to pack and get it ready to sell. Eventually they will drive back to Virginia, where Willy will be the second dog in the house again, but much better off to deal with another new environment after two weeks of boot camp with Heather. She didn’t love him to death like Caitlin does, but she pay him lots of attention, groomed him, took him on lots of long walks (sometimes we went 75 minutes or more) and let him sleep wherever he wanted, including on the couch and even under their bed. I survived. As long as Willy stayed out of their bed, he could sleep wherever he wanted. That bed is my spot, and I’m still top dog around here.

 

Chloë Gets High

Along the Mount Baker Highway,

You saw the headline, and I know what you were probably thinking: Nasty Mike blew smoke from some of that wacky tabacky stuff  up my ultra-sensitive nose and I started hallucinating. But you would be wrong about that!

No, the headline refers to our first real road trip since we returned from Syracuse in September 2019. This was only three days, but when Heather was driving she kept telling me this trip was practice for another possible trip to Syracuse, that wonderful place where there’s air conditioning throughout the house and nice people dote on me 24/7. Well, we’re not there yet, and Heather’s message to me was clear: Keep up that whining from the back seat and you won’t be coming with us. She sounded like she meant business, too. I whined nonetheless.

Snow patch in Heather Meadows.

We stayed on Birch Bay, northwest of Bellingham and within sight of the Canadian border, which we are still not allowed to cross. This bay of Puget Sound is at sea level, more or less, lapping up on its pebbly beach just enough to scare me away (I don’t like waves). So it was not my ideal location.  But after breakfast, we got back into Heather’s car and started to climb, from farmland through the foothills and eventually to the Mount Baker Highway and the North Cascades. Because of road conditions, we couldn’t drive all the way to end, but we all got pretty high, all the way to the appropriately named Heather Meadows Visitor Center at 4400 feet. There was even snow on the ground in a lot of places!

Chloë at Picture Lake.

Chloë befriends a tourist.

We ate lunch and wandered the trails around the Visitor Center, then backtracked to Picture Lake to  take some pictures (what a concept!). I pursued a dragonfly for a while, waded in the lake for a few seconds (no waves here!), and  I even let Mike sit down and take a photo with me. After being so nice to him, I was expecting a reward, such as my own ice cream cup or riding in the front seat with him. But did he let me lie in his lap on the way down the mountain? NO! Did they stop for ice cream? NO! They only stopped for beer, and I had to stay in the car while they went inside. Not fair.

The whining will continue.

Chloë Scores Market Savvy

Heat exhaustion.

After the heat dome lifted, I spent some more time with Schatzi. She was a lot more alert on those occasions than she was the last time.

One day we met at her downtown Magnolia office. Mike and Heather were there to discuss financial stuff with Schatzi’s owner Caroline, who is also of course my own personal financial advisor. When Caroline talks, absolutely nobody listens to what E. F. Hutton has to say.

Nose for news.

When I found out Schatzi was going to be at this meeting, I figured she was there for the air conditioning. But as I wandered around the premises, checking every office and conference room for random potato chips or crackers the cleaning staff may have missed, it dawned on me that Schatzi might actually be getting the inside scoop on Wall Street from discussions she overheard in client meetings. Suddenly, I was concerned that her portfolio might outperform my own.

Searching under the mattress for stock tips.

While our people were yakking at the table above us, I investigated Schatzi’s office bed for tips, to no avail. But a couple of days later I was lucky enough to have Schatzi stay with us for a whole weekend. That’s when I was able to delve deeply into her market perspective. Not surprisingly, Schatzi is energetic and aggressive, likely to follow any scent and reluctant to let go. At age 2, she can afford to have that long-term outlook. At 11,  my investment horizon is shorter.

Schatzi and I danced around that issue one afternoon during her visit. Being a gracious host, I rolled over and let her win.

Face off.

Take down.

Pinned.

