(For other tips on how not to find a job, send me $29.99 and a self-addressed stamped envelope, and then another $29.99, followed by a third and final payment of $29.99.)
But back to The Dog Lady. (That’s not her in the photo; it’s a woman in Montana who knits with dog hair.)
A reader wrote the following to The Dog Lady:
“As a small-business owner, I recently was looking to hire a counter clerk with some technical know-how. I had quite a few applicants, including a woman I was keen to employ. In the second interview, however, she arrived wearing a striking wool vest, which she said she had knitted from the fur of her Bernese mountain dog.
This led to a long discussion of how she collected the sloughed dog fur, sent it away to be spun into yarn and knitted the sweater. It was too much information and kind of disgusted me. I ended up not hiring her and have felt guilty ever since. What’s your take on people who knit their pet? — Amy
The Dog Lady, aka Monica Collins, notes that people who make clothing from the sheddings of their dog may be perceived as eccentric — even though it’s really not that different from clothing made from the harvested fur of sheep.
Dog Lady, who refers to herself in the third person, says she personally ”cannot imagine wearing a garment knit from the hair of her dog.” But she gives the knitter points for inventiveness — even if the dog hair vest might not be included in most “what to wear for a job interview” tipsheets.
And she tells the letter writer: “As a business owner, you are free to hire whom you choose. And in this free country, there are no laws on the books pertaining to those who discriminate against people who wear dog hair couture to the workplace.”
Being an expert on unemployment, if not dogs, and having addressed this issue before, I would add this. Knitting clothing items from dog hair — though a lot of work — isn’t that new or unusual. Wearing them is not really all that freakish.
But given the country’s job situation, it might be best to wait on wearing fashions made from Fido, at least until you get the job, and it’s Bring Your Dog to Work Day.
(Photo: Larry Beckner / Great Falls Tribune)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advice, animals, applicants, attire, bernese mountain dog, bizarre, cleveland plain dealer, clothing, column, dog, dogs, eccentric, employers, employment, etiquette, fur, hair, how-to, impressions, job seeking, jobs, knit, knitters, knitting, monica collins, pets, proper, seeking, sheddings, sweaters, the dog lady, vests, yarn
In the best of all possible worlds, I would have a poop valet.
On our walks around the neighborhood, he would follow a few steps behind Ace and me, keeping quiet, and waiting to spring into action when his services were required.
It is not picking up Ace’s poop that bothers me so much, it’s lugging the brown and bulging sack around for the rest of the walk.
The poop valet’s job would be to serve as a courier, running the bag back home to my personal garbage can — three four, five blocks away – before washing his hands, checking his pencil-thin mustache, straightening his red vest and returning to see if his services were further required, because double-doody walks, while not common, sometimes occur. (My poop valet, in my imagination, looks a lot like John Waters.)
I can’t bring myself to toss Ace’s poop in other people’s trash. That would be bad manners even if I had a tiny dog. With Ace, it would be no small deposit, taking up valuable refuse space that’s not mine, and adding a lingering scent to the recipient’s receptacle – no matter how tightly I’ve tied the bag – that is anything but lavender, pine or lemony fresh.
As I said, I can tolerate the scoopage, and the brief period of stinkiness as I tie the bag, but being new in the area – and wanting to make a positive impression upon returning to my native neighborhood – lugging an ever-present, generally full poop bag, I fear, works as a strike against me.
It seems, with everyone I have met on our walks, it has been while clutching in my hand a giant bag of poop.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of, I know. Far more shameful would be not picking it up. But still, I find myself feeling slightly embarrassed and less confident at these moments. It’s hard to have self esteem when your self is carrying a steaming bag of feces.
Normally, I would just avoid meeting people – but people are friendly here, and Ace insists upon making new acquaintances, especially if the person is a female. (And I swear I never trained or encouraged him to seek out and befriend females. He just does.)
Poop bag-toting was never a big issue for us in Baltimore, because most walks were to the park, and he would wait until there to do his business. There would always be a public trash can nearby, often overflowing with other bags of — to use the local nomenclature — dog shit.
Here in Winston-Salem, though, most of our walks are through residential areas, with no communal trash cans. Here, people don’t say shit so much. Or even poop. Or even waste. My mother, a local, gets mad when I write about the topic – even though it’s one a dog writer can’t avoid stepping in from time to time. For better or worse, people are more civil here, act more polite, follow silly but sweet old traditions and wear well-pressed clothing.
