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Thread: Where the Dogs Are: The Favorite ZIP Codes

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    February 10, 2002

    Where the Dogs Are: The Favorite ZIP Codes

    By DENNY LEE

    The census gathers lots of information, but it has no check box for dogs. So their owners have marked their turf with homespun theories about where the most dogs reside.

    "It's definitely the West Village," said Lynn Pacifico, president of the Dog Owners Action Committee, a West Village group. "Historically, the Village is where a lot of people didn't have children, so they had dogs."

    Nina Munk, founder of Urbanhound.com, an online survival guide for dog owners, reached a different conclusion. "My gut tells me the Upper West Side," she said. "Dog owners tend to be more affluent."

    But the city Department of Health tracks dogs even if the census does not, and its newest numbers say both answers are wrong. The right one, at least for licensed dogs, is Lenox Hill in Manhattan, with 2,584.

    The city requires that all dogs be licensed and their owners identified. The health department categorizes licenses by the city's nearly 200 ZIP codes and, according to its most recent figures, compiled last month, Lenox Hill leads the list.

    "I'm not surprised at all," said Barbara Stichinsky, a dog walker from Lenox Hill. "We have everything: doggie gyms, doggie treadmills, doggie behavior specialists. And there's tons of walkers here."

    There are 90,663 licensed dogs in the city, but Robert A. Marino, vice president of the New York Council of Dog Owner Groups, pointed to A.S.P.C.A. figures and other sources to conclude that less than 1 in 15 dogs in the city are licensed. So New York has roughly 1.5 million dogs, licensed and unlicensed.

    Still, the Health Department figures reveal interesting patterns, such as the link between dogs and green space. ZIP codes that flank Central Park have some of the highest number of dog tags, as do areas with large backyards, like central and southern Staten Island. The West Village ranks 19th on the list.

    Roosevelt Island, despite its waterfront esplanades, has the fewest dogs in the city, 15, because of longstanding rules barring most dogs. The absence has even inspired a documentary short, "Roosevelt Island: Land Without Dogs," shown at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater in the East Village last year.

    The city's dog population will spike temporarily in the next two days. That's when about 2,500 dogs will compete in the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. *

    Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company

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    Default Where the Dogs Are: The Favorite ZIP Codes

    Funny looking at these old threads from the beginning before there were enough members to make replies.

    This statistic is astonighing:
    New York has roughly 1.5 million dogs, licensed and unlicensed.

    That's about as many humans there are in Philadelphia!

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    Default Where the Dogs Are: The Favorite ZIP Codes

    Wow! *Those are astonishing statisitics! *Some countries aren't even that populated! *

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    October 24, 2003

    New York's Top Dog? It Depends on the ZIP Code

    By SUSAN SAULNY


    Baby Lin, a Shih Tzu, had a shampoo at Biscuits and Bath Doggie Gym on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The Shih Tzu was the fourth most common breed registered in the city in the 2003 fiscal year.

    Slide Show: A Doggie Census

    Video: Susan Saulny, Metro Reporter

    Maybe you can't judge a book by its cover, but it sure looks as if you can judge New Yorkers by their dogs.

    A New York Times analysis of dog licensing data (yes, we took the time to do this) from recent statistics collected by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shows that Hispanics are more likely than whites or blacks to own dogs, that young adults are more likely than retirees to have dogs and that dachshunds are not exactly winning any popularity contests.

    Although this dog census is limited — it counts only the city dogs that actually have licenses, one in five — it also shows clearly discernible patterns of dog ownership by neighborhood, tracked through ZIP codes. And these statistics confirm many longstanding dog-owner stereotypes.

    For instance, who would be most likely to own Lucy, a cute little Shih Tzu? (Hint: Lucy often wears her long hair in a high ponytail above her eyes, fastened with a little pink bow.)

    Thinking, thinking.

    Someone from ZIP code 10021, you say, on the Upper East Side? That would be correct.

    And here's Max, a tiny Chihuahua, the spunky breed with Mexican roots chosen to extol the virtues of Taco Bell in TV commercials. Where would Max's owner be most likely to live? (Hurry, guess!)

    Yes: 10029, Spanish Harlem.

    O.K., one more: Rocky the Rottweiler. And his owner probably lives where?

    O.K., the South Bronx — Soundview at ZIP code 10473, to be exact.

    The city collects data when owners license their dogs, mostly to learn how many dogs have been spayed or neutered and for other reasons having to do with public health, officials at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said. The department estimates that there are 530,000 dogs in the city, 80 percent of them without licenses, so the analysis has its limits. (For example, in neighborhoods where owners are diligent about registering their pets, there may seem to be more dogs than in other neighborhoods.) The city, of course, wants all dogs to be law-abiding; a license costs $8.50 per year if a dog is spayed or neutered, and $11.50 if it is not. Applications can be found through nyc.gov/health or by calling 311.

