Thursday, June 30, 2011

Urban Turtles-Migrating at JFK

Clearly we are not turtles---Even though Tubby dressed as Godzilla last year for Halloween

and Godzilla is some kind of green lizard thing and thus Tubby thinks maybe a little bit like a turtle.

Also when mom was a kid and wasn't allowed to have dogs, the traumatic horror of her childhood, she had a long succession of turtles for pets.  Most given the staggeringly creative name of.....Shelly.   Since that time mom has been very fond of turtles and happy to stop and look at any turtle she chances by, she loved seeing turtles on logs when we used to walk in central park, even though we never got why it was a big deal.  An animal that just sits there lying on a log when it could be smelling things or looking for snacks, what gives?

So when we heard the news about urban turtles delaying flights at JFK airport, we had to pay attention.  We particularly love that the Post calls the turtles sex crazed, they have to find the sex angle for any story.  This from the paper classy enough to be famous for this headline, we warn you look at your own risk!

Anyway, the turtles are walking across the airport because they are looking for higher ground to lay their eggs.   It happens every year apparently.  Flights where delayed two hours before the turtles where all rounded up.  At leat none of them where hurt, turtles live a long time so maybe one of the Shellys was among them.  Here is a video of the turtles doing there thing from ABC news:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Schools Out for Summer

Today is the last day of school and as I'm not working summer school--the hounds will have a stay at home mom for two months.  I plan to make some really great summer memories (like the ones in these photos and this video)-Here's to the dog days of summer....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream-The Canis Minor Ice Cream Social

Its Summer and we all know what that means:  Ice Cream!

So why should humans have all the fun, not fair!  Today Norbert got to attend the 6th annual Canis Minor Ice Cream Social in Pavonia Newport.   Since Canis Minor is one of our favorite stores (it carries lots of yummy high quality food, treats, and chews as well as toys and it even has a grooming salon) we go to the social every year.  The hounds dad and I were a little worried about it being a bit hot for Bob and the pugs, and Dr. Zira is a little shy for such a big social event, so we decided Norbert deserved a solo outing.  He certainly had a blast.   There was doggie ice cream as well as food for people and gift bags containing Merrick dog food, Innova Wet Food, and a 25% of grooming coupon that we are cashing in tomorrow, bath time for Norbert!   Best of all there were tons of adorable urban hounds and Norbert made plenty of new friends.  The local Jersey City animal shelter, Liberty Humane Society, was also there with some wonderful adoptable dogs.

Norbert tried Peanut Butter Ice Cream and deemed it very tasty, and he is a picky dog!

Lick, lick

This little guy tried to horn in on Norbert's ice cream, which he wasn't too crazy about, but then they had nice time playing together.

These min-pins belong to one of the workers at the store and they are always dressed to the  nines.

Norbert made friends with them--he loves tiny dogs-just like his mom and dad.

Here the min pins are with their mom-getting some more ice cream.

All the dogs where having a great time-and there were a lot of different breeds. 

This Boston was particularly cute, even if he was an ice cream thief, but he was having so much fun he didn't stand still enough to take a good picture!

Since Norbert got his ice cream treat we had to be fair to the other hounds at home  and go by the store to get some treats. While we were there we saw this lovely cat, Athena, who is up for adoption

We hope she finds a wonderful home.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

All of us Urban Hounds and Urban Kitties love our dad-how could we not! He plays with us, feeds us, take us for walks, and to the vet.  In honor of Father's Day mom picked some of her favorite pictures of us with him to share with you.  If your Dad's are half as wonderful as ours then you are in a good shape.

 Of course, We had to get our Dad some nice Father's Day gifts so mom helped us pick out a comic book from his wish list (the guy's crazy about comic books) and since we wanted to get him something appropriate for pet father's day we got him this shirt, in gray not black so as to better camouflage the pet hair,

from the Bark store (mom has one too). 

Mom also made dessert for Father's Day, she loves to bake (brownies, cakes, cookies, crumbles) but has never tried to make pie crust from scratch.  She decided this summer was the time to try and she got this book  

Williams and Sonoma Pies and Tarts and attempted the Apricot Ginger Pie.  Here is a link to the recipe link

and a picture of mom's pie (it didn't look pretty but it tasted good!)

We hope all of you were extra nice to your Dad's and gave them a special day too.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

An Urban Hounds Call to Action-Fight House Bill 4714-Help Stop BSL

Norbert here: those that are privileged enough to make my acquaintance   know that in addition to being one of the best dogs on the planet, I am also a mystery mix.  There could be almost anything in there: Lab, Pointer, German Shepherd, St. Bernard, Great Dane OR...American Pit Bull Terrier.   So of course my family and I are very upset about House Bill 4174 a bill which proposes to ban all American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Bull Terriers,  AND Staffordshire Bull Terriers  in the state of Michigan AND all dogs displaying "the majority of physical traits" of any of those breeds OR "a dog displaying those distinguishing characteristics."  What the heck does that mean?  Basically it means that any dog that is or might be a pit bull or any dog that anyone in authority thinks might look or act like a pit bull could be put to death.  

