Dog owner feeling sad

My mom Cathy has been feeling sad lately. Our housemate, Tiger the tabby cat, has been walking around on her last paws, as they say. She’s getting ready to cross the bridge, my mom says. More likely, that great sandbox in the sky.

Tiger has been the dominant force in our household since I joined up. She gets into my crate. She takes over my favorite dog bed. She bosses everybody around.

But Cathy says, “Tiger has been with me for just over 14 years. That’s a large chunk of my life. She’s just such a great cat.” She pats Tiger and says, “It’s okay, Tiger. You’ve served your mission. You can go peacefully.”

I’d like to say Tiger is past caring, but in fact she’s pretty alert, especially for a cat who’s probably close to 20. (Cathy adopts only older animals. At three, I barely qualified.) That’s 91 in human years. Tiger still jumps up on the couch. She snoozes in the sun. She finds the litter box (thank goodness).

But she’s not eager to eat her dinner. She might nibble a few bites from a freshly opened can. And then she gets that look in her eye like, “I don’t need this anymore.”

Cathy was telling someone, “Intellectually, I know it’s time to say good-by. I know she’s had a great life. Most cats would give their right paws to have a life like Tiger’s. But…she’s so special.”

So Cathy’s giving Tiger sub-Q fluids. She’s waiting for her regular vet to get back for a final opinion.

My job is to insist that we carry on. We must continue to go to the Dog Park as often as possible. And I bark at Tiger, just to keep things normal around here. Tiger still hisses but she’s lost the spark.

Luckily Cathy has a new teleseminar series — lots of work. It will be good for her. And I have to admit, she’s a pretty darn good seminar leader.

Pill-popping pets

According to the New York Times, more and more dogs are taking psychoactive drugs. There’s a whole article in the magazine.

My mom Cathy wonders if I can take a pill so I will stop chewing.

You won’t catch me doing drugs though. I chew because I like the taste of socks. Anxiety is not a word in my vocabulary. If I were any calmer I’d be a zombie.

Why don’t those dogs just get more exercise? Friday I went off to Magnuson Park with my Aunt Sara. I ran for over an hour. I was exhausted.

Today Cathy dropped me off in the dog lounge while she ran some errands.  She told the staff, “Gracie will probably be tired. She’ll want to snooze on the couch.”

Hah. As they told Cathy, I barked till they put me in the exercise area with the other dogs. I wanted to play!

Now I’m sprawled out on Cathy’s bed, sound asleep.

Not a neurotic bone in my body.

The cats, however, are another story. Especially that ditzy calico who eats my food. My food? Everybody knows cat food tastes better. Creampuff needs a chill pill.

“So I chewed a shoe…what’s the fuss about?”

Uh oh…My mom Cathy got into a long phone call this morning. She was clicking on her laptop, intensely muttering about blogs and teleseminars and keywords…and totally ignoring me.

So what’s a dog to do? I decided to help my mom out. See, Cathy really, really hates dressing up. She totally detests dress shoes, which she defines as anything except Asics and Birkenstocks. .dog chewing shoe

Now, I happen to know these loafers pinch her feet. She can barely walk across the room in them. And they’re not exactly in style. She needs to throw them out.

So I’m going to accelerate the process. Mmm…delicious leather. Probably fake, but who cares?

Yeah, I’ve got a handful of chew toys. But why eat hamburger when you can have steak? And why go for a chew toy when you can have a shoe? Yum.

My mom doesn’t get it. She’s using words that should not be uttered in the presence of a CUPPIE. My royal ears are sensitive.

“Gracie, I have a speaking engagement next week! I have to look presentable! What will I wear?”

Well, if it were me, I’d pad across the room in my bare paws. Who says dogs are dumb?

Good thing I’ve got an outing planned with my Aunt Sara. We’ll go run in the park while my mom goes to the gym and runs her errands and works. By tomorrow, the shoes will be in the garbage, where they belong, and my mom will go out and choose a new pair of running shoes.

“Maybe I’ll get a pedicure and wear my Birkies,” Mom said wistfully.

Good idea. Never mind that she’s never had a pedicure, but I get one with every bath. Go for it, mom!

Economics of Dog Ownership

My mom Cathy was discussing Richard Florida’s book, Who is Your City.

