I knew it would happen sooner or later. Pumpkin, our adopted cat and newest housemate, isn’t satisfied with dominating the couch and my mom’s chair. She has taken over my bed – my favorite dog bed. As a city dog, I cherish my dog beds as my resting place.

Of course Pumpkin’s getting so fat she almost takes up all the space. She may be an adopted cat but she’s not at all humble about her status. What is the world coming to?

City dog and adopted cat share sofa

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.

You never know what will happen on our walks …

So my mom and I are walking around the neighborhood. Someone comes up to us, holding a camera.

“Can I ask a favor?” she says.

“I can’t hold a camera,” my mom said, pointing to her new sling. Since she fractured her arm bone she has been a little frazzled.

“No,” the woman says. “We’re on a scavenger hunt. We have to get a picture with 6 people.”

“Sure,” my mom says. “Will you send us the picture?”

“Six people – and a dog! Our group gets a bonus!”

My mom told me to sit because a simple sit makes people melt. Apparently most dogs won’t drop as fast as I do.

So there’s my mom on the far right, checking her sling, and you can see my royal head leaning forward. My mom is very proud: she’s wearing gym shorts and a loose t-shirt (she’s having trouble getting into shirts these days) and she looks VERY fit. Doesn’t she?

After the photo shoot, my mom asked what was going on. “We’re on a team-building project for our company,” a male team member said.

“So is it working?” my mom asked, trying to keep the skepticism out of her voice. She was never much of a team player although our little furry family has been trying to help her.

“It’s okay,” the guy said. “I’ve never been on a scavenger hunt before.”

“I think he’d rather do some team building over a couple of beers at a local bar,” my mom said to me, as we walked off. “I feel the same way.”

Luxury dog houses: I wouldn’t mind one

My mom just read me this story from the New York Times online:
Luxury Doghouses and the Dogs That Couldn’t Care Less.

The article shows some canine residences that are truly fit for loyalty – homes that cost thousands of dollars.

Frankly, I wouldn’t mind an upgrade. Since I can’t be trusted to stay home alone, my mom always puts me in my crate when she goes out. When someone asks, “Does the dog mind?” she answers snarkily, “We didn’t take a vote.”

But if you think about it, a big dog crate like mine isn’t exactly a decorator’s dream come true. So a nice, tasteful doggie home would make sense for a home like mine.

Alas, my mom says, her first priority is to remodel her bathroom and maybe get a new washer/dryer before the old one dies. And she’s thinking seriously about a fountain for Ophelia, who likes to drink from interesting places.

“A tired dog is a good dog …”

My mom says that a lot these days. Now that I’m really a city dog, we do a lot of walking. My mom’s not thrilled with the local dog park situation and neither am I.

Fortunately I’m not a young dog and we have lots of interesting places to visit in our very own neighborhood. My mom admires historic brickwork. I must admit I find lots of interesting places to sniff on historic lawns, although I get totally distracted by squirrels, to my mom’s dismay.

Today we walked for about 45 minutes before breakfast. My mom says she’d like to join me here on the couch but she’s got work to do.

Dog tired: dog walk was long!

The building people were fixing our door and the installer made a lot of noise. So my mom announced, “Gracie, we are going on a LONG walk. It’s a gorgeous day. We should be outside! ”

She wasn’t kidding. We walked to Rittenhouse Square. She stopped by her old building so the doorman could meet me. He said I was “cute.”

Then we went to the Tuesday Farmers market, where my mom bought a few things from her favorite farm stand. Then we walked home.

“It’s about a mile and a half each way,” my mom said, “and we were gone about two hours. That’s a good walk for a dog.”

As you can see, I’m tired. So is my mom. She decided she’ll workout Wednesday and Friday this week instead of Tuesday and Thursday.

“A tired dog is a good dog,” my mom says.

“A tired mom is … a tired mom,” I would answer back. But I’m too busy with my nap.

Dog checking out the historic district

My mom likes to take me for walks in the historic alleys. There’s less traffic, she says, and people are more dog-friendly.

She’s especially fond of Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously occupied residential street in the US. She talks about the historic homes and tries to educate me about brick work, fan lights and architecture. Since she is a volunteer AIA guide she knows a lot about Philadelphia history so we keep stopping to view a particularly quaint structure from 200 years ago.

As a dog, my attitude is, “Who cares?” But I insist on taking time to stop and sniff the history of each post on the street.

“I wonder if people tied up their horses there 200 years ago,” my mom muses. I have more recent activities in mind.

Whew…I am worn out.

My mom is an exercise nut. She thinks I should be too. So today we went off to the park. I actually played with another dog for a few minutes.

My mom was so happy. It was pathetic. She gets so excited when I play with other dogs. “Good dog, Gracie! Keep playing!” she yells. How embarrassing.

My playmate was a beautiful friendly golden retriever, just like her friend Bill’s dogs. She really misses having a big fuzzy dog like the sainted Keesha.

Well, after about 40 minutes in the park, I was ready to go home. I headed purposefully for the gate. My mom reluctantly said we could go … and then she took us on another walk to the Vine Street garden area. “Hyacinths! Tulips! Forsythia!” she exclaimed happily.

We were home about an hour after we started. My mom was in good spirits. She had even been to zumba class this morning so I was waiting for her to grab me for a nap. Alas, no: she had to work, she said.

Fortunately for me, dogs don’t work. I am crashing. Gotta get rested for Tuesday’s adventure with Aunt Sara.

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.

Fashion comes to the dog park (though not to us)

My mom was so impressed when she saw this small dog in a pink coat.

“That dog is SO cute!” she exclaimed. She insisted on taking a picture. As far as she remembers, the dog is Bella and the owner is Tasha.

Notice how Tasha has chosen a beautiful pink coat for her dog – very becoming in color and style. And Bella’s owner is so well-dressed. She’s wearing fashionable high-heeled boots, even in the dog park.

Needless to say, I’ll probably never get a pink coat trimmed in fake fur. My mom says I’d chew it up. She’s probably right. And of course I’m not as small and furry as Bella.

“You’re cute in a different way,” the mom says firmly. “And you don’t need a coat. You have adventure outings with your Aunt Sara. Be grateful!”

If my mom had human children, their therapy bills would cost more than care and feeding of a dozen large dogs.

To be fair, my mom hasn’t worn any shoes except sneakers as far back as she can remember. She wears her aging parka to the dog park … and also to the symphony, the ballet and her improv classes. “I couldn’t squeeze my feet into those beautiful boots,” she says wistfully. “It’s nice to see people in the park who can add a touch of class.”