My mom and I went to the Farmers Market in Upper Queen Anne today. As we were getting close to the market, we were stopped by a couple around Mom’s age who exclaimed over me.
“She looks just like my friend’s dog!” they said. “Looks like a cattle dog.”
“Well, she knows how to herd sheep,” my mom said, peering at me.
We were interrupted as a large brown dog of uncertain breed passed by. I had to jump over to see what was going on.
“No!” my mom yelled. “Where did I put my squirt bottle?” She dug into her big Farmers Market bag.
“She’s protecting you.” The nice stranger patted my head and rubbed my back. “Now Gracie,” she said in soothing tones, “you don’t have to protect your mom. Your mom can take care of herself.”
Obviously she doesn’t know my mom very well.
“But isn’t she part German Shepherd?” my mom said after I calmed down. “Look at that tail!”
“Could be part dingo.”
“And she’s from Snohomish County,” my mom said, puzzled. “What’s a cattle dog doing up there?”
“Cows are everywhere,” that nice couple said, getting into their car. “Have a nice day.”
And off we went to the market. Lots of goodies on the floor for me to gobble up, while the squirt bottle got buried under a bunch of Walla Walla onions. Saved from an identity crisis by distraction. You people could learn something here.
Tonight my mom took me out for a walk later than usual. I was still tired from my trip to Magnuson with my Aunt Sara. As I stopped to …well, you know. Cathy noticed a police car stopped just across the street. Were they wondering if she was going to scoop for me? Waiting to see if I had a license?Protecting us against any danger? Or on some mission that had nothing to do with us?
No problem. We’re good citizens. My mom always carries plastic bags when we go out. And we’re legal. She’s got a license to do her business and I’ve got a license to do mine.
The police car drove away silently and we returned home, where I could resume my nap, completely innocent. Fortunately shoe-chewing is a crime only within our household.
Visitors and newcomers immediately comment that Seattle people are “nice.” They rarely get mad. They’re not pushy like people in other big citites. They’re friendly.
“Sometimes it’s just too much,” a displaced New Yorker told my mom, who was born in New York and retains a Big Apple soul. “You just want to scream at somebody.”
Just yesterday, my mom was holding me firmly by the leash (I have a tendency to get distracted by motorcycles and would love to take off into the street…cars? what’s a car?). She was on her way to the bus stop, waiting for the light to change, when a total stranger came up and asked, “Are you looking for something in particular?”
“We’re just waiting for the light to change,” Cathy said, in a very un-Seattle tone.
“Uh-oh, Gracie,” she said. “That woman probably wanted to be helpful. She thought we were lost. But I’m in a neighborhood holding a dog. Do I look like a tourist?”
Just a couple of days ago another stranger told Cathy, “Those leashes aren’t good for dogs.”
“I’ve discussed her leash with my trainer and my vet,” Cathy said. “She’s fine.”
Our feline housemates are declawed. Cathy adopted them that way and they’re happy, healthy and not at all neurotic. Pushy, yes. Demanding, yes. But very polite and they purr all the time, except when I try to play with them. Just don’t tell any well-meaning helpful Seattle citiziens.
Cathy’s going off to exercise class. Good! She’ll work off some indignation and then we’ll go do something constructive together…like visit the dog park for the umpteenth time.
My mom and I walked around the Space Needle. There were roped off areas with a notice,
“Lawn Closed for Renovation.”
That’s a new one, even for me.