Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dog Person or Cat Person?

One of my sisters, after reading my last post, said Intelligentsia looked like a fun restaurant with delicious food. She understood why it was one of my new favorite places, and she suggested that next time maybe I should leave Tommy home.

She has a point.

Lately I’ve been running myself ragged trying to do too much. There’s the full-time job and the daily challenge to burn off Tommy’s excessive energy, and then there’s squeezing a social life in between the cracks of those two demands as well as looking for a house. I’m exhausted. It might be different if I had a fenced yard for Tommy but I don’t. That’s why I take him to Starcrest Kennels all the time: constant stimulation, fenced yards. Tommy can run!

And that’s why on weekends I bring him along when I tool around town. If I leave Tommy at home while I’m out and about for a few hours, the moment I walk through the door I have to step right back out to walk him. But when Tommy joins me on my excursions, he’s ready for a nice long nap when we get home. Then I too get to kick off my shoes and relax (at least until Tommy’s ready for his next walk).

Last Saturday I went to the Verizon store in Old Town (yes, I have succumbed to the allure of the smartphone). The store was empty so the sales clerk let me bring Tommy in. I love that.

Then I walked down the street to Crossroads and discovered the perfect hitching post for Tommy.

Notice the doorway is not used as an entrance. Check out the shaded cubbyhole, where Tommy is set back from pedestrians passing on the sidewalk. Appreciate the door latch and how easily a leash can loop through it and the big window, making it easy for me to watch Tommy while I shop. And marvel at that mail slot, perfect for slipping treats to the pooch.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

My good friend Kelley, who I met in L.A. when I lived with just the cats (my friends call it BT as in “Before Tommy”), had a dear Rottweiler named Nikka. Kelley adored Nikka, while I adored my cats. We once talked about the difference between dog people and cat people and pretty much agreed on these blanket generalizations: dog people are more extroverted and active; cat people are more introverted and neurotic.  

Kelley now lives on the east coast, and after reading this blog she wrote “she’s a dog person now!’ I had to laugh.

My true nature may be that of a cat person. But Tommy (with his all-consuming, high-maintenance, “the world revolves around me” energy) tips the scale, and so I don’t get to indulge the cat person as much. But I sneak it in when I can.

Of course I’m really both. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Humbling Moment

On Saturday I walked Tommy in Old Town and stopped for lunch at Intelligentsia. I was psyched to see an empty table next to one of the large open windows. I quickly claimed it, reaching in to place my bag and water bottle on it and then tying Tommy to the post that separates the two windows. I left him there and went inside.

I planned to give him a big bully stick when lunch arrived so he’d be occupied while I ate. But Tommy had other plans. As I walked to the counter, I glanced behind me to catch him teetering on all four paws on the windowsill. I growled “Off!” in the firmest yet quietest voice I could muster as I jetted back to the window. Tommy knew I was serious so he jumped onto the sidewalk as a passing man said, “That didn’t turn out quite as you’d planned, huh?”

You could say that about the entire Tommy affair.

I gave him the bully stick, which he chewed with abandon on the sidewalk while I headed back to the counter to order lunch. 

Tommy finished just as my food arrived. I spent the next 20 minutes alternating between bites of salmon salad and hand-feeding Tommy kibble to keep him from jumping through the adjacent window onto another diner’s lap.

I wish I’d captured a photo of him on that windowsill, but I had more important things to consider, like not getting 86’d from one of my new favorite haunts. Check out this local blogger’s review of Intelligentsia and scroll down to see a photo of the entrance. Then imagine Tommy tied to that post and jumping up on the windowsill right where that bicycle leans. 

Life with Tommy is both funny and infuriating.