More about my elderly feline roommate

Tiger went to the vet yesterday. My mom returned looking grim. She has to give Tiger fluids. The poor cat is dehydrated.

“I think Tiger has lost her sense of smell, not her appetite,” Mom said. “She’s even backing away from the tuna fish. But she’s very interested in what’s on her plate…and my plate, too.

“Tiger just looks like, ‘I’m hungry! This looks good so I’ll sniff….Oh no! Why are you serving me gravel?'”

Apparently cats use their sense of smell to decide if food is edible. Once it’s gone, they have no clue.

But she will be happy to be proven wrong, if a newly hydrated Tiger starts eating again.

I will be on my best behavior, knowing Cathy has so much going on. But hey, I’m a dog, not a saint. There is a patron saint of dogs but no saintly dogs as far as I know.

So I hope my mom Cathy hides the chewables. And I suspect we’re in for lots of walks while mom is feeling stressed.

Mom gets healthier…dog gets hungry

My mom was getting really tired of my finicky digestive system. So she bought some bland diet food at the vet and Mallory,me at the vet the vet tech, gave her a measuring cup.

“When Gracie’s on a bland diet, move her back to the regular diet very slowly,” Mallory said.

Here’a a photo of me with Mallory (on the right), the vet tech, and Ruth, the office manager, when I visited the vet last March. I’m trying to keep their attention focused on my front end.

Ruth remembers when Cathy first adopted me. “Doesn’t look like the same dog!” she always says. Well, I’m now a Cuppie: a Canine Urban Princess.

Cathy realized she hadn’t been measuring my food, the way she had with Keesha, my predecessor.

“Hmm…maybe that’s why your tummy keeps rumbling,” she said. So now she measures my food — 2 cups a day.

If I don’t eat, it’s gone. No more food for me to nibble when I’m in the mood for a quick snack. My only hope is to sneak over to the cat food.

Then Cathy decided she should walk more. Translation: we will walk more. So yesterday we walked all the way home from the dog park. I’m exhausted. Cathy is too, but she won’t admit it.

“If there’s any justice in this world,” she says, “I would be skinny.”

No comment. You think I’m gonna go there? I’m heading straight for my cushion, saving my energy for the next sock available for chewing.

Dog owner to eye doctor, dog to park

gracie the dog getting treat at vetOn the right you’ll see a photo of Ruth, Office Manager of UrbanVet. She knows how a vet visit should be concluded: with me, the VIP client, getting a special treat. So I look forward to going to the vet.

My mom, Cathy, avoids the human equivalent of vets – the MDs. “Mostly arrogant jerks,” she says.

But on Monday she got busy on the Internet. I heard her telling someone on the phone, “I keep seeing this black shape…like a large bug floating in front of my left eye. Yuk. I really hate doctors…maybe I’ll wait.”

Oh no. I am too old to be trained as a Seeing Eye dog. I gave her The Look. She gave in, canceled her afternoon appointments and turned me over to Aunt Sara for a trip to the park.

When it comes to doctors, my mom is a wuss. I try to set a good example for her when I go to the vet, but no luck. Fortunately I wasn’t allowed to accompany her to the eye doctor. I would have been so embarrassed.

First, every time she meets a doctor (even socially), she clenches a fist, points to her bicep and says, ”How many women my age have muscles like this?” Usually they cave in and agree: she’s in awesome shape. She never used to tell her age but now she loves to brag (not to mention being the miserly type who grabs all the senior discounts).

And then she pitched her services…to the eye doctor. True, they really need a website and she’s pretty good. And we can use the money to buy me treats, manicures, dog lounge visits and trips to the park.

Anyway my mom got a clean bill of health. She wasn’t really surprised. But she was surprised with the service. “They were so nice,” she said. ‘Not at all arrogant. No talking down to me. I was amazed.”

But she didn’t get a treat, did she? Hah. They’ll be sending her a big bill.

“I bet it’s bigger than the bill we got for your eye infection,” she sighed when we were back home together on the couch.

Good. Nice to keep things in perspective here.

Great heart-warming dog story from Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline is on my mom’s Top Five list of mystery authors. That means when a new book comes out, Mom drops everything (well, almost everything) and reads it cover to cover.

Lisa’s got a great story about her own golden retriever:

sent to me by Ellen Zucker of

Urban Dog Gets Bath, Pedicure

Yesterday Cathy dropped me off at the Dog Lounge for a bath. downtown dog lounge seattle

Thank goodness…I was beginning to feel itchy.

Don’t tell anyone but I go to the groomer more than she goes to the hairdresser. “More bang for the buck,” my mom says. “Gracie looks gorgeous after her grooming session. I look…marginally improved.”

