Month: December 2015

Algae and Celeste, the hikers

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I’ve always had dogs.

I’m married to a man who loves dogs.

We are together for 48 years.

I love my dogs. My husband is more tolerant of other dogs but I just love my own. When one dies, we get another.

They figure in with our exercise plan. We get out everyday to walk them.

We went to Lake Minnewaska to go hiking. The dogs hike too.  They got some good exercise this weekend.

We walked 12 miles so Celeste could get her exercise.  No off leash for her.  She just takes off and disappears. Algae gets more exercise because he’s allowed off leash. He comes back when we call his name.

We bring them to this dog run every day, because this is the best dog run for them. We used to live in a different part of the city where they only had concrete dog runs, so this is an improvement.

Algae likes the male dogs, he’s a chip off the old block, or leash so-to-speak. He is our 4th Briard. He’s not aggressive. He’s a nuisance in the car. He barks, whines and squeals in the car. In that way, he’s the worst dog we’ve had.

He’s very attuned to us. When we get up, he gets up.

He’s a shepherd and we are his flock.

Celeste has 1 blue eye. She is more independent. You can’t teach her to come. You can’t teach her anything.

They are important to our relationship. They are our children, our responsibility.

Sugar, the best part of the job

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I started as a nanny for the family’s two kids and walking Sugar was part of the job description (the best part).

Dogs are therapy for me.

I don’t have a lot of friends that are able to own dogs right now. Apartment size, budget, and availability to be home are big restrictions on people my age.

Dogs are pretty easy, sweet, and love unconditionally. Even if Sugar is being kind of a brat, she’s still great.

On walks, her prime initiative is to get as much attention from as many people as possible. As soon as she gets a treat– like from the bank, bookstore , or pet store, she tries to drag me back there on every walk.

I’ve only been with her for a year and a half, but I walk her right in the middle of the day. In the mornings I’m in an office and in the afternoons I’m nannying. She’s a really good midday boost.

In a job so kid based, she allows for some adult contact either in the park or at the dog run.  Yesterday, I ran into a friend from Brooklyn while I was walking Sugar in Central Park. it’s not often I get to run into someone from Brooklyn on the upper west side of Manhattan, especially on a work day.

I like that my job has two distinct parts to it. Walking the dog is a great segue into the afternoon. It’s puppy therapy.

 

 

Echo and Tiger, the family dogs

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Echo is my first dog, ever. She’s my first baby ever. I always wanted a dog, always, always.

My mom told me she was allergic to dogs. It was only later in life I found out she wasn’t.

I didn’t find out until I got Echo and I didn’t think I could bring her home to visit. My mother said, “oh that…”

That was when I found out.

When I got Echo my life changed in so many ways.

All of a sudden I had to wake up early.

I met a lot of people on our morning walk. Some of them are still my closest friends, eleven years later.

We were not looking for a second dog, but my husband met a woman who was fostering Tiger.  He came home and showed me a picture of him and he’s been with us ever since.

We had a 2 year old toddler, a 6 month old baby and an 8 year old dog.

We had a puppy that limped.

We had to take Tiger to a vet, then a specialist, and then an orthoscopic vet surgeon.  He needed surgery in both his front elbows. That was $5,000.00

Tiger’s rehab was really tough. We didn’t know if he would ever walk again. We had two little kids and this dog that needed a lot of attention after his surgery. I used to carry him to the curb to do his business and then walk Echo afterwards. It was months before he could walk on his own, and even then he wasn’t allowed off the leash because he wasn’t permitted to run or play. It was a long recovery process.

Echo had to have surgery 6 months later to have some lumps removed. That was also $5,000.00.

I think any expensive dog visit is $5,000.00.

Six months later I got pregnant with my third boy.

I love having the kids grow up with dogs. It’s really good for the kids to have their companionship.  It’s a whole different level of love you get to experience with a dog. Holden, my second son was six months old when Tiger was a puppy. They used to sleep together.

