This Provincetown summer resident, let's call her Gorgeous, suffers neither fools nor casual photographers gladly. When I tried to flatter her into posing, she looked right past me. Anyone less than Elliott Erwitt, who turns 90 next week, clearly wouldn't do. She seemed to pride herself on the superiority of her fashionable eyewear, her chic mixed fur coat, and her slender frame. I didn't have any treats to offer, but my guess is she wouldn't have taken them anyway. I got down to her level, but she refused to get down to mine. It's not every day you meet the Anna Wintour of Chihuahuas.
In Wes Anderson's fabulous film Isle of Dogs, canines are removed from daily life and banished to a remote island. Here in Manhattan, it's the opposite. We're an Isle of Dogs that has Aisles of Dogs. I've seen pets tucked, lifted, dragged, walked, seated and scooped just about everywhere, including to Starbucks and the movies. Trendy owners now bring fur babies to the office, or even the post office (above). The problem is not all breeds are good walkers. Some tire easily on skinny little legs; others may be heavy as bowling balls. Enter, four wheels. Compared to, say, bringing an emotional support peacock to the airport, doing chores with a bulldog in a baby stroller is a walk in the park. But the sight of a regal dog in a cushy throne always makes me wonder. Who's the real master?
In my fantasy doctor's appointment of the future, I'd like to take a low-tech Lab test for cancer. As in a white-coated Labrador who sniffs all around me in the examining room to declare me cancer-free. It's completely possible. Dogs "see" with their noses and some are even able to detect cancer, earthquakes, and even counterfeit goods. Now a new book, Being a Dog: Following a Dog Into a World of Smell (Scribner, 2016) by Alexandra Horowitz, confirms the amazing spectrum of dogs' noses. Horowitz is director of the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, which studies and researches the world from a dog's point of view. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got about dog walking was from my friend and dog guru, Diane, who advised me to give my little Havanese "time to be a dog." That means time to sniff, explore and meander while walking on leash in her olfactory paradise, aka our stinky city sidewalks. Even our dogs need a chance to stop and smell the roses, or whatever.