Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

Service of Dogs Who Make a City Smile

Thursday, March 7th, 2024

My neighbors.

Sunday is the best day for dog-watching in Manhattan, especially on a springlike sunny one because there are pets on almost every street.

A block from my apartment a Saint Bernard was ambling sadly towards his apartment when his human turned away from the front door after punching in his building code. The pooch’s tail wagged and his gait quickened—he practically skipped with joy. I mentioned this to the young man walking him who beamed. Something tells me the pup got a bonus extra few blocks that morning.

The darling couple in the top photo live in my apartment building. Their puppy is a sweetheart and they are just as lovely. They enjoyed my appreciation of their furry bundle of cuteness.

When I admire a dog sometimes the walker doesn’t respond. I don’t stick around to see if it’s because they didn’t hear me over whatever might be blaring in their ears through earbuds, but I become discouraged about saying something to others for a while.

Do you speak to strangers about their dogs? Don’t dogs make a city a happy place?

Service of Pets are Family

Thursday, February 16th, 2023

Our country house came with a feral cat which the former owner asked us to feed. I was a dog person but soon the kitty purred his way into our hearts and became a beloved family member especially after he moved indoors during a devastating winter storm in which he couldn’t negotiate a path through human hip high snow. One day my husband said he thought he might be allergic to the cat. My response was “Isn’t there medicine for that?” Turned out he wasn’t. But you get the point. I adored all my pets and wasn’t going to give up any of them easily.

Most people feel that way. Take the 14 year old daughter of Venezuelan migrants who ditched her suitcase with all her belongings so as to carry her miniature white poodle Lupe for six hours through hip-high swamp water on the way through Mexico to the US border. I heard about the family and their cherished dog on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday with Angela Kocherga reporting.

The segment was about Ruby Montana and her Bridge Pup Rescue Group that operates in El Paso. Animals aren’t allowed in border patrol processing facilities so Montana is fostering Lupe for as long as it takes and she video chats with Lupe’s family with the sweet pooch on her lap. She says the pup is learning English. Dogs are forbidden where the family is currently living–in NYC.

A US border patrol agent had called Montana after the heartbroken family was hastily put on the bus north. The system works due to coordination between Montana, caring border patrol agents and the El Paso animal shelter.

I lived on an Air Force base with a pack of roving almost wild dogs that had been adopted by families stationed there and left behind when they moved to their next assignment. I would hope that this is no longer the case on any base. In contrast one of the first dogs I loved was Snoopy a Beagle who lived next door–in Turkey–on base housing. No child was cared for better than the Snoop.

Have you loved a pet–yours or one that lived next door or at a relative’s home? If you had to leave your home and couldn’t bring your cherished pet, what would you do? Aren’t people like Ruby Montana wonderful?

Service of Guest Prep: How We Make Company Comfortable

Monday, January 16th, 2023


Image by Davie Bicker from Pixabay

To what lengths do we go to make guests comfortable? I had a boss who said when her wastebaskets were empty her home was ready for company. I attended an event in a magnificent Fifth Avenue apartment where the living room furniture was removed to make room for 50 elegant folding chairs for guests to sit on to hear a speaker.

If I know you’re coming, I’ll squirrel away stuff, neaten piles and toss, unread, material I’d been planning to read for far too long. You could hardly find a path around the thigh-high piles of magazines, books, newspapers and mail a friend kept in her apartment. Envisioning that scene makes it easier for me to send stuff that’s been hanging around to the garbage room.

A friend said if her guests don’t like animals she corrals her four kitties into the basement. It’s heated, they have beds and water there. She nevertheless hears them scratching to get out. She was calming her friend who was freaking about having their book club meet at her home. That woman housed her dogs at the vets for the day so that they wouldn’t upset a member who was afraid of pets. In the end, that person didn’t come. Sigh.

I’ve written about the outspoken editor whom I feared would have exploded if she’d seen the hallmark stuffed bear in the hallway of the Explorer’s Club where we conducted a press event decades ago. Management kindly hid it until she left.

