October 29, 2004
Dogs . . .
. . . are great!
Update: Here's my favorite breed.
June 09, 2004
Only in New York City
A HANDFUL of city residents fidgeted in the gloom of a gray Saturday morning, waiting. Their weekend could not truly begin until the shuttle arrived, so they rubbed away time with small talk. . . .
Finally, a silvery Dodge van appeared, lending sparkle to a dreary Midtown street. In the driver's seat sat Rick Walker, looking like daddy after a long ride with the kids. In the passenger's seat, Judy, her large wet nose pressed against the windowpane. And in the back, five other large puppies, energized by the scent of impending liberation.
Mr. Walker got out and walked to the back of the van, urging the dogs to calm down, calm down - a message that might also have been directed at the people waiting on the sidewalk. He pulled some sealed envelopes from the back of his pocket and began matching dog with human. Skip with Doug Lasdon. Judy with Hallie Ziesmer. Six matches in all.
"Sometimes I feel like Dr. Dolittle," the driver says, smiling, as Judy and Ms. Ziesmer meet each other nose to nose, and Skip receives the coos of Mr. Lasdon: "Oh, you're a big fella, aren't you? A big fella."
Many in this vast and daunting city could use a wet-nosed snuggle now and then, if only for a weekend, if only for a day. Some have dogs to provide this service. Others, though, have careers that leave little time for pets, which means that they face too many gray Saturday mornings unsnuggled, at least by a dog.
New Yorkers are, of course, nuts. I speak from experience.
See this earlier post too.
May 25, 2004
New Yorkers Are Nuts
Here's a story of a couple with a 160 pound English mastiff:
"Beyond a slob," said the wife, Shane Markus-Kellman, 30, in a telephone interview. Brutus, she said, was too much to bear in a 740-square-foot apartment with a baby on the way. "The baby's whole head could fit into his mouth."
Mr. Kellman would not give Brutus up, so the dog went to live at Biscuits & Bath Doggy Gym, which offers overnight boarding a few blocks away from Mr. Kellman's Murray Hill office. On visits, he sneaked Brutus his favorite treats: steak and beer.
"We used to keep Brutus behind the front desk with us just to see people's reactions to this big head," said Meyghan Hill, 25, a receptionist.
But nothing compared to living with his owner, and Brutus lost weight.
"I think he sensed all along that he was traded in for a baby," said Mr. Kellman, who has photos of both his baby boy and Brutus on his cellphone.
After three months, at $55 a night, the boarding bills piled up. So Mr. Kellman did the next logical thing (in his mind): he rented a one-bedroom apartment for Brutus last July and found him a roommate. In exchange for living with Brutus, Mr. Kellman agreed to pay the rent in full - $1,800.
Only in New York City.
May 11, 2004
The breed is known for its intelligence and loyalty. It is also popularly thought to be overly aggressive. But this is a misconception, at least today -- while Dobermans may have been quite "sharp" in the past (the breed was, after all, created in the late 19th century by a tax collector (named Louis Dobermann) for his own personal protection), the breed's temperament has been smoothed out over the last few decades through selective breeding. Today's Doberman is largely a very sweet animal.
Here is an essay that suggests humans should aspire to be more like dogs: "[T]here's a reason why it's often pointed out that dog is 'God' spelled backward. Because both deity and dog have traits we human beings should all aspire to resemble."
And here's a gallery of smiling dogs. (They really do seem to be smiling.)
UPDATE: Blackfive has a nice post about a few local dogs that are helping U.S. troops in Iraq.