While Schatzi visited, whenever we went for walks in the park, Heather took Schatzi’s leash and Mike took mine, because Schatzi is a load to handle. It was the first time Mike had led me on a walk since we took care of  two dogs at the Getaway in April. And what do you know, I liked it! After two days of Mike, I deduced that he is not nearly as tough on me as Heather is. What can I do to bring him back?

 

Chloë Beats the Heat

Looking for relief.

As you probably heard, we had a heat wave here in Seattle, over 100 degrees for three days in a row. Unprecedented heat! We have no air conditioning, so during the day we retreated downstairs. With the windows closed, the shades pulled down and a fan blowing, it was much cooler than upstairs, where the living room thermostat read 98. We took our late afternoon walks early in the morning, and in the evening walked to the park’s breeziest bench and sat in the shade for a while.

How hot was it? When Schatzi came over for a visit, she didn’t even think about getting in my face and goading me into wrestling with her. The two of us just staid still and laid low all day long, and Heather put ice cubes in our water. That was about it. I’d really like it if this were the only heat wave I’ll have to face this summer, but readily admit this is wishful thinking.

Letting sleeping dogs lie.

Chloë Conquers a Fear

Chloë’s Stairway to Heaven

The photo shows the steps that I use to get onto Mike and Heather’s bed. Only when invited, of course, unless it’s vacant, in which case there is nobody there to tell me NOT to be there. Mike calls them Chloë’s Stairway to Heaven.

Then, sometime this spring, these steps began to scare me. Coming off my sometime inability to leap into my camp chair, this aversion to trying my usual 3-step jaunt to the mattress soon followed. With some whining, of course, and later a reluctance to climb the stairs from the lower level. There is no problem going down, of course, because downstairs is where the treats would be. That’s what led to an obvious solution.

Trepedition

Although my recent demonstration of a weakening right hindquarter has been noted and debated internally and for the moment dismissed by a leading veterinary authority, the explanation  for my reluctant behavior has thus far been summarized with the derogatory phrase, “It’s all in her head.”

Well, now.  While I might have said in my own defense that at my advancing age I need more support, figuratively and literally. Maybe additional rugs or a reorientation of the steps could provide a more favorable angle for my approach. These little things start to matter, especially when I first get out of my crate in the morning and my old bones are creaking. It’s not like I’m seeing Mike exactly sprint out of bed in the morning to open my crate. Cut me some slack.

Taking the bait.

I have to admit, however, that as soon as a Charlee Bear landed strategically on the mattress at the top of my Stairway to Heaven, it served as an immediate enticement to challenge those scary steps to claim a rightful reward upon completion of my heroic ascent. It worked. Within a couple of days I was positioning myself for the climb as soon as I heard fingers tinkling the small cup holding the Charlees, pulling one out to be tossed onto the bed. Inhibitions melting away, I sprinted up the steps to grab my prize.

Having that soft blue fleece blanket to lie on doesn’t hurt, either. “Everybody needs a psychological boost now and then,” Heather conceded this morning, after Mike lifted me onto the bed and I nosed my way under the covers.

Chloë Settles into Her New Chair

Chloë in her Coleman chair.

For reasons part age-related and part psychological, I needed a different chair. Although I still liked being off the floor, out of the reach of other dogs and small children, I was displaying increasing reluctance to hop up into it. Too many times did I take my usual three-step running leap only to crash chest-first into the chair itself and then to the floor. Every time it happened reinforced my belief that I couldn’t do it. I literally begged (i.e., whined) for help.

The solution, at least for now, is a new camp chair, this one with stylish coloring, a see-through mesh back and an amply-sized mesh seat that, most importantly, lies about 3.5 inches closer to the floor than its predecessor. To Mike’s liking,  it is lighter and easier to move around (Heather, of course, would prefer adding to her exercise routine by lifting the heavier chair). With the reduced distance from floor to seat, I can again navigate the leap with ease, at least when I want to. Sometimes, such as after an activity-filled day and my usual dinner smorgasbord,  it’s better to ask for help. Heather is always vigilant, and soon taught Mike to scoop me up with two hands supporting me. He came up with his “flying dog!” call all by himself.

