I have a wicked crush on this guy in my neighborhood. His name is “Skylos.” You’re thinking Greek, right? He’s got gorgeous hair, weighs in around 150 pounds, and is toned, intelligent, and funny. He is also, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you view it, four legged. That’s right. My man “Skylos” is a canine and he’s got me right in the palm of his hand, or rather, nicely padded paw. So what’s a gal to do?
Here’s the deal. I live in New York City and am a dog lover. The way I see it, having a crush on a dog is unavoidable. They’re everywhere. Mutts and purebreds, in every possible size, shape, color, and temperament. These aren’t conventional dogs confined to backyards or parks, heck no! These are “outdoor café dogs,” “shopping at Barney’s dogs,” “sitting in the local Irish pub dogs,” “licking the remnants of a child’s ice cream cone dogs,” “walking down Broadway by a dog walker with eight other dogs” dogs. One time I actually saw a man feeding his dog a grande spirulina and carrot smoothie outside the local juice bar. I mean truly, these dogs don’t mess around.
So I ask myself: What is the proper dog-crush etiquette in a town overflowing with such great and varied animals? Is it acceptable to approach a dog on the street without explanation? Do I ask first? What if the owner gets annoyed? Or worse yet, what if I get bit and lose a digit? For these and other dog-related inquiries, I decided to go directly to the source and pay a little visit to my buddy Skylos and his lovely owner, Shari Falk, at her store “Basiques” in the West Village.
Shari shared with me what she thought was proper etiquette in approaching someone’s beloved pooch. “I love my dog more than life and I love when people pet him, talk to him, and play with him. Any time I am here at the store, anyone is welcome to show him this type of affection. The same thing is true at my other job; tending bar at Chumley’s. Ninety eight percent of the time I am thrilled to share the happiness and joy I get from Skylos with other people. However, a small percentage of the time, when I’m engaged in a deeply personal conversation, I would appreciate it if people took the time to recognize that the dog and me may be occupied. As obsessed as I am with my dog, and all animals for that matter, in moments like these it can become a bit challenging.”
We also discussed the approach. I admitted I hadn’t always been graceful in such situations, as I am prone to hyper-doggy enthusiasm. Shari had this to say on the matter: “Remember your human skills. Approach with respect. Ask if the person has a second.” I glance over at Skylos . He leans in to give me a smile and a smack on the mouth as if to say, “Don’t worry about it, Sugar, I still dig you.”
Dat’s my man!