Gracie: From Dog Rescue to Urban Princess

Gracie: One year anniversary of dog adoption
Guest post by my mom, Cathy Goodwin

Just one year ago January 2, 2006, the foster mom delivered Gracie from nearby Bellingham, WA, to my home in Seattle. I don’t have a car so they drove her down. I made an extra donation to cover the cost. I chose her from a photo on the Internet, mainly because she was the right size and she got along with cats.

Christopher Aust (a dog trainer you can visit on the Internet) gave me a long list of questions to ask the foster mom and LOTS of advice, like, “Don’t get a dog like the one who just crossed the bridge!”

He was right. Gracie is totally different from Keesha, my first dog. She’s s short-haired and very athletic. I wish I could say it was love at first sight but actually she drove me nuts. I thought I’d have to send her back! She was just 3 years and 3 months and she had the energy of a puppy. She wandered around the apartment looking lost. She ran and ran around the dog park and never got tired. She pulled on her leash. She chewed everything in sight; she even pulled a book off a shelf and chewed it up. One day she chewed her leather leash into tiny squares and ate most of them.

Fast forward a year. The vet says Gracie doesn’t look like the same dog. She had her first professional grooming, ever, and now she looks forward to baths and nail trims. She adores the dog lounge and they adore her: the receptionists often keep her up front during doggie day care because “she’s so cute and so much fun to hang out with. In fact, she has a fan club all over Seattle.

I vowed she’d never be allowed on the furniture. Well, we made a deal. She doesn’t chew if she gets to sit on the couch or the bed. She has her own cushion on each place. At night (or when I go out) I tuck her into her crate. At night she gets a peanut butter kong and she starts licking her lips as we return from the last walk of the evening. Oh yes, she’s very good on walks now, rarely tugging.

I must say I am astounded at how a dog’s personality can change in a year. We have a coffee shop that allows dogs. At first she would nervously stand and try to walk around. Now she knows the drill: she sits quietly while I drink coffee and half-heartedly looks for crumbs on the floor. On buses she sits in my lap, looking adorable and passengers always come over to pat her. One woman insisted on keeping Gracie on *her* lap. (Yes, in Seattle dogs ride buses. They ride free if they fit on your lap.) We love Seattle Metro.

And while I’m working, I’m training her to sit on a cushion in my home office and watch me adoringly. We’re making good progress! Usually after a couple of treats and worshipful looks, she’s sound asleep.

She spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with me as we visited friends. She was the star of the holiday. She didn’t care for the fireworks at the Space Needle or the cannon at the Seafair Parade.

I changed her name to Gracie after I adopted her, after the book Amazing Gracie by Dan Dye. Now we are calling her Princess Gracie.

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