Image

A Grape Day

Hello, readers! I realize it has been quite a long time. Please accept my sincerest apologies for my absence here.

Unfortunately, my secretary, also known as the Lady, spent the whole summer learning some new skills and then was job hunting (I’m not certain what that is, but perhaps a “job” is some sort of comestible?) all fall and winter. As a result, she neglected her secretarial duties with an alarming disregard for my responsibilities to my small yet devoted audience.

I thought about conducting a search for a secretarial replacement, but I found it surprisingly difficult to get any placement agencies to return my calls.

However, the Lady now has found a “job” and appeared somewhat chastened when I scolded her for abandoning her post with no warning. Guilt led her to attempt bribery.

Which worked out well for me, I must say.

Last spring, the Guy, the Lady, and I went on a beach and wine tasting trip with Discover Outdoors. My first trip to the beach was so exhilarating that the Lady decided to repeat the experience this past weekend.

We had a smaller group this time, but clear skies and plenty of sunshine.

Running on the sand is excellent exercise

Running on the sand is excellent exercise

I spent much of the day in the company of budding Instagram star Pippa (a/k/a “The Brooklyn Pipster“). As some of you know, I do not suffer the energies of young puppies kindly; at four months, Pippa is decidedly young and decidedly…energetic. Nevertheless, she shows great promise for a puppy, and I have no doubt that should we chance to meet again in a year or so, I will find her company most enjoyable.

Keeping an eye on the dunes

Keeping an eye on the dunes

After the beach, we visited a couple of wineries, where the humans enjoyed sampling some lively whites and smooth reds while I took in the scenery and the odors.

 

Drink all the Merlot you want

Drink all the Merlot you want

The wine humans were most welcoming to us dogs, so much so that I began to ponder what a charmed life it would be to spend the rest of my days as a resident vineyard dog. If my humans cannot be convinced to start their own enterprise, perhaps someone could put me in touch with a winemaker in search of a canine mascot?

Checking out the oak

Checking out the oak

Until such an opportunity arises, I’ll just have to savor my memories of that fine day.

Among the vines

Among the vines

P.S. I was very well-mannered (as always) and did not leave any my personal signature on any of the vines. Just in case you were wondering.

Advertisements
Albert the Dog at the beach
Image

Day Trip: Dog, Beach, and Vine

Sunday was one of the most thrilling days of my life. The Lady bought a Discover Outdoors day trip as a birthday present for the Guy (the best kind of birthday present, because it was really a present for me). We have been on a couple of excursions with this company before, but those were day hikes in the woods. Yesterday’s trip offered adventure of a different sort. Dubbed “Dog, Beach, and Vine,” it included a trip to a beach on Long Island and visits to two wineries.

We all met at Manhattan’s Union Square where our guides, Mr. Danny and Mr. Zach, were waiting with two vans. We were a motley assortment of large dogs and small dogs, older dogs and younger dogs, purebreds and mixed breeds, barking dogs and quiet dogs. I was quite anxious as we piled into the van because I suspected this might be some ruse to take me somewhere and abandon me. I am always a little afraid of being abandoned, even if my People are with me and everyone is being cordial. You just never know.

However, as we settled into the drive, I calmed down and took the opportunity to nap for a while. And a good thing I did, because I was going to need my energy later. After a brief rest stop for the humans, we pulled up to something I have never seen before: Continue reading

Albert at Whisk
Image

Review: Whisk

TREATS:  3 out of 4

BELLY-RUB POTENTIAL:  3 out of 4

Last week, the Lady and I ventured out on a quest. Sadly, it was not a quest to get me more bully sticks but rather to find a springform pan. I had no idea what that was, but the Lady said that it was a special kind of cake pan She wants to use for our friend Lili’s Tres Leches cake challenge. She had such a pan many years ago but jettisoned it along with other baking supplies when She moved to a tiny New York kitchen. But bit by bit, some of these baking tools have crept back into our kitchen.

Whisk exterior

Our mission took us to Whisk, a kitchenware shop in the Flatiron District, just a block away from Madison Square Park. Upon entering, we were greeted by a friendly Whisk human who asked the Lady if I would like a treat. Impressed with this prompt service, I immediately sat, ready for a biscuit. Then the Lady pulled a trick so dastardly I could hardly believe what I was hearing.

Continue reading

Image

Book Review: Fifteen Dogs

Given its title, André Alexis’s new book Fifteen Dogs was bound to pique my interest. Luckily, the humans at Coach House Books lent the Lady a digital advanced reading copy so that we could review it.