I probably should start ironing my shirts (or maybe the poop valet wouldn’t mind doing that, too).
Being a large dog (130 pounds), Ace’s output (though it was less when he was on a raw diet) is pretty massive. Picture four or five Hostess Twinkies, in a pile.
I generally use white plastic grocery store bags for the chore, they being free and abundant, if not quickly biodegradable and best for the environment. Being white, being big, being full, it’s impossible to carry them discretely.
Making matters worse, our normal walking route takes us past a restaurant on the way home, with outdoor dining. At first, I would cross the street so as not to offend diners, but they have a water bowl set out for dogs, and Ace is thirsty by then.
With a poop valet, I’d have none of these problems.
As I see it, I’d still scoop – for I am not above that. I’d still tie the bag in an attempt to keep foul odors from wafting out, for I don’t consider that beneath me, either. But then I’d snap my fingers to summon the poop valet and he’d rush to my side. I would hold out the bag. He would take it.
“Very good, sir,” he would say. Then he’d trot back to my house, holding the poop bag in front of him with a fully outstretched arm, to dispose of it before returning to take his place behind us. He’d also always carry extra bags, just in case we needed one.
With the poop valet’s assistance, unencumbered by a big translucent white bag of poop, I would cut a far more charming, more appealing figure.
With a poop valet, I would no longer find myself in this position: “Hi, I’m John, this is Ace, and this is Ace’s massive output of fecal matter – one of two loads he will likely dispense today. Would you care to get a drink sometime?”
Had I a poop valet, he could carry my social calendar as well, for I’m certain – once I stop toting poop through the neighborhood – I will make many friends who want to go out, especially if I’m wearing well-pressed shirts.
Without one, I fear becoming known as the guy who’s always walking through the neighborhood with a sack-o-you-know-what.
“Oh, Poop Bag Guy. Yeah, I’ve seen him. The one who’s always wearing a wrinkled shirt, right?”
“Yeah, that one. Have you ever seen him without poop?”
“Nope, he always has it by his side.”
Eventually people would start shouting at me from across the street: “Hey, Poop Bag Guy! Howyadoin?”
In the event some of you are taking this too seriously, let me point out that lugging his leavings is a small price to pay for having the world’s most fantastic dog. And that, though big dogs leave big droppings, the loads of joy they bring far outnumber them.
In the event you’re a company that just so happens to market a handsome, discrete, odor killing poop bag “caddy,” let me say I wish you success, but that to me bagging, re-bagging and de-bagging just seems like too much work, and that I’m not willing to pay money to avoid being embarrassed (though we’ll happily run your paid advertisement).
In the event you want to be my poop valet, feel free to stop by and pick up an application, but be aware I can’t pay for that, either. It would me more of an internship, really — interns being used to doing the sh … stuff … nobody else wants to do.
And, of course, you’d have to provide your own red vest.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 20th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bag, bagging, baltimore, big dogs, caddy, clean up, courier, dog, dog walking, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, etiquette, feces, first impressions, garbage, home, impressions, john waters, large dogs, lawns, manners, neighborhood, pets, pick-up, poop, poop bag guy, poop valet, sack, scoop, self confidence, self esteem, shit, socializing, stinky, trash cans, travels with ace, walking dogs, waste, winston-salem
When are you responsible for picking up the poop of someone else’s dog?
Apparently, in San Francisco, when it ends up on your roof.
When a building manager complained to the city’s health department that dog feces was piling up on top of the pet-free residential building — and that she suspected it was being left there by a dog from an adjoining pet-friendly building – an inspector came to investigate.
A week later, a “Notice of Violation” letter arrived in the mail — not to the offending dog’s owner, or even to the adjacent bulding, but to the manager who had complained. The notice declared her rooftop a public nuisance and threatened a $163 fine if the waste was not immediately removed.
The tale was told in the Bay Citizen, and reprinted yesterday in The New York Times, by columnist Scott James, who knows the manager, a fellow writer named Diane Archer who also lives in the building.
Before contacting the city, Archer — based on another resident having witnessed a dog crossing over from the roof next door — complained to the neighboring building’s owner. When it continued to be an issue, she went to the police, who sent her to the Department of Public Health.
On Jan. 13, Irene Sanchez, a health department investigator, toured the roof, took notes, and promised action — and, to Archer’s surprise, that action was against her, or at least her pet-free building.
