Welcome to Collingswood: Dogs Are Mandatory

Philadelphia didn’t make the list for best city to own a dog. Philly doesn’t have as many dog parks, or as many funny people as Portland, who won.

I’m sure however, that if Collingswood was a city and not a borough, we would have made the list. In Collingswood, same-sex and bi-racial couples are non-issues. We have every color, ethnicity, and economic level. But owning a dog seems almost mandatory for residency.

When friends from New York, Philly, or even Cherry Hill come to visit, they remark on 1) how many people are out walking; and 2) how many people are walking their dogs. Cass Duffey, director of Community Development, thinks canine residents are as much a part of the community as the humans. “In fact, at almost every event I photograph, I get four legged friends as part of the action,” she said.

I owned my beloved Blaze, part collie, part Chow, for the past 14 years, all spent in Collingswood. My boyfriend and his boxer, Xena, moved in with us six years ago and the dogs got along as well as we do. Xena died suddenly of a heart attack last November. In early March, we had to make the agonizing decision to put Blaze down, after, at age 18, he lost use of his hind legs, and most of his hearing and sight.

We were logical. We were strong. We cried until we couldn’t cry anymore. We felt we needed a psychic break and we would wait to get a dog until fall when trips were over and we were on more of a schedule. But, we live in Collingswood.

I found myself quite literally almost driving the car into telephone poles when a dog I admired caught my eye. The problem is, I live in Collingswood; there are a lot of dogs, and I was drawn to them all.

We know that Americans, in general, are obsessed with their pets. We spent $41 billion on pets; $310 million on Halloween costumes alone. Books abound on all dog-related topics and subtopics, including our obsession, and hundreds and hundreds of coffee table photo album books, my favorite being Underwater Dogs(which is exactly what you think it is: photos of dogs underwater). Of course books on every aspect of training are available, and all have what seem to me absurdly long titles, like:  Train Your Dog Positively: Understand Your Dog and Solve Common Behavior Problems Including Separation Anxiety. There’s as much conflicting advice in methodologies as there is for parents.

Dating sites for dog lovers make a lot of sense (more sense than the MANY dating sites for people who think they are vampires—yeah, there’s more than one).  The spokeperson for one such site  is a winner of a season of Survivor, wearing a cami and holding a big photo of her dog’s head, rendering her, at first glance, naked. Both dogs and sex sell.

I think you are much better off knowing if your prospective partner is a cat person, a dog person, or a why-would-anyone-have a pet person.

The passion with which people will defend their love or hate knows no bounds. I hate cats, though I own one for its function: We don’t get mice. I love dogs, but do think people sometimes overstep boundaries on where they take their dogs. Collingswood’s Farmers Market is a lovely way to start your weekend, and take your dog, especially when it’s walking weather, but folks should know if their dog is a yapper, growler, and for the most part, Colls residents seem to know when and where to bring their pooches.

The Farmers Market is so dog friendly that they’ve had a dog treat bakery for several years now, and a special guest vendor, “Hand and Paw Massage” will be showing up at least three times this season.

We couldn’t make it to fall. We didn’t even make it through the beginning of summer. This past weekend we went to visit a friend of a friend whose dog had had puppies: we came home with two: Fritzi Lopez and Bob. I’m still not quite sure what happened, but I plan on taking them to the Farmers Market on Saturday, so I can feel like a real Collingswood resident again.



TV’s Favorite Female Veep Doesn’t Need “Happy Pills”

It’s good to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus, yet again. It’s even better to see her as the vice president. Season two of Veep is making me laugh aloud, and causing me concern. Last season, the unifying theme was her own pointlessness. She went to frozen yogurt shops and unimportant meet-and-greets. Her catchphrase was, “What the fuck, Amy?” The running gag was her asking her assistants, “Did the president call?”

And of course, he never, ever did.

Season two’s opener showed her ranking .9 percent higher than the president in popularity polls, which of course, means the president has no choice but to give Selina more power. Read more »

Beyonce Reveals the Power of the Fake Boob

Oh Beyonce, you’ve put me in a bad position this time. I defended you when you took over multiple rooms while giving birth to Blue Ivy; I defended the lip-synching at the Inauguration, but the faux nipples … faux nipples, B? I don’t believe I’ve even heard the phrase before, “faux nipples,” let alone had to type them, or think about whether they are right or wrong. Read more »

You Might Not Have ADHD. You Might Just Be Tired.

The New York Times recently fanned the flames of the controversy over whether many cases of ADD, and even ADHD, are actually cases of sleep deprivation. Every time this idea hits big media, the same reactions happen: Other media picks it up, overgeneralizes and twists it; camps are formed, and people go to (verbal) war. Read more »

Arianna Huffington Wants You to Unplug

A popular feature on the iPhone 5 (also available as an app on older models) is “Do Not Disturb,” a program that blocks texts, emails and phone calls. Yes. An app that does the same thing that, well, the user can. My friend Janel said they should have called it “Will Power.” Read more »

Want a Summer Job? Put Down the Cell Phone!

Mayor Nutter’s initiative to get 10,000 Philadelphia teenagers hired for summer jobs—beating last summer’s number of 6,000 working teens—is admirable and ambitious. Teen employment means much more than pocket money; summer work has a direct correlation to future employment. Not only do learned skill sets transfer to future jobs, more nebulous traits like work ethic are developed. Read more »

New Disney Avengers Girl’s T-Shirt: “I Need a Hero”

Merch for Disney’s Avengers movie has hit the stores, and the shit has hit the fan. They’ve released two t-shirts, one for boys and one for girls. The boy’s version says: “Be a Hero,” and the girl’s says: “I Need a Hero.”

To add insult to injury, the girl’s version, is “girl cut,” which means body-hugging and scoop-necked, and oh, yeah, it’s $8 more. Read more »

New Study: Penis Size Does Matter to Women

Science has proven that women are more attracted to men with bigger penises! I don’t know if I want to say “Go Science!” or “Du-uhrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.”

Male Homo sapiens have an almost disproportionately large penis when compared to other large mamamals. (An adult guerilla’s penis averages 1.5 inches long.) Apparently, it is far larger than it needs to be for its function, but may have become that way due to evolution: Many generations of prehistoric women choosing well-endowed men. Read more »

Why Is Everyone Buying Gluten-Free Foods When They Don’t Have To?

Math is not my strong suit, but something seems wrong here: A new study tells us that one-third of Americans are cutting back on gluten, but less than one percent of the population suffers from celiac disease, the condition that is the only reason for omission of gluten from the diet. So, why is everyone else buying gluten-free foods when they don’t have to? Read more »

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