Back in the dog house for chewing a cushion

My mom had a contractor come do some work on her kitchen and bathroom. Since he was connected to two people she knows and trusts, she left him alone while she went off to one of her events this evening.

And since he’s been a dog owner, she said, “Just put Gracie in her crate when you leave.” She figured if he can remodel a home he can figure out how to put a dog into a crate.


He decided to show some initiative. He left me alone with one of our favorite cat cushions. I loved it.

When my mom came home the crate was filled with this cottony stuff. “I hope you didn’t eat it,” she said to me in a very stern tone.

Then she took this photo.

I guess I’ll be going commando again next time, as discussed in this earlier post.

Guest Post: Where to Locate a Dog Crate in Your Home

Guest Post by Jaime Simpkins: My mom doesn’t usually allow me to run guest posts from commercial ventures unless there’s an affiliate link. where she earns money for my treats if somebody buys. We made an exception because this topic is of special interest to me.

We don’t know anything about this crate company. But we can relate to the challenge. Remember my earlier posts on locating my crate in our new home?


Where to Locate a Crate in your Home by Jaime Simpkins

If you are thinking about owning a dog crate, you are probably wondering where in the house to put it. Your dog, being a pack animal, would prefer the part of the house where the family spends the most time while he is in the crate.

[Gracie says: “You got that right! Remember when we first moved here? My crate was in a hallway. I hated it.”]

If you have more than one dog sharing the crate, it may not be so important to keep all of the family together, as crate time can still be spent with a companion.

[Gracie says:”I’m the only dog here. The cats stop by to say hello sometimes. But share a crate with a crate? No way!”]

The makers of some dog crates have gone to great lengths to make their crates look like furniture with wooden slats that can be styled to look like other furniture items. The  wood dog crate allows you to dye, lacquer, or paint the crate so that it blends in with the rest of the room. If that style of crate doesn’t particularly suit your taste or budget, try using a conventional wire crate as a shelf by putting a hard surface on top of it.

[Gracie says: “Great idea, mom! Maybe I’ll get a wooden crate someday. Meanwhile, we just cover my crate with a blanket when I’m not using it and when we’re home.”]

Young dogs that aren’t used to spending the night crated may whimper and whine while you are trying to get your beauty sleep. If that’s the case in your household, then you may want to bring your pup’s crate into your bedroom just for one or two nights. This will give him companionship while he is becoming accustomed to his new bed. If the crate is beside your bed, you can reach down and stroke your pup if he becomes unsettled. When he is spending the night in his crate without distress, you can move the crate out of your bedroom.

[Gracie says: “My mom doesn’t adopt puppies. As a senior dog, I can see why. But for my first few months with mom, I had to sleep in my crate at night. My mom wanted to be sure I was house trained. She gave me a peanut butter kong every night so I knew I was being rewarded for being a great dog. Now I sleep on the mom’s bed, along with the ditzy Creampuff who jumps on and off and the fat Ophelia who takes up a LOT of room. Sometimes I’d rather be back in that crate with my peanut butter.”]

Don’t forget to look around the crate when you have put it in its permanent position. Check for power cables or electrical wires, and make sure there aren’t any curtain tassels dangling into the crate. These can hurt your dog if he chews them.

Keep an eye on whether or not the crate is in direct sunlight from a nearby window, because this will be hot and uncomfortable for your dog. Similarly, avoid drafts so he doesn’t get cold.

[Gracie says: “Never fear. My mom is a fanatic. I always have a bowl of fresh water and my tough rubber toy – nothing I can destroy.”]

There is no “one size fits all” perfect spot for a dog crate. You don’t want the crate in the way of your family, and you don’t want it to negatively affect your home décor. Your dog wants to be where the action is, and don’t want to feel left out. Take the time to work out a position for the crate that suits both you and your dog.


Gracie: Thanks for the tips, Jaime! Thanks to my mom’s friend Pam Ellis, I have a great place for my crate: right in the living room where it belongs.

Big Dog, Small Apartment

The New York Times finally gets something right about dogs! My mom read me this article about big dogs and small apartments. It’s in today’s paper.

We both agree. Dogs don’t run around their homes and apartments. They rarely even run around their own yards. They need exercise – long walks and places to run. That’s why I go to Magnuson Park with my Aunt Sara twice a week.

I’m not exactly huge. We won’t discuss my weight anymore, but I’m definitely in the small to medium range. My mom and I both say, “Who cares what you weigh? It’s all about muscle.” We’re both pretty solid and proud of it. My mom refuses to get on a scale, ever. I don’t have a lot of choice. When we go to the vet, they drag me to the scale.

But who’s counting?

