And the winner is …

pumpkininbedThe winner of the Academy Award for Best Feline Dramatic Performance is none other than our own Pumpkin the Cat. Weighing in at a hefty fourteen pounds, Pumpkin has managed to communicate that she is a poor, starving stray who deserves more food.

My mom falls for it. “Maybe just a few crunchies,” she says.

She’s getting tougher, though. Pumpkin fills my dog bed nicely. She’s given up on crawling into the kitty-sized furniture. So sometimes she just gives Pumpkin a pat on the head and says, “It’s not dinner time yet.”

As for me, I get my food carefully measured at each of my two daily meals. My mom is terrified that I’ll get fat and put too much pressure on my slender leg joints.

“You like to run and jump, Gracie,” she says. “We’ll make sure you keep moving.”

Tough love. At least I get to wangle treats from all the soft-hearted neighbors.

Dogs don’t do real estate,,,

Thank goodness! I have a small castle known as The Crate. I have a few vacation homes, otherwise known as dog beds. I also take over the cat bed since Ophelia has usurped my spot on the couch. That’s as far as we go.

My mom, on the other hand, seems determined to get herself into a condo. I had to listen to her swearing over the paperwork (which wasn’t too bad, thanks to her awesome dog-loving real esetate agent Sarah Odegaard). And I had to go along for the inspection. The inspectors immediately recognized my role.

“She gets to decide where you live,” they said seriously.

My mom went out for coffee with Sarah while they gave the place the once-over. It was a nice day, although a little warm. They had to sit outside because coffee shops don’t take dogs anymore. All this fresh air was too much. We were exhausted the next day.

My mom has started thinking about hiring a mover. “We’re very close,” she told me. “She muttered something about title and negotiating on items to be fixed. Fixed? You lost me there, mom.

We’re getting rid of a lot of stuff so the movers wll have a lighter load. I’m nominating a new home for our housemate, Ophelia. Mom put her on a diet but it’s not working. At this rate we will need to rent a whole truck just for her.

Do we need a separate truck to move this cat?
Do we need a separate truck to move this cat?

Dog in disgrace

Looking Small and Innocent
Looking Small and Innocent

My mom figures that, if I sleep on her bed, she’ll notice when I jump off. Then she will put me in my crate for the rest of the night.

Hah. I’ve become an expert stealth jumper. The Marines could hire me to sneak up on people. Or I could be a police dog, going undercover in drug dens.

“In your dreams!” my mom says. “What happens when I wake up and find two hungry cats and two empty plates of food without even a crumb? And you’re off the bed, licking your chops and looking very pleased with yourself?”

Circumstantial evidence, mom. You always said the justice system is too quick to convict with too few facts . You’re the one who says we should no longer criminalize normal behavior. So why am I in the dog house with no breakfast?

“If you eat more food, you will get sick,” my mom said. “And that means a sleepless night for me and maybe another big vet bill. We are not taking chances.”

A dog’s life iin the Goodwin household is not always an easy one.

“Yeah, right,” my mom says, as if she can hear my thoughts. “You get top quality food. You get the prime spot on the sofa, which you share with Ophelia. You get a magnificent dog bed. You run in a wonderful park twice a week. What more could you want?”

Well, more treats would be a good start. But I guess this isn’t the time to make new demands. It’s a good day to curl up on my cushion and look sweet, small and pathetic while I am sleeping.

Dog Judged on Circumstantial Evidence (“Blame The Cat,” She Says)

This morning my mom was awakened when I bumped into her bed. I was trying to jump up and return to my assigned cushion without waking her. After all, I got down, didn’t I?

So my mom gets up, suspicious from the get-go.

“Gracie, you’re off the bed. The cat food dishes are empty. Totally clean! The cats never finish every crumb of their food. So Gracie, I conclude that you were eating cat food! Now I can’t give you breakfast. You’ll get sick from overeating.”

Come on, Mom. You’re a softie when it comes to human justice. You don’t believe in convicting criminals based on circumstantial evidence. So why me?

Mom’s always saying the justice system picks one suspect and ignores other possibles. Well, let’s consider Ophelia as the Prime Suspect. Ophelia’s been getting MUCH larger. She eats fast and furiously. She looks like a plate-cleaner to me. And who knows? Maybe I just thought you were ready to wake up and leapt off the bed two seconds before you woke up.

“Forget it, Gracie,” Mom said. “The only consequence to you is a very slight cutback on your rations. Everybody’s been commenting that you look bigger, too.”

Busted…or falsely accused. What do YOU readers think?

A Dog’s View of the Michael Vick Animal Rescue Campaign

My mom read me this story about Michael Vick, the football player who went to prison for torturing and killing dogs.

An animal rescue group had planned to put up posters protesting Michael Vick’s presence back on the field. But then they had a better idea: donate 3 bags of dog food to a shelter every time Vick gets tackled.

Wow..every so often humans get it right. Michael Vick will always be associated with his anti-dog actions and yet dozens of homeless dogs will benefit from the donation.

We dogs are not big on revenge, although my mom tells me Garth Stein’s Book, The Art of Racing In The Rain, does have a particularly steamy example. We are, however, big on dog food, although I am currently skipping breakfast because my mom figured out I snuck off the bed and polished off the cat food last night. Can I help it if I look smug when she finds me on the floor, instead of my usual spot on her bed?

:”Keep this up, Gracie and you’ll be sleeping in your crate,” she says.

