Claudia Hogg-Blake and Gracie

Claudia Hogg-Blake, PhD’22, with Gracie. ( Photo courtesy Claudia Hogg-Blake, PhD’22)

Hound of love

Meet Gracie, the love- and philosophy-inspiring pooch. 

Name: Gracie

Breed: Whoodle (Wheaten Terrier-Poodle mix)

Age: 7 (human years); 49 (dog years)

Claim to fame: Inspired a work of academic philosophy. Claudia Hogg-Blake, PhD’22, teaching fellow in the humanities, wrote her dissertation “Loving Gracie: An Account of Human-Animal Love” on the profound bonds between people and animals. Hogg-Blake has also taught two College courses on this topic and a third on animal ethics.

First impression: “I remember she was shy but very self-assured and presumptuous,” Hogg-Blake recalls of meeting Gracie, then six months old. “Presumptuousness is one of my favorite things about her. We had all these rules—they’re actually rules I don’t agree with anymore—but at the time I thought, OK, you can’t let the dog sleep in the bed. And she just hopped straight onto the bed and made herself comfortable.”

Likes: Walking off-leash on quiet trails, meeting new friends at the dog beach, sitting outside and smelling the world go by.

Dislikes: Vacuum cleaners, plastic bags caught in trees and blowing in the wind, cats (“she’s very stereotypical about cats”).

Enemies: Turkeys. During a short stay at an Airbnb on an animal sanctuary, Gracie encountered a turkey that was “crazy-looking—it looked like an alien. It actually looked a bit like her, if she was a turkey. It was the first time I had ever seen her react like that: she marched up, saw the turkey, and slowly backed away. She was like, ‘I’m not gonna mess with that. I don’t know what that is.’”

Favorite word: Biscuit.

Favorite treat: Peanut butter. She also loves tinned sardines. “We call it her sardine supper,” says Hogg-Blake. “For my husband’s birthday, he made us a pizza, and then he made Gracie a tiny little sardine pizza.”

Admirable qualities: “I think she cares about me—maybe not in the way I care about her, but she does little things, like whenever I get out of the shower, she generously cleans me. It’s like, great, now I’m covered in dog saliva, it’s impossible to ever really be clean, but to me, that’s a caring, affectionate thing.”