My mom went out of town last week and I got to spend 5 days in the Downtown Dog Lounge. Yaay! It was like a vacation. I played with my Big Sister Summer and got a nice spa treatment on Sunday: bath, mani and pedi. They even did my ears.
Aunt Sara picked me up on Monday because Mom doesn’t have a car. When Sara dropped me off, she said, “Gracie needs a new leash and collar.”
“I was going to give her a Christmas gift,” my mom said.
“Nope. You need it now,” said Aunt Sara.
My mom is well-intentioned but a little clueless sometimes. What happened to my birthday?”
But I knew I was back at work this evening. Mom was feeling a little tired. “With all the flu going around,” she said, “I am not taking any chances.” She headed off to bed and pressed me into service as a heating pad.
“It’s cold out there,” she said.
Other people would turn the heat up. Not my mom. She’s into ecology and healthy living. She opens the window, piles on the quilts and grabs her dog. If dogs had a union, we would modify the contract. Dogs go on walks. They don’t do heating pads. I should get overtime pay.
On Saturday night I was totally zonked. Friday of course I went to Magnuson with my Aunt Sara. Saturday mom took me for a walk and I got to run a little in the local dog park. So when bedtime rolled around, I was stretched out on Mom’s bed, ready for a snuggle. I didn’t move the whole night.
“Gracie, if you’re going to sleep up here, you will need a bath,” Mom said on Sunday morning. “Whew! You smell like a dog.”
Like, duh. What am I supposed to say? Cats smell like cats and…
So Sunday morning we headed over to the Downtown Dog Lounge on Elliott. Mom was cursing the day DDL lost their lease in Belltown. “This is SO inconvenient,” she muttered. Nevertheless, she dropped me off. On Sunday baths are half price. I told you Mom is cheap.
Mom caught a ride from the gym so she was here early to pick me up. Just before I went home, the staff gave me a beautiful bandana and a treat. I could do without the bandana but DDL has the best treats. My mom’s camera caught two staff members fussing over me, paying the homage due a true Canine Urban Princess.
My mom has been feeling sad because the Downtown Dog Lounge closed its doors in Belltown. The location was so convenient. We could walk (and sometimes did). We could be there by bus in 10 minutes.
The staff were so nice to us. “They felt like family,” my mom says.
I used to go there almost every Sunday, while my mom went to work out at her gym. I would sit up front with the receptionist. I got spoiled by Summer, who’s my adopted big sister.
Everybody liked me. “Gracie gets along so well,” the staff told my mom. “She invites the other dogs to play but she doesn’t come across as aggressive.”
Aggressive? Me? Why would I?
One day my mom Cathy brought me in for a bath. When she came back, my nails were painted bright red. I finally looked like a real princess. Mom was a little mortified. “I hope nobody thinks we paid for this,” she said. But of course she told everybody we met, “Look at her toenails!” She even insisted we blog about the “pawdicure.”
Then when my mom had to go to the Emergency Room, my Uncle Lance dropped me off at the Dog Lounge. Summer was thrilled to find me there when she came to work the next day. She found me some terrific new dog food and charged Mom’s account. She made sure I had so many treats I didn’t miss home at all. They sent me home via dog taxi with a cute “Get Well” card for my mom.
And then there was the time a couple of years ago when Mom went out of town. (She hates to travel.) Of course I got to spend the night in the Dog Lounge. When mom came to get me, the staff person said, “Gracie was barking in her crate. She wasn’t happy. So I took her out and she slept with me.”
Or the time Cynthia said, “Gracie tells us what she wants. We put her in back and she comes to scratch on the door to come up front.” Well, of course. Cynthia knows how to treat a real princess.
Or Summer taking me to Ewe-topia so I could herd sheep. We had a great day together.
Or the time they dressed me up for Halloween and gave me treats on my birthday. (I got to spend Mom’s birthday there too, but she didn’t get any treats.)
Sure, the Dog Lounge has branches nearby. There’s one over on Elliott. To get there we have to walk through Lower Kinnear Park, which my mom says is dangerous. Or we could walk but there’s no sidewalk that goes directly there. Yep…you read that right. The sidewalk disappears. My mom opts for the park. “The odds of being attacked by a homeless person are a lot less than the odds of being run over by a car,” she says. “Maybe when we get a new mayor the city will fix Mercer Street.”
Then there’s Capitol Hill. We tried it last Sunday. “Forget it,” Mom said. “It’s a long trek to get there and gong home? The worst bus in Seattle and a TON of traffic. If I have to spend an hour getting you, I might as well take you for a walk to the Regrade Dog Park.”
But I know we’ll be back. My mom knows how much I like Summer and the rest of the gang. “Maybe every other week,” Mom says. “Or once a month at least. And then, Gracie, your bath…”
Yeah, I know. We’re both feeling sad right now. It’s like losing a family who moved away.
Summer and Sue were thrilled to see me. I played on the couch until time for my bath. Then after my bath, Smmer brushed me…and brushed me. There was enough fur left over to make another dog. (Yeah, it’s an old joke, but I like it.)
Summer knows how to brush me. I just leaned back and enjoyed every minute.
