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Fast Friends: People and Pets

August 07, 2019


I live in a Manhattan building with 21 floors and, I can’t prove it, but I swear there are several dogs on every floor. Most of them are fairly small and well behaved – one rarely hears any barking in the halls or elevators. The tenants are supposed to use the service elevator when going in-and-out with dogs but this isn’t really enforced. Besides, the dogs are very engaging – especially the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.


I struck up a conversation one day with a fellow tenant in the elevator by saying to him, “I’ve never lived in a building with so many dogs before.” And he replied, “Yes, you’re right. I think the people here love dogs more than people!” I thought that was a bit of an overstatement.

Personally, I think folks have dogs for company. There’s another heartbeat in the room. And canines show love for their owners – unlike felines who could care less about you until it’s time to eat. Also, taking care of a dog puts structure and discipline into one’s day: dogs must be fed and walked, taken to a groomer or vet and petted daily because they demand it. Of course, dogs are irresistible so this is not a big deal.

This Turkish Angora loves to be cuddled


Take a dog out, especially a puppy, and in no time you’ll have an audience. They are magnets for attention – any age or gender melts and a crowd gathers when an adorable little creature comes on the scene and decides to hop up-and-down and greet his or her admirers. I’ve seen this many times in Manhattan. And, let’s not forget the dog runs in public parks where he or she meets-and-greets while off the leash. It’s like Happy Hour for canines.


Back a bit, I received a shot of my great-niece, Alexa sitting on a huge Saint Bernard with the Irish name, Ronan. I know absolutely nothing about this breed and I have never known anyone who had one. The only thing I could come up with was: they rescue people in the Swiss Alps and, they wear small barrels of brandy around their necks.  I was 100% wrong on both.

Five-year-old Alexa and Ronan, a gentle, patient Saint Bernard who weighs in at 189 lbs. and loves his eats – plus treats from the dinner table


Here is an excellent description written by Jess Blumberg that appeared in the March 1, 2016 issue of the Smithsonian magazine. “Since the early 18th century, monks living in the snowy, dangerous St. Bernard Pass – a route through the Alps between Italy and Switzerland – kept the canines to help them on their rescue missions after bad snowstorms. Over a span of nearly 200 years, about 2,000 people, from lost children to Napoleon’s soldiers, were rescued because of the heroic dogs’ uncanny sense of direction and resistance to cold. Since then, and through much crossbreeding, these canines have become the St. Bernard dogs seen in households today.”

Saint Bernard dogs have NOT been used for Alpine rescues since 1955 – helicopters are used instead. Moreover, the monks of the St. Bernard Hospice DENY that any St. Bernard has ever carried a cask or small barrel around their necks. However, they keep casks around for tourists who want to take photos.


The 1992 comedy film Beethoven features a friendly, but troublesome St. Bernard and, in later sequels, his mate and their brood of unruly pups. The St. Bernard dogs in the film grew so fast during filming that over 100 puppies were cast to portray the sequel’s four stars: Tchaikovsky, Chubby, Dolly and Mo. This film was a huge hit and spawned a cartoon series and a video game.  CLICK HERE to see Beethoven and hear Chuck Berry.


This intrepid puppy was purchased from a breeder located in Cottonwood Creek, California and was sent to Prince George, B.C. – a distance of 1,500 miles – with a pit stop at the U.S./Canada border where, because of his looks and charm he cleared customs in no time.

Here is Ronan when he was 10 weeks old and weighed 11 lbs. – he is now five-years-old and never misses a meal

Shaun Nelson-Henrick

4 Responses


August 19, 2019


Collean Dawley
Collean Dawley

August 17, 2019

Awesome pics and article! Ronin is our gentle giant out here in Prince George BC Canada, he loves his kids and playing around! And loves to laze around in the cool areas on hot sunny days, and to play in the snow in the winter! Thanks for sharing his pics and a bit of his story!

Alexa Nelsonj
Alexa Nelsonj

August 17, 2019

Shaun, I was so excited to be seen in a doggy blog. I love Ronan! Thank-you Alexa Nelson


August 14, 2019

What a delightful fun read first thing this am. We do not have a dog, many cats over our marriage. Loved the blog
Thankyou 🤗

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