I’m not saying a word and if I were you, I wouldn’t either.

Here I am right after my bath with Terri, the trainer who’s trying to teach me some manners. When she says “No,” I listen. If she weren’t so nice…

dog trainer with gracie

And here’s Summer, who gave me my wonderful bath, trying to figure out what to charge Cathy. I should get a discount because I’m such a good advertisement for the place.

I suspect the staff thinks Cathy should pay a surcharge. When she picks me up, she asks a dozen times, “How was Gracie? Was she a good dog? Everything okay? Did she get to exercise? Will she be good and tired when we get home?”

My mom needs to get a life. But at least she makes sure I have a good one.

Just doing my job…

My mom was crazy-busy all day today. She was in one of her rare bad moods. I heard her mutter about juggling copywriting jobs, missing connections, losing things and a bunch of other stuff.

Here’s where I really earn my overpriced crunchies.

If Cathy doesn’t take me out, I’ll drive her nuts. I need exercise or I’ll be so hyper she won’t be able to hear herself talk on the phone, let alone write decent copy.

So we go to the dog park. Cathy always enjoys chatting with Lindsay, the volunteer park steward. “Sort of like the mayor of the dog park,” she says.

We haven’t seen Lindsay in awhile so I greet her enthusiastically while Nathan, a young man with a cell phone camera, recognizes a photo op. That’s Lindsay in her red hat, green sweatshirt and sardonic smile.Dog park with Lindsay

Later, as we walk by Macrina Bakery, we are greeted by a 30-something guy sitting outside in the sun. Cathy recognizes a dog lover so she asks if he’ll watch me for a minute while she goes inside to get something sinful to have with her coffee this afternoon. Naturally he thanks her for sharing me. Everybody does.

“I need a treat today,” Cathy tells me, as we head for the bus stop.

Hey, what about me? Who got her out, into the bright spring sunshine that brought her mood back to normal (more or less)? Who got her into friendly conversations with live people? Isn’t this why Cathy adopted me?

I deserve a treat too. Yesterday’s chewy is history. I’m going on strike…but first, it’s dinner and a nap.

Urban Dog Uncovers Owner’s Core Gifts

My mom Cathy just signed up for a training program on info products. For her first assignment, she is supposed to ask 10 people (family, friends and colleagues) to answer three questions to uncover her core gift

Cathy hates this stuff. She’d rather write 3 info products in a weekend than ask people to help her answer these questions. Most people she knows would rather be boiled in oil than do this. And it’s just south of woo-woo land.

But since I fit into the “family” category, I thought I’d (pardon the expression) dig into these questions.

Q1: In your opinion, what do you think I’m naturally good at doing?

A: From where I sit (currently under the coffee table), I think you’re naturally good at selecting dogs. First you chose Keesha from the Broward County Humane Society and then — seven years later at the opposite end of the country — you chose me on Petfinder.

OK, you didn’t really choose me. I chose you. And yeah, I know you thought about sending me back. But who’s kidding who? Once I started sitting in your lap on the bus, I knew: we were a team.

Q2. In the past, what have you been able to rely on me for?

Food. Dog beds (one in each room…and I’ll take the sofa anytime, thank you very much). More food. Walks. Excursions to the dog park. Food. Visits to the vet. Training (we could skip this one if you get busy). A kong to chew when I’m alone in my crate. Two cats to entertain me and keep me humble. My own corner of your sofa. My big bag of chewies.

Oh yeah, did I say food?

Q3. What do you feel are my top 3 strengths and talents?

Well, I hope you’re a good copywriter, because you couldn’t make a living with your domestic skills, like housekeeping or cooking. I do my best to help by nibbling stray crumbs here and there, but you’re a challenge.

OK, here goes:

Talent #1: You learn fast. When I first got here, you said, “No dogs on the furniture..and never on my bed!” So I slept in my crate for the first few months, slurping on my peanut butter kong.

But soon you caught on to the deal I offered: no chewing your socks if I could sit on the couch. And I wouldn’t eat the cat food if I could sleep on the foot of your bed.

Hey, a deal’s a deal. You immediately saw the win-win possibilities. I knew your MBA would count for something.

Talent #2: You’re highly intuitive.

When I sit next to the door, looking pathetic, you know I need to go out…right away. When I put my head in your lap and look soulfully into your eyes, you slam the laptop closed and grab the leash. You easily predict the future of your rug if you don’t get us out to the street.

Talent #3: You’re a shameless self-promoter.

Every time we ride the bus, you tell everyone in earshot our story. All it takes is one question: “What’s her name? How old? What kind?”