This modern apologue surprised and delighted us. The story opens when the gods Hermes and Apollo, bored and looking for amusement, place a wager on whether animals, granted human intelligence, would be happier or unhappier than humans. The fifteen eponymous dogs, a mix of mutts and purebreds being held in the kennel of a veterinary clinic, are chosen as their test subjects. If even one of them dies happy, Hermes wins the bet. In an instant, Apollo transforms the unsuspecting dogs.

Continue reading

Image

Gazing Globes at Madison Square Park

The last couple of days, it has finally been warm enough for me to leave the building without my coat! To take advantage of yesterday’s fine weather, the Lady and I paid a visit to Madison Square Park. Located just north of the famous Flatiron Building, this park is usually suffused with the smell of grilled hamburgers from the original Shake Shack (the Lady says she remembers when Shake Shack was just a hot-dog cart in this park). But with the restaurant closed for renovations, the air was crisp and hamburger-free for our visit. Continue reading

Image

Book Review: Faithful Ruslan

A note to my regular readers: Today’s post is weightier than my usual offerings, as the book being reviewed is serious and rather sad. If you usually come here for adorable pictures of my handsome face and lighthearted shopping reviews and don’t want to wade into more somber subjects, you may prefer to skip today’s post and come back tomorrow. 

 


I lead a pampered life. Not that anyone is carrying me around in an Hermès handbag, but I have a warm apartment to live in, a comfy bed of my own, plenty of high-quality food (not that I wouldn’t be happy to get more), and a lot of walks and play time. My duties are confined to lap-warming, walking, greeting, and performing occasional tricks. Sure, I keep an ear cocked for intruders, but in our very safe building, most suspicious activity in the hallway can be chalked up to visiting guests, or at worst, that weird guy downstairs who comes up to our floor to throw out his paper towels.

Albert the Dog with BookSo I have little in common with Ruslan, the eponymous hero of Georgi Vladimov’s short novel. Ruslan is a guard dog at a Soviet prison somewhere in the remote reaches of Siberia during the Khrushchev years. But he is not just any guard dog, he is the model guard dog, the one most loyal to his master and the rules of the camp, most fervent and strict in carrying out his duties, the truest of true believers.  Thus, it is he who has the greatest struggle adapting to a changed world after the prison is abruptly closed, the prisoners freed, and the dogs released and left to fend for themselves in a world in which they no longer serve any purpose.

Some reviews of the book identify Ruslan as a German or Alsatian Shepherd, but in his foreword, the translator Michael Glenny writes that Ruslan would be a Kavkaskaya ovcharka, or Caucasian Shepherd, the only breed that was used in Soviet prison camps post-World War II. [1] You can see from the photo at the top of the page that this is an imposing and impressive animal: powerful, strong, and with a coat well-suited to harsh Siberian winters. He is beautiful, but intimidating. Imagine yourself the prisoner being watched by such a sentry.

Continue reading

Albert the Dog at JackRabbit
Image

Review: JackRabbit Sports

TREATS:  N/A

BELLY-RUB POTENTIAL:  3 out of 4

run

 

My People and I have different notions of what “running” means. The Lady’s concept of running is going straight from point A to point B without stopping to look at or smell anything. I don’t think She truly enjoys running, but it is exercise, and it is free, so She does it now and then.

In the early days of our relationship, I used to try to accompany Her, thinking that maybe I could teach her to enjoy running more. Unfortunately, she did not go fast enough for me and proved unable to adapt to my program: Continue reading

Gallery

A Visit to the Dog Run

When it’s winter in New York, it often feels colder than the actual temperature, because our humans can’t just rush to their cars and turn on the heater. They actually have to walk for blocks with the frigid wind coming in off the river and the canyons of tall buildings creating wind tunnels that and make their eyes water.

It was pretty cold last week, so our usual long walks were curtailed, and I didn’t get to explore the city as much as I usually do. Instead, I retreated to my Cozy Cave, emerging occasionally for some indoor exercise with my toys or with the tennis ball game (if you haven’t seen that post and you need a new indoor game for rainy days, you may find it pertinent).

But last Thursday, we had a respite from the dreary weather. It was still chilly, but at least the sun was bright and skies were clear. The Lady and I took the opportunity to take some outdoor exercise and paid a visit to the Chelsea Waterside Dog Run. Continue reading