Tag Archives: dogs

Dog training lesson, Union Square

14 Dec

Third in a series of random New York snaps:-

Union Square, I’ve discovered, seems to be a magnet for all manner of weird and wonderful happenings and people. All shades of humanity seem to congregate here: the down-and-outs and the drunks lounging around, the bourgeois Manhattanites doing their farmers’ market shopping (scoff from this writer who has lived in Paris and knows what real farmers’ markets look like), the clickety-click of the high-heeled, sleek New York businesswomen, the ageing rock stars busking away.

And then, of course, there are the anxiously earnest dog-owners of New York City who gather at Union Square with their canine charges, to be taught the art of taming their beasts:

Note the variety of canine, as well as human, breeds that make up the class, all of whom look faintly sheepish:

Interloper disrupts class, teacher not happy:

Dogs learn how to sit still – note grey dog not following teacher’s instructions:

Dogs get a pat on the back:

Manhattanite doggy tails continued

11 Oct

To get down off my geo-political-Middle-Eastern-crisis high horse of my last post back to the more mundane (but arguably, no less important) matters of the idiosyncrasies of the fine canine population of Manhattan Island…

Spotted today on E. 86th St:

A Manhattanite woman species trotting-tottering along with a pink (yes, pink) poodle in tow.

Said pink poodle was pink, a baby-pink shade of pink.

No, not a pink coat placed on top of its furry fluff, but actual furry fluff dyed pink.

Said pink poodle was clad in a very fetching, sparkling diamante collar, and to top it all off, a shiny red bow in its ‘hair’ (that is, the excess furry fluff on top of its little poodly head was tied up into a ‘poodle-pony tail”).

Dog in pram, that’s what’s next

15 Sep

So in response to my cry to heaven in my last post as to “whatever next” after discovering Americans celebrate bark mitzvas for their dogs, my answer was revealed to me today as I was walking with a friend near Central Park, when I found myself crossing paths with a funny smiley lady walking past us pushing a fluffy cute white dog in its very own buggy/stroller.

Funnily enough, I had already once noticed another Manhattanite doing the same thing but had obviously assumed at the time that she had put her canine charge in her (human) baby’s buggy and said baby was elsewhere/grown-up etc.

But on closer inspection today, I noticed that the buggy/pram/stroller was specifically designed for a small dog rather than a small person. It even had a large paw-print design on the front, which only served to confirm my suspicions. The doggy woggy in question looked very content and relaxed as it was being pushed along the street.

Its owner called out to me on seeing my look of incredulity: “He can walk too!”

And yes, of course I had to Google ‘dog stroller’ to see what would come up online and yes, of course, there are plenty of tailor-made websites specifically designed for all your dog stroller needs. Here’s one example: justpetstrollers.com

So now you know what to do and where to go if your dog gets tired walking using the time-honoured method of its own four trotters.

Bark Mitzvahs, Bar Miaowtzvahs, whatever next?

30 Aug

Whenever I think America has reached the outermost limits of exaggeration, it hops (or staggers) over the perimeter fence and takes its exaggerations into a new, ever-more-hyperbolic realm of hyper-reality.

This time I learn that some species of American Jews make BARK Mitzvahs for their dogs.

Surely someone around here’s barking the wrong tree? Surely no-one can be that barking mad?

Apparently, a friend of a friend who’s a rabbi living in the city of silliness that is Las Vegas gets asked to do Bark Mitzvahs by congregants particularly fond of their canine chums.

Has the whole world got stark raving barking mad? It seems not, because this is America where people take their pets very very seriously.

So anyway, I decided to do a quick sniffle and snuffle around on the Internet and look what tasty bones I unearthed:

First of all, the demographics:

Some people do Bark Mitzvahs for Purim entertainment, some do it to raise money, and others do it simply for the fun of it. Those celebrating Bark Mitzvahs today are mostly Reform and Conservative Jews.

(all quoted passages in this post are from judaism.about.com/od/americanjewry/a/bark_mitzvah.htm)

Now for the juicy tidbits:

Bark Mitzvahs celebrated in private homes tend to be personal and fun. Guests, who sometimes bring their own dogs along, greet the hosts with “Mazal Tov” and bring doggie presents for the Bark Mitzvah dog. The dog of honor generally feasts on bone-shaped doggy cake, while the human guests feast on gourmet food.

Not forgetting of course the handy Bark Mitzvah packages put together by your local Bark Mitzvah party planner, making sure you and your canine love get the most out of your special day (for a buck or tw0):

For $50, Places Everyone offers a seating kit for your Bark Mitzvah celebration, as well as a free Bark Mitzvah certificate for your dog.

If you really want to go all out, then you can get the $95 Bark Mitzvah package from CleosBarkery. It includes: all meat canine Bark Mitzvah cake, happy Bark Mitzvah Hat, Doggie Treat Bag filled with draydel and menorah biscuits, Star Bark Mitzvah collar, and a ribbon balloon cake topper.

You can make sure your guests will remember the event by sending them home with a pet candy bar wrapped by wrapsodydesigns.com. The wrapper commemorates the Bark Mitzvah celebration and even provides personal information about the Bark Mitzvah dog.

Some people send their guests home with satin yarmulkes with the dog’s name and Bark Mitzvah date printed inside.

And of course, this being the land of silliness, is it just the humans who get to wear the yarmulkes? Don’t be silly:

Yarmulkes just for the guests? Some Bark Mitzvah dogs get all dressed up for the special occasion. There’s been unprecedented demand for doggie-sized tallit and yarmulkes tailored to fit over dog ears.

Finally, here’s what happens when dog and owner get serious and decide to hold their festivities in shul:

Bark Mitzvahs celebrated at synagogues have a bit more of an “official” flavor to them. Often Bark Mitzvahs performed by rabbis begin with the rabbi reciting a prayer or blessing the dogs. The prayer said when seeing beautiful animals is an ideal opener. The rabbi generally ends the ceremony by awarding a Bark Mitzvah certificate to the dog’s owner. One California Reform shul promotes it Bark Mitzvah ceremony with “All participating pets will receive blessings, treats and a special pet kippah/yarmulke.”

Whatever next?

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