Tag Archives: dogs

Back in Time

1 Sep

I’m taking a short detour from my posts about my London/Ireland/Scotland trip to write about a more recent journey… to the 1920’s. With a quick (and free) ferry ride to Governors Island, my friends and I found ourselves at the Jazz Age Lawn Party. It was our second summer attending so we knew what to expect, but we were still impressed by the clothes, hairstyles, dance moves, and picnic spreads the attendees had on display. 

A view of the crowd.

A view of the well-dressed crowd.

Ripping up the dance floor.

Ripping up the dance floor.

With hair to match.

With hair to match.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking around and checking out everyone’s outfits and watching them dance was worth the ticket price alone, and if you don’t bring your own food, they had various food and drink packages you could purchase ahead of time. Being lazy, we went for this option, and ended up with some tasty gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, awesome St. Germain mixed drinks, and more than one bottle of champagne that was wheeled and dealed from a bartender by Andrew and Laura (well played, guys!).

Andrew, Laura, and champers.

Andrew, Laura, and champers.

Kenda and Masai enjoying the ambiance.

Kenda & Masai enjoying the ambiance.

We grabbed some grass by the smaller of two dance floors/stages and had front row (front blanket?) seats to both professional acts as well as amazing amateur dancers.

Well, hello there.

Well, hello there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She was not messing around.

One couple in particular was really awesome; you could tell they were having a great time and they were both fabulous dancers. I spoke to them briefly and they said they were friends that danced with each other at various events, and their names are Kevin Tan and Ila Myers. They were so much fun to watch.

Kevin Tan showing us how it's done.

Kevin Tan showing us how it’s done.

Kevin Tan & Ila Myers

Kevin Tan & Ila Myers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Tan & Ila Myers

Kevin Tan & Ila Myers.

We were lucky to sit next to fabulous blanket neighbors, Terry, Matthew, and Steve. They are the epitome of class, were perfectly dressed, and calling their set-up a picnic spread is insulting how gorgeously done it was. We had a lot of fun chatting with them and admiring their outfits. Terry, Matthew, and Steve, we bow down to your Jazz Age Lawn Party expertise! If you read this, hit me up, I have lots of great shots of you guys that I’d love to send to you.

Looking amazing without even trying.

Looking amazing without even trying.

We hated to see them go, but damn do they look good walking away.

We hated to see them go, but damn do they look good walking away.

A few more shots of the day: 

Nice set-up.

Nice set-up.

Foot shot.

Dance floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Masai.

Happy Masai. 

Dancing the day away.

Dancing the day away.

I also learned that day that if I am ever in an emergency, I want to be with Andrew. Check out the goods that he carries with him at all times. That is preparedness, organization, commitment, and insanity of the best form all at once. Andrew, you are my new go-to person.

Need anything? Anything at ALL?

Need anything? Anything at ALL?

After a quick ferry ride back (after a wait in a LONG line for it), we stopped for a snack at Stone Street, and I met the wonderful Miles and his parents (you didn’t think I’d have a post without an animal in it, did you?). He has these amazing white markings across his face from harder times, when some horrible person tied a muzzle around his face and left him in the dessert. The white markings are what remains from him being tied up like that and left in the sun. As you can see, I was very happy to meet him and his wonderful parents who adopted him.

Me & Miles, my newest boyfriend.

Me & Miles, my newest boyfriend.

Instant friends.

Instant friends.

We had a great time spending a Saturday in the 1920’s. It was another reminder to me that no matter where I travel, Manhattan is such an amazing place. There’s always interesting, friendly people, amazing dogs, and awesome events right around the corner, or in this case, just a free ferry ride away.

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The Puppy Thief

22 May

(As in: The Thieving Puppy, Not a Person Who Steals Baby Dogs)

Here’s a short little tale about a cute puppy, an irate owner, an innocent housekeeper, and jumping to conclusions.

