Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Demands for attention

Union Square. 12:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018. Sort of sunny day, yesterday in New York, with lots of cumulus clouds moving through, and temperatures in the high 70s with some humidity and a high pollen count.

Most interesting was the temperature felt pleasantly moderate. The autumn version of heat. Supposedly we have more coming our way. They make the most heavenly days of the season.

I was at my desk at 7 in early evening when I noticed turning away from it that my apartment was already dark except for my desk lamp (and my computer screen). So I got up and went outside to look at the avenue as dusk was setting in. There are apartment buildings across the avenue and so I make it a point to look UP and DOWN the roadway, ignoring the lighted private dwellings now turning their lights on.
As I was looking to the south, suddenly a small black and white and black Shih Tzu or havanese, streaked out from the side of my building onto and across the avenue (with oncoming traffic that narrowly missing it), at the speed of fear. Dragging its leash behind.

It was very upsetting to see the terrified little creature, and worse, I couldn’t do anything because of distance and time. About three or four minutes later a woman came from the side of the building walking at a steady, if not fast, pace. From her gait, I could see she wasn’t lithesome enough to run after the animal. And the dog was speeding toward more traffic filled avenues ahead, as I could see by its speed as crossed East End that it had no sense of anything but panic.
By the time its owner/walker may have got to York Avenue (a block away), the dog could easily have been at Third Avenue if it were still alive and not hit by a car in heavy three and four lane traffic! 

The dragging leash was the evidence of the owner/walker’s neglect. It was also clear that the leash was not being held or at least held securely by whomever had been walking it. There are lots of dogs in this neighborhood and everyday I usually see one or two who are off their leashes or even without leashes attached to their collars. Their owners or walkers are strolling behind or ahead of them casually as if not keeping a full eye on them. (Not that that would make a difference in a dog’s stressful, panicked circumstances).
If I’m close enough, I’ll ask the person if he or she is the owner. Yes is the reply. Shrug. Sometimes I’ll gently remind them that they’re risking their dog’s safety. It only takes one little spooking – even the bang or screech of a truck, to set them off. Then they just run in streak in the opposite direction.

These are moments when I don’t know why some people have dogs, as the animal’s obvious safety is not the same priority it is with the Self. I can understand the thought that they’re giving their dog some “freedom,” but dogs do not have the natural sense of caution that we (and wild animals) possess. Giving them that “freedom” is a sign of insensitive neglect, not human kindness or protection.
I've had dogs (and cats) all my life but it's only in my actual maturity that I appreciate them for what they bring to my life – which is: responsibility outside myself, and the personal feeling of pure affection for who they are. I don't have children, and if I did, at this age they'd be grown up and gone. I live alone and they are my companions.

My social life is mainly my work. So my dogs, with their demands and needs and obvious requirements such as feeding and walking them, are an important part of my time — spare and otherwise. Often when people hear about my dogs, they utter (or exclaim) "that's a lotta work!"
But it’s really not, because the work part is the feeding and walking. If I total it up in minutes, it’s probably an hour out of my day, most of which is the walking part. That “time” for them is not about Me — which is otherwise what it is like to live by yourself, as busy as one might be nevertheless. With my canine crew I experience the gift of giving, of their dependence on me. They return their appreciation with their attention and affection which is a constant. It’s called Love, and we’re lucky to have it.

They are, in essence, my family. Each has his or her separate personality and relationship to me, as well as their individual demands for attention and caresses.

So when I think of that poor little pup streaking out of sight in hysterical fear, I can only hope somewhere along its speedway someone saw it and was able to stop him or her. The dire lesson for us is always clear: KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH at all times outside in the city. AVOID the very real risk of DEATH.
More dogs, for safety’s sake. Last Tuesday night a week, Dylan Lauren hosted an intimate reception of candy, cocktails and a private book signing at Dylan’s Candy Bar Union Square, spotlighting attention to the truth about puppy mills. 

The highlight of the evening was a panel discussion moderated by Ms. Lauren with Rory Kress, author of “The Doggie in the Window,” Georgina Bloomberg (a member of the Event Leadership Committee) and John Goodwin of The Humane Society of the United States. All proceeds from the evening went to the Humane Society’s “Stop Puppy Mills” campaign. This was followed by at Q&A session with Ms. Kress.
John Goodwin, Rory Kress, and Dylan Lauren
Rory Kress signing copies of "The Doggie in the Window."
The motivation for the event as Dylan put it was: “Rescuing Jersey was one of the best and easiest decisions I ever made. Not only did I know I could provide her with a loving and caring home, but I knew I was doing my part to stop the cycle of animal cruelty.”

“Not many people would succumb to buying a puppy from a pet store, or over the internet, if they knew the mother spent her entire life trapped in a tiny cage,” said John Goodwin.

Rory Kress added, “Researching this country’s system of legal, taxpayer-funded puppy mills showed me this issue still needs to be brought to the light. Organizations such as the Humane Society and Dylan’s Candy BarN are leading the way to change and educate us on how we can do better for our best friends.”
And just a couple of weeks ago in Union Square, the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals and Petco Foundation held #Adoptapalooza where more than 500 dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, and rabbits were available for adoption from more than 30 NYC-area animal shelters and rescue groups. There was microchipping, pet ID tags, dog licensing, pet photos, dog training demos, emergency preparedness information for people with pets, face-painting, giveaways, and more.

Since 2003, the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals has remained committed to transforming New York City into a community where no dogs or cats of reasonable health and temperament will be killed merely because they do not have homes. They have the ability to turn homes into loving homes. All it takes is a bit of that coming to them; a mutual reward.

Photos by Carol Zytnik & PawPrintsByDave (#Adoptapalooza)

Contact DPC here.