nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic

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Sunday best

In our local park today there was a costume contest for the local dogs in celebration of Halloween. The Halloween Howl was packed with dogs of all shapes and sizes dressed up and prancing around in an attempt to win a prize. Crazy stuff, but there was a great atmosphere and you couldn’t help but smile and go ‘aahh’ a lot. Check out some of the entrants:

This one is carrying a replica of the Roosevelt Island Tram. Came second in its class.

This one is carrying a replica of the Roosevelt Island Tram. Came second in its class.











A super hero and winner of its class.

A super hero and winner of its class.










My favourite. Check out the daschund on the right: yes, he's wearing a leather cap!

My favourite. Check out the daschund on the right: yes, he’s wearing a leather cap!

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First there was nannycam

And now there is doggycam. For the New Yorker who loves their dog but has to work but doesn’t want to use doggy daycare, there is the dog walker. How do you know they actually walked your dog?  A company called Swifto was mentioned in today’s New York Times. They have developed a GPS device that you can access via an app on your smart phone. They say: “View a live map of your dog’s walk. See the exact route, miles, and duration of the walk with alerts when the walk starts and ends.”

The New York Times article starts off with a graphic description about how it works:

“At 7:03 p.m. on May 25, my dog went to the bathroom in front of the Chinese massage place up the block from my house in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

I was not there, but I know this is true because a “poop alert” popped up on my laptop, 22 miles away at a friend’s house. A poop alert is a little white-on-brown icon of a squatting dog with, yes, a small pile beneath its tail, superimposed on a map of the walk fed by GPS data from the walker’s phone and updated every few seconds.

In addition, I received a text message on my phone. “Barnaby has just pooped.”


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I have made up a new word to honour the dogs of New York. The Dogiverse. After six months of living here I have concluded that there may be as many dogs as New Yorkers. Every day we walk by Groomingdales, a small doggie grooming parlour full of froo froo white fluffy things that look longingly out of the window to see their owners return. It’s cute and the name is great. Then there’s Biscuits and Bath, the doggie daycare centre. You can’t get your kid into a nursery here, it’s cut throat the day after Labour Day to get your kid in (more about that in a later post) but you can get your dog into daycare. There’s a  Biscuits and Bath on First Avenue, where people hang over the railings on the pavement looking at the dozens of dogs roaming around, mostly looking bored in their glass fronted room. It does look a bit sad and even a bit cruel, but maybe they are happy with their doggie buddies. Little dogs and medium dogs are separated from the big beasts. I bet it really smells.

And my favourite? Star Paws on the Upper West Side. Catering for behaviour management for your trickier pet.

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Only in New York. The home of neuroses.

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A Hungarian what?

Puli. It’s a dog. A Hungarian Puli. It’s a dog that looks like it belongs to Bob Marley such are its dreadlocks so long and flowing. We have spotted them a few times near our apartment and I spoke to an owner once who said that they were all related and great pets. I saw what must have been the granddad of Hungarian Pulis today as he was chilling out on a bench in Central Park (bet he didn’t get sunburn). As he and his owner snoozed on the bench, tourists walked by and smiled, pointed and took photos. He really should have charged, would have made a fortune.

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Dazzling, dangerous, daring dogs…

You may recognise this from one of Lauren Child’s books, where Trixie Twinkle Toes Trot Alot Delight is a pampered pooch living in a fashionable apartment in the lap of luxury with her owner Mademoiselle Verity Brulee. Think it’s fiction? Think again. They live right here in New York City. There’s the white ball of fluff in a pink jacket, treated like a child. The glamorous maltese in matching purple coat and bootees (I kid you not) whose owner loves the attention we give her dog as we admire her dog’s attire (I am incredulous, E is in raptures). And my favourite so far (there will be more no doubt given the obsession with dogs around here – no change from NW3 there) another ball of white fluff, so small it was in the owner’s pocket wearing hair clips on the fur on her ears!! I am lost for words. Trixie, by the way, didn’t like her life, she wanted to get muddy and splash in puddles in the rain but most of all she did not like her name, she wanted to be called growler or gripper. I’m sure her NY peers would agree.