How much water does a dog need?

My mom just got a sales pitch for one of those water fountains for dogs. She said she’d consider it but she tries to avoid purchasing anything that has moving parts. She just a new DVD player (following the long-awaited demise of the old one) from Amazon. Her neighbor came over to help her hook it up.

Yep, my mom is the most mechanically challenged person I’ve ever met. Fortunately for me, my needs involve food dishes, dog beds, leashes and dog crates. She’s safe.

But that got her wondering. How much water does a dog need?

One site said 1 cup for every 5 pounds for dogs under 20 lbs. My new queen-sized figure doesn’t qualify. The rest of the notices give amounts in milliliters and my mom is clueless.

“Just to be sure,” my mom said, “I’ll just make sure your water dish is always clean and filled with fresh water. Like I’ve always done.”

At least she admits I’m the easy member of the household. The cats don’t like to drink water from a dish. They insist on drinking from cups or glasses. Naturally, those cups are easy to knock over. Our kitchen floor gets wet. Mom walks in and starts using some words that are not fit for my innocent canine ears.

See, mom, cats are useless. I’ve been telling you that for years.

Dog park on a busy day

My mom tells me people spend a lot of time and money learning to focus their energies. Dogs do this naturally.

For example, it’s a gorgeous day. Humans are trying to decide if they should go get coffee, go to the Farmers Market, or maybe visit the Sculpture Garden.

As a dog, I face no such decisions. I vote for the Dog Park every time. What could be better?

Here’s a scene from a couple of weeks ago. I’m behind the shaggy guy getting a bath.

Finally…dog park in spring!

As a Canine Urban Princess (a CUPPIE), I need access to the great outdoors. Here in the city we are SO luck to have this pocket park, right near downtown. It’s just over a mile from where we live, my mom says. That’s just enough distance for my paws to feel they’re getting a workout.

We have gravel and grass chips instead of grass but we have flowers and sculpture. But who cares? I’m the kind of dog who’s into sniffing the landscape, not admiring it from afar.

Dog deserves to ride in style.

My mom and I took a long walk today. We walked all the way to Belltown’s Regrade Park. That’s about a mile and a half. On the way home, we usually stop at a certain bus stop on 1st Avenue & Broad, because my mom says we can get 5 buses from there: 1, 2, 13, 15 and 18. So we shouldn’t have to wait long and the last 10 minutes of our walk is uphill and less exciting.

Well, today Seattle finally had magnificent weather. We walked, as I said, to the dog park. I ran around for a few minutes but hey, I’m still tired from yesterday’s trip with Aunt Sara. And my mom said, “Let’s walk all the way home. We might as well enjoy this sunshine.”

As usual, I had other ideas. When we came to this bus stop I sat down and refused to budge.

“Come on, Gracie,” my mom said. “It’s just ten more minutes. We have to wait almost that long for a bus.”

No dice.

“Gracie, walking is good for us.”

“We walked to the park and we’re about 1/4 mile from home…maybe 1/2 mile. I’m beat.”

“Gracie, people are looking at us! They think I am a cruel, mean owner”

“You are. Nice owners don’t make dogs walk. They ride buses and cabs.”

“People think it’s funny that you want to ride the bus. You know we’re at a bus stop!”

“Of course I do. Dogs aren’t dumb. Hey mom, I’m giving you a tug on my leash. Look up…there’s a 15 closely followed by an 18. They always bunch up. All aboard!”

My mom sighs as she hands over the fare. “All this to ride just a few blocks. Gracie, you can be a high-maintenance dog.”

“I am a Canine Urban Princess, remember? A CUPPIE. Besides, I am taking lessons from Ophelia.”

Adopting a new city dog? Think “experienced”

Another thing my mom did right when she adopted me: She didn’t even consider a puppy.

“Unless you are an experienced dog owner with a lot of time, your urban dog should be a city dog,” she says.

She’s right. Apart from training, a puppy can grow up in surprising ways. Sometimes we see another dog when we’re out on our walks. Let’s call her “Fido.” Fido’s owner bought her as a puppy from a breeder. Fido’s owner chose the breed carefully. We’re not sure what the breed is, but we think it looks just like one of the mixed breeds we  see in the dog park. (We’re a little biased.)

Fido is super-mellow and playful but she has one serious problem. She’s afraid of traffic. Fido’s owner has to take walks at night. They drive to the Regrade urban dog park, for heaven’s sake. That’s just a mile or so from where we live.

And Fido doesn’t handle boarding well. She freaks in day care.

Lesson to my readers: Forget the puppies. Get a seasoned dog like me. What you see is what you get.

Right now you get a dog that’s ready for a nap.

Need a new city dog? Think “foster home”

I don’t claim to be an expert on dog behavior. My mom isn’t either. Otherwise I wouldn’t chew so much.

But as a city dog, I believe mom did the right thing. She found me in a rescue group that keeps dogs in foster homes. My foster mom loved me (who wouldn’t?). She wanted to keep me but her husband said they had too many dogs already.

My mom was very worried about adopting a new dog. After all, she had just lost the first canine love of her life, the sainted Keesha. “Will Gracie eat cats?” she asked. “Will she bark?”

Of course my name wasn’t Gracie then. But my foster mom knew a lot about me. She knew I would be fine with cats because she had cats in the foster home. She knew I wouldn’t have a barking problem. And she knew I liked to chew on my chew toys. (Of course, she didn’t realize that when I came to Cathy’s house, everything would be a chew toy.)

For more tips, visit

My mom is testing a new website. She’s determined to make money from me. “Your namesake, Amazing Gracie, helped found Three Dog Bakery,” she reminds me, almost daily. “So far you’re just running up bills for vet care and pet sitting.”

I’m not worried. If Mom didn’t send back our high-maintenance housemate Oophelia, I’m not going anywhere.