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Meanderings/Dogs Rule in Old Town

Kirsten Obadal
By Kirsten Obadal
Posted on Sep 21,2009
Filed Under Pets , Community,
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Photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks <br /> <br />In a dog-crazed city, for 20 years Christina Robertson was the city's dog walker par excellence. Then she opened up Barkley Square, a sort of
Photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks
In a dog-crazed city, for 20 years Christina Robertson was the city's dog
walker par excellence. Then she opened up Barkley Square, a sort of
"Doggie 7-11" as she called it, in Del Ray.Her canine customers are yapping
with joy.

I do not have a dog.  I wonder, as I wander, whether or not I can really be here without a dog.  I mean, this is Old Town.  
 
People move here so they can be seen walking their dogs, taking in our European ambience and getting some easy exercise.  No, I do not have a dog, I have a parakeet.  He’s (she’s?) a turquoise rare parakeet, and sings to wake me up in the morning.  I feed and water Papageno (Papagena?).  
 
Then I go out for some fresh air and exercise, and I see them:  The Dog People.  The beautiful dog people, walking their Poms, Westies, and Labs.  Oh yes, these canines  are full-bloods with toney names such as Spencer, Trixie, and Max.  
 

Photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks <br /> <br />The Dogs of the Scottish Christmas Walk, sort of like the World Series of Dogs in Old Town.
Photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks
The Dogs of the Scottish Christmas Walk, sort
of like the World Series of Dogs in Old Town.

Their owners wear Eddie Bauer and Anthropologie, shop at Balducci’s, and are at most a size four.  Why, they even have their own happy hour, those stylish dog people.  Have you noticed how no one has a mutt anymore?  No, they have a “mix,” always a nobly rescued pooch.

Why can’t I be a size two, wear designer, and walk an equally, painfully thin Russian hound, I wonder?   OK, I am working on it.  Slowly.  My scale tells no lies, and even if I bypass the chocolates at Balducci’s, it is only the more quickly to arrive at the wine section.  (But this Bourdeaux is a steal and just begs for a decent brie, I tell myself, moving my Romanesque frame to the checkout.)

But is the life of a chic dog owner as stylish as it seems?  Should a human being really have to pick up dog feces, even if it is with a plastic baggie?  
 
Where is the glamour in that?  To be perfectly frank with you, patient reader, this is one of those reasons why we have sidewalks and keep off the grass.  We are not walking there anyway, and quite frankly if one really wants to avoid offense, let’s just not go looking for it like a desperate commission-based dogcatcher with a magnifying glass.  My human dignity, at least, rebels at the thought of cleaning up after a dog.

And there’s another thing.  How many times have we had a friend suddenly excuse themselves from a perfectly delightful evening by saying, “Well, I have to go home and walk my dog.”  “But, honey, it’s only 9:30!”  
 
Then too, there is that sudden February urge to fly to Miami for the weekend.  What to do with Fido for the next 72 hours?  I know, I know, that is what kennels are for.   However, if I can’t even remember when I put the laundry in, how will I remember to pick up the dog, or heaven knows, get there on time?  What if the kennel is full I want to leave?
 
What if my return flight is delayed?  Or, would I bypass the opportunity for longer periods of travel thanks to a fur-shedding, slobbery ball and chain?  I think not.  Who leaves a dog in a kennel for three months to tour Tuscany on a motorbike or slum around the bazaars in Marrakech?  Money doesn’t grow on trees for me….yet.  Besides, there is The Attachment Factor.  People miss their animals as much as their animals miss them.  Do I really want to succumb to it?

The astute reader no doubt wishes to query me as to how many times  my parakeet has snuggled up on the couch with me for a nap, or launched a pre-café sunrise conversation with the handsome guy from the next building.  Well, alright, never.  
 
And no, the parakeet does not jump up on my bed in the morning, lick my face and wag an $800 tail in an altogether irresistible manner in order to elicit breakfast—making me feel altogether loved and indispensible, helping to curb that lurking sense of loneliness that can be the bane of the single life.   Generally he still bites and rarely sits still on my finger.  
 
Where did I put that card from the Westie rescue lady?  Sigh.  I think I am going to hold out, for now. If I want some doggie love, I need only walk down the street on any given day, and socialize with the neighbors. Until next time, dahlings…. I have to give my bird a bath.  
 
Ciao! (Or would that be, “Chow?!”)



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