02Jun

How do you know when you’re a true New Yorker?

You’re a true New Yorker when you realize that you’re willing to walk from Battery Park to Midtown, the Lower East Side to the West Village, Uptown to Downtown, without a thought.  But when you visit other cities, that are not ‘walking’ cities, strolling any farther than your car to the grocery store entrance seems like a major pain in the arse. It’s an urban paradox that I don’t bother to question but simply accept.

Theo and I walk everywhere, and when we’re away from the city, it’s our daily constitutionals that I miss the most.  The combination of Dogs + Walks + NYC has proven to be a magical one.  Theo knows the minute we step out the door that we’re bound to meet someone new and interesting, so he flashes his megawatt smile which is no less than a tractor beam that few dog-friendly folks can resist.

A great many of my closest friends (and Theo’s) were folks I initially encountered while in the company of Theo or one of his predecessors.

Lovely Fern…

And Sweet Leo…

…are two wonderful examples of dogs with remarkable, loving, fascinating humans, whom we would not have met, were it not for our mutual dog-love and the openness of our Big City streets.

Around every corner is a dog with a story, and a corresponding human, willing to translate.

Many moons ago, I relented when a bachelor friend of mine asked to borrow Theodore for the day. He had split with his girlfriend a few months prior and it occurred to him that his buddy Theo was just the chick magnet he needed. How could I deny him access to my furry kid’s undeniable charms?  Later that day, he returned Theodore to me with a broad smile and a sparkle in his eyes.  Theo had proven to be the perfect wing man, and I have no doubts that some kind of negotiation involving extra snacks, and belly rubs transpired between them. Dog + Walk + NYC had worked its magic yet again.

I always find Theodore’s perspective refreshing. When he takes a break to watch and meditate on the beauty of the city, I dutifully follow his lead.

And Spring walks also mean puppies galore, like this sweet ball of sunshine named, Hudson, whom we encountered in Battery Park…

And Spring cleaning is in full force, too.

Check out this Ralph Lauren club chair that Theo found abandoned in Tribeca. With a half plaintive half demanding look, he indicated that he expected me claim it and haul it back to our digs, but I quickly nixed that idea and mentioned something about bedbugs, which he countered with something that sounded like ‘wimp’ under his doggy breath.

But no matter where we go, our walks always prove fruitful.

Most of all, we love the idea that at every moment, somewhere in this melting pot we call the Big Apple, dogs are connecting strangers in a place known for its sharp edges and harsh realities…

Indeed, Dogs + Walks + NYC = All Good Things. Whoever said I was bad at math?

 

03May

What, I ask you, is more alluring for a city dog, than a roll in the verdant green grass of one of the Big Apple’s sprawling parks?

Theodore would answer: A bucket of fried chicken, forgotten on a brownstone’s stoop.

However,  Theo’s bestie, Fern, can think of no better sunny-spring-day-treat than getting cozy with some of Mother Nature’s carpeting.

But what to do about Battery Park’s prohibitions, marking all grassy areas: DOG FREE?

Well, Ferny is an open minded, independent thinker, and has decided to interpret the DOG FREE signs as code for: RUN FREE, BE FREE, FREE YOUR MIND.

Isn’t she clever? Theodore concurs that a bit of canine rebellion is a good thing, at the right place and time.  And apparently, these two pals felt that a perfect May afternoon was precisely the right place and time.

So, our epic 4+ hour stroll about downtown Manhattan was cheerfully capped off by a rule-breaking act…though we asked the dogs to take their tummy tickling fix at the edge of the lawn, lest the park rangers find themselves compelled to fine us and our furry scofflaws.

If you’d like a lesson in the fine art of the Back Scratch + Roll, please do take a close look at these photos.  Fern was more than happy to demonstrate her technique.

In fact, she was going to explain all the fine points and stages of the roll, but as you can see, she’s fallen asleep. On the grass. In the DOG FREE area.

Man, I love that Ferny Fern Fern.  Endless entertainment.