“When I lived with Keesha, my first dog, we had a yard,” my mom says. “But Keesha wouldn’t play in the yard. She’d come and sit on the porch. So we’d go to the dog park. That’s what she wanted.”

Lots of people in our building have enormous dogs. They’re happy. We’re happy.

In fact, the mom says, a small dog can be a bigger challenge in an apartment. They yip and they yap. They run around like cats.

Just one point the Times forgot to mention. Dogs have crates. Even in our new spacious home, we have trouble finding a spot for my crate. My mom keeps trying to keep it out of the living room. Right now I’m in a hallway. Talk about being out of the way.

I tell my mom, “The only solution is to accept your dog crate as a piece of furniture. Who are you trying to impress, anyway?”

Dog not happy with new home

Well, my mom moved us in yesterday…or rather the movers did. I can’t say I’m thrilled. My crate has been placed in the bedroom and I feel out of the way. My food dish hasn’t been unpacked so I have to eat off a paper plate. This Canine Princess deserves more royal treatment.

My mom Cathy almost had a heart attack yesterday. I was really worried for awhile about her sanity. Here’s what happened.

Cathy was getting some help from my Big Sister Summer, who used to work at the Dog Lounge. Summer is starting a new career and she’s earning extra money helping people like my mom. She helped the mom get finished packing up at the old place, and she drove us over to the new place in her small car. I had to ride in back with Ophelia, who yowled the whole way.

Summer wanted to check out the balcony so she persuaded my mom to open the door. No problem: the cats were locked up in a bathroom, out of the way of the movers. (If it were up to me, they’d stay there forever. But I digress.)

A few hours later, after Summer had gone, my mom was talking to Mark the painter, who did a magnificent job on our new home, she says. Suddenly she noticed the balcony door was still open and the cats were out.

“Oh no! Creampuff is gone!” she shrieked. She got off the phone and began hunting for our ditziest housemate.

“Creampuff loves the outdoors,” my mom said sadly. “She probably took a dive over the balcony.”

Ever the Drama Queen, the mom continued: “Creampuff is such a wonderful cat. She’s always so sweet and loving. And she’s probably crumbled down in the courtyard. How will I ever forgive myself? I will never be able to enjoy my new home, knowing that Creampuff is gone.”

I discreetly headed to my dog bed, but the mom noticed. “Gracie, you tried to warn me. Is that why you were barking?”

Ophelia appeared from the depths of a closet, where she had been hiding behind a bunch of boxes. My mom just got more frantic.

Suddenly, Creampuff showed up, out of nowhere, with her best, “What’s going on?” clueless expression. My mom grabbed her in a tight hug. Creampuff hates hugs, but who cares?

Creampuff hasn’t been hiding since. She slept next to my mom all night, purring at the top of her tiny lungs. My mom was really grateful. “I had my first good night’s sleep in three days,” she said.

Ahem. What about me? I was right there too. But when the prodigal cat returns, the faithful dog gets ignored. My mom never liked that story and now I can see why.

The mom versus the mortgage company

My mom is in a very bad mood today. I retreated to my cushion and am on my very best behavior.

My mom is pretty sure she will get a mortgage. SOMEbody will give her a mortgage. She has a really big down payment, a sterling credit record and good income. She has assets (although you’d never know it from her clothes, our graduate student furniture and my discounted dog treats). What she doesn’t have is time to track down documentation for the ten thousand things the bank wants yesterday.  The bank keeps asking for more and more things.

“Why can’t they get their act together and ask me right away?” she grumbles. “I should have gone with Sarah the real estate agent. She is a mortgage broker. We’d be almost done by now.”

Right, mom. Do I care? It’s the same cushion either way.

“If I don’t get this mortgage,” my mom says, “I am going to take off six months from work and Do Nothing. Just to show them I can.”

Yeah, right. The mom will be bored and the dog will pay the price.

“Maybe I’ll go travel and leave Gracie with Bill,” Mom said thoughtfully. “Six months or so…”

Good grief. I would love to live with Bill in New York. I could acquire a taste for muffins, although I’m not so sure about the green beans. I could play with his golden retrievers. Would I miss my mom? Depends. If Bill’s got more food and more  chew toys….have a good trip, Mom!

Well, see where I rate in this household!

Our ceiling is leaking. It was leaking last winter. Mom reported it promptly. Then last week it REALLY came gushing down. The leak is just over the top of my crate in our living room.

“Luckily nothing valuable was harmed,” Mom told the building manager. “Gracie’s crate got wet. We had to move it because I can’t leave her in a crate with rain coming down and maybe getting inside.”