Do you do anything out of your routine before having friends over to make them–or you–comfortable?


Image by Kate Trysh from Pixabay

Service of the Impact of Being Deep-Sixed: A Forecast

Thursday, September 8th, 2022

Hold on to your hats: Here’s a forecast of a few changes that will cut off some from access to crucial services and might put others out of business.

On the Road Again

Was NYC always so discriminatory?

I’m happy with my MetroCard that New Yorkers use for bus and subway rides. It’s easy to add money and is featherweight.

By the end of next year it will be extinct Anna Rahmanan reported in timeout.com. We’ll all be using OMNY vending machines that take money from a swipe of a smart device or a contactless chip credit or debit card. OMNY stands for One Metro New York.

This sounds great if you own the proper device and welcome a link between your smartphone, smartwatch or fitbit and your credit card or bank account. No such links for me. By next year I assume that all credit cards will be updated with a contactless chip.

Will the OMNY machine know who is eligible for half priced fares? What about those who don’t want to use their credit and debit cards for this purpose or don’t own the devices or cards? Does NYC have a contingency plan for them? One can only hope.

Attending to Business

Alex Harring predicted in The Wall Street Journal that traditional business cards are being replaced by QR codes, jewelry with business details or implanted chips. He calls the traditional cards germ swappers.

He reported that “The technology chief at Boingo Wireless Inc. had a chip inserted, between his left thumb and index finger, that carries his contact information. New acquaintances can use their phones to download the details.” If the recipient doesn’t have the app installed on their phone the technology doesn’t work. Oops.

Harring continued that some use “physical cards with QR codes, scannable digital cards or chips embedded in physical items that allow people to share contact details with a tap.”

The technology had best be flawless and operational wherever people network. Maybe a person should carry a few germ swappers just in case–yes?

What Did You Say?

What’s going to happen to the audiology business now that the FDA has approved over the counter hearing aids?

Woof and Meow

As soon as New York Governor Kathy Hochul signs the anti puppy mill bill there will be no more pet store sales of dogs, cats and rabbits here. Future pet parents are to go to breeders. According to abc7NY.com, “‘The Puppy Mill Pipeline legislation would allow retail stores to partner with area shelters like Bideawee and like ACC and rescues to adopt animals,’ Bideawee CEO and President Leslie Granger said.” Full disclosure, all my pets have come from animal welfare agencies and shelters except one who was rescued by a friend from an abusive home. Are legitimate pet store owners in New York State expected to close the door and walk away from their investment of time and treasure?

The questions for this post are highlighted in each section.

Service of Pet Peeves III

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

I wrote the first two Pet Peeve posts in 2010 and 2011, summarized below as my feelings about them are unchanged. And although they’re not earmarked as such, many posts over years focus on irritating situations that fall in the peeve category, such as the recent ones about bait and switch sales tactics and euphemisms like “food insecurity” for hunger.

NOW

Hard to believe I have so many new ones.

I recently paid by credit card for bread in a bakery and dinner from a takeout-only Chinese place. In both instances an automatic tip request popped up on the tablet’s screen. Why should I give a tip to someone for putting a loaf of bread in a bag? I gave a tip for the Chinese takeout, even though I picked up my order, but friends who tip generously said they wouldn’t.

I don’t answer when surveys ask me what my income is and don’t believe that they should ask.

TV news producers: Stop showing close-ups of injecting vaccines into arms. For the squeamish who aren’t planning to get the vaccine it’s a turnoff and deterrent.

Train your vicious dog or give it away particularly if you live in an apartment house.

Respond to personal texts within 24 hours–especially if the sender infrequently reaches out and/or if they pose an important question.

If I never hear from you for months and we are personal acquaintances send me something more than a link to an article.

If I consistently “like” your Facebook postings, every once a quarter please “like” one of mine.

THEN

I’m surprised at how many of the oldie peeves are pandemic-proof. The exception might be how miffed I feel when my hands are full and someone near a door doesn’t hold it open. These days some might be afraid of getting too close. Another that irritated me 10 years ago was someone borrowing my pen and not returning it. I wouldn’t want it back now.

