City dog not feeling like city slicker today

Hope I'm healthy - paws crossed!
Hope I’m healthy – paws crossed!

Yesterday my mom found evidence that I had tossed up some of my recent meals. The first sign was a messy spot on the bedroom carpet but the second time happened on tile in the hallway. My mom was SO grateful but she also freaked out.

She dashed to the phone and called our nearby vet. She soon learned the difference between vomiting and regurgitation, something she said she’d be just as happy not knowing. What I just did falls into the latter category. It comes from my esophagus and is potentially more serious.

Neither my mom nor I know much about my esophagus but my mom knows the meaning of “serious” and “x-rays.” Luckily our vet suggested giving me a bland diet (can you say “rice?”) all weekend and then we will see what happens.

My mom also made a mad dash to a pharmacy to get me some Pepcid. The store clerk, she said, got confused and tried to suggest a generic with a different ingredient. My mom knows “famotidine” from my previous tummy upsets. She is a pro.

So last night I was subjected to a small bowl of rice, with more of the same this morning. My mom was thrilled to see that I have no other symptoms. I’m alert and playful. There is nothing wrong with my appetite (although that rice thing will get old pretty fast) and I even did my business this morning. (That’s probably a LOT more than you wanted to know.)

My mom said she didn’t realize being a dog owner meant taking a minor in gastroenterology, whatever that is.

She also pointed out that she’s embarrassed to buy all those stomach medicines so she makes a point of telling everyone in the drug store that they’re for me. Like, who cares? She even wants to label the products in the medicine cabinet so people won’t think she’s got all those ailments as she gets older.

My mom is keeping her fingers crossed that I’ll be better by Monday. She said she just recovered from Ophelia’s departure, Pumpkin’s skin infection and Pumpkin’s cold. She wants healthy animals for at least six months.

City dog sleeps in cat bed

My mom rarely buys dog beds or cat beds. She doesn’t have to. People give them to her when they move out.  When our neighbor’s dog wouldn’t sleep on his new bed, guess who got it?

This is a brand new CAT bed from the Amazon Vine program, where my mom is a reviewer. She is supposed to review this product so she put it down next to my own big fluffy dog bed (on the right). She bought that bed in December 1998, when she adopted Keesha at the Humane Society in Broward County.

I can’t resist trying it out. My mom says I’m more like a cat than a dog. Who cares? This is SO comfortable.

It comes with an electric cord but my mom doesn’t like electric blankets. When she was teaching, she says, one of her students was a fire fighter. He told her he wouldn’t use an electric blanket or extension cord in his home. He’s seen too many of them catch fire.

Anyway, it’s not that cold. So I’m enjoying this bed for now. The cats will have to wait.

THOSE dogs get raincoats

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 …

Mom fighting the medical profession

My mom hurt her arm exactly 7 weeks ago (she reminded me today). She is doing well, although she hates the medical profession.

“They’ll happily spend tons of money on useless screening,” she says. “They’ll pay me to talk to a primary care physician about tests. But when I REALLY need help, what do they do? Pass the buck and deny me services.”

My mom says this is one time she misses Seattle. She loved the health care system. She’s going nuts trying to deal with the paperwork and the physical therapy people.

“What’s saving me,” she says, “is I’ve lucked into a great orthopedic surgeon AND an awesome trainer at my gym. By coincidence, they know each other. The rest – the receptionists, forms, assistants – are driving me nuts.”

I can tell. She’s swearing a lot.

Welcome to My Cousin Sophie

This is Sophie. She belongs to my Uncle Lance in Seattle so my mom says she’s my cousin.

I am madly jealous. Sophie looks totally spoiled. Did you see those toys? That pink bed and blue drinking bowl? I can’t even have a bed in my crate because I’d chew it up into tiny pieces. I inherited a silver dog dish from my mom’s first dog. You can bet I won’t be getting a blue one any time soon.