The kids are not allowed to sleep with us in our bed, but we let the dogs sleep with us.

Every morning, walking the dogs is the best part of the day.

When I let them off the leash they run free.  This is their time.

Felicia, the dog lover (part 2)

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“I had just broken up with my boyfriend, and I needed help with the dogs.

I was going to a yoga retreat and was looking for someone to watch them, desperately. I asked around and someone said, “there’s a new guy in town, and he’s cheap.”

The dogs met him and liked him right away, so I felt secure leaving the dogs with their new friend. He was only $8.00 a walk. It was 1993.

My next vacation  was supposed to be a UFO conference in Arizona. I was looking forward to that trip because I thought I’d meet a guy who was into ET’s (extraterrestrials).

Right before I was supposed to leave, I got together with my animation friends to celebrate the end of a project we worked on.

I had a little too much vodka and fell while I was dancing. I broke my left foot. That was the end of that trip.

So, my dog walker did the late night and early morning walks and he stayed over and slept on my couch.

One day, I paid him with subway tokens for the eyes and nose, and a $5.00 bill for the mouth (forming a smiley face).

He started leaving me little poems relating to their walks and a few other things. There was one poem that implied he was staying in the United States, partly because of me.

I overheard him telling his roommate that he had romantic feelings towards me.

He was so witty, clever, and funny.  He made me laugh. I always made fun of his foreign accent.

I was falling in love with him for his poetry. He also loved my dogs and they loved him.

One day we were just hanging out with the dogs and there were hugs and kisses and that was that.

We got married two years later.

He was a Scottish country boy in the big city.

Looking back on it, we didn’t have much in common besides the dogs and liking some of the same music.

After Sandy and Charlie died, we started to drift in different directions.

He went to play soccer in Argentina, and I went to an Ashram in Canada.

He went south and I went north.

He said, “now that the kids are gone…..”

We split up after 11 years of being together.

He still walks dogs in my neighborhood and we’re still friendly.

I still want to visit his mother in the Isle of Skye.

Felicia, the dog lover (Part 1)

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“I love dogs and wanted to make some extra cash.

It’s more love than cash.

I was a graphic designer and was taking a seminar to find out how I could make extra money.

I said, I love dogs and that was the beginning.

I started by dog sitting.

My first sitting job came through a super and it was for a month.  The dog owner offered me $6.00 per day.  I said, how about $10.00 but she said, no.

It was a Doberman named Precious. She had floppy ears and a long tail.  She wore a prong collar and I put it on backwards.

My second job was the neighbors in Prescious’s building.

I got involved with the dog world and my next dog sit was $20.00 per day.

From there, the dog world opened up to me.

The dogs took me to Central Park, and I met a woman who helped to rescue and foster dogs.

I was fostering dogs and decided to help with 2 dogs that were abandoned. They were a brother and sister. They were being boarded at the vet  because they didn’t have a place to go.

I went to look at them and it was love at first sight, but I couldn’t see being tied down.

The woman that rescued them found out that Sandy, the sister was unhappy in her foster home, so I took both Charlie and Sandy out of care and concern.  I wasn’t working at the time so my schedule was more flexible.

They were only 11 months old. Sandy was in heat and Charlie wasn’t neutered.

I looked for a home for them everywhere, even Westchester.

I finally found a home for them but when I thought they were going to leave I started to cry.

The rest was history.

That was in 1990.

Sandy died in 2004 and Charlie died in 2005.”

 

 

Lily, the English Cream retriever

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“I’ve always had Golden Retrievers. I was born into a household of Golden’s.

I was looking for an English Cream Retriever and I found the right one.

She has a big personality.

She howls when she is happy. When she has a ball in her mouth, she sounds like Chewbacca.

There was a moment when she was a puppy and I was traveling in Russia and I got an email from the dog walking service.  They said there was an emergency and asked me to get in touch.  I called them as soon as I could. It turned out, my building was on fire. They called to tell me Lily was ok, but other dogs had died. My walker had carried her down 18 flights of stairs. She was terrified of the sirens and the smoke.  They wanted to know where to bring her. Luckily, she stayed with a nearby friend until I returned.