This is not a political blog.   Usually the most political my mom and dad get are that they vote in the Presidential election every four years and on weekends mom  likes wearing this shirt that she bought a few years ago from Urban Outfitters:

But when mom got an email about the Michigan bill from the NYC Pitbull Meetup Group meet up group she got pretty upset.

The email featured this form letter:

Honorable Officials, ladies and gentlemen,

The animal loving public is shocked and appalled to learn that Michigan is considering imposing unsubstantiated and un-called for breed specific legislation, on a largely ignorant public, who thanks to sound bites and media hysteria, may actually believe that this sort of heinous legislation will protect them. This type of legislation, modeled after other cities that have yet to move into the 21st century, is very much "in vogue" now, and has proven time and again to be costly to innocent animals and the families that love them.

The injustice of Breed Specific Legislation that officials have embraced in an effort to calm an uninformed and frightened public, can never address the real issues of owner irresponsibility, cruelty and negligence. In fact, such legislation is unreasonably punitive of innocent victims and is indicative of a legal system, out of control. Shame on those who support this distraction from the real issues! To its discredit, BSL can be compared to gender or racial profiling. Simply because a dog appears to be a dog on the restricted list it is treated as one.   Please see this link:   ( Find which dog is the pit bull).

What if you were driving down the road and the police took you to jail, sentenced you, and placed you on death row just for looking like a certain ethnic group? BSL does exactly that to dogs. The number one restricted breed in the world is the Pit Bull Terrier,  or any cross thereof, and this is the breed once considered the best choice for a family pet. Meaning, if your dog is even suspected of having PBT in its blood it can fall under the power of these laws.

BSL is nothing more than breed profiling and to date, studies have failed to show that it has worked to curb the number of serious dog attacks it was put in place to stop; the only thing it has done is make life hell on earth for innocent dogs and ordinary law abiding dog lovers. BSL is a flawed concept from the moment it is conceived. In most cases the dogs are targeted and receive the ultimate punishment, a death sentence, leaving the owner, who is the responsible, rational thinking party, out of it. Dogs are not the problem and BSL does not recognize this. People are the problem and until individuals are punished for intentional, neglectful actions, we will never stop the problem. Furthermore, the best argument against breed bans is that they are costly and ineffective. Breed bans are often a knee-jerk reaction from politicians who want to say they are "doing something", usually after a highly publicized dog attack (of any breed). This is a useless exercise unworthy of a compassionate community and not merited, according to all research and statistics on this issue. Law abiding responsible owners, whose dogs love people and have never done anything wrong, can see their homes invaded, often without a search warrant, and their beloved family members dragged away (in front of their children) to be killed. Not because the dogs are unstable or mean, but simply because of their breed.

I urge you to spend a few minutes looking at the stories on this website: and learning about the "pit-bull" who was once considered a "hero" and the favorite pet of families, mostly because of his loving and docile nature. I am not certain why you have seen fit to go down this road, but as a concerned and informed individual who has seen the down side and tragic outcome of similar misguided efforts to deal with these matters, I urge you to re-consider the injustice, the inhumanity of legislation that attempts to cure a problem by causing even greater suffering and injustice. Loving innocent pets, who have never caused anyone harm should not be subjected to unfair legal machinations that do not concern them. Why indeed, should these unfortunate animals be the victims of such cruel and unusual punishment? I can hardly believe that it is necessary for me to write this letter, in this day and age. Where is justice, the appropriateness of such actions? What has happened to fairness and common sense? I look forward to your reply.



I would love all my blog friends to tell their moms and dads to copy and paste this letter into their email and then send  to the following Michigan  representatives:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Make sure to tell your moms and dads to include their name and address or the letter will be disregarded.

Mom also found this wonderful story about a beautifull heroic Pit Bull named Diamond

Diamond and her owner Darryl Steen
  who saved her family, a single father and his two daughters, from a fire.  She received the National Hero Dog Award from SPCA in Los Angeles (link) and her family still can not find an apartment that will take her! One reason that mom really loves this story is that Diamond's family is standing by her, Mr. Steen has said the he will not give up on his dog and will keep looking for a place to live where they can all  be together.   Obviously not every Pit Bull gets a chance to be as big a hero as Diamond, but there are many many wonderful Pit Bulls that are loving family pets.   Mom says all dog lovers need to stand united in protest of BSL, so please, everyone do your part!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dining with Dogs-Take 4 Bertucci's Resteraunt

