We walk in the sunshine

Yesterday my mom decided we should go for a long walk. The weather was beautiful, she said, and she wanted more exercise. Have you ever noticed that when Mom wants exercise, I have to walk too?

We took a bus to the top of Queen Anne hill (thank goodness – it’s very steep). We walked to the pet store. So many wonderful dog treats! I couldn’t wait to see what Mom would buy me.

Bad news.

“Gracie, you have enough treats,” my mom said. “This time we are getting something for Ophelia. She’s been playing with pieces of paper and I want her to have something she can’t swallow.”

Have you noticed that Ophelia’s taking over? My mom feels a special bond with that cat because she nursed Ophelia to health last fall. You’d think Ophelia would hate the person who shoved food down her throad twice a day. But no: there’s a mutual adoration society in our home.

The people at the pet store were very helpful. “Here’ s a catnip toy,” they suggested. “She couldn’t swallow this one.”

“But Gracie could,” my mom said, giving me the eye. “And Gracie will play with everything. She loves catnip.” Right, mom. Tell the world.

We walked away with a catnip log that’s not even interesting. What a wasted trip. And when I say “walked,” I mean that literally. We walked all the way down the hill to our home.

“Every time we pass a bus stop,” Cathy says, “Gracie wants to stop and wait for a bus!” Well, why not? My mom let a perfectly good Number 2 Bus – our favorite – get away.

“Walking is good for us,” she said firmly.

Ophelia loves her new cat toy. She has no dignity for a cat of her age and size. I’m too tired to care. And I need to save my energy for my trip to the park with Aunt Sara. We CUPPIEs need our beauty sleep.

So I’m a mutt…who cares?

Yesterday my mom wanted to take some time for R&R after her gym class. So I spent almost the entire day at the Downtown Dog Lounge with my adopted big sister, Summer, and the other folks who adore me.

“She played in the pen,” they reported when Mom came to pick me up.

“Where does she get the energy?” Mom wondered. I’m not telling.

Then everybody fussed over me on the bus trip home.

“Beautiful dog.”

“So mellow.”

“My dog would never sit like that.”

Of course, my mom has to spoil everything. She likes to tell the world, “Gracie is a rescue mutt. She thinks she’s a princess. Princesses don’t ride on the floor, so she sits on my lap.”

Well, would you want to ride on the floor? Who knows what else has been there? And how would you like being called a mutt?

Actually, my mom Cathy doesn’t mind at all. She hates the idea of classifying people by nationality or ethnic group. “I’m a mutt myself,” she says. “I don’t know anything about my ancestors either.”

My mom is like me in other ways, too.  She resists training and she likes treats. But nobody’s ever, ever complimented her on being well-behaved.

I’m working on it…after my nap.

Dog Walking: The Perfect Profession

My mom just read me a story about a banker who lost her job. She couldn’t find a corporate position so she started walking dogs. You can read the story here.

Here’s what she wrote: “…I get so much gratification from walking dogs. They’re so appreciative of the simplest things you do for them. No matter how bad my day may be going, when I walk into a home and the dog is so happy to see me and gives me kisses, it puts a different spin on the day.”

I know just what she means. When my Aunt Sara comes to take me for a trip to Magnuson Park, I jump up and  down. Aunt Sara tells me to sit so she can put my leash on but I am so excited! Dog walkers are saints in my book.

More people should be dog walkers. My mom says we need cat groomers even more than dog walkers. She was hoping to find a mobile unit to groom Ophelia. Finally she gave up and just ordered a new comb. She’s become quite the do-it-yourselfer these days.

A wonderful winter day…

Yesterday my mom Cathy decided to seize the day.

“Tomorrow is supposed to be awful,” she said. “There’s a good class at the gym at noon. You, Gracie, need exercise.”

So we trooped out the door, leaving the cats to their own devices and big plates of crunchies. Ophelia complained but Mom ignored her. Thank goodness! Ophelia is taking over our household.

The streets were pretty good. “Dry, packed snow, almost like Alaska,” Mom said. “But Gracie, after this snow goes away, we are scheduling several sessions with a trainer. You are pulling on your leash. And it’s slippery.”

I ignored her. I was eating snow. Delicious.

Mom dropped me off at the Dog Lounge where I had a joyous reunion with Summer. My mom took off for the gym.

She was in a good mood when she picked me up a few hours later. The weather was so pleasant she decided to run a few errands and walk around enjoying the outdoors.

The downtown streets were nice and clear, she said. “But a young guy took my arm when I was crossing the street on Stewart and then on Fifth. I guess I look old. But these days I’m more into practicality than pride.

