Why I Have To Go Commando In My Crate

When I first moved in with Cathy, she put a nice cushion in my crate. Then she realized the cushion would get yucky and hard to clean so she put down some nice blankets.

Alas, one day she left me alone with a couple of delicious towels … and I do mean delicious. See that big pile of green threads? That used to be a towel.

So now I go bare in my crate. Just me, a bowl of water and a kong toy. isn’t that pathetic? Shouldn’t I turn myself in as a poor miserable dog with an inadequate owner?

Okay, my mom reminds me, let’s get real. She usually adds some peanut butter to my kong toy before she goes out. I only get peanut butter when I’m in my crate so I’ve fallen for the old trick. Now I associate peanut butter with the crate and I jump right in, bare and all.

Oh yes, the water is fresh. And I’m rarely in the crate for more than 4 hours at a time, which means I’m rarely alone, ever.

My mom reminds me that I eat good food, get regular outings at Magnuson Park with my Aunt Sara, and go everywhere she’s allowed to take me. And when I sigh heavily as I enter my crate, she threatens to pin up this photo.

A dog who knows words? Who cares?

My mom just read me this article from the New York Times. Sit. Stay. Parse. Good Girl!

Apparently there’s a border collie on the East Coast who knows over 1000 words.

“See, Gracie?” she said. “I need to work with you on learning more things. So far you haven’t fully mastered coming when called. Don’t you feel a little…um, underachieving?”

Who’s kidding who? I never feel like an underachiever. I am a Canine Urban Princess – a CUPPIE in good standing. I don’t need to learn all those words. I just follow Cathy’s actions.

In fact, I am actually almost psychic.

Yesterday my mom was going out in the evening. She just signed up to take an improv class up at Jet City Improv. Fortunately I can’t go because I realize this is yet another activity at which my mom will fail to excel. So far, there’s been pottery, dancing and now…acting. She just doesn’t know when to quit.

But I digress. We went to the park around 3 PM. My mom urged me to run and play, even though there weren’t any other dogs worthy of my attention. And I’m not getting any younger. Even our good friend Lindsay noticed I’m getting more gray around the muzzle. Okay, I got in a few sprints. But I’m conserving my energy for tomorrow’s trip to the good park with my Aunt Sara and the nice dogs in my regular pack.

So we went home and my mom pretended to work at her computer. I can tell because while she works I sleep on my special cushion, right behind her. The fat Ophelia sleeps right next to me on a separate cushion.

Then the mom tried to fool me into a walk. She didn’t change her clothes. She made a big point of casually saying, “Want to go for a walk?”

I wasn’t fooled. I knew this was a Walk Before Gracie Goes Into The Crate. So as we walked home I dug in my paws and looked stubborn. Everybody passing by made a wisecrack, like, “Who’s walking who?” and “Doesn’t want to go home, does she?” Some people thought I was cold and didn’t want to be out walking.

Although I thoroughly embarrassed my mom, I still had to go home and yes, get stuffed in my crate. My mom put some peanut butter in my kong toy but I wasn’t fooled. I knew I was in for a few hours of serious crate time.

“Gracie, there’s no argument here!” my mom said. “The vet says you’ll get really sick if you keep chewing things. You’re hardly a deprived dog. Millions of dogs would trade places with you in a heartbeat. I bet those dogs from Michael Vick’s ranch would love to be in a nice crate with peanut butter instead of fighting with other dogs.”

Yeah, right. I think she’s reassuring herself. As soon as she closes the door, I scarf down the peanut butter and go to sleep. When she comes home, I’m out of the crate, tail wagging, ready to settle down for the night on my mom’s bed after our final, final walk, which I enjoy immensely and never argue about. See, I know? It’s a tough life but at least I can read between the lines.

Meeting an old friend

A few days ago we were walking to the park when we heard someone calling us: “Gracie! How are you? You look great!”

Of course i look great. Why wouldn’t I?

It was our old friend Cynthia, from the old Downtown Dog Lounge on Bell Street. We loved going there. They always fussed over me. I never had to hang out in the pen with the other dogs; I was the assistant receptionist and my photo was on the wall as a staff member. Then the place closed.

Cynthia was one of the managers. Now she has another job and she’s probably doing well. But she remembers when Cathy first adopted me. “Gracie is so much more confident,” she said, giving me a scratch in that special spot on my tummy. That feels SO good. Can you tell I was thrilled to see Cynthia?

Snow in Seattle

We went out for our walk Tuesday evening – yesterday. I wasn’t crazy about getting my paws into the snow so for once I did my business fast.

Usually my mom is thrilled – she’s ready for bed! But she couldn’t resist taking out her cell phone for a photo op. “Belltown is so beautiful in snow,” she said. Here’s the entrance to the freeway, usually affording a nice view of cruise ships. Not that I care much for ships: I’m more into what’s on the ground nearby than what’s out on the sea. Nevertheless…

Keeping the mom puzzled

As the resident dog, one of my official roles is driving my owner nuts. I excel in this area.

Since we moved I have demonstrated a new skill that dogs are not supposed to have. When we go for walks, I sometimes stop on the way back. I refuse to budge.

