City dog loves the snow

gracie-in-snowOK, so I’m a certified snow dog! I love walking through the snow. My fur is thick so my mom hasn’t bought me a coat and so far I’m doing just fine. I love walking on snow. In the city everything piles up on the sidewalks.

My mom, on the other hand, is not a fan of snow. She finally broke down and bought some big ugly boots this year. They’re keeping us safe on snow but she hates wearing them. “They comes with long laces and they’re so clunky,” she says. “And it’s hard to tie them nice and tight.”

I made an offer. I could chew those boots. They’re nice and leathery, just the kind I like.

My mom freaked. “No way, Gracie,” she said. “If you chew them I’ll have to buy another pair. They’re expensive and even worse, I hate to go shopping for boots, shoes, sneakers … anything.”

What an ungrateful mom. I’m just trying to help.

But I should be grateful, as my mom reminds me every day. As soon as the sidewalks clear, we go on nice long walks. I’m tired. My mom’s tired. Life is good.


City dog enjoying a walk in the park

OK, so it’s not Magnuson in Seattle on the waterfront. And so my mom wouldn’t dream of letting me go off-leash.

“You’d be half way to New Jersey in no time,” she says.

New Jersey? Come on, Mom. I’m a city dog but Jersey scares me, too.

This park is close to where we live. We meet nice dogs there. My mom likes looking at the old houses nearby. And I enjoy sniffing … and sniffing. One thing about Philadelphia: people here don’t toss food around the way they did in Seattle. This park is too clean for my taste. A crust of pizza here and there … an old chicken bone … nope, not here.

Notice my newly svelte figure. My mom’s really proud. She was less than thrilled when I arrived with a few extra pounds here and there. I could say I’m less than thrilled with our diet and exercise regime, but it wouldn’t do any good. A Mom On A Mission is not to be trifled with.


You never know what will happen on our walks …

So my mom and I are walking around the neighborhood. Someone comes up to us, holding a camera.

“Can I ask a favor?” she says.

“I can’t hold a camera,” my mom said, pointing to her new sling. Since she fractured her arm bone she has been a little frazzled.

“No,” the woman says. “We’re on a scavenger hunt. We have to get a picture with 6 people.”

“Sure,” my mom says. “Will you send us the picture?”

“Six people – and a dog! Our group gets a bonus!”

My mom told me to sit because a simple sit makes people melt. Apparently most dogs won’t drop as fast as I do.

So there’s my mom on the far right, checking her sling, and you can see my royal head leaning forward. My mom is very proud: she’s wearing gym shorts and a loose t-shirt (she’s having trouble getting into shirts these days) and she looks VERY fit. Doesn’t she?

After the photo shoot, my mom asked what was going on. “We’re on a team-building project for our company,” a male team member said.

“So is it working?” my mom asked, trying to keep the skepticism out of her voice. She was never much of a team player although our little furry family has been trying to help her.

“It’s okay,” the guy said. “I’ve never been on a scavenger hunt before.”

“I think he’d rather do some team building over a couple of beers at a local bar,” my mom said to me, as we walked off. “I feel the same way.”

Dog tired: dog walk was long!

The building people were fixing our door and the installer made a lot of noise. So my mom announced, “Gracie, we are going on a LONG walk. It’s a gorgeous day. We should be outside! ”

She wasn’t kidding. We walked to Rittenhouse Square. She stopped by her old building so the doorman could meet me. He said I was “cute.”

Then we went to the Tuesday Farmers market, where my mom bought a few things from her favorite farm stand. Then we walked home.

“It’s about a mile and a half each way,” my mom said, “and we were gone about two hours. That’s a good walk for a dog.”

As you can see, I’m tired. So is my mom. She decided she’ll workout Wednesday and Friday this week instead of Tuesday and Thursday.

“A tired dog is a good dog,” my mom says.

“A tired mom is … a tired mom,” I would answer back. But I’m too busy with my nap.

Expensive dog or cheap exercise coach?

My mom admits it. She was worried that my arrival would disrupt her busy schedule. Besides running her business, she takes classes in improv and ceramics. She is a volunteer tour guide for AIA, the architectural association. Where, she wondered, would she find time for a dog – especially a demanding, high-maintenance Canine Urban Princess like me?

Okay, I have been here nearly two weeks. My mom decided to try on a pair of her favorite shorts. They’re about 15 years old but still perfect (Eddie Bauer never dies, she says), if somewhat out of fashion.

Since when does my mom care about fashion, anyway? These shorts were too tight a few weeks ago, before I came, because she was really grooving on Philly food she’d never touch in Seattle.

To my mom’s amazement, this time she fit into her shorts easily and her other clothes have become nice and loose. She’s thrilled.

My mom doesn’t get on scales. She refuses to acknowledge weight as an issue. “It’s all in the inches,” she says, “and the muscle.” She flexes her biceps as soon as anyone mentions aging and she’s actually proud of wearing the same clothes she wore last time she lived in Philadelphia.

