Happy Weekend…

Happy Easter, Passover, Vernal Equinox or just Cold, Rainy Weekend in Seattle!

Good thing I don’t feel like going outdoors today. Cathy’s bed is nice and warm and I’m not leaving it till I absolutely have to. Cathy is going to the gym, as she always does on Sunday mornings, for the killer class taught by the Intrepid Russian Gymnast.

I encourage this obsession. An owner who’s in shape will take her dog for lots of walks.

I’m already in great shape…and this comforter is so soft…I’ll just dream about exercise today.

Urban Dog Uncovers Owner’s Core Gifts

My mom Cathy just signed up for a training program on info products. For her first assignment, she is supposed to ask 10 people (family, friends and colleagues) to answer three questions to uncover her core gift

Cathy hates this stuff. She’d rather write 3 info products in a weekend than ask people to help her answer these questions. Most people she knows would rather be boiled in oil than do this. And it’s just south of woo-woo land.

But since I fit into the “family” category, I thought I’d (pardon the expression) dig into these questions.

Q1: In your opinion, what do you think I’m naturally good at doing?

A: From where I sit (currently under the coffee table), I think you’re naturally good at selecting dogs. First you chose Keesha from the Broward County Humane Society and then — seven years later at the opposite end of the country — you chose me on Petfinder.

OK, you didn’t really choose me. I chose you. And yeah, I know you thought about sending me back. But who’s kidding who? Once I started sitting in your lap on the bus, I knew: we were a team.

Q2. In the past, what have you been able to rely on me for?

Food. Dog beds (one in each room…and I’ll take the sofa anytime, thank you very much). More food. Walks. Excursions to the dog park. Food. Visits to the vet. Training (we could skip this one if you get busy). A kong to chew when I’m alone in my crate. Two cats to entertain me and keep me humble. My own corner of your sofa. My big bag of chewies.

Oh yeah, did I say food?

Q3. What do you feel are my top 3 strengths and talents?

Well, I hope you’re a good copywriter, because you couldn’t make a living with your domestic skills, like housekeeping or cooking. I do my best to help by nibbling stray crumbs here and there, but you’re a challenge.

OK, here goes:

Talent #1: You learn fast. When I first got here, you said, “No dogs on the furniture..and never on my bed!” So I slept in my crate for the first few months, slurping on my peanut butter kong.

But soon you caught on to the deal I offered: no chewing your socks if I could sit on the couch. And I wouldn’t eat the cat food if I could sleep on the foot of your bed.

Hey, a deal’s a deal. You immediately saw the win-win possibilities. I knew your MBA would count for something.

Talent #2: You’re highly intuitive.

When I sit next to the door, looking pathetic, you know I need to go out…right away. When I put my head in your lap and look soulfully into your eyes, you slam the laptop closed and grab the leash. You easily predict the future of your rug if you don’t get us out to the street.

Talent #3: You’re a shameless self-promoter.

Every time we ride the bus, you tell everyone in earshot our story. All it takes is one question: “What’s her name? How old? What kind?”

You don’t hesitate. “Gracie. Five. All-American Mutt but she thinks she’s a princess. Rescued from a humane society in Bellingham. No, not a shelter – foster home. Isn’t she well-behaved? I am so proud of her…”

It gets better. We walk to the Queen Anne branch of the library. Almost always some nice person is sitting on the steps. “What a good dog,” they say.

This is my cue. I turn my Cuteness level up to Maximum Strength, snuggling and prancing around.

After the unsuspecting victim has been totally won over, you say, “Gee, do you think you could keep an eye on her for just a minute while I run in and return a book? She doesn’t like to be tied up outside and she tries to run away…”

When you come back, everybody’s smiling. The mark even thanks you for the privilege of spending time with me. You may be a great salesperson, but I’m the champ when it comes to delivering customer service.

OK, I did my part with the questions. If you’re reading this blog and you know Cathy, please volunteer to answer the questions. She won’t want to ask. I just hope she keeps writing stuff that sells. Urban dogs don’t come cheap.

Contact info here: http://www.copy-cat-copywriting.com/contact.html
OR mailto:seattlecathy@gmail.com

Crash! Dog Mom Rejects The “Older Woman” Dress Code

Okay, I am sitting in our bedroom, happily chewing on my mom Cathy’s remaining wool hat. It’s kind of ugly (I chewed up all the cute ones) so she really needs to get rid of it. I am helping.

I hear muttering from the living room. Then I hear a crash. Uh oh. Time for me to take charge.

It seems Cathy is taking a break with a copy of the Oprah O magazine she found at the gym. She’s reading an article about how “older women” should dress to avoid looking old and dowdy.

“Look at this! No baggy sweats! What do I wear when it’s cold? And they’re so comfortable…oh no. This is NUTS No backpack?! Since when were backpacks for old people? I’ve been carrying a pack for…okay, many years. How can I haul around my laptop and my books? Ergonomically?

“And here’s a picture of a perfectly normal, wholesome woman wearing jeans and a nice turtleneck and sneakers. She looks happy and healthy. And this idiot says she should be wearing…heels? High heels? You gotta be kidding!