“So,” she continued proudly, “I let them help me scoot across the street, so I got to the gym in time for my Survivor class, where I proceeded to kick some butt. Everybody else in the class looks at least 20 years younger than I am. And I hold my own.”

Our fitness was tested on the way home. Two buses were too full to take us. We ended up walking…and walking. My mom’s feet got wet in the slush and she worried about frostbite. My paws were getting a little chilly, too.

But we both felt great: all that fresh air and exercise. We were so tired we could barely move. And we both went to bed early, dreaming of blue skies and winter sunlight on a city day.

My paws get tired…

With the beautiful weather we’re having, my mom decided we should walk to her gym in the evening. Actually, she walks to the gym. I get dropped off at Downtown Dog Lounge to sit on the couch and hang out with my friend Summer and all the other dogs.

We walk about a mile and a half. Yesterday we were running late so my mom insisted we walk fast. No time for sniffing, she said. And besides, she added proudly, walking fast is better exercise.

Well, I sure don’t need to lose weight. I am in great shape. Maybe my mom could stand to drop a few inches here and here, but why do I have to go along with the program?

Cathy is very sensitive about weight, though, so I’m not saying a word. She holds the keys to my treats.

My owner needs the exercise…so why do I get involved?

Yesterday Cathy decided she should drop by her gym for a quick workout. She was having withdrawal symptoms after her nearby gym branch closed, along with her killer Sunday workout.

Great idea, mom. But why did you drop me off at the dog lounge? I was ready for a nap.

Fortunately for me, I found some nice dogs whose owners had gone away for the weekend. Some of us are old friends by now. Even more fortunately, Summer brought me up front to hang out with her at the reception desk. So I got a good rest while my mom did her thing.

After she picked me up, Cathy took me across the street to the dog park. I connected with a rowdy French bulldog who let me chase him for a good half hour.

Cathy didn’t budge. She sat in the sun. I could have got away with anything.

Soon my tongue was hanging and even my dim-witted fanatical owner got the message. Time to go home and eat. Crunchies for me, carrots for my Mom.

Hopefully we’ll get a day of rest on Labor Day, but I doubt it.

Year of the Body (yeah, but whose…)

My mom has declared 2008-2009 the Year of the Body. Hers. She downloaded a book on healthy eating. She bought grains and leafy green stuff. She started back to meditating at least once a day. And she’s working out more than ever.

“By Christmas,” she says, “I want to have a whole new body.”weights for new body

Of course, after setting all this in motion, she found something on the Internet about the danger of losing weight once you get past a certain age. She decided to ignore it.

Mom also cancelled her Cable TV. She has been so busy going to exercise class, she says, she has no more time to watch. And she wants to send me off on more walks with my Aunt Sara, since she’s going out more. That’s fine with me.

Our new housemate, Ophelia, is also on a diet. She refuses to eat dry food so she survives on a small amount of canned. She licks her wet food off each dry morsel.

Creampuff and I are the voices of normalcy, although Creampuff likes to eat my crunchies. I eat what my mom feeds me, plus treats, plus whatever disgusting stuff I find in the dog park.

And I’m the perfect size and shape.

“Your owner wears running shoes”

“Your momma wears combat boots!” an ill-mannered dog barked at us one day.

I turned up my pointy little nose. “Wrong. My owner wears running shoes. Asics, to be precise.”

And she’s totally obnoxious when it comes to exercise. Sometime in her twenties, she was visiting a friend who said, “Come to the gym with me. I’ll lend you an outfit.” It was so long ago, she says, they were wearing leotards. Black leotards. Remember? Yuk. I’m trying hard not to get a mental image.

So after that my mom was hooked. She did Jazzercise and then the Nickolaus method and then aerobics till her tendons started screaming. She’s always been a walker (she’s never really liked driving) and about 15 years ago she took up weight lifting.

Cathy is totally vain about her exercise and she embarrasses me when she brags about how fit she is. When she was young she was a total wuss, she says. She used to like wearing dresses and she couldn’t do sports. She would duck when someone threw a ball in her direction. (She probably still does.)

Cathy especially drives me nuts when she interrupts my nap to tell me about articles she finds, like this one about how exercise helps every part of your health.

I’m already in perfect shape. I run with Aunt Sara at least once a week and Cathy’s always dragging me off to the dog park. But I can see Cathy’s wheels turning. She wants to get thinner and that means we’re gonna be walking…and walking. I feel sleepy already, just thinking about it.

Every time we walk, people stop us to say, “What a cute dog!” or “Can I pat your dog?” “She looks so friendly…”

And then Cathy has to go and say something about my “issues” or “She’ll go home with you if you’re not careful. She tried to go home with the UPS driver…”

Yeah, right. Come on, Mom. Let’s walk a little faster in those running shoes.