I, of course, have no choice. I was about 38 pounds last weigh-in. Given our walking schedule, I’m probably closing in on my former princess weight.

My mom does not want me to look like a portly Dowager Queen. When I gain weight, she starts muttering about exorbitant vet bills.

So I’m off the hook, at least for now. We’ve been taking at least 2 30-minute walks a day. Today we walked for 40 minutes.

My mom even admits she gets ideas for her business while we walk. She sleeps better at night because she’s just as tired as I am. See… I am also a life coach. Doesn’t that qualify for higher-class crunchies?

City Dog and Dog Owner Enjoy a Seattle Moment

Mom says people want some pictures of her, not just me. But usually it’s just the two of us, and I don’t have fingers, let alone opposable thumbs. Besides, I’m a lot more photogenic than my mom.

On Wednesday my mom announced that we were going to walk up to Queen Anne. Going up is a LOT harder than going down. On the way back, my mom was so thrilled with the view she insisted we walk over and take a look. Personally, I could care less about views. I’d rather dig for something more interesting, which my mom won’t allow me to mention in this blog.

We saw some tourists taking pictures. My mom said, “If I take a picture of your family all together, can you get a picture of us?”

They said, “Sure.” Mom struck a pose and I’m looking at her, like, “What is going on here?”

It turned out they were a couple visiting their son, who is studying at University of Washington. My mom likes to give people information about Seattle because it makes her feel like an old-timer. Well, we have our fourth anniversary coming up. You’re not a newcomer, Mom. But it’s kind of cute when you play tourist.

My mom wants me to add that she hadn’t planned to have her picture taken, so she was wearing her old shorts and sweatshirt. Luckily she got her hair cut so she looks a little ore together than usual.

Please write a comment to reassure my mom that she doesn’t look as awful as she thinks. Tell her she doesn’t look old, even if you have to lie.

Dog walk, continued…we climb more stairs…

Here’s another set of stairs.

I hope you’re impressed. Mom says, “This walk is so good for us, Gracie. Good for our quads and glutes.”

Earth to mom. Dogs don’t have quads and glutes. I’m just here to keep you out of trouble.

Mom wanted to include¬† the jonquils in this shot. “Maybe spring will be coming soon,” she said.

Come on, Mom. It’s cold.

We go for a walk

Last week my mom said, “Gracie, we’re going for a walk! We will take a bus to the top of Queen Anne Hill and walk down.”

Then, as she got ready, she said, “Hmm. These jeans are a little snug. We’d better walk both ways.”

Great. Her jeans feel tight so we have to walk? She couldn’t even begin to fit into those jeans six months ago. What’s her problem?

As usual, the mom wins.

Queen Anne is so steep, you can get there by stairs. We climbed…

Do you see those stairs?

Spring is coming (and not a moment too soon)

My mom and I are both ready for winter to be over. Mom was sure she had put away her big parka  for the last time, but no: yesterday was really cold. We walked to the UPS store to pick up some packages. On the way back, we found ourselves in a snowstorm. My muzzle was covered with fat, white flakes.

But my mom keeps pointing to signs of spring. On our morning walk, she said, “Gracie, look — crocuses! First sign of spring!”

She tried to get me to go over and sniff them. “It would be a great photo op,” she said.

But why would I want to sniff flowers? That’s what cats do. I could care less. So here I am sniffing an old potato chip wrapper. Maybe I’ll find a five-year-old chicken bone. Much more interesting. Who’s going to eat a crocus?

“Mom slows down…”

My mom Cathy tends to ignore most physical symptoms with, “It’ll just go away if we wait.”

She says she gets her philosophy from the time she actually visited doctors who were prejudiced against women, especially single women. Eventually she stopped going to doctors because, she says, “I don’t have to pay big bucks to hear, ‘It’s all in your mind.’ ”

Of course she drags me to the vet if I sneeze twice in a row, but that’s another story.

But Cathy finally admitted her running shoes were creating a blister. She switched shoes so the yucky red area would be exposed to air and heal, a trick she learned when I got nicked at the dog park last year.

sneakersDoes anyone remember the episode on Seinfeld where Kramer goes to a dog doctor for a cough? My mom didn’t laugh. She thought it was a great idea.

Cathy dug out her only other pair of wearable shoes: her 10-year-old Birkenstocks. Not quite as comfy as her running shoes so we’re walking less.

Yesterday we bussed to the dog park and I had to run around whether I wanted to or not.

“We can’t go on a long walk,” my mom said, “or I’ll get new blisters from the Birkies. So you’d better run around now.” She herself went to an exercise class where she got to go barefoot.

Someone once told my mom, “A tired dog is a good dog.” That’s one saying she never forgot.

What happened to, “Dogs need treats every day?” I like that rule.