How to Be a Gracious Host When Houseguests Come to Stay

At this time of year, some of us will be welcoming houseguests into our homes for the holidays. While there are many articles offering tips and hints about being a host, most of them are meant for humans. Moreover, they tend to focus on superficial niceties like setting out clean towels and fresh flowers for your overnight visitor. That’s all well and good, but as a canine host, I have somewhat different concerns.

What follows will help my fellow dogs make their houseguests’ stay as memorable as can be. Given my vast experience,* I daresay even my human readers will find some of these tips useful.

Albert the Dog in New York

So they tell me.

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Greatest Hits

Hello to the new readers who have taken an enough of an interest in my wanderings and musings to follow me. In case you missed them, here are five posts that will give you a good introduction to who I am (for those who’ve seen these already, apologies for the horn-tooting):

Wishing a happy and peaceful weekend to all,

Albert

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Review: bookbook

TREATS:  3 out of 4

BELLY-RUB POTENTIAL:  3 out of 4

As a dog, my feelings about books are mixed. As I see it, they have the potential to distract humans from things they should be doing: paying attention to me, playing with me, or giving me treats. But the other day I realized that reading, as long as the book is small and lightweight, still leaves my People a hand free to scratch my ears. Thus, I have decided that book-reading trumps other human pastimes such as playing video games, knitting, or going to spinning classes.

Moreover, when my People need to get a book, they tend to go to an actual bookstore, which gives me the opportunity to accompany them, explore the city, and, if I’m lucky, sample some treats. Although I am told New York does not have as many bookstores as it once had, the ones that remain by and large tend to welcome well-mannered dogs.

treattreat

treattreat

Last weekend, the Lady and I ducked out of the rain to browse the shelves at bookbook, an independent bookstore in Greenwich Village.

The store used to be called Biography Books and was located further west on Bleecker Street, but the owners had to move after 26 years due to rising rents. That all happened before I came to New York, so I never had the chance to smell the store in its Biography days. Personally, I can’t imagine a better location than their current address, where the air is perfumed with the delicious scents of the neighboring Murray’s Cheese, Faicco’s Italian Specialties, and Amy’s Bread.

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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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Albert the Dog in Central Park NYC
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Review: Eastern Mountain Sports [updated]

TREATS:  1 out of 4 (supposedly)

BELLY-RUB POTENTIAL:  2 out of 4

Unlike their main competitor, REI, Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) sometimes allows dogs in their stores.*  It may surprise some of my readers who think of New York as a Hellscape land of skyscrapers and asphalt to learn that the city even has an EMS store, let alone two (one in Soho and one on the Upper West Side). But even we city dogs like to explore the great outdoors, whether within city limits or in nearby areas. And when we do, we and our People need the right gear.

I was doing just that kind of urban exploring one afternoon last week in Central Park. The day was beautiful, crisp, and sunny, and the Bridle Path was just muddy enough for me to kick up satisfying clumps of dirt. A host of intriguing odors greeted me as we meandered through the park—not just dog pee, but decaying leaves, damp grass, horse manure, and the recently deposited sweat of more than fifty thousand marathoners. My friends, it was a delicious afternoon.  After a long romp, the Lady and I finally headed west to EMS in order to peruse their wares.

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My 5 Favorite New Yorkers: November

Good morning, friends.  Today I am introducing another new feature (I am still figuring out what I am doing here, so you may see a few “new features” popping up this month).

Each month, I will reveal my five current favorite New Yorkers. These choices are based on this dog’s opinion of each candidate’s dog friendliness, canine advocacy, good-eggishness, and general New Yorkitude.

In no particular order and without further ado…

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