practicing for the “cutest dog” award

graciecuteMy mom and I are both exhausted. Yesterday she helped out at the animal shelter. One volunteer was photographing dogs; her job was to help bring the dogs out of their cages to be photographed. The dogs, she says, were big and they weren’t used to walking on leashes. So they pulled! For breaks she took them into the pens and let them run around. Some of them could sit. Some had no skills at all.

“That’s so sad,” my mom said. “Keeping a dog and ignoring it. And they’re so sweet. They take treats right from your had.”

Treats? I’ll take treats any way I can get them.


Dogs get traumatized too

My mom just read me an article from the local paper, the Seattle Times. Apparently a nice German Shepherd had been employed as a bomb-sniffing dog. She had been a playful, happy pup before she was deployed. All the loud noises and stressful conditions were too much for her. She became withdrawn and afraid of people. You can read the article here/

Fortunately the military people worked hard to rehabilitate this dog. They gave her treats (always a good idea!) when she walked outside. They encouraged her to walk through doorways by offering treats. Most important, they gave her LOTS of love.

However, as a dog who’s been through two rescue groups, I don’t see why anyone is surprised. Every dog who goes through a shelter or rescue group has probably been traumatized. Kind, loving, knowledgeable owners rarely have dogs that end up in rescue. If they can’t keep their dogs, they make responsible arrangements. Anyway, just being in a cage, or being uprooted from a loving environment, will be traumatic. We need lots of extra love and (are you listening, mom?) more treats.

My mom never forgets that I’m a rescue dog. She reminds me every day, “Gracie, you have issues.” She tells everyone we meet, “Gracie is a rescue mutt.” Can’t she just say, “Gracie is a shepherd-lab mix?” I don’t know if I am or not, but who cares?

I’ve come a long way, though. Everybody says so! “Gracie is so much more confident,” they say. “She looks so happy!”

True. I’m a lucky dog. But I can’t help wondering. If I’d waited just a little longer, maybe Bill Gates would have adopted me.

Read the article here:

It’s official: Ophelia back to normal…

Or whatever passes for normal in a cat these days.

My mom is so happy. Ophelia has been eating…and eating. Mom put a big dish of food in the laundry room, so Ophelia would have some privacy. Ophelia dug right in with gusto. You’d think she hadn’t eaten for a month. Well, she hadn’t. She’s been eating via “assisted feeding.”ophelia posing

Cathy feels she has gained an hour a day. No more fluid. No more force feeding.

She also gained a new cat. Ophelia’s whole personality has changed, too. She’s become a strong, confient, dominant feline. She joins us on the sofa. She sleeps on Cathy’s bed.

Now we’re waiting for the cats to start getting along. Ophelia has a magnificent purr and a horrible, ugly hiss. I’m afraid Creampuff gets hisses, boos and growls. I get ignored. My mom gets the purrs. Welll, she pays the big vet bills.

Ophelia still hanging around

My mom has been force feeding Ophelia twice a day. She just started giving the poor cat Sub-Q fluids every other day. You’d think she’d be ready to say, “Alas, poor Ophelia….” and send her back where she came from.

But no. She exclaims, “Ophelia purred while I gave her fluids!” and “Ophelia’s so good when I feed her.”

Personally, I think it’s the Stockholm Syndrome. Mom is getting attached to this useless furry creature who runs her life. But it looks like Ophelia’s here to stay. I’m trying to make friends, but Ophelia doesn’t get it. A friendly “arf” and a sniff…who could misunderstand?

Cats are dumb.

Mom calls the shrink…

Not for her. She’s far too cheap.

But Cathy is worried about our new housemate, Ophelia. After making progress, Ophelia has regressed. She staked a claim on a corner of Cathy’s bed and she won’t leave. She sits on a cushion, right next to Cathy’s pillow, and she won’t budge. When she freaks out, she dives under the bed. Not good.

So Mom asked the vet for a referral to a cat behaviorist. When Cathy called for her appointment, they said Ophelia might be suffering from shelter shock. Sort of like post-traumatic stress disorder for cats.

We’ve got a PhD-qualified, trained shrink coming next week. He comes to our home and spends a couple of hours analyzing Ophelia. Mom was aghast at the cost till she realized that’s what she charges for a diagostic website makeover session. And she doesn’t even go to clients’ homes.

Hey Mom, I’ve got a better idea. Let’s find Ophelia a home with a nice little old lady, where Ophelia can be the only cat. She can sit on the old lady’s lap and watch the old lady drink tea.

Except, my mom would say, they don’t make old ladies like they used to. And she adores Ophelia. They’ve bonded.

Adopting our new housemate

Good grief. We can’t have any peace around here.

We just said sad good-bys to Tiger. Well, my mom Cathy was sad. I’m philosophical. Cats come. Cats go.

We went to the Seattle Animal Shelter, just to look. Cathy’s neighbors, Diana and Rachel, offered to give us a ride. Yep…you read that right. Us. I went along too. Cathy wanted to show the Shelter folks what a good pet owner she is.gracie in shelter

Naturally I stole the show. Everyone kept saying, “What a beautiful dog.”

One of the staff volunteers gave me a toy.

Diana, who drove us down, is holding my leash firmly. I’m waiting for Cathy to finish the paperwork. Isn’t this dumb? When she adopted me, my foster mom just drove me down. She could tell Cathy would be a great owner. This Shelter is more complicated.

adaoption sceneAnd here’s Cathy with the Adoption Volunteer who helped her choose Ophelia. And me. Do I look as bored as I feel?

And here’s the adoptee herself. Can you tell she’s overflowing her carrier? Mom is making all kinds of noise about kitty in carrier

No problem. I get my aerobics in the park, thank you very much.

But there’s at least one silver lining. With a 17-pound cat, nobody’s looking at my waistline. Welcome, Ophelia!