I feel like she helps my life by balancing every day.

Nothing balances out investment banking like a furry tail.”

Arrow, the (future) therapy dog

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We’ve always had a dog.

After my husband and I got married we got a dog.

We had a dachshund for 15 years before we got Arrow. We had our last dog before we had our first child.

My husband grew up with dogs–  I didn’t, but I love dogs.

One of the scariest moments with Arrow was when she chased a squirrel and ran into a busy street full of traffic.  Luckily someone saw her, called her name, and she came to them.

Once, we were in the park and she stopped in front of a child with special needs and the mother was nervous but asked if her son could pet Arrow. He grabbed a fistful of fur, but she just sat there and let him pet and pull at her.

Over the summer we went to visit our elderly former neighbor who had become listless and apathetic towards life. She wouldn’t get out of bed and had no interest in connecting with anyone or anything.  When we brought Arrow for a visit she sat up and her face lit up.  She engaged with Arrow, petting her and showing signs of happiness.

We think Arrow  would be a great therapy dog.

River, the great house dog

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My wife saw a dog of River’s breed downtown a couple of years ago.

We weren’t dog owners, but my wife thought that dog was so pretty we decided to investigate the breed. He’s a mix between an Australian Labradoodle, English Cocker, Bijon and a poodle.  It’s a Ganaraskan.

They are bred to be great house dogs as well as therapy dogs. Both of his parents are therapy dog.

I don’t think we will train him to be a therapy dog.

He spends all his time with us.

He is an excellent house dog and a great companion.

He is smart and social.

He’s the dog that greets every dog as they enter the dog run to see if they want to play.

When he sees me take the flea and tick treatment out of the cabinet, he runs and hides. He keeps a watchful eye on me and I usually need help to catch him and get that done.

Once he got away from me on the street. He slipped out of his harness. Fortunately, I was with my son and we managed to corner him in traffic and get him back.

I immediately got rid of that harness.

I am retired and he is good for my health because he gets me outside to walk. For a retiree that’s a good recipe.

My whole family adores him.

Trudie, the chewing puppy

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My wife had a dog for 14 plus years, and it died in October of 2014.

She’s always wanted another.

We got Trudie 3 weeks ago at an adoption fair, of all places.

It seemed like a good length of time to have waited.

Having a puppy has been a big learning experience and a lot of hard work.

People say dogs are in the moment, so there’s no point in being upset when you  come home and see your speaker cables chewed up.

The worst thing she’s done is chew a hole in my wife’s expensive 14 x 12 rug.  The hole is about 4 inches square. I told Trudie off, to be honest. You’ve got to seize it in the moment otherwise there’s no point.

She does make me laugh.

While out one night walking in the rain, she was sitting on the curb and sniffed at a puddle in the gutter.  She fell right in landing belly-up. She shook it off, and I got a laugh.

Oliver and Cash (really, Chance)

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“Oliver is 15.5 and he has 3 teeth, but he manages to eat whatever you give him.

He has issues with his back, but seems to love the stroller.

Cash is about 8.  He just showed up at our horse farm in Florida. He had been wandering on the streets and a friend saw him. She was going to take him to a no-kill shelter, but brought him to my farm first.

I had just lost my last Jack Russell, and I said, “well, just leave him and I ‘ll take him.”

When I took him to the vet, I was told the poor dog had been shot and there was a BB in his head.

I wanted to call him Chance, because he showed up by chance, but my daughter said, “it’s Johnny Cash– the man in black’s birthday, so you have to call him Cash.”

Oliver perked up, having another companion and everything was wonderful again.

When we sold the horse farm and moved to the city it was a difficult transition. They were used to being off leash all the time.

Cash wanted no part of the leash lifestyle.

The first time off leash he ran away in Riverside Park.

I used to carry pieces of steak with me to get him back.

As time goes by, he seems to adjust to city life.”