You don’t hesitate. “Gracie. Five. All-American Mutt but she thinks she’s a princess. Rescued from a humane society in Bellingham. No, not a shelter – foster home. Isn’t she well-behaved? I am so proud of her…”

It gets better. We walk to the Queen Anne branch of the library. Almost always some nice person is sitting on the steps. “What a good dog,” they say.

This is my cue. I turn my Cuteness level up to Maximum Strength, snuggling and prancing around.

After the unsuspecting victim has been totally won over, you say, “Gee, do you think you could keep an eye on her for just a minute while I run in and return a book? She doesn’t like to be tied up outside and she tries to run away…”

When you come back, everybody’s smiling. The mark even thanks you for the privilege of spending time with me. You may be a great salesperson, but I’m the champ when it comes to delivering customer service.

OK, I did my part with the questions. If you’re reading this blog and you know Cathy, please volunteer to answer the questions. She won’t want to ask. I just hope she keeps writing stuff that sells. Urban dogs don’t come cheap.

Contact info here:

A Dog’s Biggest Challenge: Saving My Owner From Herself

Look, I just want to help my mom, Cathy. She works hard, but she’s just a little misguided sometimes.

Take food. Cathy works out religiously. She loves to exercise…and she loves to eat. She knows: she really should be on a diet. Of course, Cathy doesn’t believe in diets. That’s too conventional. So she vows to eat healthy food in moderation.

Cathy just looked over my shoulder. She wants me to tell you that she’s really not that big. She’s the least photogenic person on the planet (I have to agree there). And in that photo where she’s speaking, she’s wearing a coat dress. Yes…it’s like a coat, but…it looked great in the room. Cathy got lots of compliments on her outfit. But let’s face it: in that picture, she resembles a small house on steroids.

I tried to help. A few weeks ago Cathy brought home a piece of coffee cake from Tully’s coffee shop. She likes a nice coffee break in the afternoon with just a small piece of something good. But who knows? I asked myself. Maybe she won’t stop with just one bite. Maybe she’ll eat the whole thing.

It’s up to me to save my owner from herself. Besides, she left her bag open. Gulp! No more temptation, Mom.

I did the same with the cheese last week: a nice chunk of cheddar Mom was saving for a special snack. Cheese is her weakness these days. So once again, it’s Gracie to the rescue – yum!

This time Mom freaked. She thought I would get sick. Visions of vet bills spun before her eyes. She got on the Internet (naturally) and found all sorts of scary warnings. She called the vet. “Gone for the day, leave a message.”

So she did the next best thing. She called her friend Bill, in New York. Bill is a real dog person who’s been advising my mom since the first day she brought Keesha home. I wish Mom would listen to Bill. He believes dogs should not get obedience training and he feeds his dogs muffins. Blueberry, preferably. His dogs are really spoiled.

“Gracie ate cheese!” she shrieked.


“Won’t she get sick?”

After Bill wouldn’t stop laughing, Cathy hung up on him. She watched me closely for a couple of days, which was kind of fun.

Next I’m going to work on hamburger. Cathy shouldn’t eat it. I’ll help her resist.

Under the Weather

I knew trouble was brewing when my mom, Cathy, picked up the phone to call the vet. I know I should not wake Cathy up in the middle of the night but, hey – what’s a dog to do? My tummy was rumbling. I had to go out. We have a safe neighborhood and anyway, I can protect my mom from the hangers-on at Ozzie’s bar down the street.

“She woke me up four times!” my mom was saying. I beat a strategic retreat to my favorite spot on Cathy’s bed. But I heard Cathy say, “No food today, right? Bland food? Three more days? Dog food for dogs with sensitive tummies? Hmm…that’s an idea.”


I miss my regular crunchies. Being a dog isn’t easy in this household. It’s a good thing my mom doesn’t have human puppies. She’s hopeless when it comes to anything remotely medicinal.

Gracie : The Dog is the Star

Awhile back we were heading home from the dog park. As usual, I sat in my mom’s lap. Who wants to si on the yucky floor?

Everyone around us asked, “What’s her breed?”

Answer: “Anything but a Rottweiler.”

Then we had a guessing game. Beagle? Corgi? Shepherd? Chihuahua? Australian ridgeback (doubtful)?

Everybody wants to touch me. I think people feel disconnected on a bus, in the city. Often people will pat my head, as if I were a good luck charm, as they leave the bus.

Occasionally someone’s scared of dogs. One guy said, “It’s against my religion to touch a dog.”

But usually I get compliments on “such a well-behaved dog!” “Looks so sweet!”

My mom threatens to buy me a pair of sunglasses.