    Imperfect though they may be, the dog statistics do say something about New York. Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city's commissioner of health, says the patterns suggest a city of neighborhoods. "I think there are groupings of people who have dogs for different reasons," he said. "Some for companionship, some for safety and security."

    Over all, the most common type of dog licensed in the 2003 fiscal year, which ended on June 30, was a mixed breed. This was followed, in order, by Labrador retriever, German shepherd, Shih Tzu, pit bull, Chihuahua, Yorkshire terrier, cocker spaniel, Rottweiler and Maltese.

    Dogs that are considered tough are more common in neighborhoods with tough reputations. So the largest concentrations of pit bulls are in Spanish Harlem and Alphabet City. Rottweilers are popular in Soundview; Canarsie, Brooklyn; and Spanish Harlem.

    Lap dogs are more often found in the lap of luxury. According to the city's statistics, more Shih Tzus live on the Upper East Side in the 10021 ZIP code than in any other neighborhood in the city. And those residents also have a penchant for naming their dogs Lucy, more so than New Yorkers in any other area.

    (On the pink bow, well, no, there is no data on dog attire. But based on one reporter's observations, it is true that the Lucys of New York wear bows. Sometimes coats and shoes as well, depending on the weather. Admit it, you've seen Lucy, too.)

    Dachshunds are not so popular in the city, but the statistics indicate that at least 45 of them live in ZIP codes 10013 and 10014, which include the West Village, TriBeCa and Chinatown. There are only eight others registered across the city, with four of those being in ZIP code 10475, Co-op City, in the Bronx.

    And what about poodles? Aren't poodles popular all over? Not in Manhattan, according to the statistics. Look for them in Sheepshead Bay or Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn.

    Walking her Manhattan poodle through Tompkins Square Park last week, Nancy Tucker talked about "the legacy of pit bull fighting" in the East Village, which makes people think the neighborhood is "a rough-and-tumble dog place."

    But Washington Square Park, she said, is a far different place, judging by the dogs that frequent it.

    "It's much more genteel," she said. "I only know these two parks, and they're very different."

    In contrast to the Lower East Side, with its big dogs, the eastern end of Greenwich Village (10003) stands out for its number of pugs.

    Michael Troy, a student at New York University in the Village, has a theory as to why the dogs he sees are so well behaved. "There are so many dogs here, they get socialized really well," he said. "They don't think that they are people. They are more intelligent because they're more aware of who they are."

    The Department of Health has found that demographics, not just geography, play a role in dog ownership. According to a community health survey completed this year, Dr. Frieden said, age and race play a part in dog ownership, too.

    Twenty percent of younger New Yorkers, 18 to 24, own dogs, he said. But only 5 percent of people 65 and older own dogs.

    Seven percent of blacks in the city own dogs, compared with 14 percent of whites and 17 percent of Hispanics, according to the survey. (There was no information on Asians.)

    And New Yorkers who are foreign-born are less likely to be dog owners than people who were born in the United States.

    Although the licensing records show that 10021 on the Upper East Side has more dogs registered than any other ZIP code in the city, across Central Park, all the ZIP codes of the Upper West Side are among the most popular for dog ownership, but no particular breed stands out as dominant.

    "It's sort of the nature of the neighborhood; the cast of characters is all shapes and sizes," said Peter Farnsworth, a sports marketing executive who lives on West 81st Street with his wife, Randi Stone, and their puppy, Becket, a Jack Russell terrier. "Stereotypically, it's liberal. By extension, you'd think there would be some level of open-mindedness, a welcoming outlook, and that applies to dogs, too."

    Speaking of stereotypes, Mr. Farnsworth said that his dog's name prompted interesting conversations in the neighborhood.

    "In sharing that his name is Becket, invariably people ask about Samuel Beckett, the great playwright," Mr. Farnsworth said. "One guy said, `And my dog's name is Chaucer.' We had to break the news that Becket is named after a little town in the Berkshires, and not the poet or Sir Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury in the 1100's. There wasn't that much thought put into it, but it is interesting insofar as the mindset of the people, a literary group that assumes you named your dog after the archbishop of Canterbury."

    Sorry, Becket and Chaucer. Your names didn't make the top 10 list. The most popular dog names in the 2003 fiscal year were Max, Lucky, Princess, Rocky, Buddy, Lady, Shadow, Daisy, Coco and Ginger.

    Still, having examined the breeds and names, a question remains: Is there a New York dog, one that can signify the city as a whole? Bash Dibra, a dog trainer who works with the entertainment industry, says yes.

