Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Miss Manhattan Hangs Out...with Conan the Barkbarian

Every Saturday morning, or as many Saturday mornings as possible, Conan the Barkbarian gets up at around 7 am to go to Puppy Rumble at his friend’s house down the street. Puppy Rumble is a small gathering of dogs who run around in a dog mom’s spacious backyard, noshing on all-natural meaty treats and grass and barking to their heart’s content while their owners sip coffee and nibble pastries. Before Conan arrives, though, his mom Cassandra tucks a baseball cap on her head and takes him out for “walkies” as it’s known, then we all jump in her car for a quick drive to Casa Puppy Rumble. We arrive at about 7:30 am and Conan trots joyfully on his leash to the back gate and begins to bark in excitement. That’s the funny thing about Conan--he’s still young in dog years, so he doesn’t quite know his own strength, physically or bark-wise. Kind of like a furry, swole teenager.

This nearly 60-pound dog--which I incorrectly clock at 30 pounds upon first guess then sarcastically quip ”I’m a journalist who can accurately identify how much things weigh!”--will jump up onto my lap with the lightness of a dog a sixth of his size, hoping to be given scritches and cuddles once I catch my breath from having 60 pounds launched (albeit very sweetly and with only the best intentions) at me from the floor below where I sit. If I am standing, he leaps up on to his hind legs to play, pressing his front paws on me, and I nearly fall over. Deep, resonant barks yap from his mouth to the point where I wonder how the neighbors feel about having a dog alarm clock, bless his heart, waking them up at 7:30 on a Saturday morning. But look at that sweet, happy face! He is so excited to be here and play with his friends that I am also excited for him.

Conan is one of the youngest of the Puppy Rumble crew, which also includes Lulu, who just had puppies; Monty, her puppy daddy; and a delightfully droopy, crotchety basset hound who’s had a tumor removed from his back and is not here for your antics. They run and bark and growl and play, Conan running the fastest, mouth flying open and tongue flapping in the breeze, a 60-pound rocket delighting in the morning’s wet grass as a playground and as a snack. If Conan gets too close to Lulu, Monty gets territorial and bears his teeth, so Cassandra scoops Lulu up for a cuddle. There will be no Melrose Place-esque drama here at Puppy Rumble today. Not that Conan really even notices, or is anything more than mildly confused by his friends’ reactions. He seems to have a permanent smile on his face. Happy to be here! Happy for snacks! Happy for friends! Happy for mom and mom’s friend who holds the weird black box that makes clicking noises in front of her face!

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