“And here’s the Big Lie. These days there’s no excuse, she says. Anyone can find comfortable high heels. Hah. My toes hurt just thinking about it.”

And that’s when a recent issue of O magazine goes crashing across the room.

I know just what to do. I go over to my mom and put my head in her lap. I look up beseechingly with The Look: “Mom, we have to go out. Now. Or there will be dire consequences.”

Mom falls for it. She puts on her best set of baggy sweats. She shoves her square-toed feet into comfy, broken-in Asics. She tosses bus fare into the pocket of her orange Nike jacket.

We head straight for the Belltown dog park, where my Mom enjoys talking to the regulars who come from diverse backgrounds: “Jail to Yale,” says Lindsay, the volunteer park steward. Nobody seems concerned about dressing to look young. For some of the regulars, looking alive and healthy is a major achievement, and one I’m happy to celebrate myself.

Twenty minutes later, Mom has forgotten all about the magazine. Now she’s muttering about why dogs have been banned from Macrina bakery so we can’t just pop in on the way home.

Living with an Elderly Feline

Did I tell you we live with two cats? My mom Cathy adores them but they’re totally useless.

Cat #1: Tiger is a fat old tabby. My mom adopted her in spring of 1994 – 14 years ago – from an SPCA shelter in Winnipeg. She thinks Tiger is descended from a long line of Saskatchewan barn cats — big tough tabbies.
Tiger has lived with Cathy in half a dozen cities. She’s flown twice by commercial airlines and survived countless car rides.

Tiger rules the household. Sometimes she goes into my crate and curls up to sleep. She hisses when I try to claim my territory and Cathy has to come mediate our dispute. I don’t mess with Tiger.

Tiger makes her wishes known 24/7. Since we moved here, she’s developed a raucous meow…it’s loud and ugly. I cover my ears. Cathy says, “I remember when I brought Tiger home from the shelter. She was full-grown, allegedly five years old, just separated from her sister. She tucked her head in my arm because she was so scared of everything. She was so quiet I thought I’d got a dud cat. But then, she found her voice…”

Did she ever.

The vet says Tiger seems amazingly healthy for a cat who’s probably 18 or 19 years old. Tiger eats voraciously and jumps up to the counter to eat her food, just like a much younger cat. So I guess I’ll be putting up with her for few more years…which is good, because my mom adores Tiger, yowling and all. She’ll be heartbroken when Tiger disappears for the Great Sandbox in the Sky.

As the resident dog, I do my part. I try to get the cats to play. I steal their catnip toys and chew them up. Do I get thanks? Hah. I get hisses, swots on my nose, and an icy glare from Tiger. Good thing I’ve got a thick skin…and first dibs on Cathy’s bed.

Dog Saves Owner From Fashion Disaster

OK, I don’t stop with food. Cathy got some flats to wear when she absolutely, positively can’t wear sneakers. We can’t call them “dress shoes” because Cathy doesn’t do dress-up.

She hates to buy shoes because none of them fit. She’s right. Her feet are shaped more like shoe boxes than shoes.

So she buys whatever she can, spending as little as possible. She spends more on concert tickets, books and (thankfully) dog walking. She just begrudges paying for anything that causes pain and pinches her toes.

This last pair were pretty ugly. She was desperate and they fit, more or less. But she knew: they really should go.

I saw what was needed. On her own, she would never replace them. It was my duty to chew them up. Now she’s forced to buy new ones.

So…why did she yell, “Oh no, Gracie!” and shove me into my crate? When do I get a nice thank you biscuit?

When hell freezes over…or Cathy voluntarily dresses up when she doesn’t have to. Not tomorrow, for sure.

A Dog’s Biggest Challenge: Saving My Owner From Herself

Look, I just want to help my mom, Cathy. She works hard, but she’s just a little misguided sometimes.

Take food. Cathy works out religiously. She loves to exercise…and she loves to eat. She knows: she really should be on a diet. Of course, Cathy doesn’t believe in diets. That’s too conventional. So she vows to eat healthy food in moderation.

Cathy just looked over my shoulder. She wants me to tell you that she’s really not that big. She’s the least photogenic person on the planet (I have to agree there). And in that photo where she’s speaking, she’s wearing a coat dress. Yes…it’s like a coat, but…it looked great in the room. Cathy got lots of compliments on her outfit. But let’s face it: in that picture, she resembles a small house on steroids.

I tried to help. A few weeks ago Cathy brought home a piece of coffee cake from Tully’s coffee shop. She likes a nice coffee break in the afternoon with just a small piece of something good. But who knows? I asked myself. Maybe she won’t stop with just one bite. Maybe she’ll eat the whole thing.

It’s up to me to save my owner from herself. Besides, she left her bag open. Gulp! No more temptation, Mom.

I did the same with the cheese last week: a nice chunk of cheddar Mom was saving for a special snack. Cheese is her weakness these days. So once again, it’s Gracie to the rescue – yum!

This time Mom freaked. She thought I would get sick. Visions of vet bills spun before her eyes. She got on the Internet (naturally) and found all sorts of scary warnings. She called the vet. “Gone for the day, leave a message.”

