Dog gives new meaning to “under the table”

Hmm…my mom said she’s heard of people getting paid under the table but I’ve set a record for being a dog who’s under the table.

This coffee shop allows dogs. My mom’s visiting with her friend from improv. They’re talking about boring things. They’re not talking about food, treats, toys or dog parks.

Meanwhile I just had a long day with my Aunt Sara. I really hate sleeping on wooden floors. I’m a cushion sort of dog. But hey, there aren’t any pillows around here. We royal folk are flexible. Queen Elizabeth would keep her dignity. My mom says Jackie Kennedy used to sleep on long airplane flghts, right in the cabin. So I’ll be doing the same.

“She’s so good,” everybody says. “So well-behaved.”

My mom just rolls her eyes. She’s given up explaining that I’m actually a high-maintenance spoiled dog. And she knows the truth: no dog is perfect. I come close.

Why I Have To Go Commando In My Crate

When I first moved in with Cathy, she put a nice cushion in my crate. Then she realized the cushion would get yucky and hard to clean so she put down some nice blankets.

Alas, one day she left me alone with a couple of delicious towels … and I do mean delicious. See that big pile of green threads? That used to be a towel.

So now I go bare in my crate. Just me, a bowl of water and a kong toy. isn’t that pathetic? Shouldn’t I turn myself in as a poor miserable dog with an inadequate owner?

Okay, my mom reminds me, let’s get real. She usually adds some peanut butter to my kong toy before she goes out. I only get peanut butter when I’m in my crate so I’ve fallen for the old trick. Now I associate peanut butter with the crate and I jump right in, bare and all.

Oh yes, the water is fresh. And I’m rarely in the crate for more than 4 hours at a time, which means I’m rarely alone, ever.

My mom reminds me that I eat good food, get regular outings at Magnuson Park with my Aunt Sara, and go everywhere she’s allowed to take me. And when I sigh heavily as I enter my crate, she threatens to pin up this photo.

Keeping the mom on her diet

Since we moved to Belltown, we live near lots of good restaurants. My mom complains, “Every time I go out, I have to walk past one of the best bakeries in Seattle.” Today she bought a loaf of good healthy vegan bread and proceeded to make some toast.

“Soup and toast for lunch,” she said.

Being a dog, i don’t do lunch. I’m lucky to get breakfast and dinner. The sainted Keesha, my mom’s first dog, just got dinner, once a day. Period. And she slept on the floor, too.

So when Aunt Sara came to take me for my walk, I dashed back and grabbed a piece of my mom’s toast for me. Mmm…. delicious!

I got about two bites before my mom realized what I was doing. I didn’t even get to finish. Is that fair?

“Gracie is a high maintenance dog,” my mom sighed, as Aunt Sara finally got me leashed up and ready to go.

Well, as a royal canine princess I deserve some extra maintenance. Besides, my mom needs to stay on her diet. It’s my job to help. I know, it’s a tough sacrifice, but someone’s got to do it.

A dog who knows words? Who cares?

My mom just read me this article from the New York Times. Sit. Stay. Parse. Good Girl!

Apparently there’s a border collie on the East Coast who knows over 1000 words.

“See, Gracie?” she said. “I need to work with you on learning more things. So far you haven’t fully mastered coming when called. Don’t you feel a little…um, underachieving?”

Who’s kidding who? I never feel like an underachiever. I am a Canine Urban Princess – a CUPPIE in good standing. I don’t need to learn all those words. I just follow Cathy’s actions.

In fact, I am actually almost psychic.

Yesterday my mom was going out in the evening. She just signed up to take an improv class up at Jet City Improv. Fortunately I can’t go because I realize this is yet another activity at which my mom will fail to excel. So far, there’s been pottery, dancing and now…acting. She just doesn’t know when to quit.

But I digress. We went to the park around 3 PM. My mom urged me to run and play, even though there weren’t any other dogs worthy of my attention. And I’m not getting any younger. Even our good friend Lindsay noticed I’m getting more gray around the muzzle. Okay, I got in a few sprints. But I’m conserving my energy for tomorrow’s trip to the good park with my Aunt Sara and the nice dogs in my regular pack.

So we went home and my mom pretended to work at her computer. I can tell because while she works I sleep on my special cushion, right behind her. The fat Ophelia sleeps right next to me on a separate cushion.

Then the mom tried to fool me into a walk. She didn’t change her clothes. She made a big point of casually saying, “Want to go for a walk?”

I wasn’t fooled. I knew this was a Walk Before Gracie Goes Into The Crate. So as we walked home I dug in my paws and looked stubborn. Everybody passing by made a wisecrack, like, “Who’s walking who?” and “Doesn’t want to go home, does she?” Some people thought I was cold and didn’t want to be out walking.

Although I thoroughly embarrassed my mom, I still had to go home and yes, get stuffed in my crate. My mom put some peanut butter in my kong toy but I wasn’t fooled. I knew I was in for a few hours of serious crate time.

“Gracie, there’s no argument here!” my mom said. “The vet says you’ll get really sick if you keep chewing things. You’re hardly a deprived dog. Millions of dogs would trade places with you in a heartbeat. I bet those dogs from Michael Vick’s ranch would love to be in a nice crate with peanut butter instead of fighting with other dogs.”

