Mom Neglects Dog and Makes Sneakers

shoes2forcharlie500As you can guess, I am a poor neglected dog. OK, so my mom is home all day almost every day. And I get to go running almost every week with my Uncle Jim, not to mention scarfing treats from the building manager and getting free massages from almost everyone in the neighborhood.

Since she moved to Philly. my mom has been SO busy she has less time for my blog and she’s out almost every night. (She recovers on the weekends.)

Here are some of the sneakers she’s been making in her ceramics classes at the Clay Studio. She’s gotten marginally better since I had to help her out at the studio in Seattle. But I think she’s found her groove.

My mom says sneakers are a symbol of freedom, especially for women. “When you feet are free, your spirit is free!” she says. “Who doesn’t associate sneakers with fun?”

Ahem. In case you haven’t noticed I get to skip the whole shoe thing with my paws.

But you’ll see photos of sneakers here. My mom has considered selling them online, which would mean more money for my treats. That’s a GOOD thing.

Notice how Pumpkin, our newest adopted cat, has nudged her way into the background, occupying center stage as usual. That’s because her food area has been turned into a sneaker display. Fortunately Pumpkin is so food-oriented she’d eat even if she just had three inches of space.

Dog Gets Royal Treatment at Dog Lounge

Just about every Sunday my mom takes me to the Downtown Dog Lounge. She works out in her gym while I get a good workout with all the other dogs. It’s nice being around my own species. Cats just don’t play well with others.

I like the name, Dog Lounge better than “doggie day care.” Much more fitting for a Canine Urban Princess – a CUPPIE – like me. And let’s face it. Half the time I’m lounging around on the couch when my mom comes to pick me up.

“Did Gracie play? Was she good?” My mom asks these questions every time.

“She’s always good,” they say.

Now, those folks know how to treat a dog. Here’s my adopted Big Sister Summer. We adore each other.

“Gracie, you’ve come a long way for an adopted rescue mutt,” my mom said when she took this picture.

Hah. I’m just achieving my destiny.

A wonderful winter day…

Yesterday my mom Cathy decided to seize the day.

“Tomorrow is supposed to be awful,” she said. “There’s a good class at the gym at noon. You, Gracie, need exercise.”

So we trooped out the door, leaving the cats to their own devices and big plates of crunchies. Ophelia complained but Mom ignored her. Thank goodness! Ophelia is taking over our household.

The streets were pretty good. “Dry, packed snow, almost like Alaska,” Mom said. “But Gracie, after this snow goes away, we are scheduling several sessions with a trainer. You are pulling on your leash. And it’s slippery.”

I ignored her. I was eating snow. Delicious.

Mom dropped me off at the Dog Lounge where I had a joyous reunion with Summer. My mom took off for the gym.

She was in a good mood when she picked me up a few hours later. The weather was so pleasant she decided to run a few errands and walk around enjoying the outdoors.

The downtown streets were nice and clear, she said. “But a young guy took my arm when I was crossing the street on Stewart and then on Fifth. I guess I look old. But these days I’m more into practicality than pride.

“So,” she continued proudly, “I let them help me scoot across the street, so I got to the gym in time for my Survivor class, where I proceeded to kick some butt. Everybody else in the class looks at least 20 years younger than I am. And I hold my own.”

Our fitness was tested on the way home. Two buses were too full to take us. We ended up walking…and walking. My mom’s feet got wet in the slush and she worried about frostbite. My paws were getting a little chilly, too.

But we both felt great: all that fresh air and exercise. We were so tired we could barely move. And we both went to bed early, dreaming of blue skies and winter sunlight on a city day.

Dog Becomes Heating Pad

OK, it’s cold out there! Aunt Sara took me to the park yesterday and I came home exhausted. I’ve been sleeping…and sleeping. When Cathy takes me for walks, we’re both in a in snow

Last night my mom was feeling really cold. It didn’t help that I managed to sit on one of her quilts and refused to budge. So finally Cathy grabbed me and said, “Gracie, time to earn your crunchies. You are now a heating pad.”

Good grief. That wasn’t in our adoption contract, was it? What about Ophelia? She should put her long hair to good use besides shedding all over the place.

But before I could protest, I found myself getting warm and drowsy. And then I was dreaming about running in the park with my buddies Bailey and Violet and that new puppy who just joined our pack. And getting hugs from Summer at the dog lounge. And walking out in the snow with my mom first thing in the morning. And then…

“Gracie! Ready for your walk?”

That’s not a dream. It’s for real. We go downstairs for our walk. Hey — the snow is all gone! Must be getting warmer.

No more heating pad. But I’m sure mom will come up with another ridiculous idea for me. Why should I have to earn my crunchies, anyway? Royal princesses aren’t supposed to work.

Who Says Crates Are Bad?

I love my crate!

Which is good, because last night my mom got exasperated with me. I was curled up at the foot of her bed as usual and I was getting restless. So I was licking my paws and other parts of my anatomy that a lady should never discuss on her blog.

“That’s enough!” my mom shrieked as I woke her up from a terrific dream she was having. “It’s the crate for you!”

Uh oh. What did I do? Since when is scratching an itch considered a major crime?

But Mom tossed in my kong toy with a nice big chunk of peanut butter. Ah….who cares about the bed anyway? I can protect the household while I slurp.

Thanksgiving from a Dog’s Perspective

My mom has a guilty secret. She hates Thanksgiving. She’s not exactly warm and fuzzy (duh – have you noticed?) so she doesn’t Get It. Why do people want to hang around, eat too much and pretend to be having fun? OK, maybe some people really have fun.
thanksgiving with dog

Not my mom. Cathy hates small talk. She actually detests parties.
“I’d rather stay home and read a good murder mystery. Or maybe watch a video and take Gracie to the dog park.”