Otherwise, here are many of the oldie but still valid:

You call at a scheduled time and are told “Call me in 20 minutes.” The person who changes the time should make the second call.

Repetition of misinformation so it becomes true to some.

Drivers who don’t use their signal lights. It’s as handy a communication tool for pedestrians crossing city streets and avenues as it is for drivers.

Waste by government and corporations.

Buzzwords and jargon.

Tell me privately something that impacts me–don’t first announce it in public and if you want to give away something of mine, don’t ask me if it is OK in front of the potential recipient so I feel forced to say “yes.”

Don’t:

  • roll your eyes if I ask a question
  • offer to do something you know you won’t do
  • pull out on me causing me to slam on my brakes

Lack of traffic lights or signs at dangerous intersections drive me nuts.

Have your peeves stayed the same over years? Any new ones? Do people close to you know your peeves or do you keep them close to the vest?

Service of Pets in a Pandemic

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

Georgie Rabinovitz. Photo: Helen Rabinovitz

Haisten Willis wrote this article in usnews.com: “Isolated by a Pandemic, People Are Stepping Up to Foster Pets–Shelters have been forced to close by COVID-19, but community support is helping animals find homes.”

He reported that on a standard month the Best Friends Animal Society’s Atlanta shelter finds 10 homes for dogs and cats while 62 were fostered in five days in March. “Elsewhere, its New York shelter placed 67 pets from March 16 to 20, compared with its typical 30; Salt Lake City placed 42 instead of the typical 12; and Los Angeles placed 166, up from about 45 to 50,” according to Willis.

On this blog guest writer Helen Rabinovitz previously reported her daughter’s experience in “Service of What the Public Must Learn About People with Disabilities.” She submitted the inspiration for this post and wrote the following:

During this time of isolation I find the companionship of my parrot Georgie is the key to my sanity. Georgie is almost 37.  I’ve been his mom since he was around a year old. He’s funny and really, really bad sometimes–but I love him.

Even though you can’t snuggle up with a parrot he’s great company. I’d probably lose what’s left of my mind if it wasn’t for G!

Most of my friends have pets. I’m the only crazy bird lady but there are crazy cat and dog ladies in our group. We talk all the time, mostly about our fluffy kids and how great it is to have them around. It makes me feel needed and gives me a reason to get up in the morning. Someone to talk to…I speak parrot.

So for all of us who feel trapped in our homes, as long as we have our feathered and fluffy companions we will survive.

I miss hugging one of my long-deceased dogs or cats and wholeheartedly agree with Helen. Do you have a love-pet to hug? Do you know someone who adopted a pet at this time?

Service of Will Your Pooch–or Parrot–Pass the Scrutiny of a Co-Op Board?

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

Decades ago I experienced a light version of Katherine Clarke’s story “So Your Dog Can Roll Over. Can It Pass a Co-op Board Interview?”  A co-op board member interviewed a tenant in our rental apartment to learn about Prunella, a mixed breed almost dachshund, before giving us the final approval for our apartment purchase. Our neighbor was insulted when that’s all they wanted to know–nothing about us. Prunella hardly ever barked. After she died, we adopted Cassie who did nothing but express her displeasure in an operatic voice when we weren’t home. So much for that.

Clarke reported: “Boards have reason to be selective as incidents like dog bites can open them up to legal liability. In some cases, boards are demanding headshots, résumés and even recommendation letters specifically for pets to protect themselves.”

She described pet owners who dressed them to the nines, brought them to a dog shrink to figure out the right balance of xanax and zoloft so they didn’t appear totally zonked, put one in a baby carriage because it had recently pulled a tendon and hid turkey in her pocket so the dog would stay in her lap. One couple buying a pied-a-terre drove 13 hours with two pets and spent the night at a pet-friendly hotel in NYC for a few minute review. Another prospective tenant borrowed her friend’s older, calmer poodle as hers had a tendency to act nut-so in front of strangers. She’s in and nobody has noticed the switch.

