I am a dog lover, as far as “dog loving” is defined by a preference for the canine over other domestic animals: the cat, the parrot.
In that sense, I also have a preference for single women over married women, so you might say I am a “single woman lover”, but I don’t like all single women. Some single women I particularly love, most are pretty positive in my book, and some I don’t like at all.
I am a dog lover, but I do not love all dogs, and there is one breed I particularly hate: the Upper East Side dog. Dog genetics are such that within two or three generations of careful mating, you can create a whole new breed. Even quicker, you can just move the damn canine to the Upper East Side.
This breed has variations.
There are the “child” dogs, owned primarily by empty nesters. These pups get human names: Sarah, Hannah. They tend to be small breeds that are easier for the owner to pick up, cuddle, and make-believe is a human infant.
Recently, tenants in my building—a couple in their late fifties —had me unload a stroller from their car. I was confused until the wife came back down with her two bichon-frises, one on a leash like the four-legged creature it is, the other was perched sphinx-like in the baby carriage. The owner caught me looking in astonishment as I realized this very expensive stroller was made specifically for dogs, and mistaking the look for admiration, began gushing about how much “Rachel” adored her stroller.
This tendency to ascribe complex, human emotions to the dog, and gush about the its compassion, intelligence is not unique to the Upper East Side. What makes it egregious is the extent and expense to which they go: booties, sweaters, strollers, birthday parties, the occasional “bark mitzvah”. I’m surprised there aren’t bonnets and baby diapers.
Then there are the “fashion dogs”, the f-ing dogs with f-ing papers.
See 0:19 of this best of The Big Lebowski:
In contrast to the parents of the dog-children, these owners are utterly confused and disinterested in the needs, wants, and existential preoccupations of their canines. They are stylish little handbags that eat and shit.
One pair of “fashion” dogs—dachsunds—draw particular disgust; Nasty little rats taken out four times a day to stain the sidewalk with their piss and wretched, diarrheic turds. They receive a treat every time they come waddling in, greedily bearing their rodent teeth and fighting over the tiny morsels, covering my hands in stinking, viscous slobber.
Indeed, these furry tenants—universally ill-behaved, hyper-active, and too-barky—are trained in one thing: receiving treats. Yes, yes, amongst my other tools of the doorman trade are dog treats, which I must humbly offer to each dog that comes drooling expectantly through the lobby.
The worst part about this treat ritual is that social mores dictate that the tenant and I have a conversation. Problem being that the dog owners have a tendency to talk to me indirectly through the dog, directing the dog to “get its treat”, “say thank you/hello/goodnight”. I have had full conversations about the weather, politics, the new couces with the dog as mediator.
Come to think of it, this is more the owner’s strangeness than the dog’s snootiness.
Perhaps I am just a dog lover and an owner hater.