My 5 Favorite New Yorkers: February

5FavNYers

It’s that time again! Today, I present my 5 Favorite New Yorkers of February. The fact that this month is shorter than the others doesn’t mean it is any less of an honor to be chosen.

These choices are based on this dog’s opinion of each candidate’s dog friendliness, animal advocacy, good-eggishness, and general New Yorkitude. Honorees may be humans, animals, or institutions.

In no particular order and without further ado…

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Can Anyone Introduce Me to a Donkey?

After all that panic, we really did not get that much snow in the city. As you can see, I was able to take my morning constitutional without risk of being buried in a 3-foot snowbank. But I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry. It seems that Massachusetts is bearing the brunt of the storm along with possible flooding.

The streets were very quiet this morning, with only my fellow dogs and their humans out and very few vehicles on the avenues. I was able to walk down the middle of the empty streets. It’s still quite cold and windy, so I’ll be inside most of the day.


Meanwhile, I was interested to hear about how scientists are paying more attention to examples of cross-species animal friendships. The article, from the New York Times, includes a charming video compilation of pig-cat, goat-donkey, dog-cheetah, and many other unlikely friendships.

Is this cross-species harmony a harbinger of a new development in animal behavior? As the article points out, these relationships all occur in “human-controlled environments,” not in the wild, so any scientist human studying them must consider that context.

It is not too easy for me to strike up relationships with other species, as there are not many opportunities for me to befriend a donkey or a cheetah in Manhattan. So far, my only friends are other dogs and humans. Perhaps I can find a kindred spirit among the rat population of New York.

Readers, do your animal companions have friends of different species?

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Nicknames

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.

 

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 the dog in New York
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The Leap that Landed Me a Home

Greetings, readers. Do you know what today is? If you guessed my birthday, you’re close, but not quite.  My People and I don’t actually know when my birthday is, so we celebrate a different anniversary—the day I adopted my was adopted by my People. Today marks the four-year anniversary of my Adoption Day.

No doubt my People and I will be celebrating (maybe with a nice lamb shank) later. They will probably take a lot of pictures and tell me how wonderful I am and how I’ve enriched their lives. But here is their dirty little secret:

I’m not the dog they wanted.

Four years ago, my People decided they were ready to look for a dog who was willing to put up with them. They had met a lovely dog that summer who had come from Animal Haven Shelter, so they were spending a lot of free time looking at pictures of adoptable dogs on that shelter’s site, hoping to find their match.

One day, they saw a photo of a Pomeranian-Poodle mix named Mr. Bernstein. Mr. Bernstein hadn’t been at the shelter as long as I had, but he was getting a lot of interest. He was an almost inconceivably adorable little fellow, with big ears and soft, shaggy, white fur. My People made an appointment to meet Mr. Bernstein that very evening. On the way there, they discussed what new name they might give him if they were approved as adopters.

However, when they got to Animal Haven, they discovered that Mr. Bernstein was a very shy dog. Although he was young, he had already been through an ordeal, having been rescued from a puppy mill. As a result, the Animal Haven people wanted to find him a home with another dog who could help teach him how to live in the normal world. The Lady and the Guy were dogless, so they wistfully withdrew their application and wished Mr. Bernstein good luck in finding the right home.*

The Animal Haven staff then suggested that they glance through the other photos on the website. Frankly, my People weren’t expecting to find a dog they’d fall for that night; after all, they had already seen those same photos before. But to be polite, they looked anyways, and the Guy said they might as well meet me. He thought that I might be tolerable because I was described as a terrier mix, which he knew implied a fair amount of intelligence.

The Lady, however, wasn’t too keen on his selection. She thought I looked deranged.

Well, maybe She had a point.

Warning: Young children and those with sensitive stomachs might want to avert their eyes.

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Sergeant Stubby

My People tell me there have been a lot of mentions today of Sergeant Stubby, the dog hero of the First World War.  This article from earlier this year is worth revisiting:

On July 6, 1921, a curious gathering took place at the State, War, and Navy Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. The occasion was a ceremony honoring veterans of the 102nd Infantry of the American Expeditionary Forces’ 26th “Yankee” Division, who had seen action in France during the Great War. The hall was packed with dozens of members of the 102nd—field clerks, infantrymen, generals—but one soldier in particular commanded the spotlight. The attention seemed to bother him; the New York Times reported that the soldier was “a trifle gun shy, and showed some symptoms of nervous excitement.” When photographers snapped his picture, he flinched.

Read the full article: Dogs of war: Sergeant Stubby, the U.S. Army’s original and still most highly decorated canine soldier..