Yeah, right. I think she’s reassuring herself. As soon as she closes the door, I scarf down the peanut butter and go to sleep. When she comes home, I’m out of the crate, tail wagging, ready to settle down for the night on my mom’s bed after our final, final walk, which I enjoy immensely and never argue about. See, I know? It’s a tough life but at least I can read between the lines.

Meeting an old friend

A few days ago we were walking to the park when we heard someone calling us: “Gracie! How are you? You look great!”

Of course i look great. Why wouldn’t I?

It was our old friend Cynthia, from the old Downtown Dog Lounge on Bell Street. We loved going there. They always fussed over me. I never had to hang out in the pen with the other dogs; I was the assistant receptionist and my photo was on the wall as a staff member. Then the place closed.

Cynthia was one of the managers. Now she has another job and she’s probably doing well. But she remembers when Cathy first adopted me. “Gracie is so much more confident,” she said, giving me a scratch in that special spot on my tummy. That feels SO good. Can you tell I was thrilled to see Cynthia?

Snow in Seattle

We went out for our walk Tuesday evening – yesterday. I wasn’t crazy about getting my paws into the snow so for once I did my business fast.

Usually my mom is thrilled – she’s ready for bed! But she couldn’t resist taking out her cell phone for a photo op. “Belltown is so beautiful in snow,” she said. Here’s the entrance to the freeway, usually affording a nice view of cruise ships. Not that I care much for ships: I’m more into what’s on the ground nearby than what’s out on the sea. Nevertheless…

Decorating the doghouse for Santa at Xmas

My mom Cathy showed me this video of a dog who’s getting ready for Santa. Well, around here my Aunt Sara is my own Santa Claus. She takes me to the park and brings me toys. She makes me wear my muzzle and sit for treats, but hey, nobody’s perfect.

I suppose I could decorate my crate if my mom would let me have some milk and cookies. But she pointed out that I’d eat all the cookies, drink the milk and run up a HUGE vet bill.

Alas, she’s right. I bet we spend the holidays in the downtown dog park.

Keeping the mom puzzled

As the resident dog, one of my official roles is driving my owner nuts. I excel in this area.

Since we moved I have demonstrated a new skill that dogs are not supposed to have. When we go for walks, I sometimes stop on the way back. I refuse to budge.

Peo0ple laugh at my mom. “Dog doesn’t want to move,” they say.

My mom gets so embarrassed. “Keesha never did this,” she sighs.Never mind that Keesha was 10 pounds heavier, three times as fuzzy and a different breed altogether.

My mom noticed that I tend to do this when we’re coming back after a walk just before she goes out. I am destined for some serious crate time and there’s no reason to rush back.

“How do you know?” my mom asks. “Maybe I change my clothes just before we walk. Or I fill your water dish.” So she doesn’t change her clothes or fill my water dish till we return. No dice. I still know.

My mom’s pretty smart about most things. She keeps trying to figure out how I know what’s happening.

I am not going to tell. A lady needs to keep her secrets.

Dog Crate Needs Repair

Here’s a photo of my crate, also known as my castle. I have to stay there when my mom goes out even for a few minutes.

When I realize my mom has gone, I stand by the door and wait anxiously. If I’m left alone for hours, who knows what I’ll do? So I spend LOTS of time in the crate.

The fastener on my crate has broken. My mom has to prop it shut when she goes out. She’s very nervous about leaving me alone in a crate that won’t close properly.

She ordered a new crate door from dog.com. She was astounded that someone could own that domain name, she said. “They must have bought in back in the Dark Ages.”

I heard her on the phone with them.

“Can you hurry the order? Yes, I’ll pay extra for UPS shipping. You see, this is a dog who can’t be left alone – ever.”

Oh no. Not again.

But my ears perked up when she said, “A sale on a dog blanket? That’s a reasonable price. A nice fuzzy fleece? Hmm…”

Ah, that sounds delightful! So soft and warm. I started getting visions of curling up on the soft warm blanket…maybe nibbling a little piece of wool here and there…feeling the fleece tickling my tummy…

But then my mom said reluctantly, “I’m afraid Gracie will just chew it up. She chewed a blanket into tiny pieces. I can’t even leave a blanket in her crate anymore.”

She read my mind. I bet fleece blankets taste delicious!

Oh well. I’ve still got my old dog cushion on my mom’s bed. I inherited a few dog beds from Mom’s first dog, the sainted Keesha. They’re tough. Even my determined little teeth can’t destroy them.

Life could be worse, although I wish my mom would stop telling the whole world about me. People will get the wrong idea. I’m actually a member of royalty who deserves the utmost respect.

Doing what I do best: dog seeks treats

Accepting a treat from Lindsay.
Accepting a treat from Lindsay.
Lindsay came back to the park today after a week away, wearing a new jacket and bearing a bag of treats. Naturally I had to stick my nose in, literally.

My mom said, “Gracie, if you don’t want to play, we’re going home. Anyway, you look tired.”

Well, I should be. Yesterday I played with a charming miniature Schnauzer from New York. I enjoyed meeting a fellow urban dog while my mom got caught up with the schnauzer’s owner on what’s happening in New York, where she’s from originally. I ran all over the park.

“Stop fussing over her,” Lindsay said. “Can I give her a treat?”

Well, does it rain in Seattle? I’m ready. Someone snapped this photo and my mom immediately said, “Can you send it to me for Gracie’s blog?”

Shortly afterward we headed for home, where I zonked out immediately. I need to get rested for tomorrow’s jaunt to the big park with my Aunt Sara. A dog’s life, right?