Sophie’s also training to be a service dog so she gets to go EVERYwhere. My mom says I’m way too stubborn to be a service dog and anyway I get tired now after a 45-minute walk. She wants Sophie to come visit Philadelphia so we can play together. I could teach Sophie a thing or two about being an urban dog and Sophie could (my mom says) teach me some manners.

Expensive dog or cheap exercise coach?

My mom admits it. She was worried that my arrival would disrupt her busy schedule. Besides running her business, she takes classes in improv and ceramics. She is a volunteer tour guide for AIA, the architectural association. Where, she wondered, would she find time for a dog – especially a demanding, high-maintenance Canine Urban Princess like me?

Okay, I have been here nearly two weeks. My mom decided to try on a pair of her favorite shorts. They’re about 15 years old but still perfect (Eddie Bauer never dies, she says), if somewhat out of fashion.

Since when does my mom care about fashion, anyway? These shorts were too tight a few weeks ago, before I came, because she was really grooving on Philly food she’d never touch in Seattle.

To my mom’s amazement, this time she fit into her shorts easily and her other clothes have become nice and loose. She’s thrilled.

My mom doesn’t get on scales. She refuses to acknowledge weight as an issue. “It’s all in the inches,” she says, “and the muscle.” She flexes her biceps as soon as anyone mentions aging and she’s actually proud of wearing the same clothes she wore last time she lived in Philadelphia.

I, of course, have no choice. I was about 38 pounds last weigh-in. Given our walking schedule, I’m probably closing in on my former princess weight.

My mom does not want me to look like a portly Dowager Queen. When I gain weight, she starts muttering about exorbitant vet bills.

So I’m off the hook, at least for now. We’ve been taking at least 2 30-minute walks a day. Today we walked for 40 minutes.

My mom even admits she gets ideas for her business while we walk. She sleeps better at night because she’s just as tired as I am. See… I am also a life coach. Doesn’t that qualify for higher-class crunchies?

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.”

Keeping the mom on her diet

Since we moved to Belltown, we live near lots of good restaurants. My mom complains, “Every time I go out, I have to walk past one of the best bakeries in Seattle.” Today she bought a loaf of good healthy vegan bread and proceeded to make some toast.

“Soup and toast for lunch,” she said.

Being a dog, i don’t do lunch. I’m lucky to get breakfast and dinner. The sainted Keesha, my mom’s first dog, just got dinner, once a day. Period. And she slept on the floor, too.

So when Aunt Sara came to take me for my walk, I dashed back and grabbed a piece of my mom’s toast for me. Mmm…. delicious!

I got about two bites before my mom realized what I was doing. I didn’t even get to finish. Is that fair?

“Gracie is a high maintenance dog,” my mom sighed, as Aunt Sara finally got me leashed up and ready to go.

Well, as a royal canine princess I deserve some extra maintenance. Besides, my mom needs to stay on her diet. It’s my job to help. I know, it’s a tough sacrifice, but someone’s got to do it.

Another good reason to own a dog

Pamela with Kaylee
My mom Cathy thinks she should get a tax deduction for me: my food, treats and vet bills. She points out that I am an asset to her health and her business. I force her to take walks in the fresh air. I insist that we take regular breaks.

And I am her muse and source of inspiration.

Now my mom has yet another reason to believe dogs are good for business. Her business friend Pamela Bruner just wrote a blog post about dogs as motivators.

It seems that Pamela’s dog Kaylee needed surgery to alleviate a painful knee. (You didn’t know dogs have knees? Now you know.) Pamela realized she had a motivation to keep earning higher levels of income, so she would always be able to say “yes” when a vet asked if she could afford the surgery.

Dog surgery doesn’t come cheap. In fact, my mom sighs, there’s nothing cheap about a dog. Walking. Boarding. Feeding. And more.

“If I didn’t have a dog, my life would be simpler,” she says.

My mom’s New York friend Bill always laughs when she says this. He knows she’d have less fun and “you’d be a little old lady who lives with cats.”

Good grief. Imagine life with Ophelia as the main pet. Be thankful for me, mom!