Peo0ple laugh at my mom. “Dog doesn’t want to move,” they say.

My mom gets so embarrassed. “Keesha never did this,” she sighs.Never mind that Keesha was 10 pounds heavier, three times as fuzzy and a different breed altogether.

My mom noticed that I tend to do this when we’re coming back after a walk just before she goes out. I am destined for some serious crate time and there’s no reason to rush back.

“How do you know?” my mom asks. “Maybe I change my clothes just before we walk. Or I fill your water dish.” So she doesn’t change her clothes or fill my water dish till we return. No dice. I still know.

My mom’s pretty smart about most things. She keeps trying to figure out how I know what’s happening.

I am not going to tell. A lady needs to keep her secrets.

Our Dog Park Gets Artistic

Before my mom moved to Seattle, and well before I was born, our Regrade Park was a bad place. Bad people would go there and do drugs, my mom says.

The only drugs we have are my prescribed medicines and some catnip for our feline housemates. I like a little catnip myself but I am  a sensible creature. I eat it. The  cats go nuts: they’re rolling on the floor in all sorts of undignified positions. So if that’s what humans do, count me out.

This wall originally was supposed to be a handball court and once someone had a basketball hoop. That was a long time ago.

When the park became a dog park, my mom learned, all the crime vanished. As she points out, “If you’re up to no good, you don’t want to walk through a park with large German shepherds and Rottweilers.” Frankly, I avoid the large boys myself.

Recently the park’s residents donated funds for a mural to celebrate the park. So far we’ve got the background – Seattle, what else? – and eventually dogs will be added. My name will be there somewhere because Cathy donated in my name. She didn’t ask if I’d rather have a doggie coat, an extra walk or a new toy.

I guess the mural’s okay. Today my mom heard that the artists may draw dog pictures, including a poodle. A poodle? This is a dog park for mixed breed royalty, like me. We run the gamut from purebreds to … well, dogs like me who have several breeds integrated into a pleasing, perfect mix. Words like “mongrel” and “mutt” are not allowed in my presence.

Friends Should Let Friends Ride Buses

My mom gets all knotted up around this time of year, which means I get to earn my keep as Official Stress Relief source. It’s not a role I chose when I got adopted.

Here’s what happens. My mom Cathy hates to drive. That’s why she moved to a city. She rents out her garage space.

Okay, she’s weird. She actually loves riding buses. She would rather ride buses than cabs. “The drivers gab on their cell phones,” she says,”or I have to talk to them and listen to their political views. On a bus I get to read or sleep. We help the environment. What’s not to like?”

I like buses in Seattle too. I get to sit on my mom’s lap and look out the window. The bus drivers like me. Other passengers fuss over me.

But then we go visit her friends. When it’s time to go home, my mom wants to take the bus. “It’s safe,” she says. “It’s free because I have a pass. It’s very comfortable and I can sleep or catch up on my email via cell phone. And it’s usually faster than driving because buses barrel through the lights and barge past the cars. What’s the problem?”

The problem is, her friends get upset. “It’s dark. It’s a holiday. We can’t let you take the bus.”

My mom won’t let them drive her. “If anything happened on a dark holiday night,” she says, “I’d never forgive myself. Anyway, why should they make a long car trip? The bus is 2 blocks away.”

So she ends up either refusing the invitation (even though she likes going and the friends enjoy having her over) or calling a cab that costs almost $40 (plus listening to the driver’s cell phone chatter and having to explain that “the dog is friendly and doesn’t shed much”) and resenting the whole thing.

Today she was discussing the problem with my Aunt Sara, the dogwalker, while I waited patiently to get going. Aunt Sara is usually on her side, but this time she said, “No way. I won’t let friends take a bus, especially on a holiday.”

Aargh. My mom hates it when she can’t change people’s minds. See, if I’d waited long enough, I’d have been adopted by a rich owner with a couple of Mercedes who really liked to drive…

Mom’s home again (I think that’s a good thing)

My mom Cathy just got back from her conference this morning. My Aunt Sara dropped me off at home this afternoon via her “pet taxi” service. Mom told Aunt Sara, “I took a couple of days to relax and have a mini-vacation. I need to do that more often.”

Yes! I absolutely agree. I came home with a note from the Barking Lounge, reporting what I’d done. I don’t fetch. But I did cuddle with everyone and I got some serious nap time and exercise. If that’s a vacation, give me more.

Best of all I got to escape our feline housemates. Ophelia was very upset with Cathy. She’s strutting around the apartment, emitting yowls of discontent. Creampuff of course is so ditzy she didn’t even notice anybody was gone.

Now I’ll get to hear Ophelia’s story. Just what I don’t need. Time for another nap. I guess life could be worse and anyway I need to spend the next week or two acting Very Grateful For My Owner. Cathy just saw the boarding bill. “Might as well send you to the Four Seasons,” she said.

I have no idea what that means. But I sat up when she reminded all of us, “You are lucky to have a good home. These days the shelters don’t have room for all the abandoned animals.”

Yes. Definitely not a week to press the mom for extra treats, let alone a winter coat and those cute little booties. If the mom won’t wear high heels, and she loves her ancient parka, we know who’s not getting a new wardrobe this year.