Sanchez, noting she never saw the dog in question, said she had no choice. Even though Archer’s building had been victimized, it was responsible for cleaning up the mess. A health department spokeswoman, said that, unfair as it may seem, “someone has to clean it up” — and whether it’s poop or graffiti, the building owner bears that responsibility in San Francisco.
Scott James, the columnist, said he had no trouble finding the suspect – Jane, a 50-pound, shepherd mix who appaprently was sneaking up to the roof. Jane belongs to the girlfriend of a resident of the adjoining building.
The job of cleaning up after Jane fell to Archer, the original complainant, who scooped each pile up with a plastic sack and disposed of it.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cities, clean, courtesy, dog, etiquette, feces, health, law, neighbors, pets, pick-up, poop, responsibility, roof, rooftop, san francisco, scoop, waste
Christmas, as we all know, isn’t about receiving. It’s about regifting.
At least it is for me this year.
Having spent the last seven months on the road with Ace, and being temporarily shacked up in a trailer park in the desert, I decided that all the gifts I give my family members in Arizona will be items that I have tested and gently broken in.
Because “used” is such a harsh word.
I don’t feel guilty about this at all — for several reasons. For one, my father announced he and his wife are not giving, and don’t want to receive, presents this year. They live on a fixed income. I live on a broken one. So it works out just fine.
Then, too, as you regular readers know, part of Travels with Ace is seeing how cheaply we can pull off our time on the road — an attempt to spend no more money than we were while living in a rented house in Baltimore. We’ve managed, mostly, to do that, and I don’t want to allow the crass commercial side of Christmas to set back all we have achieved in that regard.
As far as the receiving side, facing the long journey back east in my already overstuffed car, any new items for me, at least those that aren’t cash, or are bigger than a breadbox, would be problematic — except for maybe a nice warm sweater, or perhaps some gloves.
In my view, though gifts aren’t what Christmas is all about, a totally giftless Christmas would be wrong. So I don’t intend to comply fully with my father’s no-gifts edict. Instead, I will put my own spin on it.
He and his wife, and my brother and his partner, who all live in the Phoenix area, will be receiving items from me that — while they have made my weeks in Petite Acres, a trailer park in Cave Creek, more comfortable – were purchased with them, at least partially, in mind.
True, they are items that I can’t or don’t want to haul back to Baltimore; and, yes, they are items that, for a brief period, served my purposes. But far more important than that is the spirit of giving in which I will bestow them, once I’m done with them.
One red chiminea.
(Not to be confused with a chimichanga, this is a big clay pot with a smokestack — available at most local Western-Mexican-Indian gift shops in the area — in which you can build an outdoor fire. I am not merely “using” the chiminea to keep myself from being cold at night, and add a warm glow to my dirt yard. I am lovingly breaking it in — seasoning it and tempering it, if you will — before I deliver it to my brother on Christmas day. Though Ace has been tempted to pee on it, because it resembles a fire hydrant, I am pretty sure he hasn’t.)
Two big coffee mugs — one red, one blue.
(What better symbolizes the warmth of the season than a brightly-colored coffee mug, filled with the steaming hot beverage of your choice? The fact that only one coffee mug came with my trailer, and was usually dirty, was not the main reason I bought these for my father and his wife. Rather, it was a well-thought out gift purchase, based on their desire not to have things that take up much space, and a mental note I made during a visit to their house that, while they had coffee mugs, they had no sizeable, gayly colored ones.)
(Even more gayly colored and festive, this gift purchase, I reasoned, would help keep my father and his wife warm at night, and would be ideal for snuggling under while watching a little TV, and they do have a little TV. That Ace and I tested it out — that it may have a few dog hairs on it and smell like cigarette smoke by the time I give it to them — are but small concerns when one looks at the bigger picture and true meaning of Christmas.)
Two bags of Cave Creek Coffee holiday blend.
(The Cave Creek Coffee Company was having a buy-one-get-one-half-price sale on their holiday blend. So I bought two and got two for half price. I would like to make it clear that the ones I’m giving as gifts to my father and brother are those for which I paid fully, while I’m hanging on to the half-price ones — allowing me to test it, making sure the blend is both savory and festive.)
So, you see, while they may have briefly fulfilled my modest needs, these gifts, I’m sure you understand, are not really “used,” or even “pre-owned” — for I don’t look at my relationship with them as that of owner-and-item.
Rather, my time with them has been fleeting – just enough to allow me to share in their joy before passing that joy on to others, at once “paying it forward” and ensuring that said items are indeed quality merchandise that will go on to bring my family members countless years of happiness.
