At work, we share a floor with a company called New York Dog. I love wild animals and human babies, but not New York Dog. That subculture–from pampered, wheezy pugs to matching, brainless Dalmatians–is as neurotic as their humans, with no wit to make up for it. (The exception is the pack of wild dogs who roamed Red Hook, whose descendants are as fierce, yellow, and sharp as coyotes. They scare me, but they’re worthy of their wolf genes.)
New York Dog, the company, makes outfits for hors d’oeuvres dogs. Mainly booties, sweaters, coats, and bags–accessories for accessories. The dogs ride in the bags, carried by the same slaves who scoop their poop and paint their toenails. The little pointy-faced blonde ones make me think of Sarah Jessica Parker being toted by Mr. Big in a giant Fendi baguette.
In a city with no sheep, the five or six working dogs across the hall earn treats by modelling. Several times a day they set up a frenzy of yips, barking their walnut-sized hearts out at the mailman or the UPS guy. They yap each other on in a passion of excitement, panic, or outrage. I wonder how it is possible to love a creature who makes such sounds–especially one who, unlike a colicky baby, will not grow out of it. Once, out of badness, I barked outside their door just to set them off, and to hear the staff squawk “STAWP IT!”
We’ve seen the dogs when they escape from their office and burst into ours, barking hysterically. As born-and-bred New Yorkers, they have no idea what to do with freedom. They scuttle back and forth like rats in the subway until their caregivers scoop them up.
My co-workers are all male and mostly geeks, and they blink mildly, feeling no need to throw an insincere “How cute” at these blurred morsels. I say it, even though I think small, bald dogs are as cute as warts. While the doggies are dragged, toenails skidding, back to the world of oestrogen and expensive raincoats, I look at the engineers and realise I’m in the right business.