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.
My 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.
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.
My mom has become quite interested in the animal rescue movement.
First of all, we live near a PAWS adoption center. They have mostly cats and no more than one small dog.
Every time we go by, my mom says, “See how lucky you are, Gracie? You have a good home! And you complain about everything.”
Who, me? Just because there wasn’t enough peanut butter in my kong toy… that’s a legitimate complaint, I’d say.
Then my mom became Facebook friends with Karen, who is Pumpkin’s foster mom. She gets all the bulletins of desperate dogs. And she sees the Puppy Mill stories, which make us all very sad.
“Imagine, Gracie,” my mom says, “some of those dogs have spent their lives in cages. They’ve never even had a tummy rub, according to that article. You get massages all the time from total strangers who want to give you a butt rub.”
The cats are rescues too but for some reason they never get lectures.
On the other hand, my mom took to heart the story of the poor dogs who never got a tummy rub. Now I get one every day.
My mom Cathy wants to be sure I get enough exercise. Now that I am truly a city dog, I get to go on walks. I rarely get to run around the dog park, the way I did in Seattle.
My mom says, “A tired dog is a good dog.” I think I’m a great dog. Don’t I look as though I get enough exercise?!
Let me clarify: “Doggie Style” is the name of a chain of dog retail stores in Philadelphia.
And that fat interloper, Pumpkin, likes to sleep in the middle of the couch. Notice how she spreads out full length. My mom gets so excited when she sees us snuggled up. The truth is, I don’t have much choice.
Our other cats were much more polite. Ophelia always sat politely on a corner of the couch. Tiger liked chairs. Creampuff rarely chooses the couch. She’s more likely to be found on top of my mom’s printer, on a windowsill, or even curled up in the comforters on my mom’s bed.
But Pumpkin believes the world owes her, big time. She doesn’t realize that an adopted cat should be grateful to be in any home, let alone a home with a comfortable couch and a cat-fanatic mom.
Pumpkin doesn’t like to share. My mom has to feed Creampuff in a separate room. When Pumpkin jumps into my mom’s lap, she’s there for hours. It’s not affection. She’s holding that lap hostage from the rest of us.
So what’s a dog to do?
I’m not just any dog, of course. I am the ultimate Canine Urban Princess. So I’m going to claim my space on the couch. Luckily I don’t take up much room and I like to be all curled up in a ball.
And hey, when you stand up to a bully like Pumpkin, she turns out to be warm and cuddly. On a cold winter day, I’ll take her.
Every First Friday our neighborhood comes alive with open houses in all the galleries and stores. Most of the stores, my mom points out, are pretty useless to us. I mean, we’re not about to buy a six thousand dollar sofa, are we? Not with the cats and me.
Our local pet shop, Bone Jour, had n rare open house for December’s first Friday. They had a raffle to support one of the many needy animal shelters.
We know shelters. My mom says the paperwork shows that I was in a shelter as a puppy but then I got lucky: I was adopted from a foster home. Creampuff spent three months in a shelter in New Mexico before my mom adopted her, but she’s too ditzy to care. Pumpkin also got lucky: she did some time in Animal Control till her foster mom, Karen, showed up and chose her. Pumpkin knows she is lucky. She just assumes the world was created for her to enjoy.
So I was not surprised when my mom donated to the raffle. She bought two tickets when they said they’d take her credit card. And then she forgot about it.
Last week we got a phone call. We won! I got a beautiful gift basket, filled with dog toys and treats and a couple of tennis balls to take to the park.
My mom was thrilled. “Best news I’ve had all week,” she said. “Um, I guess that means I need to get a life.”
“I’d be excited too,” the store person said tactfully.
So here I am accepting my basket – on the floor – and a treat. Notice how completely I am attuned on what I want. “What you focus on expands,” as the saying goes.
My mom disagrees. She says her luck is inversely proportional to her attention, whatever that means.
Who cares? I can’t wait to dive into that basket.
Now, what kind of headline is that? We’ve been together about a month now.
My mom’s finger must be getting sore from snapping all these photos. She’s so thrilled that Pumpkin and I share a couch together.
“Living proof,” she says, “you can adopt a full-grown cat and not have ANY problems.”
Well, Pumpkin IS full-grown. If she’d be any fuller … but I’d better not go there. My mom keeps a watchful eye on my waistline and rations my treats.
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 …
As the adopted dog of the family, I was here first. Does anybody
remember? Creampuff joined Cathy in 2002 in New Mexico and I came in 2006 in Seattle. Creampuff isn’t the type to dominate; she’s much too ditzy. So it’s just me and this new kitty who’s clearly in takeover mode.
There’s nothing ditzy about Pumpkin. She’s not as needy as Ophelia; she’s much more confident. And she’s not the least bit afraid of me either. She’s taken over the sofa. I’m lucky she allows me to share one cushion at the far end.
My mom thinks we look so cute in this photo. Hah. Notice I am covering my eyes, escaping from the fuss over our newest housemate.
“Curled up like a cat,” my mom said, clicking away.
Should I be insulted? Probably. But I’m hoping to use the situation to guilt my mom into more treats.