Monday, March 26, 2018

For the safety of the little ones

The scene along Central Park West for March for Our Lives. Saturday, 11:30 AM. Photo: Paige Peterson.
March 26, 2018. Overcast and chilly yesterday in New York falling to freezing late night; after a bright, sunny and not so chilly Saturday which was perfect weather for the nearly 200,000 protestors marching in support of universal background checks on gun sales, raising the federal age of gun ownership and possession to the age of 21, closing of the gun show loophole, a restoration of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, and a ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines in the United States.

I did my weekly Zabars run during those hours, which was not a good idea time-wise. The massive gathering which Paige Peterson caught from her living room window on Central Park West required closures of three of the four transverses of the park, leaving only one for every car or bus traveling back and forth. Once on the West Side, upper Broadway was very quiet traffic-wise which was convenient. But then as the crowd dispersed from the march, even Broadway suddenly was jammed with traffic. Like this driver, who shudda stood at home.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there have been many posters put up for this little Chihuahua, a 4-year-old pup named Norman who has been missing for three weeks, since the 2nd of March. This is always distressing to see, especially for those of us dog-people who worry about the safety of these little ones. He was not wearing a collar.

I have no idea how or where Norman’s departure from his owners took place, but anywhere in this great big city it is easy for an animal to disappear as well as easy for it to be stolen (which often happens by the dog-killers among us). Without a collar, presumes without a leash, these little ones are on their own in a very dangerous place.

Norman has been missing for three weeks.
There are lots of dogs in my neighborhood (and many other neighborhoods) in the city.  For many of us, these guys are our families, as it is for the pups too. I don’t know the circumstances in Norman’s sudden disappearance but if he were connected to a leash, the chances are greater that he wouldn’t be missing.

It troubles me so much when I see it that I say something (like: “your dog needs to be on a leash”). The responses I get are usually silence or “mind your own business.” Any untethered animal in this jungle (for the helpless) is everybody’s business. Sometimes it is an accident, outside anyone’s power at the moment it happens. Sometimes it is the result of dog-walkers who have TOO MANY CLIENTS to handle on one walk. Most times, however, owners or walkers, it is a kind of benign neglect or abuse.

I see people walking their dogs without leashes  very often – including crossing streets when traffic is stopped for the light. I’m not sure the psychology of walking your dog without a leash. For some I assume they think it’s cool – the dog is being an animal, an independent spirit, and doing his or her thing.

I saw an instance of it on Saturday afternoon as I was walking my dogs on their daily outing down by the river. Coincidentally it was another Chihuahua. I was finishing up our “walks” when I saw the dog, wearing a nice warm coat, but alone (in my sight) and not on a leash.

About twenty feet away from the little one was a couple walking along slowly ahead of him, conversing. I shouted across the way to them: “Is that your dog?”  The woman turned around and answered “Yes.” I responded: “he needs to be on a leash for his safety and well-being.”

She didn’t respond but then there was nothing she could say that would have mattered. She probably knew it and possibly convinced herself the dog would never wander.

They don’t have to wander. They can be spooked. They can get hit by a bike (often happens as well as) or by a car. They can be attacked by other dogs and run away anywhere to protect itself. This all can happen in a matter of seconds. If the walker can’t hold or protect him, that’s that. Poor Norman. If he’s still with us, he misses his masters.
Another serious no-no. This dog could be swiped in a millisecond by people who do it all the time for money (and a dog's death). This dog is at this moment is helpless and defenseless.
To move entirely away from the subject. After reading Cherie Burn’s “Diving for Starfish,” I’ve been thinking about the matter of jewelry and its history, which is obviously a natural tendency or inclination for us humans.

Burns pointed out that in our civilization, it was mined by the military to define institutions of power and otherwise only worn by royalty (and nobility of course). Catherine the Great had lots of it and used it for her own enjoyment as well as for impressing her power on others, even to finance wars.

In other words, currency. Many (rich) men also collect jewelry, or precious stones for all the obvious reasons — mainly to conceal their wealth, especially from the tax man — and making it very transportable.

Queen Alexandra in her official portrait as Queen covered with crown jewels from head to toe.
Aside from the fiduciary, there is the “art” of it, as well as the “impression” it makes. When I was a young man in Manhattan, I had a friend whose mother was a famous heiress. She possessed an extraordinary collection that she had inherited from her mother. She was also a beautiful woman who often wore a pair of enormous emerald drop earrings. The first time I met her, she was in bed (with a cold) and received my visit looking beautiful (well coiffed, completely made up) and wearing the emeralds. They changed the atmosphere inevitably.

Queen Alexandra, the consort of Edward VII evidently loved her royal jewels. It was said she never went out in public without covering herself with them.  I was amused by the image of her leaving the palace bedecked, drawing the most impressive attention.  Her husband Bertie, Prince of Wales, Edward VII, was famous for all of his affairs, and she was well aware of a lot of them. Clearly her jewels were her pleasure. They could not only lift her spirits but also those of people around her. In other words, you didn’t feel sorry for the lady.

Thinking about this I looked for a photo of Alexandra just to get an idea. I found this one of her crown she wore for the coronation of Edward VII in 1902. 

This new crown was less British, and was more like European to royal crowns. Less upright and more squat in design. It had eight half-arches, the front of which was joined a jeweled-cross into which was set the 105.602 Koh-i-Noor diamond. 

A might-have-been Queen, Wallis Simpson who became Duchess of Windsor when her husband King Edward VIII abdicated, was famous for her jewels too. Hers was considered possibly the greatest private collection of that era. Although, it’s been reported that those emeralds on my friend’s mother came from a collection even greater than and the envy of Wallis, the Duchess.
 

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