Dog Park Scene: Fashionable Dog and Owner

A couple of weeks ago it was freezing cold when we went to the dog park. As usual, I went naked. My mom doesn’t believe in coats for dogs.

“The vet says you don’t need a coat if you’re not shivering,” she told me.

To be fair, she applies the same philosophy to herself. She doesn’t buy clothes unless she absolutely has no choice. Sometimes I don’t want to be seen in public with her.

Here’s one of the park regulars, Sue, with her dog Jack.

“Aren’t they adorable?” my mom said. She didn’t have her camera so she tried to take a picture with her new cell phone. If you’ve been reading this blog, you won’t be surprised to learn that it took her a couple of weeks to figure out how to get the photo from phone to computer. But she did.

They look cold, don’t they? As soon as Mom took this picture, they were gone.

Retail therapy for dog and owner

Here’s Cathy’s fashion consultant, Elle, the manager of Peridot, where Cathy bought her winter hat, coat dress, and cool handbag.

Elle won’t let Cathy leave the store with something that looks bad on her. Thank goodness. After all, my reputation’s on the line when we’re out walking together.

Elle has good taste in dogs as well as clothes. I love her dog Scout. And see how she’s rubbing my butt in just the right place? Mmmm. That woman knows the way to a canine heart, even without feeding me treats.

Dog and owner go shopping

My fashion-challenged mom shops with me at Peridot. My job is to tug my leash when we go past the store, so she’ll go in and look around. She’s getting inspired by all the new fashions.

Cathy is very proud of her parka, which she claims is at least 15 years old. She refuses to buy another winter coat.

Fortunately, she is looking into buying some new blue jeans, because she wants to show off her new body. If you’ve been following this blog, you know she went on a special diet and has been exercising 3 or 4 times a week at the gym. And we walk…and we walk. We’re both in great shape.

“Yes, maybe I could get more clothes,” she tells me. “But I have no place to wear them. I work at home and my only social events are held at the dog park. So I spend my clothing budget on you, your dog walker, your treats, and …oh yes, your vet bills when you eat junk.”

Time to change the subject. And now you see why I’m going naked. If Mom isn’t buying herself a new winter coat, you can bet I won’t get one either.

Dog gets help for fashion-challenged owner

My mom  doesn’t shop much. But she likes to visit Peridot, a store close to where we live in Lower Queen Anne. It’s pronounced “perry-dough.”They have very trendy clothes.I like Peridot because they always make me feel welcome. Sometimes the manager brings her dog, Scout, one of my favorite neighborhood dogs.

Cathy likes Peridot because the staff keeps her out of trouble. Here she’s wearing her winter hat, which they advised her to buy. Usually she grabs whatever’s on sale and covers her ears. She gets a lot of compliments on that hat.

I like that hat too. All that delicious wool. And those buttons! I could chew a whole morning on those buttons.

My mom said, “Gracie, if you eat this hat, you are going right back to the pound.”

Yeah, right. First of all, I wasn’t in a pound when Cathy adopted me. I was in a foster home. They won’t take me back.

Anyway, who’s kidding who? I know Cathy won’t send me anywhere. After all, Ophelia’s still here, after 5 weeks of force feeding, a big vet bill and a long sojourn in our laundry room. And she’s a useless ball of fur, not a hard-working dog like me.

But just in case, I haven’t so much as nibbled that hat. For one thing, Cathy is getting better at keeping woolly tasty tidbits out of my reach.

Not to worry. Cathy’s socks will tide me over to next winter.

Visitor from Philadelphia

Last night we were honored with a visit from Mom’s friend and copywriting client, Ellen. Mom wrote the copy for Ellen’s website, Faces and Fortunes, back when she was charging about half of what she does now. Ellen’s site was very successful and they became phone friends. They met for the first time on Sunday. I went along to the Marqueen, where Ellen was staying. They wouldn’t let me go upstairs but the desk people fussed over me in the lobby.

Mom took advantage of the gift certificate she won at the Dog Park party last August (how appropriate!). She took Ellen to dinner at The Waterfront, an upscale seafood place in Seattle.