Once upon a time, when I was young and working at an animal hospital, a woman came blowing into the office in a tornado of perfume and yelling and puppy paws. “I need help immediately!” she yelled, in the way one does when they think they are the only important person in the room, not in the way one does when they are running into a vet clinic with a sick animal. Hearing her, I walked my teenage self to the front and saw a well-dressed woman holding an adorable Labrador retriever puppy. He was so cute, you wanted to talk to him in baby talk all day long and rub his fuzzy ears because they were sure to feel like silky, palm-sized yellow chicks. And kiss his wet nose. I wanted to kiss his mini-little wet nose.

I can do no wrong. My cuteness trumps all things.

“How can I help you?” I asked.

She looked over at me, gawky and skinny and younger looking than I really was, and dismissed me with: “Not you. I need someone who works here.” Yes, lady, I am just hanging in a vet’s office, offering to help mean women out in the middle of the summer for the fun of it. Actually, I suppose that was what I was basically doing, but that’s not the point.

“I do work here, how can I help you?”

“Fine, here,” she said, leaning over and placing fuzzypuppybuddy in my arms. “He has an upset stomach, or something. Do whatever you need to do with him; I don’t know what’s wrong, but I can’t stay. I’ll come back in an hour; I need to fire my maid for stealing.”

Gratuitous cuteness.

“Wait! What’s your name? What’s his name?!” I yelled after her, but was answered only with the ringing of the bells we had hanging from the door as she stormed out. “Well, hi.” I said to the bundle in my arms. “Your mama is an ass. Sorry. Let me see here.” I walked into an empty exam room and put my cute new friend on the metal table. “You don’t feel so good, huh?” I looked at his tag and learned that my new friend’s name was George, and was happy to see that his owner’s last name and phone number were also on his tag. By now, the vet had come into the room and asked me what was going on. “I’m not sure, Dr. Vet. His owner, Mrs. Rude, just like, threw him at me and said he was sick and that she had to go fire her housekeeper. Or something. Upset stomach.”

“Oh, she is a handful, huh? Always nasty, for no reason.” He told me. He examined little George and found his stomach hard and distended.

“She said we could do whatever we wanted, test-wise.”

Warning: Your brain may explode from cuteness overload if you look too long.

“Well that’s good,” said Dr. Vet, “because he needs x-rays. “ In the x-ray room, we put on our heavy, lead-lined vests and I held little George down while the vet took x-rays of his belly. When we were done, I sat down in a chair with him in my lap and pet while the vet developed the films. A few minutes later, I heard laughing coming from the x-ray room, not something you hear every day in an animal hospital.  “You have got to come in here and see this!” he yelled. I went back out, and there, clear as day, was an x-ray of George’s belly, with two rings in it; one big diamond engagement ring and one plain wedding band.

Apparently, George was not alone in his taste for diamonds, because this is not his x-ray.

“George!” I yelled, looking into the sweet chocolate eyes of the puppy in my arms. “Did you do that?!” He looked up at me innocently and burped. “You have a VERY expensive belly, my friend.” And with that, the vet went to call our thieving puppy’s owner in hopes of saving her from firing her poor, innocent housekeeper for stealing her jewelry. And I enjoyed imaging her reaction when he told her how the jewels were going to come out… suffice it to say, it was the opposite of the way they went in.

And all the characters lived happily ever after, and I liked to think that every time that woman looked at her rings she remembered where they had once been.

Diamond dispenser.

Photos borrowed from: thedogtrainingsecret.com, hightest.com, askspikeonline.com, wedinator.com, thedogsofsf.com

Rex the German Shepherd

11 Apr

Asshole Example Four: Rex the German Shepherd

All of my friends babysat when we were growing up to make money. But no, I wasn’t down with that. Babies equaled zero fun. Parents tend to look down on you when you teach toddlers to do tricks for food, you can’t use babies as pillows when watching TV as you can with large dogs, and you can’t really race babies and bet Garbage Pail Kids cards on the outcome (or perhaps you can, but the races would be a lot slower and more boring). The only really gross thing you have to deal with with animals is picking up poop, and I for one will always say dog poop trumps baby poop in the “which is less disgusting” category any day. As is often the way with me, when it is Animals versus People, Animals win.

