Albert the Dog Polaroid
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Digging Up My Family Tree

On Thanksgiving, humans in the U.S.A. usher in the holiday season by celebrating their gratitude for the harvest, welcoming family, friends, and newcomers to the table, and tormenting their canine companions with the enticing smell of food we are not allowed to eat.

A relatively recent addition to the Thanksgiving festivities is the National Dog Show, a competition that features breeds ranging from Affenpinscher to Whippet. The dogs on parade in the show are the crème-de-la-crème of purebreds, whose provenance is pretty much the opposite of mine.   Continue reading

Albert the dog in New York
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Autumn Leaves

Autumn is my favorite season in New York, even if it means sometimes having to wear my coat. The falling temperature and humidity allow me to walk longer without getting overheated; the motorcycles and skateboards that I so loathe are fewer in number; and in the parks the nutty, sweet scent of decaying leaves—elm, plane, white oak, sycamore, red maple, and more—and the marvelously fetid odor of rotting ginkgo fruit send my olfactory receptors into overdrive.

Whoever’s homeless now, will build no shelter;
who lives alone will live indefinitely so,
waking up to read a little, draft long letters,
and, along the city’s avenues,
fitfully wander, when the wild leaves loosen.
.
-Rainer Maria Rilke, “Day in Autumn
(Translated by Mary Kinzie)

With the shorter days at this time of year, even I am bound to be a little more pensive than usual, to find my thoughts circling around existential questions, pondering without hope of resolution the problem of my purpose in the universe.

Pardon me, I just have to…

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Albert the dog in New York
Albert the Dog at Bottlerocket Wine, NYC
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Review: Bottlerocket Wine and Spirit

TREATS:  4 out of 4

BELLY-RUB POTENTIAL:  4 out of 4

Last week, the Lady and I paid a visit to Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit, a shop that sells wine, a/k/a fermented grape juice, which for some unfathomable reason many humans enjoy drinking. Grapes are toxic for dogs, so I steer clear of them even in their recognizable form, let alone after they’ve been mashed up and lying around in a barrel for years. But I gave up trying to understand human peculiarities long ago.

Besides, I don’t mind if a shop is selling mashed-up grapes when it’s such a welcoming place for little old me to visit.

The purple beacon of pet-friendliness.

The purple beacon of pet-friendliness.

Bottlerocket is an easy walk from two dog runs (Madison Square Park and Union Square), so we dogs can get a little off-leash running and socializing before our people stock up on wine and other adult beverages like fancy bourbon and gin.

Upon entering, I was immediately and warmly greeted by some Bottlerocket humans, who appear to be selected primarily for their willingness to play with dogs. The Lady assumes they are also required to have some knowledge of wine and retail skills, but She and I are fairly certain the first question on the employment application is, “Why and to what extent do you love dogs? Please respond using specific reasons and examples.”

Near the entrance was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen:

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Please Don’t Pee on $2000 Worth of Clothes: A Message to My Fellow Dogs

From CBS local news comes this terrible story about a woman whose dog peed on 25 articles of clothing at a Lane Bryant store in Toms River, New Jersey. The police humans are now looking for her, and given that they have her license plate number and name, they will probably track her and her dog down any minute now.

I have heard that human visitors to New York sometimes express surprise at how many dogs there are in the city and how many places allow dogs inside. Some also wonder aloud why on earth humans feel the need to bring dogs with them everywhere. Continue reading

Albert reads The New York Dog
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Book Review: The New York Dog

The New York Dog by Rachel Hale McKennaToday I will be looking at The New York Dog by Ms. Rachel Hale McKenna. My People tell me that this book was published last March, so I guess I’m a little tardy in getting around to this, but it’s not my fault I didn’t have a blog back then. Besides, if The New York Review of Books can run reviews eight months late, so can I.

This is a large, handsome book suitable for your coffee table (a/k/a the place I like to sit when my People are out of the apartment even though I pretend to follow their rules about not sitting on it when they are here). The author is a well-known human New Zealander female photographer whose previous books include The French Cat and The French Dog. Perhaps like everyone else in France a few years ago, Ms. Rachel then realized le epicenter of cool was in Brooklyn. In any event, her next project brought her to New York, where, as she describes, our strict leash laws made it a little more difficult for her to capture her subjects on the spur of the moment. Instead, she had to arrange photo shoots with the dogs’ human companions.

There is one major problem with Ms. Rachel’s book:
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