“Florida’s right about home ownership,” she was saying. “He says home ownership restricts mobility. He’s got some good ideas about revising rentals.

“But,” she went on, “he missed some other factors that keep us from being mobile. Health insurance is a biggie.”

Right. But what was his greatest omission?

Richard Florida says that communities who welcome gay and lesbian couples enjoy greater economic prosperity than those who don’t.

But what about cities who welcome Canine Urban Princes and Princesses? Seattle would rank Number 1 – and it’s one of the most prosperous cities in the United States. Lots of jobs. Ridiculous property values.

When Mom wanted to move from New Mexico, she chose Seattle because the city is more dog-friendly than her other choices. She’s never been crazy about the rain. But she loves the dog parks and the fact that I’m welcome in all sorts of places. She loves taking me on buses.

And when dogs are welcome, owners spend more discretionary income.

At one time, our favorite coffee shop, Uptown Espresso in Belltown, allowed dogs. You’d see me and my canine friends, snoozing away under the tables. One lady even brought me a muffin because I was so good. (My mom refused to let me eat it, of course.)

Then the Health Department stepped in. No more dogs! Now Cathy makes her own coffee at home most of the time.

It’s not exactly scientific. After all, I’m a dog. What do you expect – controlled experiments?

Maybe Richard Florida’s next book will have a place for dogs. If they need cover art, I’m prepared to pose naked, with or without a moving van.

Happy Mother’s Day

Yesterday my mom Cathy dropped me off in the Dog Lounge while she ran a couple of errands. Yaay! I played happily for a few hours, graciously accepting adoration from the staff. They know a CUPPIE when they see one (Canine Urban Princess, if you haven’t read the earlier posts).

The weather was cold and Cathy didn’t feel like hanging around the dog park. “At this rate we’ll be wearing our parkas to the Fourth of July celebration,” she muttered.

She exaggerates. She was running around in a sweatshirt and shorts…a far cry from her parka and woolly hats, which I have pretty much destroyed anyway.

As we’re returning home, the nice female bus driver says, “What a nice dog. She’s your baby, isn’t she? You’re her mom.”

What a perceptive bus driver!

Cathy: “Well, I won’t be getting a Mother’s Day gift from her.”

Bus driver: “What do you mean? She’ll give you love and kisses!

Cathy: “More likely I’ll get presented with a chewed-up sock.”

Driver (laughing): “Yeah, that too.”

Hmm. Too bad I can’t go home with that nice bus driver.

Oh well. This morning I’m sleeping angelically on the couch, tummy filled with gourmet crunchies. Life is good.

Cathy should be grateful. Her aging tabby cat defines a hairball as the perfect gift, Mother’s Day or otherwise.

Forget Wife Swap…Let’s do Dog Swap

My mom Cathy likes to watch Wife Swap on ABC. Actually she doesn’t watch…she multi-tasks when she has to something boring. Every show has a Super-Neat Wife and a Super-Sloppy Wife. Cathy loves seeing someone who’s a worse housekeeper than she is.

Here’s how it works. The wives swap homes. (They do get their own room in the new house: totally G-rated.) For the first week, each wife follows the home’s original rules. Then in Week 2, they try to get their new families to follow their rules. Chaos ensues. And at least one family emerges changed by the experience.

So…how about a new show: Dog Swap. I’ll swap homes with an upscale dog somewhere in a mansion on Lake Washington. Maybe for a week I could be Bill Gates’s dog. But of course I could end up with some workaholic who would be gone all day. Or a neat freak who would make me stay in a crate or even outside. Yuk.

For the first week, I’d go along with the program. I’d sleep in the crate. I’d eat the generic food. I’d give the resident cats a wide berth. And I’d chew everything in sight.

But then we’d come to my rules. I’d sleep on the bed. I’d ask for top quality food with extra treats and chewies. I’d teach thedog on sofa cats how to play some new games. And I’d offer them the deal I have with my mom: no chewing if I can sleep on the sofa.

Hey, what’s the big deal? This is how dogs operate naturally. First we go along with their rules. We wait for just the right moment. Then we announce the new rules.

We train our owners. We change their lives forever. We show them a whole new way to live.

And we don’t get a show. Has anybody talked to ABC yet? All I need is an agent. I’m a natural.