Sit and Deliver

Regular readers may remember my post about my new next-door neighbor, Angus, a Border Terrier puppy. He moved in about six weeks ago, and after some trepidation, I decided to accept my role as Angus’s teacher. I had visions of instructing my young charge in the customs of dogs and the ways of the city. In my mind’s eye, our exchanges would go something like this: Continue reading

Educating Angus

I have a new neighbor.

His name is Angus. He is a nine-week-old Border Terrier.

Rumors of the potential arrival of a new neighbor were circling a couple of months ago. As some of you may recall, I vowed as part of my New Year’s resolutions to treat my new neighbor with “patience and good humor.”

I have been having trouble keeping this resolution.

This lap is mine and you will never have it, puppy.

This lap is mine and you will never have it, puppy.

I had heard the wee fellow whining a few times when he arrived last week, and later I heard him scampering about in the hallway. I alerted my People to these worrisome sounds, but they showed little concern.

Our human neighbor, Angus’s guy, is an big-hearted optimist who wants me to be friends with young Angus. So on Thursday night, we finally met face to face.

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Music to Chew On

My People’s taste in music is eclectic. The Lady has a little more Bach on her listening device, while the Guy has more Beastie Boys, but they both have playlists that run the gamut from Arvo Pärt to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Their soundtracks vary with their moods and activities, and they seem to have music for every occasion: Running demands something up-tempo and catchy, a cocktail party calls for jazz and old standards, and cleaning the living room might mean cranking up Sharon Jones.

I pay little attention to most of their music, the same way I pay little attention to the words coming out of their mouths unless they contain my name or a command (my People would say I sometimes pay little attention to the commands). But sometimes, I lie down with my ears trained towards the speakers and listen closely to the sounds coming out of them. At other times, a piece of music starts up, and I withdraw to another room.

When we dogs listen to our humans’ music, what exactly do we hear? Do we enjoy your music the way you do?

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Albert the dog


I miss my People when they are gone—not only because I can’t reach the treat jar by myself, but maybe because I’ve already been given up once. I will always harbor a fear of abandonment, though it has diminished a little over time. Still, when they leave me alone, I am less likely to go to my Cozy Cave than I am to curl up on an article of clothing they’ve left lying around.

The Lady tells me the Cozy Cave cost a lot, while the sweatshirt was a free gift that came with her checking account. But the sweatshirt smells of Her  (as the Guy’s gym shirts smell of Him), and that makes me feel safer when I’m here alone and the fear of being left forever threatens to overcome me. At such times, these ordinary things comfort me a lot more than my expensive dog bed.

Albert at entrance

Earlier, I posted this picture and asked if you could identify the memorial in New York where it was taken.

Reader katrinatennis wins a copy of Good Dog for correctly identifying it  Continue reading

A Poem for Karen

I am happy to announce the winner of the (very bad) poem contest. Reader Karen was among those who correctly guessed the name of the houseguest, and she was chosen to receive a (likely quite dreadful) poem in her honor. Without further ado…

A Poem for Karen

Winter, ceaseless grey and damp,
When even the scent of cinnamon
Can’t warm your nose.
Nor can the pleasures of red wine and chocolate
Sweeten the bitter cold.
What to do but persist
Each day, rise and put on your woolen socks
Starting with the left one,
As all sensible people do?
Hope you like it, Ms. Karen! And thanks to everyone who submitted a response!

If you enjoy good poetry, make sure to include a stop at Poets’ House in your next visit downtown. This serene, sunny space in Battery Park City has a library of poetry journals and books, an exhibition space, and workshops and events. As a dog, I can’t go in (maybe if I could, I’d write better poetry), but humans can visit and peruse the library for free.



The name my People gave me, Albert, is one I share with several humans—among them various monarchs and a genius. I consider it a highly dignified and thus suitable moniker.

Yet, having chosen such an appropriate name, my People and other humans I know can’t resist saddling me with more than a dozen additional nicknames. Some of these really show considerable lack of respect, I must say. But what is a dog to do? The names they choose to call me probably say more about them than me.

A question for my fellow domesticated animals and their people: How many nicknames do you have? Do certain humans have a special name for you that only they use? Let me know in the comments.

A reminder: Have you deduced the name of my houseguest yet? Entries will be accepted by e-mail until 10 PM EST on Monday the 22nd.


Albert the Dog Polaroid

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