We have a car in the city that doesn’t often get used. After 9/11 I needed to know we’d have a way out and so we’ve owned a car since then which spends the vast majority if its time parked on the north or south side of 12th Street. I spend 2 mornings a week in the car, NYC alternate side parking rules and Gracie now keeps me company.
Actually, for the past few weeks I’ve been driving the kids to camp on my parking days, first to Soho and now the Lower East Side. And we’ve discovered that Gracie is a car dog. Perhaps it’s because her previous owner lived on LA and she’s used to it, bug she bounds happily up onto the passenger seat as soon as I open te door.
Just the way she’s an equal opportunist on the street, every available lap in the car gets equal time. She also loves putting her paws up on the window and watching scenery fly by.
This morning something in Chinatown set her off and she barked like mad (something she rarely does) for 2 blocks. At the moment she’s sleeping on the front seat next to me. Somehow, logging in car time is much nicer when there’s a puppy snuggled up next to me.
This morning, after an impromptu puppy wrestle-fest in front of Jack’s (a serious coffee establishment in the West Village), Gracie and I walked home past Jefferson Market Garden. It’s a stunning oasis in the middle of hustle-bustle, a winding brick path wandering through flower beds, rose bushes, a koi pond and trellises, with lush green grass in the center, and benches scattered around the perimeter for people to sit on and soak in the beauty.
Dogs are welcome.
But it was closed.
Gracie stopped in front of the elaborate wrought iron gate and refused to move. A woman walked up, key in hand, ready to set up before the garden opened. She explained we could come back later and we tried to go. Gracie wouldn’t move. She obviously wanted in and wasn’t leaving until she made it through the gate. The lovely proprietor let us slip in hours before we were supposed to and Gracie and her friend Ringo happily scurried along the path, sniffing leaves, digging in bits of dirt, darting under benches at the birds resting quietly—that is, until she showed up.
As we approached the gate again, Gracie crawled under our host’s chair and laid down, head on paws, delighted to be in the cool shade.
She would have stayed all day if I let her.
The woman was delighted. Gracie and her enthusiasm for the park made her day.
Gracie could be a politician. There’s not a person she passes she doesn’t say hello to. She greets everyone equally, with enthusiasm and positivity. She’s tireless, engaging, outgoing, unflappable. She makes the grumpiest smile and the most hardened ease up for a moment or two.
Monday is a big recycling day on my block and I’ve learned, now that Gracie and I are up and out first thing, that people come to scavange bottles first thing in the morning. After a couple of weeks of hellos and lots of tail wagging, last week we officially met Terry, the man who seems to have the monopoly on our corner. He’s older, missing many teeth, dressed all in black with buttons missing and shoes untied. Gracie never fails to greet him as if he’s a long lost friend.
This morning was no exception. Only she wouldn’t, couldn’t say goodbye. Every time I tried to get her to head back home, she’d stretch herself towards Terry, as if he was her knight in shining armor, there only to play with her and make her happy. Finally, after a few minutes of this, Terry offered to walk us home.
Gracie happily followed. They played all the way up the block until we got to our front door. He gave her a final pat, she wagged her tail furiously and then, finally, allowed herself to be led inside.
She made his day. He made mine.
Puppy love goes a long, long way.
Yesterday, Jack was riffing with Gracie, making up a song as he went along about how much he loved his dog. And then, in the midst of nonsense, he broke into “Amazing Grace.”
I have NO idea where he’d heard it. I’m assuming in a movie or on tv (as I write this I realize that many American Idol contestants pick it as their song) but it’s not something he’s been exposed to on a regular basis. Needless to say, those were the only two words he knew—he then happily continued on with more off the top of his head love fest.
Amazing Gracie. Yes, she is.
It was brutally hot in NYC today. After wandering way too long in Soho and then the far west village I blew off a yoga class so I could take a nap. Gracie cooperated for 20 minutes or so, quietly (sort of) chewing a toy on the floor. And then, just as I was moving from dozing to deep sleep she leapt up next to me, burrowed under the pillows, snuggled her head onto my shoulder and stretched out long so I could scratch her belly.
How could I resist? A happy puppy trumps a nap.
Every day I am delighted to see this puppy.
Every day I can’t help but smile as I watch Jack kiss her nose, Iz rub her belly, Jon light up when he walks through the door and Gracie goes ballistic.
Every day I get no work done because I have to play fetch or scratch under her chin or brush her front paws.
Every day I talk to people I’ve never seen before, sharing dog stories and advice and tips.
Every day I’m sad to leave the house and say goodbye to her.
Every morning my heart fills as climbs into my lap first thing in the morning, happy just to be with me.
Every day I am grateful for my fluff ball.
She is joy.