Hating dogs as a doorman

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.


About Big Adam

A NYC doorman, a community organizer, wannabe ape, sometimes blogger, sometimes writer, always crossword puzzle incompleter, I will ride bicycles with your papa, dance Bhangra with your mama, take you on dates that cost nada.
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8 Responses to Hating dogs as a doorman

  1. laceyputnam says:

    I love it! The clip from The Big Lebowski is awesome.

    I remember when my parents were living in Manhattan and they still had our old poodle, Luvy. The poor dog was terrified of the elevator and going out of the apartment (she was about 15 when they moved). I was very aware of how damaging to our doormen it would be to ask them to touch her or give her any treat, and resisted their nice offers to do just that.

    However, I have met the people of whom you speak and they make me laugh. Naming a dog Rachel is just perfect. I guess I have to be gentle with them because Randy and I are so on the verge of being the same way. If I was less into my dog, I would feel better about pointing my finger at the ridiculousness of their behavior. As it is, if I could bring Frida everywhere I go, I would. I think she would look super cute in a stroller!

    • big Adam says:

      Haha, I was thinking about you and Randy and Ms. Frida when I wrote this, but there is a fine line there that i feel you have yet to cross…although I might make an exception for somehow getting her on a bicycle (something I’ve also seen).

      Say hello to Frida for me…and tell her I’ll bring her a treat next time I see her.

  2. girl normal says:

    Fantastic! Thanks for the post. I share your sentiments re: dogs (and some dog owners). My personal philosophy regarding dogs is “bigger is better.”

    • big Adam says:

      Glad you liked it! I am also of that philosophy, although I ascribe to my mother’s corollary that female dogs are better than male dogs because they don’t lift their legs to pee…

  3. You have a great writing style and a brilliant sense of humor. I can completely relate to what you witness on a daily basis – I know a French bull dog that flits across the globe at least a few dozen times a year in Business Class….

  4. Duane's Mom says:

    I take offense–I am deeply concerned about the existential preoccupations of my canine. I just can’t figure out what they are…
    I am working on a basket for the bike so Duane and I can go riding together…he is just too little to run far fast.
    Little dogs are a good child substitute for empty nesters–they are cute and cuddly and remind us of when our children were like that; they never become adolescents and talk back, get smelly, leaves clothes all over their room, or cause us to incur debt for college; and are pretty good company, if you like the silent types (they are totally non-judgmental!)
    That doesn’t mean I don’t disagree with you about the nutty parents/owners. Sigh–I have become one.

    • big Adam says:

      1) Dogs most certainly do get smelly
      2) Duane’s not going to college?
      3) Getting a basket for Duane is fine in it of itself, but do know you will be required to hum songs from the “Wizard of Oz” as you cruise around with him…
      and you are working on the basket yourself, not getting a custom basket maker or whatever, which is what would be done in this neighborhood.

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