Transition accomplished, Chloë relaxes with Ranger in her new chair,

From my perspective, this chair will do. With an additional pillow on the mesh seat,  and fleece covering when seasonally appropriate, this REI camp chair is at least as comfortable as the studier Coleman model. It has only one cupholder (plus another compartment that folds down from the arm), but this cupholder is much larger (perhaps designed for a cell phone, which is something I still don’t have, for some unknown reason). The compartment is just the right size for my Ranger the Reindeer toy, so he can guard me if I should happen to close my eyes for a few moments. Overall, I’m content with the new chair, but I’ve also been spending more time in my living room bed, a snug harbor conveniently located right at ground level, so I don’t need anyone’s help to get in. (Sometimes I  do need some coaxing, however.)

Another preferred location.

Things are OK for now, and I can happily relax at will in so many fine locations. But look, I’m not getting any younger. I can’t deny it. Somehow I see a rolling Ottoman in my future.

Chloë Dines on Waygu

George and Debbie with Chloë on an earlier visit.

My pal Juneau George visited last week, and I had to administer a bit of re-training. Although I’ve seen George frequently over the past year because he comes to Seattle for medical treatments, he and Debbie haven’t been staying with us. Now that all of them are vaccinated, George could again stay downstairs with us. Unfortunately, over all that time he had managed to forget where my downstairs treat container is located. It took me three tries before I could get him to figure out why I was sitting on the floor under a bank TV screen, staring at the shelving below it. Did he think I was I waiting for Wolf Blitzer to come on?

Waygu to go.

Anyway, George stayed with us for two nights this time, while his wife Debbie stayed in Juneau to take care of their dog, Yankee. George had recently sent Mike photos of him giving his labradoodle a double Whopper for his birthday. In my 11 years, no such luck for me. Until last week, the best treat I ever got was my own ice cream cone. Maybe George’s largesse rubbed off on Heather, however.  Our recent excursion to my Getaway had brought Mike and Heather home with a pound of chopped Waygu beef from Washington’s Snake River Farms – the kind of high-end stuff el cheapo Mike never buys. Mike grilled three fancy cheeseburgers, so they could each have one and a third would be leftovers for Heather. Before she savored her lunch the next day, however, she cut out a few pieces for me, and at dinner time she warmed them up and set them on the floor in front of me. They didn’t last long, and I knew immediately what all the fuss was about.

Thanks, Heather. And when am I going to get some more?

 

Chloë Takes a Short Vacation

Roll Call: Smokey (front), Chloë and Pumpkin.

When we drove out to my Cascade foothills Getaway last week, it was the first time we’ve spent the night away from home in 400 days, as well as our longest car ride in that time: a whole 28 miles door to door. But for a few moments, at least, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel dipped down to the level of  I-90, with Mount Rainier and the North Cascades shimmering over the lake on a cloudless afternoon.

I love going out there, although sometimes spending 10 days fending off the advances of the adolescent Smokey is not exactly my idea of a vacation. Him constantly barking at dogs in TV commercials is bad enough, but I’m starting to get a vibe that there’s something a little kinky going on here in the wild, wild West (I’ve seen all those smarmy families in the modern Westerns on TV). Smokey not only hounded me every minute I was there, trying to sniff my butt or butt in on my food (much better than his, I can say from experience), but he also stalked poor little Pumpkin, and worse–at least twice a day, he snuck up behind her and started to hump her, stopping only when Heather started screaming at him. And here’s the kicker: Smokey squats when he pees, while Pumpkin lifts her leg every time. Definitely something amiss here.

The pack leads Heather.

The two of them were a pain when we took them on our daily walks, too. Heather took their leashes, while Mike had me, and I tried to pull him along as fast as his bum foot allowed. Smokey and Pumpkin made Heather deal with lots of pooping and stopping to sniff every leaf and rock, like they had never smelled one before.  Boring. Then one afternoon we drove to a different park for a walk, but Smokey started barking at another dog while we were still in the parking lot. Heather hustled everybody back into the car because she couldn’t trust Smokey where there were too many distractions. So we drove to another place, a logging road where there would be no people or dogs to provoke Smokey. Unfortunately, about 20 minutes uphill Smokey found a fresh animal scent to follow and yanked Heather right into the woods after it. That killed this spot as a walk location, too.