Yeah right. Now my crate is jammed up against a bookcase. I don’t have a view of the whole room. I get claustrophobia in there. And it’s farther from my window. And it’s my crate, for heaven’s sake. The most important piece of furniture we own.

No sympathy from Mom.

“It’s just for a little while,” she says. “You spend less time in your crate than most dogs. And let’s face it: you live a great life. We just went to the dog park yesterday. I have videos to prove it.”

Mom did have a moment of fantasy. Maybe we’ll move to Belltown.

But we won’t go unless we absolutely have to. I know my mom. She loves being near Metropolitan Market. We’re close to her pottery class. We have about 10 bus lines within a few blocks.

True, we’d like to be closer to her exercise class and one of the Downtown Dog Lounge locations. We could be closer to a dog park. But then we’d be farther from these other places. Belltown doesn’t have a decent place to buy food. There’s a great pet store but we get our dog and cat food delivered. Mom says she can’t carry those 25-pound bags any more.

Luckily they’re coming to look at our ceiling today. I’m keeping my paws crossed for a speedy resolution.

Dog living in a small apartment

My mom loves living in a small apartment in Seattle. She’s owned homes. She doesn’t want to get into a condo where everybody fights. She likes being right in the middle of Seattle.

So she’s cutting back on possessions. Fortunately, my mom isn’t the materialistic type. She’s been giving away a lot of clothes and realizing (finally!) that some of her old clothes are ready to be turned into rags.

We all have to Think Small. I don’t take up much room.  

My mom added a Wall Street Journal so you can get an idea of my size. I’m all curled up like a (pardon the expression) cat.

Our housemate is turning yellow

On Saturday my mom took Ophelia to the vet. Despite the advice of the behaviorist, Ophelia was not responding was not eating as much as my mom had hoped.

Dr. Angel took one look at Ophelia’s ears. “Yellow!” she exclaimed. “Liver disease!” She gave Ophelia some fluids and announced, “We’re sending out the blood tests. Come back Monday.”

Cathy went home with a few cans of special liver food and instructions to force feed. Ophelia also gets pills to stimulate her appetite and get over an infection she picked up.

Cathy was very bummed.

Appetite? I think Mom should take Ophelia to the park and let her run with me. A few rounds in the fresh air would do wonders for anybody’s appetite. I could ask my dog friends to chase her a little.

Cats get too much attention

With our tabby cat Tiger on her last paws, my mom Cathy has been distracted. She was so excited this morning: Tiger ate almost a whole can of Fancy Feast cat food. Then she jumped up on the table and took a few sips of Cathy’s iced coffee.

“Why is it okay to drink iced coffee but not eat food from the refrigerator?” Cathy asked.

Tiger twitched her tail and headed back to her home in the closet. She likes to sleep there during the day. Fine with me. Out of sight, out of mind. More of everything for me.

Alas, our ditzy roommate Creampuff, who’s healthy as a horse, is developing a taste for all this fancy food. Mom will never get her back to crunchies.

I don’t understand finicky. It’s not in my vocabulary or my genes. Garbage or gourmet — who cares?

Life is hard when you’re a CUPPIE

Being a CUPPIE -a Canine Urban Princess – can be tough. Whenever my mom Cathy gets frustrated with anything, she takes me out for a walk and she gets frustrated a lot these days. I have to rouse myself from my cushion just because she needs a break.

And then whenever she meets somebody, I have to go along so Cathy can show me off. On Tuesday she decided to meet her friend, my Uncle Lance (he’s big into privacy so she can’t use his real name…gimme a break). My job was to give Uncle Lance a canine experience, since he lives in a no-dog apartment building. (Shouldn’t species discrimination be illegal?) I had to let him hold my leash and deal with all the people who wallked by and said, “Ooh, she’s so cute.”

We ended up walking over a mile. I voted for the bus but Cathy decided we need the exercise. Hah.

And then yesterday, my Aunt Sara took me for my weekly outing to Magnuson Park. I ran and ran. I played with Bailey, Violet and all my other dog friends.

My mom should be exhausted too. When her Wednesday evening class was cancelled at the gym, she booked a session with the trainer so she can work the machines. She got into some new muscle groups, she moaned as she curled up on the couch.

But no. “After today’s teleseminar,” she said to me, “we should enjoy this beautiful sunny weather.”

Uh oh. My royal calendar had marked the afternoon for a Long Hard Nap.

Being a Princess means being on call 24/7. Maybe somewhere there’s a Canine Urban Queen who gets to say, “No thank you.”

Me? I can’t even get into my own crate. Tiger the tabby cat has invaded my territory. She may be over 90 in human years but her strong right paw still packs a mean punch across my nose.