O HAI devoted readers

Yes, it’s the perennially irritating mea culpa. Life intervened, blogging suffered, I lived on less sleep and more money than I’ve gotten in years… and I’m slowly making my way back.

I just gave my two weeks notice at the House o’ Ceramic Whimsy, which makes me sad on so many levels….because the people were awesome, the store was awesome, the discount was awesome and the interactions with international tourists and New Yorkers (and Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Amber Benson…that was an awesome day) were by and large terrific.

This leaves me with just work, a puppy, dating of a sort I haven’t done before, and writing my way toward a new goal – grad school. 

Oh, did i say puppy? Let me tell you our puppy story.  

K-cup and I had been hosting a subletting roommate since September, who came with a portly calico cat. I enjoyed having the cat around, even though she was utterly disdainful of the best aspects of pet behavior…i.e. cuddling. When we were meeting with prospective roommates about signing the lease, the subject of pets came up. I’d planned on getting my own cat, since neither K-cup nor I in the past had felt we were grown enough to deal with another living creature’s maintenance if it meant going outside.

But suddenly it became apparent that both of my roommates, current and prospective, hated cats, not "liked them ok" as they’d always averred before. And that a dog was a feasible possibility. 

So, two months began to traipse by. K-cup and I started making plans – custody arrangements (her dog by title, shared snuggling and walking responsiblities), division of labor, doomed-to-failure rules and restrictions. 

And then one special day in November, after we’d begun accumulating a bed and a collar and training pads, we went to the ASPCA. 

I don’t know if you know this, but it’s not a happy place. Pet hoarders now make perfect sense to me because all you’d have to do is walk into that animal shelter knowing you possess the resources and know-how to care for them and it’d be only logical to take 5 or 6 cats home. 

Anyway, K-Cup handed in her paperwork, I stood up straight and tried to look responsible and not like a giddy eight-year-old like I was inside. Eventually they took us into the cages. We saw old dogs and sick dogs and maimed dogs, dogs with missing eyes and sunken sides and stretched stomachs from birthing litters in puppy mills. I could have happily gone home with a two-year-old Schnauzer with a broken leg, but we kept looking past Shih-tzus and Weimaraners. 

Two crates full of pointer and hound puppies got us excited until the volunteer leading us through said not to touch them because of the ringworm. We looked in on a creepy bouncing Corgie, and peeked at a sleeping puppy, and cooed over a saggy-faced bulldog snuggling up to its lab roommate. And then we were at the end of the cages. "You know, I don’t think the puppy’s paws looked that big," one of us said to the other. "Could we see the puppy again?"

When we went back, she was sprawled on her back with her legs in the air. Then she sat up and turned around. 

Gracie in kennel

We looked at eachother and knew this was probably it. The ASPCA diligently sat us down with a volunteer to explain the ins and outs of puppy training, the gravity of the puppy’s previous illness, the logistics of adopting a two-month-old who might be as big as 50 pounds someday. Apparently they used to have this talk when prospective adopters met their dog for the first time but nobody heard a word. We knew our dog was four floors away and I still could hardly listen. 

We met the dog, winnowed down our name choices (Rhoda, Milhouse or Gracie), and swooned. An hour later we were walking across 92nd street with her in our arms, or toddling by our sides. 

Just a week and a half later, Gracie is smart, demanding, determined, clumsy, endearing, ridiculous and brusque. She knows her name, "go get it," "sit" and plays fetch like a champ. When we go on walks (or rather force her outside in an act of impolitic cruelty so great she can hardly look at you), sometimes she plants her butt on the sidewalk and declares she absolutely will not, cannot go furth– wait! Is that a person? Or a leaf? It must be inspected, interrogated, sniffed thoroughly and abandoned!! Other times she charges ahead seeking trophies to carry, along with the hopes and wishes of her illustrious Border Collie/Australian Sheepdog/miscellaneous terrier upbringing. I’ve loved all the pets I’ve lived with over the years, but being Gracie’s co-parent, however long K-Cup’s and my cohabitation lasts, is the best thing yet. She’s funny and cute and excitable and I miss her when I have to go back to work after our lunchtime walk-eat-play-cuddle-walk.

And best of all, she’s home. 

Gracie on the couch

Coming soon: A move to a new blogging address, a revised blogging philosophy, Scenes from a Grad School Application, and This One Time, When I Was Out With Gracie……

But for now, say good night Gracie. 

Gracie all tuckered out

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