One prospective owner told Clarke: “My worst case scenario was that Lainie, the princess, would bark or jump on everyone and demand a tremendous amount of attention and Larry, who doesn’t hear so well, would pay no attention to us and walk all over the place. When he doesn’t like something, he will whine. And he can’t really hear you when you say, ‘Shut up, Larry.’ ”

Clarke wrote that one dog  “had to sit with a third-party ‘dog whisperer’ brought in by the board for a 10-minute evaluation, during which she [the owner] just quietly observed the pooch. Occasionally, they bring another dog into the room to test their response.”

One dog owner’s pet likes to “run through people’s legs from behind” when meeting someone new. She avoided an interview by producing sufficient information at the initial stages. She submitted a resume with photos and lists of likes–“treats, snoozing, playing fetch, tiny humans, radishes, apples and pears” and under qualifications she wrote “doesn’t shed.”

Clarke reported that “Many co-ops have banned certain more aggressive breeds. One particularly strict co-op on Lower Fifth Avenue has banned Alaskan Malamutes, Caucasian Mountain Dogs, Chihuahuas, Chow Chows, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Doberman pinschers, German shepherds, Huskies, Jack Russell Terriers, Lhasa apsos, Old English Sheepdogs, Papillons, Pekingese, Pinschers, Pit Bulls, Presa Canarios, Rottweilers, Toy Poodles and Schnauzers, according to its rules.”

Birds are subject to scrutiny as well. One board insisted on meeting a parrot in midwinter even though the real estate agent pleaded special dispensation for fear the tropical bird would suffer in the cold in the trip to the meeting. “One particularly memorable incident, which the harrowed real estate agent ‘dubbed ‘Parrotgate,’ involved convincing the board of an Upper East Side co-op to accept a tropical four-inch-tall bird.” The agent said “No one wants to ride in an elevator with someone with a bird on their shoulder.”

I have owned and sold two co-ops and after the first swore I’d never again go near such a harrowing purchase and sale but I did. Buying and selling in certain buildings without a pet will cause extreme anxiety. Have you come across stressful unexpected hurdles in trying to buy a property–co-op, condo or private home?

Service of Second Chances for People and Pets

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

It’s Easter, Passover and spring, a good time to celebrate second chances.

I saw two Chihuahuas get one. They were on the Furry Friend Finder segment on CBS 2 Weekend, a local NYC metro news show. The dogs were 14 and 15 years old and needed a home–a difficult ask.  They’d been in a previous weekly segment in which the hosts introduce the audience to dogs in search of a forever family. A New Jersey family adopted the two elderly pups—they had a 14 year old pooch to welcome the others.

I’ve written previously about my sister and a friend each of whom adopted ancient orphaned cats, giving the felines a second chance at loving homes.

The odds that Tiger Woods, 43, would ever again win a major golf tournament seemed slim due to a series of back operations and psychological issues that appeared to send him off his game. Yet last weekend he walked off with yet another green jacket at the Masters Golf Tournament and he was no spring chicken–three years younger than Jack Nicklaus, the oldest player to don the trademark jacket.

And then there’s Bill Weld, 73, former Governor of Massachusetts, who is running for president on the Republican ticket taking on a 72 year old incumbent. There was a time when septuagenarians would not be fighting over one of the most difficult and stressful jobs on the planet.

And what about Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris? It is slated for another chance.

I’ve been blessed by second chances, have you? Please share examples.

Service of Questions—Does Google Have All the Answers?

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Questions, without immediate answers, often pop into my head. Every post has them of course and I’ve also focused on the topic several times before.

Here are some recent ones:

  • How do commuters fill the time and not go crazy when a traffic reporter tells them it will be 80 minutes just to get on a bridge or in a tunnel to NYC during morning rush hour–which happened last week?
  • How do pet owners of average means pay the vet bill when they have more than two love-animals?
  • I’ve lived in a moderate sized house and apartments ranging from very large to moderate size and now I live in a small apartment. Why is it that my husband and I lose as many things in the small space as in the large?