    Frequently, Mr. Dibra said, scripts for commercials and situation comedies require what is loosely described as "a New York dog." He knows what to deliver.

    "The New York dog is different from the national dog," he said. "The national dog has sort of a Midwestern look, well mannered with a good groom. Maybe a golden Lab. The New York dog is streetwise, spunky, intelligent. It's the kind of dog that would say: `Arghruff! Make my day.' "



    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

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    April 18, 2004

    Under Plan, Every Dog Would Have His Insurance

    By SABRINA TAVERNISE

    Careful New Yorkers probably have insurance to cover the chance fender-bender, house fire or surprise attack of the chicken pox. Now, if a Bronx lawmaker has his way, they will have to take out yet another policy - one for their dogs.

    State Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera, a Democrat whose district is in the Bronx, proposed a new bill last month that, if passed, would require all dog owners in New York State to have liability insurance for their pets. The bill, which Mr. Rivera said would probably be ready for debate on the Assembly floor in a month, is called "Elijah's Law" for a 3-year-old boy, Elijah Torres, who was seriously injured in an attack by a Rottweiler in the Bronx last fall.

    The law would circumvent the major sticking point in dog attack cases in New York City, Mr. Rivera said. Currently, an attack victim can take legal action only if a dog is documented as "dangerous," a designation assigned only after the dog has already bitten, he said.

    "There's an old doctrine that says an owner is not liable until a dog is declared dangerous," Mr. Rivera said. "My legislation would require that any dog owner has to have insurance."

    A summary of the bill offered grim statistics. In 2002, a total of 5,176 dog bites were reported in New York City, it stated. Nationwide, dogs bite about 7,000 mail carriers a year, it said. (The Postal Service's Web site noted that the count, taken in 1983, had fallen by half by the late 1990's.)

    More children, according to the summary, visit emergency rooms for dog bites than for the total of injuries on playgrounds and from bicycles, mopeds, all-terrain vehicles, in-line skating, and skateboards combined. Mr. Rivera said compliance would be affordable, costing between $75 and $100 annually. Still, it was not clear whether insurance companies would agree with the figures.

    Other questions have been raised. It took years for New York State drivers to finally surrender to mandatory vehicle insurance in the late 1950's. How long would they drag their heels with their dogs?

    In New York City, officials from the city's main animal shelter and the Department of Health cautioned that laws already require dog owners to purchase licenses for their pets, as proof that the animal has been vaccinated, but only about one fifth of all dog owners actually comply.

    City residents own about 530,000 dogs, but only about 110,000 are licensed, according to Department of Health estimates.

    "It's a very anemic licensing program in New York City," said Edward Boks, executive director of Animal Care and Control, a group the city employs to run its animal shelters, which take in 45,000 lost cats, dogs and other animals each year.

    Then there is the problem of making sure all dogs are insured.

    "It's wonderful to have these laws, but enforcing them costs money," Mr. Boks said. "We have a very difficult time enforcing the leash law and the license law."

    Still, Mr. Rivera said, the state should make an attempt.

    "It may be a burden, but it's a positive burden."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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    May 25, 2004

    Rooming With the Big Dogs

    By ANDREA ELLIOTT

    Slide Show: 140-Pound City Pets and the People Who Love Them

    People talk to Ego Le Bow. He has the qualities of any good therapist - he is calm, seems to listen and is not easily fazed. He is also a hulking white dog who at times resembles a polar bear. "They whisper in his ear, tell him their dreams," said Dr. Michelle Le Bow, a psychologist on the Upper West Side who began involving Ego in her sessions with patients eight years ago.

    The story of how Ego became a quasi-psychotherapist is as layered and quirky as any New York tale, but has its roots in this basic fact: It takes creativity to integrate a giant-breed dog into one's life in the city. Ego, a Great Pyrenees, hails from a long line of ancestors bred to guard sheep in the mountains. He needs to go on four ambling walks every day, so Dr. Le Bow started taking him to work, five blocks south of the apartment they share. "He gets two extra walks a day that way," she said.

    In a city defined by small spaces - cabs, elevators, cramped apartments and crowded sidewalks - it is often cause for bewilderment that New Yorkers would willingly choose to live with Great Danes, Newfoundlands, St. Bernards and Irish wolfhounds. Everything is outsize: the hair, the smell, the pull of a passing squirrel, the grooming bills, the food intake and its inevitable digestive exit, which can summon spectators like some kind of street show.

    To enter a dog run is to induce a panic of King Kong proportions. Hailing a cab to the vet is an exercise in rejection.

