Saturday, August 26, 2006

Mail-Order Dog

Dogs in cabs. It's a genre of its own in the world of taxi-driving. As for me, I love it when someone gets in with a dog. Right away, there's an instant conversation. Anyone who owns a dog in New York City loves to talk about their canine pal. No exceptions. In fact, I read somewhere that the easiest way to meet a girl or a guy is to strike up a conversation with them while they are walking their dog.

But many cabbies, for reasons I don't fully comprehend, will not allow dogs into their cabs. Perhaps it's a cultural thing, a consideration that it would be an insult to their own dignity to give service to an animal. Or maybe there's a fear that the dog would mistake the back seat for a fire hydrant. Or maybe it's that here's a chance to pass someone by legally. (NYC taxi drivers are not required to accept animals in their cabs unless they are service animals, like seeing-eye dogs, or unless they are in a carrying case.)

I have never refused a dog and I've never had a dog piss or puke in my cab. People, yes. But dogs, never. Only twice have I had a problem. Once a guy left his Doberman (named Rambo) with me in my partition-less cab while he jumped into a deli. The dog became agitated and started barking and snarling. That was some serious tension. And another time a couple of girls in the East Village brought in a wet, long-haired mutt they had just found on the street. The lingering odor was so bad, I had to use a can of air freshener to disguise it.

When you consider that hundreds of dogs have passed through my portals without incident, the percentages clearly indicate that dogs make good passengers. Once, in fact, I had a celebrity dog in my cab. It was a black lab who had just done a "stupid pet trick" on the David Letterman show - he was able to hold some large number of tennis balls in his mouth. Think about this: here was a dog who was known to millions of people. He'd had his five minutes of fame. Hey, I haven't had my five minutes of fame. Have you?

This all leads me to tell you that I had a "fare of the night" recently who was a dog.

He was a one-year-old Maltese named Julian traveling from 69th Street and Broadway to 71st Street and 3rd Avenue with his owner, a twenty-four-year-old brunette whose name I neglected to write down on my trip sheet and now am not sure of, but I think it was Jennie. (Correction: not "Jennie"... it was "Jessica". See comment. Thanks, Jessica!)

I was told an interesting story of how these two hooked up. They actually met online. Jessica had been shopping on her computer for a Maltese puppy and located a breeder in Alabama who had one. The transaction then occurred, other than from pictures on the internet, sight unseen. Julian was shipped by air to New York and met at the airport by Jessica. (Kind of like a mail-order bride, except a dog.) The cost was $1,200 plus $200 for shipping. Jessica had recently completed grad school and had received enough money as gifts to pay for her pet. So Julian was really a graduation present.

You know how they say dogs and their owners are supposed to look like each other. Well, obviously these two don't look like each other, but they did seem to fit to each other. They made a charming pair.


Anonymous said...

woof! woof! woof! pant, slobber, slurp, drool, slurp, slobber, woof woof woof! Looking forward to your next post...maybe a lab or a doberman next time?

Anonymous said...

A lab in the cab? haha just struck me...

CharterJames said...

That picture is priceless. She's as cute as a damned button and that silly-sly little dog knows it!

wil said...


Great stories.

I have added you to my cab-blog links.

Harry G. said...

GS- I loved the "dog story"..can't wait for your next dog blog.

Anonymous said...

Hey Gene, what a cute story!
P.S. Her name is Jessica

G.S. said...

Oops... thanks for the correction, Jessica Anonymous!