Along the Sno Valley Trail.

The number of places without distractions both at the parking lot and along the trail seemed limited, but the Snoqualmie Valley Trail always seemed to foot the bill. From our central location, we could access several  sections in 10 days without repeating our routes.

And don’t let me whine too much, because, the benefits of vacationing at my Getaway far outweigh the drawbacks. This time I got to audition my new REI camp chair, for one thing, although I do want to test it out for a couple of weeks before rendering my final verdict. Out in Fall City, the new chair was easier to leap into, but still put me safely above the Scylla and Charybdis of Smokey and the mostly upstairs cat Mr. Fuzz. I did let Pumpkin use it a couple of times when I was resting somewhere else.

Chloë’ tries her new camp chair.

Another good part of being there, of course, is that just like when my little pal Schatzi visits our house, it’s always the other dogs who are screwing up, barking unnecessarily or doing something gross, and I am looking like a descendant of a certified obedience champion (which is true!). When three’s company, I’m never the one getting yelled at.

Front seat with cushion.

But the absolute best part: Whenever Mike, Heather and the three dogs drove somewhere in Heather’s car, I got to sit in the front on Mike’s lap. True, it still wasn’t my own seat, but it was still the front seat. And I didn’t want to make Mike have to sit in the back with those two.

Chloë Gets a Clean Bill of Health

Early wakeup call.

I knew something was up one morning when the alarm on Heather’s phone awakened me, and it was still dark outside. Normally, I’m the alarm clock around here, and I’m not stirring before the sun comes up. When she served me breakfast right away, before we even went outside, I figured it out: On annual physical day, there’s no feeding within two hours of my imminent blood work and examination.

This made me nervous right away, and my anxiety escalated while I was sitting in Heather’s car in the vet’s parking lot, awaiting an assistant to snatch me up and take me into the inner sanctum, where virus protocols still forbid Heather to enter. I needn’t have bothered with all the shaking, however. My nervousness abated as soon as the vet’s assistant read the results of my weigh-in on the digital scale in the lobby. Rather than the bad news I expected, I had actually shed a whopping .12 pounds since my previous visit! With that result, I could finally be confident that Heather’s liberal dispersal of my personal stimulus treats will continue. That was a load off my mind.

Hidden camera captures previous examination with the renowned Dr. Kimmel.

And that was just the start of the good news coming post-examination from my personal physician, Dr. Aimee Kimmel. Unlike those of former President Trump’s doctors, here’s a medical report you can trust. The noted dachshund veterinarian  wrote: “Chloë was 20.88 lbs today, which is stable and a great weight. Her teeth look great, and her crown/root canal appears stable.”

Moreover, after my visit she came out to the car to personally tell Heather that I am just a “mass of muscle.” There had been some concern recently about my rear right leg shaking after exercise, but Dr. Kimmel found nothing wrong back there. “There may be a bit of pain, but could also be some muscle overexertion, ” she wrote. “She did not show obvious pain, weakness or neurologic deficits on exam. If it seems to be more prominent, we could try a nerve pain medication after heavy activity.”

After reviewing my blood and stool tests, she added, “I am very happy to report that Chloë’s lab results were all excellent, which included thyroid level, kidney and liver function, electrolytes, proteins, and red/white blood cell counts. There are also no obvious reasons for her hindlimb shaking that I see on her labs. Keep up the great work on her teeth and weight! You’d never guess she’s 11!”

Chloë on the hunt.

I celebrated the good news later that afternoon by ditching Mike and Heather  to pursue rabbits and other spring rodents around the pond adjacent to one of my favorite fetch locations. After about 20 minutes or so, I let Heather catch up to me. Chasing rabbits is fun, but I knew it was almost time for the extra cheese treats and dinner. I was about to receive. Brains as well as brawn!