    Perhaps the greatest irritant of all are the comments from strangers. "If I hear 'Scooby Doo!', 'Marmaduke!' or 'It's a horse not a dog' one more time I will jump out of my skin," said Jaime Stankevicius, an opera singer who shares a Chelsea studio with his Great Dane, Avalon. "If you're really in a hurry, you have to put a hat on, keep your head down and walk fast, because otherwise it takes four hours to walk around the block."

    But, like so many other big-dog owners, Mr. Stankevicius is religiously attached to his choice of pet. A smaller dog would "feel like a purse," he said. Avalon stands 6 feet 3 inches tall on his hind legs and weighs 140 pounds. His nails are trimmed with a Dremel rotary power tool. He consumes $30 to $50 worth of food a week. The dog's largeness lends him a certain humanity, a soothing thing in a lonely city.

    "We're just like roommates," said Mr. Stankevicius, 38.

    They do everything together, including sleep in the same four-poster bed. There is no other bed suitable in size. For the same reason, two Irish wolfhounds in Mott Haven, the Bronx, share a twin mattress. An English mastiff on the Upper East Side sleeps on an eight-foot-long couch.

    "You can't play that, 'I'm the alpha, I'm the one in charge here,' " said Ralina Cardona, 34, the owner of the two Irish wolfhounds. "It has to be a coexistence when it's a big dog."

    In a city ruled by big personalities, big dogs fare well. Avalon's daily trek through Chelsea is like a celebrity tour. It begins at the Midtown Lumber Mart on West 25th Street, where he stands on his hind legs and lifts his paws onto the counter. The store manager hands him a block of pine, which he chews with relish. Customers stare in disbelief.

    "Does this guy live in a New York apartment?" asks one customer, Evan Alboum, with raised eyebrows. Outside, a woman approaches. "Is this Avalon?" she asks before he trots regally to his next spot, a toy store on Eighth Avenue where again he stands up to the counter and accepts a biscuit as if collecting a payment. The same thing happens in restaurants and liquor stores. They all know Avalon.

    "It's indecent," said Mr. Stankevicius. "Every day is Halloween for him."

    There are certain psyches that take hold with owning a large dog. There is the "only a big dog is a real dog" attitude, which owners of smaller dogs abhor. There's the vicarious love of big-dog attention. "I once counted 40 inquiries in an hour, but that's when the tourists are here," said Arnold Lebow, Ego's other owner.

    There is big-dog-owner narcissism: the notion that even if these dogs had acres of rolling hills or a sprawling home, they would always stay near their owners. "I could have 10,000 square feet, and it wouldn't matter," Mr. Stankevicius said. (It is true that many large dogs need less exercise than smaller dogs.) And then there is the "I will sacrifice anything for this dog" fanaticism that is almost universal to New York pet owners, but often comes with a greater price when the dog is big.

    Take Barry and Brutus.

    Barry Kellman is 35 years old and going through a divorce. Brutus is 5 years old and has already gone through his own divorce of sorts.

    "When my wife got pregnant, she threw Brutus out," said Mr. Kellman, who lives on the Upper East Side and owns a medical management company.

    Brutus is an English mastiff whom Mr. Kellman bought over the phone when the dog was not yet a month old. He arrived from Philadelphia the following week and immediately started getting bigger. He now weighs 160 pounds.

    "When my wife met him, she loved him. Then, once she moved in - look, he's an animal," said Mr. Kellman. "He's a slob."

    "Beyond a slob," said the wife, Shane Markus-Kellman, 30, in a telephone interview. Brutus, she said, was too much to bear in a 740-square-foot apartment with a baby on the way. "The baby's whole head could fit into his mouth."

    Mr. Kellman would not give Brutus up, so the dog went to live at Biscuits & Bath Doggy Gym, which offers overnight boarding a few blocks away from Mr. Kellman's Murray Hill office. On visits, he sneaked Brutus his favorite treats: steak and beer.

    "We used to keep Brutus behind the front desk with us just to see people's reactions to this big head," said Meyghan Hill, 25, a receptionist.

    But nothing compared to living with his owner, and Brutus lost weight.

    "I think he sensed all along that he was traded in for a baby," said Mr. Kellman, who has photos of both his baby boy and Brutus on his cellphone.

    After three months, at $55 a night, the boarding bills piled up. So Mr. Kellman did the next logical thing (in his mind): he rented a one-bedroom apartment for Brutus last July and found him a roommate. In exchange for living with Brutus, Mr. Kellman agreed to pay the rent in full - $1,800.

    To meet Brutus is to appreciate the challenge of living with him. He slurps water from his bowl like a horse at a trough. He urinates with considerable force and stamina. "This goes for about 15 minutes," said Paul D'Amato, the doorman of his building. "He's a tank."

    Brutus also drools constantly: when he walks, saliva swings like a pendulum. When he shakes his head, it flies onto the walls, the front door, Mr. Kellman's clothes (the dry cleaning bill is about $400 a month), and in places not to be believed.

    "Every now and then you'll see something hanging from the ceiling," said Mr. Kellman. He once found it in his shoes. But Brutus's charm is undeniable. His trusting eyes and massive head bring to mind E.T., the extra-terrestrial.

    Mr. Kellman's marriage ended last fall - not because of Brutus, he said - and Mr. Kellman was also suddenly out of a home. He is now sleeping on a couch in Brutus's apartment while they look for a bigger place.

    "I'm a slob anyway," said Mr. Kellman. "We've got the band back together."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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    Times Square Gets Canine Patrols

    JUNE 03RD, 2004

    One of the city's busiest areas now has an added measure of safety in the form of bomb-sniffing dogs. NY1's Amanda Farinacci was in Times Square as a new canine unit took to the streets.

    Judge is a golden retriever trained to sniff out explosives in Times Square.

    He's part of a new program funded by the Times Square Alliance, to keep one of New York's busiest area safe.

    "If there's visible signs of security, that in itself is a deterrent, but it's also a real deterrent because the dog has been trained," said President of Times Square Alliance Tim Tompkins. "They take a 12-week course to detect so that it can smell whether there is any kind of explosive device – it's in a trash can or a parked car on the street."

    Judge and two other bomb-sniffing dogs will take to Times Square in four hour shifts to sniff out any potential threats.

    The random sidewalk patrols will start out two days a week and hopefully increase with more funding.

    "They're put through a very rigorous training program, in all kinds of weather, and they have to be able to detect several different types of explosives before they can graduate from our school," said Canine Division Director Steve Vitale.

    Most people we spoke with say they don't feel particularly unsafe in Times Square, but they say having the dogs around as a precaution is a great idea.

    "You see their success rates at airports and that – their ability to pick up drugs, etc., it's phenomenal," said one man. "No human could achieve anything remotely like that."

    "I know that it's a target, like any other crowded mall, and people I am sure go about their business looking over their shoulder, but this will help," said another man.

    The NYPD already has cops stationed in Times Square, and the privately-funded canine unit is meant to provide an extra measure of safety.

    "He knows when he smells one of the items that he's been trained on, and he sits, he tells me, then we know something is there," said dog handler Brian Hayen.

    None of the previous events the dogs have been used for, like the New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square and the TriBeCa Film festival, have turned up any explosives, but the dogs are a welcome addition to the crosswalks of the world.

    – Amanda Farinacci
    Copyright © 2004 NY1 News.

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    Judge and two other bomb-sniffing dogs will take to Times Square in four hour shifts to sniff out any potential threats.
    Plus they are going to have to strugle a little bit with sniffing other smells in the area.

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    Research Shows Dogs Understand Language

    Jun 10, 7:45 AM (ET)

    By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID

    (AP) Rico, a dog with a "vocabulary" of nearly 200 words, can learn the names of unfamiliar toys after...

    WASHINGTON (AP) - As many a dog owner will attest, our furry friends are listening. Now, for the doubters, there is scientific proof they understand much of what they hear.

    German researchers have found a border collie named Rico who understands more than 200 words and can learn new ones as quickly as many children.

    Patti Strand, an American Kennel Club board member, called the report "good news for those of us who talk to our dogs."

    "Like parents of toddlers, we learned long ago the importance of spelling key words like bath, pill or vet when speaking in front of our dogs," Strand said. "Thanks to the researchers who've proven that people who talk to their dogs are cutting-edge communicators, not just a bunch of eccentrics."

    The researchers found that Rico knows the names of dozens of play toys and can find the one called for by his owner. That is a vocabulary size about the same as apes, dolphins and parrots trained to understand words, the researchers say.

    Rico can even take the next step, figuring out what a new word means.

    The researchers put several known toys in a room along with one that Rico had not seen before. From a different room, Rico's owner asked him to fetch a toy, using a name for the toy the dog had never heard.

    The border collie, a breed known primarily for its herding ability, was able to go to the room with the toys and, seven times out of 10, bring back the one he had not seen before. The dog seemingly understood that because he knew the names of all the other toys, the new one must be the one with the unfamiliar name.

    "Apparently he was able to link the novel word to the novel item based on exclusion learning, either because he knew that the familiar items already had names or because they were not novel," said the researchers, led by Julia Fischer of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

    A month later, he still remembered the name of that new toy three out of six times, even without having seen it since that first test. That is a rate the scientists said was equivalent to that of a 3-year-old.

    Rico's learning ability may indicate that some parts of speech comprehension developed separately from human speech, the scientists said.

    "You don't have to be able to talk to understand a lot," Fischer said. The team noted that dogs have evolved with humans and have been selected for their ability to respond to the communications of people.

    Katrina Kelner, Science's deputy editor for life sciences, said "such fast, one-trial learning in dogs is remarkable. This ability suggests that the brain structures that support this kind of learning are not unique to humans and may have formed the evolutionary basis of some of the advanced language abilities of humans."

    Perhaps, although Paul Bloom of Yale University urges caution.

    "Children can understand words used in a range of contexts. Rico's understanding is manifested in his fetching behavior," Bloom writes in a commentary, also in Science.

    Bloom calls for further experiments to answer several questions: Can Rico learn a word for something other than a small object to be fetched? Can he display knowledge of a word in some way other than fetching? Can he follow an instruction not to fetch something?

    Fischer and her colleagues are still working with Rico to see if he can understand requests to put toys in boxes or to bring them to certain people. Rico was born in December 1994 and lives with his owners. He was tested at home.

    Funding for this research was provided in part by the German Research Foundation.

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    July 11, 2004

    NEIGHBORHOOD MYSTERY

    A Handsome Stranger And the Hearts He's Won

    By VICKI VILA


    Babe, so named by one animal-loving resident who didn't want to keep calling him "the stray" or "the dog."

    IN a little piece of Astoria not far from Long Island City, everything is orderly. The low-rise apartment buildings and modest brick row homes cut sharp lines on the tree-dotted streets. The front gardens are bright and fresh, and the parked cars align neatly, none too far from the curb.

    But lately, a wild spirit has come poking its slim snout into this pocket of tidiness. It is a stray dog, caramel colored, built like a German shepherd and fairly healthy looking. It has no collar and apparently no real home, but it does have plenty of concerned guardians and even a few personal chefs.

    The dog is often spotted by residents in the morning, right around commuting time. It ambles up an avenue, sniffing bushes where other dogs have marked - "checking the mail," as they say in dog parlance.

    The dog seems to have a destination in mind, never looking lost or confused or getting caught in traffic. If someone has left the dog a meal, it pauses to eat, but mostly, it stays on the move. Residents and passers-by who cross the dog's path have been known to stop in their tracks, surprised to find this leashless mystery roaming their quiet streets.

    "We don't get too many stray animals around here," Mary Entress, a resident of Queensview Apartments for 28 years, said on her way to work one morning recently. Surely she meant stray dogs, for stray cats are no strangers to Astoria.

    Theories abound as to where such a handsome animal came from. "Maybe somebody owns him and lets him out," Ms. Entress suggested. "But I doubt it." Others say the dog may be lost, or perhaps a careless child opened a gate and set him free inadvertently. Perhaps someone simply abandoned him.

    But one thing is certain: "Everybody knows about him," said Angela Ferrini, a neighborhood resident with impressive animal credentials - she owns three cats and a dog, a collie and shepherd mix named Queenie who, at nearly 17 years old, is the elder stateswoman of the local canine set. Ms. Ferrini also helps feed 17 stray cats every day.

    "You're worried when you see him," she said of the stray dog, "but more worried when you don't see him." Such sightings can be fleeting, though. "He's calm, chilled out," Ms. Ferrini said, emphasizing what a well-mannered and streetwise dog he seems to be. "Except you can't get near him. He doesn't trust people." She has taken to calling the dog Babe because she doesn't want to keep calling him the stray or the dog, as others do. "It was always just 'the Babe' " she said.

    As to the "himness" of this Babe, Ms. Ferrini said that the dog at one time seemed to take a shine to Queenie; when she took Queenie for her morning walk, Babe would be waiting for them by an old truck outside Ms. Ferrini's apartment.

    Most residents can't recall exactly when they first began seeing the dog, but they say it was probably at least three months ago.

    Mike Ibanescu, a cabdriver from Romania who lives in Astoria and owns a brown and white boxer named Jack, often sees Babe in the morning. He puts food out for him, sometimes boiled beef. He gives him dog food too, but says: "The dogs, they are looking for meat. Same as the kids. You give them the food, they want the cake." He said lots of people feed the dog.

    Ms. Ferrini would take Babe in if she could, but a recent law in her building forbids new dogs. Some people visiting friends in the neighborhood recently heard about Babe and wanted to adopt him and take him to their farm upstate, she said, but when the friends went looking for the dog, he couldn't be found, much to Ms. Ferrini's dismay.

    "I think he would make somebody a good pet,'' she said. "He would be a good watchdog for an older couple. And he looks so lonely, like he's saying, 'I want to come home with you.' "

    UNTIL that happens, Astoria isn't a bad place for Babe. "It's a very animal-friendly place here," Ms. Ferrini said. "Everyone's more worried about him than anything else."

    The list of those concerned includes Rita, an Astoria resident who owns a possibly diabetic cat and who shakes her head at Babe's plight, and a woman and two men walking their dogs one morning at Rainey Park by the East River who said they often saw the dog there. "I feel so bad for that dog," the woman said. "He is so strong-looking, so brave."

    An agent who answered the main number at Animal Care and Control, the nonprofit agency charged with caring for the city's lost or unwanted animals, said no dogs fitting Babe's description had been reported missing in Astoria or Long Island City as far back as May, the earliest month for which records still exist. As for whether the agency received calls from residents who may have spotted such a dog, the agent said that Babe's description - medium-sized, brown, possibly a shepherd mix - was a popular one, and that people called in to report stray dogs all the time.

    Edward Boks, the agency's executive director, said that if dogs are left on their own for too long, they often become feral, which simply means that they won't permit human contact. "So the longer he's out there," Mr. Boks said of Babe, "the more difficult it will be to rehabilitate him." But he emphasized that dogs are much easier to rehabilitate than cats. "Dogs are absolutely dependent on us for survival," he said, "but cats aren't."

    In the end, it may be partly up to Babe himself to decide his fate. There comes a time in most lives when a bit of freedom must be traded for a bit of security. Perhaps, in his doggie heart, Babe knows this. The other day, a fire truck went racing up 29th Street in Astoria, sirens wailing. Babe was there too. He stopped, tilted his head back, and let out a deep wolfish howl full of the melancholy of those too wise for their own good.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  11. #11

    Default

    July 18, 2004

    THE CITY

    Dear Astoria: Your Stray Needs an Owner

    To the Editor:

    If the people in Astoria are so concerned about Babe, the stray dog in their neighborhood ("A Handsome Stranger and the Hearts He's Won," July 11), they'll get him off the street. A dog faces the mean streets with helplessness and fear. Danger is everywhere, as is loneliness.

    When he roams, he might not find his way back. And he will never get a good night's sleep; he must be "on guard" at all times, watching for predators and abusers.

    A dog needs only a pat on the head and some food, and he'll be the most loyal and loving friend on earth. People of Astoria, please find him a home.

    Kiley Blackman
    Yonkers

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  12. #12

    Default

    "He's calm, chilled out," Ms. Ferrini said, emphasizing what a well-mannered and streetwise dog he seems to be. "Except you can't get near him. He doesn't trust people."

  13. #13
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    Default

    Crain's

    Canine shrine on NY track

    By Valerie Block
    Published on March 07, 2005

    In a city where people love dogs so much that they have been known to buy entire apartments for them, one would think there'd be a museum dedicated to the species. One may be coming soon.

    The American Kennel Club is planning to move the Museum of the Dog back to New York. The museum used to be on the ground floor of the New York Life Building, where it attracted more than 250,000 visitors a year. It moved to a St. Louis suburb about 20 years ago to take advantage of an offer by the state of Missouri for free rent, but draws only 10,000 visitors a year there.

    Now, Toni Sosnoff, an exhibitor, breeder and trustee of the museum, is heading up a committee to find 20,000 square feet to house the museum. She's looking for a corporate lobby with free rent, or a deep-pocketed dog lover--like Paris Hilton perhaps--who would buy a building for the museum in exchange for the naming rights.

    "Since the museum moved to St. Louis, our collection has grown to be the finest collection of dog art in the world," says Dennis Sprung, president of the Manhattan-based American Kennel Club. "It should be where more people can appreciate it."


    Bookkeeping for club owners


    David Rabin, president of the New York Night Life Association, has a new gig aimed at bean counting, not clubbing.

    Mr. Rabin's company, 3Sixty Hospitality, which owns trendy Lotus and Union Bar, is peddling its bookkeeping expertise to other bar and restaurant operators.

    The idea is to help small bars and eateries manage the details of running a business, such as payroll and human resource functions. Depending on the size of the business, the service will cost $50,000 to $100,000 a year. It would eliminate the need for an accountant, except at tax time, says Will Regan, Mr. Rabin's partner in 3Sixty.

    Though some owners won't want to open up their books to a competitor, Mr. Regan says, "People in our industry share information pretty freely anyway."

    Finding receptive customers in an industry plagued by a distinct lack of business acumen may not be that difficult, considering Mr. Rabin's numerous contacts in the industry.


    Hotel battle maneuvers


    The battle over the conversion of the Plaza Hotel to condos is creating jobs for political lobbyists. The New York Hotel Trades Council, which represents the Plaza's 900 workers, has hired The Advance Group to run its "Save the Plaza" campaign.