Go ahead mom. I love my crate, especially when I get a yummy kong toy with peanut butter. Maybe Michael Vick can donate a million of so to dog treats? That’s as worthy a cause as you’ll find anywhere.

Ophelia: A Cat With Personality

My mom says Ophelia has more personality than any cat she’s ever had. That’s not saying much since most cats are kind of wimpy. She was talking about Ophelia on the phone to her friend Bill (so what else is new).

Today mom heard crunching coming from the kitchen. “Gracie, stop eating!” she yelled.

Then she remembered I was in the Dog Lounge.

“Oops…now, which cat could that be? It’s Ophelia!” Sure enough, Ophelia was diving into a plate of crunchies. When she saw my mom, she looked up with that guilty “Caught in the act!” expression and dashed away.

“If Cathy thinks I’ll eat those crunchies,” Ophelia seems to be saying, “then I’ll never get the canned food and the other crunchies I like better.”

Dogs are smart. We never look guilty. When I get caught, I give my mom the “What’s the problem? I’m not doing anything!” look.

Too late, Ophelia. Mom’s on to you.

Marley had bad owners

My mom had to do something totally boring. Since we no longer have cable TV, she plays videos when she needs to get through something tedious. Today she was watching Marley and Me, a video from the library.

The movie was a great escape but an awful example of dog rearing. These people were clueless. Even I could see that. Hey, I would chew up the household if my mom didn’t make me stay in a crate when she goes out. I would jump on people and knock them over, except she keeps me on a short leash and squirts me when I get derailed.

My mom is strict but fair. She read that an obedient dog has more self-esteem. I have awesome self-esteem.

Marley was just being a dog. He had ZERO discipline. Deep down inside, his owner thought it was cute to watch Marley destroy property and scare people.

But what got my mom was the way they left Marley with a house-sitter who wasn’t a true dog person. What’s wrong with a kennel where they’d also throw in some obedience training?

“I do admire Marley’s intestinal fortitude, though,” she said, giving me The Look. “Marley ate and ate. And apparently he never woke his owner up in the middle of the night, the way you do every few months.”

True. If I ate like Marley I’d be waking Cathy up at 2 AM every night. When I eat more than my official portions, my tummy starts doing the tango. Not good.

Oh yes…they also left their three young kids alone while they went looking for Marley after Marley escaped on a rainy night. Enough said.

Who Ate The Cat Food? Only the Dog Knows For Sure

My mom is not an insomniac. That’s one of her few virtues. She has no trouble falling asleep and (usually) staying asleep, unless I wake her up or a cat jumps on her shoulder. (She is not at all happy when that happens.)

I sleep at the foot of mom’s bed, on my own dog cushion. It’s pretty comfortable, but I don’t always like to stay there. My mom thinks she will notice if I jump off so she drifts off to sleep, assuming the cat food is safe from my hungry jaws.

The problem is Ophelia (as usual). Ophelia is the only cat my mom’s ever met who seems to be afraid of heights. Ophelia refuses to eat on the kitchen counter like a normal cat. She wants her food on the floor. Frankly, Ophelia is so huge, I think she would benefit by missing quite a few meals. But my mom worries that Ophelia will stop eating and get liver disease again.

So Mom sets out the cat food every night before she goes to bed. Two dishes of delicious food. Yum.

This morning, Mom woke up to find both dishes empty.

“Gracie, did you eat all this?” she exclaimed.

I made a big show of looking sleepy, as if I hadn’t budged all night.

Now my mom was in a quandary. She won’t starve me. But if she gives me a normal size food serving, she’s afraid my sensitive tummy will act up and she’ll pay the price. So she compromised with a smaller serving.

Well, did I sneak away and eat that food? Or did Ophelia polish everything off and then retreat to her hiding place?

I know. But I’m not telling.

Food for Ophelia, but what about me?

My mom Cathy just discovered a pet food delivery service. She was getting pretty desperate because we don’t have a car and she’s not supposed to pick up those big bags for awhile…maybe ever.

Sounds good to me! Running out of my food would be a major crisis.

But what did my mom do? She ordered samples of cat food for Ophelia.

“Ophelia’s such a fuss and I want her to learn to eat healthy food,” she explained on the phone. “Gracie? No problem. Gracie eats everything.”

Huh? What about samples of treats for me?

“Gracie’s never met a treat she didn’t like,” my mom said. Notice how she talks about me? Alas, it’s all too true.

Enough dog food for at least six months!

My mom Cathy refuwses to drive in Seattle. As a result, she gets LOTS of deliveries. I can always tell when someone is coming to deliver something good for us. I stand by the door and wait to greet them in my own special way.

“No jumping!” Mom says firmly. “Sit!”

It’s SO much fun to jump. Why does she have to spoil my fun?

A few days ago the Safeway people brought us water, cat litter and more heavy stuff. Who cares? I drink whatever water is in my dish. My fave water is the muddy version from the dog park, whenever I can sneak past my mom’s eagle eye.

Today was wonderful. My mom asked the people at All The Best pet food in Upper Queen Anne if they could deliver a couple of 30-pound bags of dog food. “I like to buy locally,” she said. “Up to now I’ve been buying from Amazon.”

Sure enough, this morning a nice person showed up with the dog food my mom deems appropriate for a Canine Urban Princess. I eat California Natural and Avoderm.  Since the vet cut back my rations, I figure that’s good for…six months? Maybe more. Who’s complaining?