“Rescued a human today … “

My mom found this story online. She has really gotten into animal rescue. We now sneer at well-meaning people who actually buy dogs. We become incensed when people fail to spay or neuter.

Then my mom found this story which makes her melt.

Um, mom, this blog is supposed to be about ME!

Yes, I chose you … because I figured you needed a little excitement in your life. Someone to chew things so you wouldn’t get attached. Someone to steal your food so you’d stay on your diet. Someone to keep the cats in line (and become Pumpkin’s new BFF).

So there. Now, let’s get back to finding more ways to spoil me.

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.


Not much time to write

My mom hasn’t been helping me write my blog lately. For one thing, I’m getting older and more tired. I sleep more. My mom feels sad when she sees me sleeping, even though she always says, “You look so beautiful when you sleep, Gracie. A tired dog is a good dog.”” And then she says, “You’re getting older but you still have lots of energy! And you’re leading a good life.”

Everybody fusses over me. I get so many back rubs and butt scratches. I also get treats when my mom reluctantly says I can. People always want to give me the good stuff, but my mom usually says no. She wants to keep me slim so I won’t put too much weight on my skinny legs.

Also my mom has become passionate about animal rescue. She told me she volunteered in San Francisco, back when she was a grad student. She went out with the van to destinations away from the shelter so people could just walk up and adopt on the spot. She told me she was responsible for many people going home with a furry creature in a cardboard box.

Now she’s on a crusade. She discovered that only 30% of all pets are adopted. The rest come from breeders.

Breeders? I’m well bred. I have beautiful manners and a strong, healthy body.

My mom gets so sad when she thinks about all those animals in shelters. So she’s spending time posting announcements on Petfinder and now she’s going to be making trips to the shelter to help out. That means less time for me, of course.

But we’re having more high quality time. My mom keeps telling me how lucky I am. She’s giving me more tummy rubs.


And the winner is …

pumpkininbedThe winner of the Academy Award for Best Feline Dramatic Performance is none other than our own Pumpkin the Cat. Weighing in at a hefty fourteen pounds, Pumpkin has managed to communicate that she is a poor, starving stray who deserves more food.

My mom falls for it. “Maybe just a few crunchies,” she says.

She’s getting tougher, though. Pumpkin fills my dog bed nicely. She’s given up on crawling into the kitty-sized furniture. So sometimes she just gives Pumpkin a pat on the head and says, “It’s not dinner time yet.”

As for me, I get my food carefully measured at each of my two daily meals. My mom is terrified that I’ll get fat and put too much pressure on my slender leg joints.

“You like to run and jump, Gracie,” she says. “We’ll make sure you keep moving.”

Tough love. At least I get to wangle treats from all the soft-hearted neighbors.

THOSE dogs get raincoats

Pumpkin’s foster mom, Karen, has two dogs. No wonder Pumpkin isn’t afraid of me! She lived with these two. She preferred the pug.

Well, so would I. I like to play with the smaller dogs myself.

Notice that Karen has her dogs decked out for rain in these beautiful red raincoats. Don’t they look spiffy?

“You don’t need a raincoat, Gracie,” my mom said. “You lived in Seattle for six years. If you can’t handle rain by now, something is wrong!

“Besides,” she continued, “you used up your treat budget when you chewed up that twenty-dollar bill. If I can’t get a new one at the bank, no more treats for six months. Raincoats? Part of your treat budget.”

My mom is tough. Fortunately she responds when I look at her intently, like I’m doing now, and beg to go out. If the power goes off, she says, we have to climb up and down five flights of stairs for EVERY walk we take.

We Canine Urban Princesses know when it’s time to admire other dogs and back off on our gift requests. Yeah, it WAS my birthday, but …

Happy mom but nothing for the dog

My mom is SO excited today! She’s having trouble focusing on her work, which is not good, because she needs to earn more money to buy treats for ME. (Not that we’re broke, but when she earns money she spends more on her furry family. Especially me.)