So she did the next best thing. She called her friend Bill, in New York. Bill is a real dog person who’s been advising my mom since the first day she brought Keesha home. I wish Mom would listen to Bill. He believes dogs should not get obedience training and he feeds his dogs muffins. Blueberry, preferably. His dogs are really spoiled.

“Gracie ate cheese!” she shrieked.

“So?”

“Won’t she get sick?”

After Bill wouldn’t stop laughing, Cathy hung up on him. She watched me closely for a couple of days, which was kind of fun.

Next I’m going to work on hamburger. Cathy shouldn’t eat it. I’ll help her resist.

Yes…I have to ride naked.

My mom, Cathy, doesn’t mind spending money on me. She’ a very generous owner. I get trips to the dog park and outings with my Aunt Sara. I eat high quality dog food (when my tummy isn’t doing the tango…otherwise I have to eat yukky rice). I have a kind vet who keeps reminding Cathy that I’m a great dog. And the folks at the Downtown Dog Lounge adore me. They use me for temperament testing when a new dog comes.

As soon as the weather gets just the least bit chilly, all the dogs in the park start dressing up. They have little coats and sweaters. They look so cute! One dog at the Lounge wears pink with ruffles, to match his mom’s color scheme. Adorable.

But do I have a coat? Ha.

During my first winter with Cathy, we had some really cold days. Brr! So my mom called the vet.

“Does Gracie really need a coat?”

“Is she shivering? Does she seem comfortable? Then it’s optional.”

“Good,” my mom said. “I can’t imagine stuffing her into a sweater every time we go out.”

So I’m the only naked dog you’ll see on the bus.

It’s hard to argue. Cathy is not exactly into fashion herself. Her idea of dressing up is wearing her best pair of shorts (in summer) or her favorite sweats (winter). And on really special occasions, she’ll break out a new pair of running shoes.

The good news is: We live near a wonderful clothing store, Peridot. The young women who work there are dog-friendly. I always say hello to the resident dog, Scout. And they save Cathy’s butt when she has to look presentable. Last week she had to give a presentation and they sold her a coat dress (do I have to say it was on sale?) and told her how to accessorize it. Here she is, looking about as presentable as she gets. Cathy Goodwin Speaking on Copywriting and Networking

Under the Weather

I knew trouble was brewing when my mom, Cathy, picked up the phone to call the vet. I know I should not wake Cathy up in the middle of the night but, hey – what’s a dog to do? My tummy was rumbling. I had to go out. We have a safe neighborhood and anyway, I can protect my mom from the hangers-on at Ozzie’s bar down the street.

“She woke me up four times!” my mom was saying. I beat a strategic retreat to my favorite spot on Cathy’s bed. But I heard Cathy say, “No food today, right? Bland food? Three more days? Dog food for dogs with sensitive tummies? Hmm…that’s an idea.”

Yuk.

I miss my regular crunchies. Being a dog isn’t easy in this household. It’s a good thing my mom doesn’t have human puppies. She’s hopeless when it comes to anything remotely medicinal.

Exercise, anyone?

Arf! Gracie here.

My mom, Cathy, has become a workout fiend in her old age. She goes to the gym several times a week. Last night she came home all fired up…and sore.

“It’s not my age,” she told me firmly. “People half my age feel the same way.”

Well, if she says so. Gyms these days have decided to use Marine Corps boot camp as a model. If they draft senior citizens, my mom will be ready.

But as a dog, I think my mom should do something more age-appropriate. Like taking me for walks…and walks. When mom is tired we take a bus to the dog park. Can you believe it? Less than 2 miles and we don’t walk. Then I get to run around and play, which is okay, especially if that cute little Pomeranian is there.

It could be worse. Some dogs never get to run around.

And I’ve gotten pretty good at conning my mom. I walk over to her and look pitiful. “Oh Gracie,” she says, “do you have to go out? Now? I’m right in the middle of…”

But of course we go. Especially with the gorgeous weather we’ve been having.

Identity Crisis?

Yesterday I wrote about my mom’s trip to Elliott Bay Bookstore to hear Arden Moore, expert on cat and dog behavior. My mom learned a lot…too much, in my opinion.

But she couldn’t understand why Arden kept saying cat and dogs were different.

In our household, the cats are extremely sociable. Somehow they skipped the chapter in the kitty handbook that says, “Cats should be aloof.” They shamelesly run to greet Cathy when she comes home. I don’t. I am either with Cathy or else waiting patiently in my crate with my favorite kong toy.

Last year my mom bought the cats a wonderful round bed when she visited a cat show. (My mom needs to get a life. Dog parks? Cat shows?) I took over the bed. When I curl up in a round ball, I just fit.

Oh yes, I chew the catnip toy too. But don’t tell anyone.

P.S. My mom wants me to add that she knows the other folks mentioned in the Arden Moore article, Sally Deneen and Robert McClure. They lived across the street from Cathy when she lived in Florida with Keesha, her first dog, before I was even born. It’s hard to believe but my mom actually has a few human friends too.