    Representing the hotel owner, Elad Properties, are Kasirer Consulting as chief strategist, Tonio Burgos & Associates, Rubenstein Communications, and downtown preservation consultant Higgins & Quasebarth. The owner has retained law firm Proskauer Rose in case of legal action.

    Elad plans to close the Plaza in May for a major renovation, which includes reducing the number of hotel rooms to make space for 200 luxury condominiums. In the process, union jobs will be lost.

    "We're preparing for a long battle," says a source in the hotel owner's camp.


    Ad magazine's local pitch


    Little-known Create Magazine is moving north to the big city. But the glossy quarterly for advertising professionals, which currently publishes Miami and Orlando editions, won't be taking on New York publications such as Advertising Age, a Crain title, and Adweek, which already cover the industry.

    "We're going to complement those other magazines, not go head-to-head against them," says Jerry Brown, Create's publisher.

    The New York edition of Create, which will launch next month, will be one of 18 new regional editions--all edited out of central Florida, but with some content contributed locally.

    "The idea is that a New York art director can fly to L.A., Seattle or Atlanta and pick up a local edition," says Mr. Brown, who founded Create four years ago. "If they're doing a trade show and need a designer or a local studio, they can find that information."

    The magazine will have a circulation of around 5,000 copies and will sell for $7.95.


    Equal treatment


    Carleton Fiorina's departure from Hewlett-Packard won't hurt other women seeking top jobs, says a New York headhunter who places female executives in tech jobs.

    "Women just want to be treated as equals, with the same opportunities available to them as men," says Rona Davis, founding partner of R.W. Davis & Associates. "If women are to be elevated on their merits, they have to be willing to take the fall for their failures."

    Ms. Davis and partner Elyse Klein got into headhunting in the 1980s. They opened their own firm five years ago, as Ms. Fiorina was heading into the chief executive's office at HP. "It was very exciting," says Ms. Davis.

    She's placed dozens of women in plum spots, including Roseann Palmieri, managing director, data management for Banc of America Securities. She says Ms. Fiorina's ouster was fair. "In this case, she was treated like a man," she says.

  14. #14

    Default

    Man's Best Friend, Even Down to the Genes

    BY KAREN KAPLAN - Los Angeles Times
    December 8, 2005

    URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/24132

    Scientists have decoded the complete genome of the domestic dog, a milestone announced yesterday that provides a biological roadmap for unraveling human diseases and probing the mysterious bond between man and his best friend. Dozens of researchers worked for two years deciphering and analyzing the 19,300 genes belonging to a 12-year-old boxer named Tasha. What they found was an exceptional correlation between the DNA of Canis familiaris and Homo sapiens, according to a study published today in the journal Nature.

    "Humans and dogs have essentially the same genes," said the lead author Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, co-director of the genome sequencing and analysis program at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University.

    "Every gene has a gene with the same function in the other genome." That closeness is reflected in the numerous diseases shared by dogs and humans, including cancer, heart disease, blindness, epilepsy and diabetes. Of the 10 most common diseases in dogs, eight are important to humans.

    The completion of the dog genome offers the possibility that idiosyncratic dog breeds - often specifically bred for behavioral traits such as obedience, viciousness and docility - may help illuminate the elusive genetic instructions that account for the infinite variability of human personalities.

    Tasha, a stout female with a brown-and-white coat and drooping jowls, was selected from a group of 120 dogs screened by the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Md.

    The pure-bred boxer was chosen because her genes showed the least amount of variation among the candidates. Only female dogs were considered because they have two X chromosomes, which researchers wanted to map in detail.

    Scientists refused to say much about Tasha, the pet of an unidentified family. Her stoic photo, however, now hangs prominently in the Mammalian Wall of Fame at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., where the sequencing work was completed.

    The researchers reported that the complete dog genome consists of 2.5 billion chemical letters - commonly known by the letters A, T, C and G - compared to about 3 billion for humans. In scouring Tasha's genome and comparing it to genetic data from 10 other breeds, they cataloged more than 2.5 million specific genetic differences that occur among dogs, producing wide ranges of sizes, shapes, temperaments and propensity for disease.

    Among mammals, dogs are a unique genetic specimen because of the intensive selective breeding that began only a few hundred years ago and created the roughly 400 breeds that exist today.

  15. #15
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Default "Curb Your Dog"

    OK, at the risk of calling wrath down upon myself ...

    Why is it that dog owners don't steer their dogs to the gutter when they take a leak? Instead we get dog urine on doors, trees, garbage bags, bicycles, statues, etc.

    And dog urine puddling on the sidewalk.

    It's really disgusting.

    Suggestion: CURB Your Dog

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