Image from New Times Palm Beach link

As I said before, one of my favorite things about living in the city is the profusion of sidewalk cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating providing the opportunity, at least in the warmer months, to dine out with your canine companion.   Not only do you get to hang out with your dog  you have an excellent venue to work on basic manners such as: 
  1. Rewarding your dog for lying down or sitting (you don't want a hungry hound leaping on the table), 
  2. Being calm (no one wants to listen to non-stop barking as they eat)
  3. Ignoring other dogs passing by (I once saw an unfortunate women at an outdoor cafe who had her chair pulled over onto the side walk when her bulldog lunged after a yorkie).
  4. Sitting politely to be be petted by strangers. 
Its also an excellent opportunity to work on socialization, particularly with a puppy or young dog, but you do have to make sure your dog is comfortable and enjoying themselves.  A dog that is nervous around strangers is not a good candidate for dining out, no one will have a good time, this is one reason we rarely eat out with  Dr. Zira, unless the restaurant or cafe is totally empty. I admit my dogs are not always perfectly behaved (they are perfect of course!) but other then the shy Dr. Z who would rather stay home on they couch, they have all gotten pretty good at dining out and I make sure to reward their good behavior with some dog treats (or maybe even a nibble of restaurant food, if they sit politely for it) and a nice walk at the end of the meal.

So far this spring and summer Ive taken one or two of the dogs (more would be too difficult to manage and I get an opportunity to spend one on one time with them) to Shake ShackTommy Two Scoops, and Soul Flavors.  Last night we decided to take Bob to Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizzeria in Pavonia Newport. 

Bob and his dad outside the restaurant.

A view of the restaurant Patio

Another view of the restaurant patio and the finished Mozzarella Frito (yummy)

One reason I like Bertucci's for dining with dogs is they have a outdoor section which is sort of fenced and semi surrounded with canvas advertisements for the restaurant.  The canvas advertisements act as blinders to sidewalk views and this is is perfect for Bob who can be a little reactive to strange dogs.  It makes it easier for me to distract him when a dog walks by and we can sit in the corner and have more space then at most restaurants (a plus with big guys like Bob or his brother Norbert.)   The food isn't spectacular, but it's certainly not bad and the Mozzarello Frito is very good (but then how can fried cheese be bad). I was very proud of Bob he was perfectly behaved (of course I was armed with beef burger treats from Zoomies NYC), and Bob certainly enjoyed the piece of bread I offered him.

More bread please!, I am being so good!

And of course since Bob is a bulldog and prone to overheating even though it was a cool night we didn't forget the water: (sorry its blurry it was dusk so the exposure took a long time)

Water for me, Wine for mom

After dinner we walked around the Pavonia Newport walkway which has amazing views of Manhattan across the Hudson River.  It was dark so my lousy camera definitely could not do the view justice, hears a google image similar to what we saw


Hope everyone else had a good start to the weekend.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Beauty Apointment

This week when I looked at Dr. Zira all I could think of was this poem by Herbert Asquith 

The Hairy Dog
My dog's so furry I've not seen
His face for years and years;
His eyes are buried out of sight,
I only guess his ears.
When people ask me for his breed,
I do not know or care;
He has the beauty of them all
Hidden beneath his hair.
Ok, so maybe it wasn't that bad, but I still thought she needed a grooming.  Zira HATES the groomer but there is no other option, she is far to squirmy to be groomed at home by her father and I (remember 9 years of neglect before we got her), so we bring her to a very nice upscale groomer at Canis Minor in the posh Pavonia Newport section of Jersey City (only the best for the urban hounds).  They a do nice job but they are not cheap, suffice it to say that Dr. Z's hair cuts cost far more then mine do, and I can be a little vain about my hair.
While we waited for Zira to finish with her beauty treatment we went out for brunch at the delicious restaurant Soul Flavors. I love going to outdoor cafes with the dogs, one of the nice things about city living is that in the warmer weather EVERY restaurant has dog friendly outdoor dining space.   We always think its better to take just one dog when eating at a cafe, so much easier to manage any mischievousness .  Norbert is a bit big for Soul Flavors tiny out door dining space, Bob is resting a sore leg, and Ping got to go out to brunch last time we went, so the honor fell to Tubby.  He really seemed to enjoy the few tastes of fried chicken and waffles I gave him (and the peach cobbler.)   Not exactly health food, but who could resist this face?

When we picked Zira up after her grooming appointment she looked pretty good too.  (Of course she drools a bit because her mouth does not close properly, so her beard started to get snaggly right away).  She smells pretty good though.

We had to stop by the store on the way home and Dr. Z and Tubby looked very cute waiting with me in the car for their dad.  (Don't worry it wasn't hot in the car at all, only about 65 degrees).

Where is he!  Do you see him?

Who do you think has the longer tongue?

Step on it Tubs!  Lets get out of here.
They were so happy to see their Dad when he came out of the store you would have thought he had been gone  a month.  Truly, you don't know what it is to be missed until you own a dog.