She got the word from her orthopedic surgeon, who apparently is like my vet only for people. My mom likes Dr. Freiman because she doesn’t mess around. “She’s direct and to to point and she doesn’t try to sell me on more treatment,” my mom says. “I’m a minimalist, for me and for my animals.”

True. I’m not exactly stocking up on pills.

So she’s feeling all happy and excited, which would usually mean extra walks and treats for me. But do I get anything?

“You’re still recovering from your tummy upset,” my mom said. “Keep resting and eating that rice.”

Right. Like I really have a choice.

Welcome to My Cousin Sophie

This is Sophie. She belongs to my Uncle Lance in Seattle so my mom says she’s my cousin.

I am madly jealous. Sophie looks totally spoiled. Did you see those toys? That pink bed and blue drinking bowl? I can’t even have a bed in my crate because I’d chew it up into tiny pieces. I inherited a silver dog dish from my mom’s first dog. You can bet I won’t be getting a blue one any time soon.

Sophie’s also training to be a service dog so she gets to go EVERYwhere. My mom says I’m way too stubborn to be a service dog and anyway I get tired now after a 45-minute walk. She wants Sophie to come visit Philadelphia so we can play together. I could teach Sophie a thing or two about being an urban dog and Sophie could (my mom says) teach me some manners.

Dog Adapting to New Home in Philadelphia

“Gracie, you haven’t changed a bit!” my mom says, over and over. She says I act exactly the same as I did in Seattle … except that I now like to sleep under a table instead of on the sofa. Well, there’ a reason. Our housemate Ophelia has cornered the sofa, literally.

As we were coming home from the airport, my mom gave me the scoop (!) on our new life here.

“The city is bigger than Seattle,” she said, “and there are more ways for dogs to get into trouble. So we’ll be looking into obedience classes. Won’t that be fun?”

I can think of another word for obedience but hey, you never know. Hopefully my mom will choose a class that believes in training with treats. But then she said,  “And Gracie, you’ll have to go on a diet and we’ll go on LOTS of walks together. I’ve been eating too much Philly food myself — pizza, bagels and even a muffin now and then. So you will be motivating me to go on walks and stay fit.”

Did I mention that my mom works out in a gym? She’s got great muscle tone. But she does love to eat. “If I had six months to live,” she says, “I would say skip the surgery. I’ll eat a big steak dinner with a baked potato and pie with ice cream for dessert. Every night.”

So now I realize I’ve flown here to be my mom’s fitness motivation coach. Great. Do I get a raise?

Then she told me the sad news about Ophelia, formerly our fattest housemate. “Ophelia hasn’t been eating,” she said. “We went to Penn for an ultrasound. She’s got something going on but I’m not going to do the surgery and chemo, if it’s cancer. She’s at least 13 years old and frankly, I wouldn’t want this for me.”

So Ophelia is getting treated with meds. My mom force feeds her 4 times a day, gives her fluids and even adds a B-12 shot every week.

“When she gets more of the meds,” my mom said, “she’ll be eating again. We had to get a dosage in liquid form because the pills are so tiny they turn to crumbs when I cut them in half. And then I gave her the wrong dose of meds for a couple of days. But we are back on track now.”

Hey mom, just give me Ophelia’s food. I love cat food.

“Maybe you can talk to Ophelia,” my mom said wistfully. “After all you both spent several hours in the cargo hold of a cross-country flight. She likes you.”

Great. Now I’m my mom’s fitness coach AND I have to play social worker to a cat.

What I really don’t understand is Ophelia’s love for my mom. Even though my mom forces food down her throat and sticks needles into her skin, Ophelia responds with love. She jumps up on my mom’s lap and sits there, purring so loudly I can hear her across the room. My mom says, “See, Gracie – that makes it all worthwhile.”

If you say so, mom. Time for another nap.