Preteen Me = A No Baby Zone. I was the Anti-Babysitter's Club.

That said, I chose to walk, groom, feed, and watch dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses and any other animals you could throw my way. I turned it into a mini business. In fact, I was so into it, my business grew and I needed to get a friend to join me, and my awesome grandparents who owned an engraving company gifted us with our own business cards. That’s right, I was nine and had my own business card  for the very originally named Dog Walkers, Inc.

Anyway, example four of animal assholery. Let’s call him Rex, because that was his name. Rex was a gorgeous German Shepherd owned by a neighborhood family who had three girls around my age whom I was friends with.  Rex was sweet and nice and fun to play with. As it turned out, Rex was also an Asshole. One March, when his family was away on vacation, they asked me to feed and watch him, something I had done for them often. He stayed at their house down the street, and my mother would take me over in the mornings to walk and feed him before school. After school I’d spend some quality time with him. This was working out quite well for us for about a week when I stopped by on the morning of my birthday. Since it’s right next to St. Patrick’s Day and I’m Irish, my mother made me a huge tray full of lime green Jello shamrocks to pass out to the class and cement myself as super cool in the social standings. They were in a metal dish and covered in tinfoil. Why I brought this into the house with me to feed Rex, I don’t know, but I did. I walked in, and Rex was waiting diligently by his empty food bowl, staring down at it with the precision of… well, with the precision of a German Shepherd.

Shepherdus Germanus (I made that up) says: "I am smarter than you are."

After a few pleasantries, I placed my treasured shamrocks on the floor and leaned over to fill up Rex’s bowl.  Out of nowhere, he turned and snapped at me, his white killer-dog teeth gleaming. I truly believe he only meant to snap the air (I’m defending the abuser! I’m so After School Special!), but he caught my temple and scraped down my cheek. Shocked, I backed up, hand against my bleeding face, wondering if I still had an eyeball and if not, how much attention that would get me. Meanwhile, Rex, knowing he did something very Bad Dog, decided to act like nothing had happened (a move I also employ from time to time) and causally walked towards the door, a sign to take him for a walk. In doing so, he walked straight across my tray of shamrock Jello, efficiently obliterating them under his huge Germanic paws. You thought he was going to eat them, didn’t you? Ha, a twist! I am M. Night Shamalan! German Shepherds, unlike me, are too smart to eat that crap.

I ran screaming to my mother who was waiting in the car. “Oh my God, what happened?!” she yelled.

“Rex STEPPED ON MY SHAMROCKS! They are RUINNNNED!” I screamed back. I had priorities and my bloody face was a distant second. My mom, never one to think you’re injured unless she sees actual bone jutting out, (did I mention we’re Irish?), took me back into the house and cleaned off my wounds.

“Superficial, “ she deemed them. While I had teeth marks trailing down the right side of my face, no real damage was done, other than to my birthday dessert. And my mother promptly reminded me, and this is true, that it was really my fault, because you never ever under any circumstances EVER lean over a dog’s food bowl, especially a dog who is not currently with his family and whose breed is used by law enforcement to hunt out and harm bad guys like a furry heat-seeking missile. So no, Rex was not an asshole for “biting” me in the face. But he was an asshole for stepping on my birthday dessert and ruining my chance at upping my social standing. I blame him for not becoming prom queen* years later. Not cool, Rex, not cool.

"Half the people here hate me, and the other half of the people here only like me because they think I pushed someone under a bus. This is not good." -Mean Girls, prom queen scene

*Okay, my school didn’t have a prom queen. But I bet if Rex hadn’t ruined those shamrocks, I would’ve been so beloved people would have voted me prom queen, even though I went to an all-girls high school and we didn’t do that.

Allie the Irish Setter

27 Mar

Asshole Example One: Allie the Irish Setter

An Allie lookalike.

