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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.

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What Have I Been Up To?

Hello, everyone. I have been a little quiet lately. I was busy taking care of my People while they were under the weather. Fortunately, my stomach has been perfectly healthy, enabling me to eat as many treats as possible. I have even been indulging in the occasional green bean lately—quite a refreshing snack in warm weather!

In addition to dealing with Her unfortunate bout of illness, my secretary recently enrolled in a full-time course for the summer and has been very engaged with the assigned pre-work. So I am sorry to say that She has been neglecting her blog duties and has not been very attentive to my correspondence either.

If She were not the one who controlled my food supply, I would probably dismiss Her, but as it is, we will have to reach some kind of compromise. What this means is that I will be posting a little less frequently, and I may not be able to comment as often or at length, but as always, I will continue to visit my fellow bloggers and delight in reading their posts.

In other news, my recommendation of Peggy Gavan’s diverting local animal blog, The Hatching Cat, was picked up by the New York media blog FishbowlNY in a post entitled “Albert the Dog Picks Up Newsweek Scent.” FishbowlNY, according to its own description, “covers the pulse of New York media. For more than 10 years, our reporters and editors have covered the shifting landscape in the media capital of the world.” I guess this means that Ms. Peggy and I are considered part of the New York media landscape! I assume that I will now be invited to all sorts of fancy media cocktail parties where I can eat a lot of chicken satay and other hors d’oeuvres while rubbing shoulders with Charlie Rose and Anna Wintour.

I’ll be back on Monday with a slightly belated 5 Favorite New Yorkers for June. Until then, enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Albert the Dog toy
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A Visitor from Mars

Earlier this week, I had a very special visitor. My friend Ms. Jodi from Life in Between came all the way to New York just to see me!* Jodi comes from Mars, which is the fourth planet from the sun in Pennsylvania, a magical land where the woods are filled with delicious deer carcasses and the UPS man carries treats in his pocket.

As you can imagine, I was very eager to meet our esteemed visitor, so I was pulling on my leash as the Lady and I walked to her hotel. I recognized Ms. Jodi right away, and in my excitement, I’m afraid I may have forgotten my manners and jumped all over this pretty lady.

Jodi just happened to have a bag filled with chewy bacon treats when we met. To show my appreciation for this thoughtful gesture, I attempted to stick my entire face in the bag at once. But I was thwarted by the ever abstemious Lady, who insisted I get only one treat at a time. (Odd how Her abstemiousness seems to apply only to me and not to Her own diet. I am really growing a little weary of this constant diet-monitoring and am beginning to consider taking some sort of action. If any readers can offer me some legal advice, I would be most grateful.)

After showing our guest around the neighborhood, I retired for a brief nap, but not before Ms. Jodi surprised me with another lovely gift: a new toy staff member. I have found myself rather short-staffed in recent weeks, so this little orange fellow arrived just in time. As you can see, I put him through a rigorous training program:

You can see a picture of Jodi with me at her blog here. She has immediately jumped into my top favorite humans list, and is obviously my #1 favorite human in Pennsylvania. I am very much hoping to be able to pay a return visit to Mars someday.

I just have to start building my spaceship.

 

* The Lady says that Ms. Jodi actually came to the city for work and that I was just a side visit, but I really think She must be mistaken. After all, I am one of New York’s greatest attractions.

Albert the Dog baker
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How to Help Your Human Bake a Cake: A Guide for Dogs

I am an expert sous-chef, but I have little experience in the dessert realm. But what kind of chihuahua-terrier-Dalmatian-Pekingese hybrid would I be were I to quake in the presence of a few eggs, flour, and sugar?

When the Lady announced Her plan to participate in our friend Lili’s Tres Leches Challenge, I knew I would be a vital part of the cake-making team. It was quite a learning experience for me (I seem to be having a lot of new experiences lately), and I hope my newly acquired knowledge will demystify the baking process for any dogs who, like me, have little acquaintance with the pastry arts.  Continue reading

Albert the Dog at Pier 54
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Where in New York Am I?: Peering into the Past

As we strolled up the Hudson River Park the other day, the Lady and I passed a Department of Sanitation depot south of 14th Street. I would have loved to investigate the intriguing odors emanating from the garbage trucks, but the Lady insisted we hurry along (She does not share my fascination with garbage smells). Next door, we encountered this rusting steel arch fronting a disused pier.

This pier, strewn with debris and currently occupied by construction vehicles, is connected with two major ship disasters.  Continue reading

Albert the Dog at the beach
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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
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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.

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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