But that’s not all. I got a pawdicure. If you look closely at this photo, you will see my toe nails are painted bright red. I am finally looking like the Canine Urban Princess (CUPPIE) I am.
My mom was amazed. “What if Gracie chews off her nail polish and runs up a big vet bill?” My mom’s mind runs in that direction.
“It’s doggie nail polish,” Summer explained. “Totally harmless.”
“They make nail polish for dogs?”
My mom can be so clueless sometimes.
Maybe my mom will take the hint. She needs to make her own hair appointmet and she hasn’t had a manicure in ages. “I hate that stuff,” she says. “I like my massage therapist, Larry Swanson, but the nails? forget it. And I’ll never have a pedicure. Too ticklsh.”
My mom is truly a fitness fanatic. She works out three or four times a week at the gym. When the weather’s decent, she takes me for walks.
In fact, that’s why she adopted me. When she took me for my first check-up at the vet, she wasn’t there for my health. She was there for her own benefit. “Will Gracie be able to go on long walks with me?” she asked the vet. “That’s why I want a dog.”
From the beginning, I was set up to be an accessory. I’m not loved for my self and my scintillating personality.
As if that weren’t enough. Cathy worries that I don’t get enough exercise. So every Sunday, while she works out at the gym, I’m in the Downtown Dog Lounge of Seattle. Fortunately the staff is not nearly as fanatical. They sneak me treats and let me snooze on the couch while Cathy thinks I’m running around chasing other dogs. I play with my special group of friends. I help out at the reception desk. They use me for temperament-testing when new dogs apply to join our pack.
This morning Cathy warned me, “Gracie, I’m off to the ballet this evening. I want to see my favorite female dancer, Kaori Nakamura, perform the lead in Swan Lake and this will be my last chance. So you’ll be crated up for at least for hours. Better be tired.”
No problem, Mom. I am zonked. I slept all afternoon. We’re both getting older. I don’t need to run marathons anymore. And a few more treats won’t wreck my midlife figure.
Good thing Mom didn’t have human kids. They’d be ready for boot camp by the time they reached college.
Would you look at this? When Cathy adopted me, I figured we’d stay in our nice, clean city apartment. I’d sleep on the couch and rarely get my paws dirty. Okay, I go to Magnuson twice a week with my Aunt Sara. But we stay on the paths and on the beach.
But Summer from the Downtown Dog Lounge took me out for a day of sheep herding. We went to Ewetopia, a place that specializes in uniting dogs and sheep. Summer took a whole set of pictures of me working sheep.. Although I am a Canine Urban Princess (CUPPIE), it seems I may have descended from some common shepherd dogs.
I don’t know what came over me when I saw those sheep. Don’t I look like I know what I’m doing?
Now my mom wants to go out there. Personally, I think I’m getting a little old for this herding. I slept for 3 days afterward. It’s tougher than it looks.
On Sunday mornings my mom goes off to the gym for her workout. She used to do sculpt class and now she tells me she does Elliptical, machines and Pilates. As a dog, I have no idea what she’s doing. It all sounds so weird. Why can’t humans just chase tennis balls for exercise?
But I don’t care. While she works out I get to chill out at the Downtown Dog Lounge with Summer, who’s like my Big Sister. See, I’m getting a family: my Mom, the pack leader; my mysterious Uncle Lance, who refuses to have his picture taken with us; my Aunt Sara, who takes me to the dog park twice a week; and Summer, my Big Sister.
Summer is looking up at the camera and I’m telling her, “Ignore the camera. Mom’s going to exercise class. I want a tummy rub.” My mom Cathy took several pictures but only this one came out. In the other ones, I was wriggling with joy and all you can see is a blurry brown shape.
My mom isn’t handling the rain very well. She was going to take me to the Downtown Dog Lounge for a bath. After a busy Saturday of herding sheep and then a trip to Magnuson with my Aunt Sara, I could use one.
Mom said, “I’m not even going to the gym. I went yesterday anyway and I’m still feelilng the effects. This rain and cold make me sneeze.”
Don’t get a cold, Mom. You’ve got too much work to do. I’ll wait. After all, I’m exhausted.
My mom has been busy all weekend, but she makes time for me to exercise. Yesterday we walked over a mile to a furniture store so she could buy a new bookcase. (She just gave away her old one on Craigslist. Too small, she said.)
“You need exercise,” she said. “I’m going out tonight.” And she did. She was off to the Symphony, humming the tune to the Idee Fixe of Berlioz’s Fantastique. (My mom is so proud of her new musical knowledge. She’s got a lot to learn, she says.)
Then today I played for two hours in the Dog Lounge with my best pal and adopted Big Sister, Summer. Summer wants to take Mom to the Ewetopia sheep-herding event next week.
Me? Herd sheep? My hair stands on end. I bet somewhere in my genes is a true sheep dog.
We’ll see. Mom says she’ll take off the time if we can work out the driving with Summer. I’m keeping my paws crossed. And very nice paws, too. Summer gave me a manicure. My mom says she’s long overdue for one herself.
“Just be glad I have so much work,” she said. “Somebody has to pay for your crunchies. And dog walks. And…” uh-oh, I know what’s coming… “your vet bills from eating JUNK.”