The summer when I was fourteen, I got a job at a local veterinary clinic. I was technically too young to work legally in my state, but to me, spending a day taking care of animals was not work, it was awesometime, and I begged and begged until my parents signed some paper saying they gave me permission and I wouldn’t work over a certain amount of hours a week child labor blah blah blah boring. My title? Kennel Girl. I was ecstatic. What a glamorous title. I wanted a t-shirt that said that. A Hypercolor one. Obvs.

I grew up in a tiny town covered in cow farms. The office was set on acres and acres of land that was covered in stables and dotted with horses, goats, and sheep. The office itself consisted of a tiny waiting area, two exam rooms, an operating area/back room, and a kennel (for sick dogs and cats and also for boarders). Upstairs was a rundown two bedroom apartment. Originally, the vet, whom we will call Dr. Costly, lived in the upstairs apartment, but over the years he had gotten married, had a daughter, and built a large home a few hundred feet away on the same property. His dogs, two ancient Rottweilers named Bullet and Rosie and an absolutely insane evil genius Irish Setter named Allie had essentially taken over the upstairs apartment.

My job was to be the first one there in the morning. I’d go straight upstairs and let Bullet, Rosie, and Asshole, I mean Allie, out to run in the fields (well, Allie ran, Bullet and Rosie basically stared at her like she was an idiot while they gracefully wandered around, terrifying sheep.) I also fed his horses and warily eyed Sara, the potbellied pig, when I was outside, but details on Sara will come at another time. Once back inside, I’d feed the three dogs in the reception area and then clean out the cage of (and feed) Baby Bird, a tiny little blue budgie that had been abandoned at the office and adopted by Dr. Costly. Baby Bird’s cage hung above a gleaming metal table in the back room that we used to groom and examine dogs. Then I’d clean the office, walk every dog in the kennel, clean the cages and feed all of the cats and dogs. All before the vet arrived to open for the day. I loved it. Every second of it. Until.

Budgies!

One morning, like many others, I was happily going through my routine, dancing around the office, cleaning up crusty food and animal pee as happily as Cinderella getting dressed with the help of her woodland friends. I heard some weird clickety-clakety noises coming from the back room when I was up front vacuuming, but between the dogs barking and the cats caterwauling and the vacuum vacuuming, the clickety-clackety noises didn’t really resonate.  As I was finishing up, Dr. Costly came in and wished me a good morning. I wished him one back and continued doing what I was doing. Until I heard him call out to me these fateful words: “Um, where is Baby Bird?” Where’s Baby Bird? Where did he think Baby Bird was? It’s not like she got around much, I mean, we let her flutter here or there sometimes, but odds are if you were looking for Baby Bird, you’d find her in Baby Bird’s cage. “She’s in her cage! I just fed her,” I replied confidently, thinking Dr. Costly must be a blind moron. “No, she isn’t,” he said. “Can you come in here, please?” Oy. This is not good, I thought. Where is that damn bird?

Hesitantly, I walked to the back room, and sure enough, Baby Bird’s cage door was wide open, all dramatic-like, taunting me and rubbing in the fact that it was indeed sans bird. Shit. “I really don’t know, sir, she was just there!” I said, in Shaky Voice.  “Okay, sometimes she unhooks the latch, let’s look for her, I’m sure she’s somewhere.” Dr. Costly reassured me. He went into the kennel to check out the animals, and I stayed there, looking around the room, checking for the tiny bird in things like closed drawers and my lunch bag like a complete dumbass. And then tripped over Allie, who was being so uncharacteristically quiet that I hadn’t noticed her.

My last words of innocence were “Allie, what you got there? Huh, Allie-girl? What are you playing with?” She then turned her beautiful brick-red, silky face toward me and belched, and I swear to you on nachos, just like in a cartoon, she burped out little blue feathers. She burped Baby Bird into my face. And that’s when my eyes zoomed in on her nails, and then I turned and saw the metal table, and all at once I knew that the clickety-clackety noise I had ignored had been Allie, climbing on the table, Jurassic Park Velociraptor-style, to bird-murder Baby Bird. And that, I can safely say, is why Allie the Irish Setter is an Asshole.