The waiter took thisdog park gift certificate was used photo. After Mom downloaded it to Photoshop, she said she should have left a smaller tip. It was all blurry. She touched it up to get the photo. That’s my mom Cathy on the right. See, she does own some Real Clothes.

Did they bring home a treat for me? Hah. Such gratitude. I mean, if she didn’t own me, she wouldn’t have been at the dog park for the party. She’d have taken Ellen to the little Thai place around the corner.

“I wouldn’t mind,” Ellen said. “I like Thai food.”

Maybe next time.

Dog owner admits to losing fashion battle

My mom Cathy was reading the Wall Street Journal last weekend, when she came across an article: Is Obama too Fit to be President.

Then Betsy Talbot’s Success Blog posted a review of a new book, The Chic Entrepreneur. Subtitle: Put your business in higher heels. Higher heels? Stilettos? No in high hees

And Penelope Trunk (author of The Brazen Careerist) laid down the law in her blog post: When it comes to offices, appearances matter.

Cathy was using some words that an innocent dog like me should never hear. I won’t tell you what she’s wearing as she types away at her copywriting business. And we can’t talk about her decorating skills, either. Some people are nesters. Let’s just say Cathy isn’t.

“Who cares about what people look like?” she said, tossing the paper across the room (not in my direction, thank goodness). “We all need to work at home, where no one can see us. Anyway, what would have happened to us if people judged politicians by looks back in World War II? Roosevelt in a wheel chair. Churchill about 100 pounds overweight. And somehow we won a war.

“And why are we still looking up (literally and metaphorically) to women in stilettos? When women can wear comfy shoes,” she concluded, “we’ll have real power. Let’s liberate our feet.”

Well, mom, let’s take my liberated paws and go for a nice walk. I don’t care what I look like, although every day someone gives me a compliment. “Cute dog.” “Beautiful fur.” “Sweet face.”

But I have to be fair. Cathy doesn’t choose housemates based on looks. I looked pretty awful in my mug shot. And we just adopted a cat that looks like a basketball with fur.

Sometimes dog owners think too much. It’s my job to keep our eye on the prize: dog parks, treats and chew toys. What else matters?

WNBA Storm Basketball: My Mom the Fan

My mom Cathy discovered basketball about 10 years ago. At first she didn’t know what a point guard was, but now she’s a die-hard WNBA fan.

Here she is, dressed appropriately for a Seattle Storm game in the WNBA shirt she bought when shebasketball first saw a game in 2004, and the dorky Storm cap she bought in 2005. She’s posing with our neighbor Diana just outside Key Arena where fans mourn a 7-point loss to the Connecticut Sun.

Diana played college hoops so my mom always asks her to explain the finer points of the game.

Big deal. As far as I’m concerned, Diana’s only virtue is she’s co-owner of my awesome dog pal, Bailey. I get so excited when I see Bailey out walking with one of her owners. My mom pulls on my leash and yells, “No jumping!” Yeah, right.

My mom always gives me a pre-game walk around the neighborhood. She wears her Storm shirt and cap and we greet all the other fans who are similarly attired. I’m embarrassed to be seen with her in public in that outfit, so I do my business quickly and give her that special “Let’s go home” tug on the leash.

“Where else can I wear that t-shirt?” Mom says. “I’ve got half a dozen free ones from the Storm and other t-shirts from events in New Mexico and….”

Ever hear the saying, “Whoever dies with the most toys wins?”

I don’t know about toys, but at this rate my mom Cathy will eventually die with the most t-shirts. In the arena of dressing for comfort, she’s the big winner.

“So I chewed a shoe…what’s the fuss about?”

Uh oh…My mom Cathy got into a long phone call this morning. She was clicking on her laptop, intensely muttering about blogs and teleseminars and keywords…and totally ignoring me.

So what’s a dog to do? I decided to help my mom out. See, Cathy really, really hates dressing up. She totally detests dress shoes, which she defines as anything except Asics and Birkenstocks. .dog chewing shoe

Now, I happen to know these loafers pinch her feet. She can barely walk across the room in them. And they’re not exactly in style. She needs to throw them out.