I asked Mike, a millennial and techy and my office next door neighbor, if unanswered questions like these pop into his head and did he think about the answers. He said, “I Google everything. I’d rather know.”  The child of the Internet added, “Google has never steered me wrong.”

I use Google a lot but hadn’t thought to do so regarding this crop of questions and when I did, it satisfied a third of them.

  • Commuters in traffic: I’d already thought of learning a language or listening to an audio book which I also read about as a result of a Google search. To address the stress I hadn’t thought of wearing comfy shoes as that would be automatic for me before a potentially trying drive, or loosening clothes and stretching before heading home after a difficult day. None addressed how to tackle the surprise of an extra one hour plus to a commute.
  • Pet owners paying vet bills for many pets: I didn’t find a satisfactory answer to my second question though I admit I didn’t spend a long time looking. I read about what percentage of pet owners have pet insurance; How much should pet owners spend on a sick pet; How much is the average vet bill and How much does a dog cost monthly? I suppose the answer to my question is “these owners don’t go to a vet for routine care.” [Our bills upstate ran on average $350 for such care for one cat especially if a blood test was involved.]
  • Losing things in big and small spaces: Results for question number three were equally unsatisfactory. Response categories covered how to stop losing things at home and a prayer to find a lost item to how to find something you love.

What kinds of questions pop into your head? Do you resort to Google for responses? If not, how do you satisfy them?

Service of a Pet Scam: A Sleazy Twist on Leasing

Monday, July 30th, 2018

This post might have enhanced “Service of Did you Know That When You Bought or Rented It?” published early in July. Actually it slips in between. It’s about customers who thought they’d bought something that is usually purchased or given away but was actually rented to them.

Nancy Coleman wrote “Just Bought a New Puppy? It Might Be a Rental.” It shocked me because most pet people I’ve met are kind. Like millions, I fall in love with my animal family members and once ensconced in the household, they are there to stay.  A company structured to pull a fast one over people willing to adopt a pet is sick. With the exception of a movie production company, why would anyone want to rent an animal?

Leasing company Wags Lending thinks they do or at least that someone will fall for its scam. In her Wall Street Journal article Coleman wrote that the company, headquartered in Nevada, leases pets. The 20-something woman in her story inadvertently leased her Chihuahua, Remi, from an upstate NY pet store. She said to Coleman that “An employee at The Pet Zone, told her Remi’s list price was about $1,900, but according to the contract, the puppy would have cost more than twice as much—$4,370—after two years of paying about $180 a month.”

The victim ended up paying $540 for three months plus $1,900 for Remi plus a $300 leasing fee. She wasn’t alone. “Her story—documented in records from a fraud case brought by the New York Attorney General’s office in May against the pet-store chain, and recounted to the Journal—isn’t unusual. At least six other customers gave similar accounts about The Pet Zone, which has four outlets in New York, in depositions for the same continuing lawsuit.”

Like furniture and car leases, pet leases usually run from one to three years, and like furniture and cars, pets cost more at the end. However, should the pet die or run away, the lessee is still obligated to pay for it.

Meanwhile, the FTC has twice warned about this business model in blogs; a bill banning pet leasing is waiting for N.Y. Governor Cuomo’s signature—California and Nevada already have such a ban–and Coleman reported that Wags Lending’s parent company, Bristlecone Holdings, filed for bankruptcy last year.

Coleman wrote: “There are certain compliance requirements under the Consumer Leasing Act that come into play when stores advertise a leasing option, said Lesley Fair, a senior attorney in the FTC’s Division of Consumer and Business Education. The language used to explain the lease needs to be ‘clear and conspicuous,’ and understandable for consumers, she said.

“Businesses also specifically need to disclose how much consumers will have paid at the end of the leasing term and details about monthly payments.”

The pet industry, already at $86 billion, is expected to grow. No wonder there are bottom feeders poised to take advantage.

Have you run into a situation where you thought you were buying something but were actually leasing it? Do you agree that pets should not be leased from pet shops, period?

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