I admit I enjoy visiting families on holidays. Everybody makes a big fuss over me. If the host has a dog, I can usually find a dish of dog food that’s tastier than what I get at home. By the end of the day, I am exhausted.

But my mom is less than thrilled. When I eat strange food, my tummy starts doing the tango. So I wake my mom at 3 AM to Go Out — Immediately — to Do My Business.

My mom gets very upset. “Why did I ever adopt another dog?” she asks me. At 3 AM, I must admit, I don’t have a very good answer.

So in the end, I guess I am better off when we just stay home. My mom sticks to her diet and I stick to mine. My mom buried her nose in a new mystery by an author she just discovered – Roberta Isleib – where the heroine is a clinical psychologist. My mom loves to second-guess therapists and she lives for a good mystery novel. She even approves of the author’s website (except for the W-word: Welcome, but let’s not go there. This is my blog, okay?)

Anyway, I have a lot to be thankful for. My dog beds. My dog walks. Food. Treats. The Dog Lounge for daycare. My raving fans all over Seattle. Our wonderful bus system, Seattle Metro, where I get to ride on my mom’s lap and get tons of attention from total strangers.

My mom’s birthday

My mom celebrated her birthday this weekend. She discovered she was eligible for a free concert on her birthday so off she went to Benaroya Hall. They featured Sibelius’s 2nd (which she enjoyed immensely, she said, much better thanmusic notes the other Sibelius symphonies). Of course she also went to her exercise class. And we stopped by the dog park on our way home.

Unlike me, my mom did not get a treat for her birthday. She stuck to her lifetime eating plan. I’m so proud of her. I want her to stick around till I get old and cross the bridge. After that, she’s on her own.

My birthday was last month. I got to spend the day in the lounge, which was much more fun than going to a concert. And I got to spend my mom’s birthday there too. I played hard all day and I’m still tired. Gotta rest up: tomorrow’s my day to go to the park with Aunt Sara.

Cathy was hoping our fuzzy housemate Ophelia would give her the ultimate present: eating by herself. But no…Ophelia sniffs at food and says, “No thanks.” How can she turn up her nose at chicken and tuna? Meanwhile, the ditzy Creampuff is in heaven. She’s getting everything Ophelia won’t eat.

Me? I get my usual dry, boring crunchies. No big deal. I’d still rather be a dog.

Halloween starts early at the Dog Lounge

So mom leaves me at the Downtown Dog lounge while she goes gadding about with my Uncle Lance. They went to the Farmers Market where I’m not allowed. I love the Dog Lounge. Today I spent a few hours with Summer and Sue. They dressed me up in a Halloween costume and took my picture.gracie in halloween costume

If you look closely you’ll see I’m putting up with this fuss because they’re so nice. I get lots of attention whenever I stay there. But hey, I’m a dog. Dogs are supposed to be naked. My mom knows that. She won’t even buy me a cute little winter coat.

My mom hates Halloween. One year someone persuaded her to go to a party. (Of course I wasn’t even born then, but I hear about it every year.) Cathy dressed up as a hippie. She wore beads and tattered old jeans. Several people asked why she hadn’t come in costume. I guess Cathy was even more fashion-challenged than she is now.

That was her last Halloween party. For life, she says.

Prototype of a Midlife Dog

When Cathy adopted me, she had trouble seeing me as the magnificent Canine Urban Princess (CUPPIE) I am. She was so accustomed to her First Dog, Keesha, a keeshond-chow mix with fuzzy hair, pointy ears and huge paws.

She actually referred to me as a “homely little mutt.”

Then I started getting compliments from people who saw my photos. Mary Lynn of The Writers Center said, “She’s beautiful! Look at those eyes.” Cathy knew the Lynns when she lived in Silver City, New Mexico. They taught her a lot about writing. They seem nice, for cat people.

And total strangers said, “What a cute dog.” Or even, “She’s gorgeous.”

Cathy’s attention perked up when several different people said, “Now there’s a dog who looks like a real dog.”


Cathy has always been fascinated by social psychology, so she remembered prototype theory. When we think of categories, we tend to identify prototypes associated with that category. A robin is the protoypethe dog for “bird.” The more an object looks like a robin, the more we’ll categorize it as a bird.

And the more a dog looks like me, the more it’s a dog, right? Hmm…what about those furry little mops who entertain me at the dog park? Or those Great Danes who look a lot like horses?

One thing’s for sure: Nobody would ever confuse me with a cat.

And I’ll take my compliments where I can get them.

Dog owner becomes caregiver to aging feline

My mom Cathy finally recognized her limits as a caregiver. She advertised on craigslist for a special needs pet sitter who could help give Tiger fluids. Sure enough, a delightful former vet tech named Jen answered her plea.

Jen came over Wednesday and walked Cathy through the process. She came back today and said Cathy’s doing much better. She even complimented Cathy’s ability to shove a big pill down Tiger’s throat.

Cathy was so excited because Tiger jumped up on the counter and ate a few mouthfuls of food without being prompted. What’s the big deal? I eat all the time, don’t I?cat eating

But I absolutely adore Jen. While she was talking to my mom, she gave me a full body massage. She rubbed my tummy and talked to me in soothing tones, clearly recognizing my royal stature.

Cathy offered to help Jen develop her website when Jen gets ready to expand her practice. My mom has a one-track mind.

Jen did offer a parting shot as she headed out.

“You could give Gracie low-calorie carrots instead of her usual treats,” she said. “Dogs don’t know the difference.”

Who said the f-word? I’m not fat. I’m just becoming royally queen-sized.