So I’m going to accelerate the process. Mmm…delicious leather. Probably fake, but who cares?

Yeah, I’ve got a handful of chew toys. But why eat hamburger when you can have steak? And why go for a chew toy when you can have a shoe? Yum.

My mom doesn’t get it. She’s using words that should not be uttered in the presence of a CUPPIE. My royal ears are sensitive.

“Gracie, I have a speaking engagement next week! I have to look presentable! What will I wear?”

Well, if it were me, I’d pad across the room in my bare paws. Who says dogs are dumb?

Good thing I’ve got an outing planned with my Aunt Sara. We’ll go run in the park while my mom goes to the gym and runs her errands and works. By tomorrow, the shoes will be in the garbage, where they belong, and my mom will go out and choose a new pair of running shoes.

“Maybe I’ll get a pedicure and wear my Birkies,” Mom said wistfully.

Good idea. Never mind that she’s never had a pedicure, but I get one with every bath. Go for it, mom!

Mom Applauds Fashion at Seattle Symphony

My mom Cathy isn’t exactly hip (as you’ve probably gathered by now). She actually likes classical music, although she feels a little behind the curve because she’s never played a musical instrument. Learning about music is one of Cathy’s Life Goals.

She signed up for yesterday’s concert because she wanted to hear violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. Cathy had watched the moving documentary about Nadja’s life, Speaking in Strings. When she discovered Nadja was caring for an elderly tabby cat, not unlike the one who shares our household, she became a fan.

Cathy also loved Nadja’s sense of humor and she treasured the moment when a stranger asks the world-class soloist, “Do you play the fiddle? And can you play Orange Blossom Special?” Nadja answered politely, “With my eyes closed.”

So she knew she had to see the live performance.

My mom is still learning about music, so she listened to the pieces ahead of time. She loved the piece Nadja played (Bruch’s Concerto No. 1 for Violin).

But as we were going out for our walk afterward, she ran into James, one of our fellow tenants. James happens to be one of my biggest fans, so she had to stop and say hello.  I heard her saying, “I loved the way this artist challenged the dress code of the female performer. She was wearing blue and white trousers – a bit odd, but she probably got them in New York – and a simple top. She stood athletically on the stage.”

“Yeah,” said Cathy’s neighbor James. “Not one of those prom dress things. Like she’s here to play music as a professional.”

“Right,” Cathy said, warming up to one of her favorite subjects. “These days women are flying combat missions. They’re cops and airline pilots. It’s ridiculous to have men in suits and women in those revealing gowns. Distracting.”

She stopped long enough to hear her neighbor’s account of his night at the ballet, which she had already seen. They agreed it was a beautiful production. Cathy doesn’t mind ballet costumes, although she thinks it’s ridiculous for female skaters to wear those ditzy outfits. She refuses to watch skating because, she says, they look ridiculous.

Luckily, the subject never came up.

Then (at last!) we headed out. After 4 hours in my crate, I needed this break.

Dog Saves Owner From Fashion Disaster

OK, I don’t stop with food. Cathy got some flats to wear when she absolutely, positively can’t wear sneakers. We can’t call them “dress shoes” because Cathy doesn’t do dress-up.

She hates to buy shoes because none of them fit. She’s right. Her feet are shaped more like shoe boxes than shoes.

So she buys whatever she can, spending as little as possible. She spends more on concert tickets, books and (thankfully) dog walking. She just begrudges paying for anything that causes pain and pinches her toes.

This last pair were pretty ugly. She was desperate and they fit, more or less. But she knew: they really should go.

I saw what was needed. On her own, she would never replace them. It was my duty to chew them up. Now she’s forced to buy new ones.

So…why did she yell, “Oh no, Gracie!” and shove me into my crate? When do I get a nice thank you biscuit?

When hell freezes over…or Cathy voluntarily dresses up when she doesn’t have to. Not tomorrow, for sure.