So when I sit outside as the sun sets, under a festive Indian blanket, drinking Cave Creek holiday blend from a brightly colored coffee mug and keeping my feet toasty in the warm glow of a chiminea, I am thinking not of myself, but of how much pleasure my purchases will, eventually, bring my family members.
Yes, I’m quite a guy.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, animals, cave creek coffee company, chiminea, christmas, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, etiquette, exchange, gifts, giving, holiday, indian blanket, meaning of christmas, mugs, petite acres, pets, pre-owned, presents, regift, regifting, road trip, season, spirit, trailer park, travel, travels with ace, used, warm
Matzoball and Meatball attended the Malibu wedding of their owner, Adam Sandler. Gwen Stefani walked down the aisle with her sheepdog, Winston, when she married Gavin Rossdale in London. Gisele Bundchen’s three dogs looked on as she tied the knot with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. And Jennifer Hudson has announced her intentions to include her dogs in her upcoming ceremony.
But not just celebrities are making the dog a member of the wedding party these days. Take Andy MacDonald, regular guy. At his wedding in Seattle, his dog Inge, a collie-malamute mix, served as ring bearer — and handled the job nicely.
The concept of man’s best friend as best man, or at least an honored member of the wedding party, is catching on, and has even led to the creation of a niche industry — or a niche within a niche industry – that caters to Fido’s appearance on his owner’s big day, according to a Columbia News Service article that appeared in this week’s San Jose Mercury-News.
“It’s a shift in the way people view pets,” says Brian Iannessa, a spokesman for Veterinary Pet Insurance, explaining the trend behind canine participants in weddings. “People are incorporating pets into their lives more than ever before, taking them on trips, celebrating their pets’ birthdays.”
Forty-two percent of the insurance company’s clients had or plan to have their pets participate in their wedding, according to a recent poll of 3,000 pet owners. Iannessa estimates that the vast majority of those surveyed were dog owners.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adam sandler, best dog, bride, celebrities, ceremonies, charlotte reed, dogs, etiquette, family, groom, gwen stefani, humans, jennifer hudson, lives, matzoball, meatball, miss fido manners, nuptials, pets, ring bearer, wedding party, weddings, winston
All too often at my park, and maybe your’s, conflicts develop between those who go there to let their dogs get some needed off-leash romping and those who go there to experience something other than big, slobbery, barking, dirty-pawed creatures careening around like a pinballs.
The law, as most of us know, is on the side of the latter. Dogs are required to be on leashes at all times in all of the city parks in Baltimore, and violation of that law can result in a $100 fine.
Nevertheless at my park, Riverside, as at Patterson, Federal Hill, Carroll, Latrobe, Druid Hill, Wyman and others, dog owners regularly take that risk to allow their dogs some exercise. Dogs gotta run and, in the city, the parks are the only game in town.
Having only one official dog park — though more appear to be on the way — means all the rest of the parks must be shared by dogs and humans, which, with a little common sense and respect, is not all that hard to accomplish. In other words, we can all just get along. Read more »
Last week, while going through fan email, I came across a note from a dogless mother of two in Locust Point — unusual because (A) she doesn’t have a dog, (B) she was reading my blog anyway, and (C) she managed to complain about off-leash dogs with a sincerity and civility that rarely accompanies such concerns.
She was seeking an answer, as opposed to grinding an axe, and I thought her concerns were valid, reasonable and so well-stated that I’m reprinting — with her permission — the whole thing.
I offered her a couple of pointers (not the dogs), and suggested that — If it’s solutions she wants — why not throw it open to the readers, a couple of whom I know for a fact are smarter than me. She was game.
On top of that, her letter serves as a reminder for those of us who sometimes put our dogs needs above everyone else’s. I’ll give you my opinions tomorrow, but for now, here’s Jen:
The family and I are sorta new to the area (about 1.5 yrs coming up). I’m currently a stay-at-home-lose-my-mind-some-days Mom to two girls 2.5 yrs and 15 months respectively. I’ve had a few troubling incidents with unleashed dogs in Latrobe Park (our ‘hood) and have been browsing around looking for tips on how to approach the situation.
Now, before you get all bentoutashape, asking yourself “why are you emailing the author of a dog-centric blog?…let me first say that I am most definitely one of those people who are middle of the road on everything and I try to see everyone’s point of view before taking a stance on something. I say this before soliciting your opinion/response/advice regarding my predicament: