A dog's life in the Capital Region

Martin Daley and Murphy.jpg

Murphy and his person, Daleyplanit

By Martin Daley and Murphy Daley

Greetings, All Over Albany Readers! My name is Murphy. And yes, I'm a dog! My Master, Daleyplanit, sometimes writes for the Sunday Soapbox. This week he wanted to post about the life of a dog in Albany -- a subject I'm pretty familiar with -- so we decided I should step in.

So here's Murphy's dog-eye view of life in Albany.

First, a little about me...

I'm about 7 years old. No one knows for sure because I was a stray before being adopted from a shelter. From that day on, Daleyplanit and I have been best friends. I have an annoying little brother, Guinness. He's not really so bad, I guess. I'm teaching him how to live the good life.

Murphy and Guiness.jpg

But enough about him, this is MY story.

I'm a Golden Retriever mix, so I have a lot of energy and I love meeting new friends and going new places.

Things that wag my tail:

+ I love Pine Hills because Washington Park is really close by. It's one of my favorite places. There's always a new dog to sniff at the dog park, I just love jumping in the Moses Fountain, and because my dad's office is on the other side of the park, he sometimes walks me through on days I get to go to work with him.

+ Restaurants with patio dining mean I get to come along, even though I beg EVERYONE for treats. Iron Gate Cafe, The Ginger Man, Justin's, and the Tap & Tea Room are my favorites.

+ I love Quail St. and Ontario St. because there's pizza crusts and chicken bones everywhere -- but Daleyplanit is frustrated by this mess. "Don't eat that!" he'll yell at me.

+ My favorite places to walk are around Lark St. (so many people!), New Scotland Ave. (I always try to walk into The Fountain), and Delaware Ave. (There's always something fun going on and nice people that stop and pet me).

+ I have a great vet! Central Veterinary Hospital is so close that I can walk to my appointments and they take good care of me, though, I do not like getting my temperature taken. Ouch!

Thinks that make me growl:

+ I go on vacation a lot to places like Bar Harbor, Baltimore, Boston, Burlington (and some places that do not start with B, too). Many of the shops in those places will hand out treats and have water bowls. I wish more stores in Albany would be dog friendly. I'd stop to drink at the store, and then Daleyplanit and my "mom" Jen may stop and BUY something :-)

+ So many people in cars don't slow or stop for me when I'm in the crosswalk. I could get run over!

+ There so many places I walk that are littered with trash. There's food waste, dog poop, and broken glass all over the streets in some places, but I can't play with chickens in MY yard because people are afraid of the mess? This gets my masters upset.

+ Some streets in Albany don't have many trees. Dude, I'm a big furry dog. You think I love the sun beating down on me all the time? I want some shade!

Places to play:

There are plenty of other great parks in Albany for me to run around!

+ Hudson turnaround park is really a great place to enjoy coffee on a weekend morning (or so I'm told) but it's small and there are NO squirrels there! I live to catch squirrels.

+ The Hartman Road dog park is fun, too, but again, no squirrels. I do like that we have to drive to get to Hartman Road, though :-)

+In the winter you just can't beat the freedom to roam at Capital Hills (the Albany municipal golf course). What fun to romp in the snow!

+ The Normanskill Farm area is super fun, but there aren't many doggies there and I must be on leash on the path around the farm. I'm told, because I can't read, that there are a lot of ticks here to beware of!

+ I love the Empire State Plaza, especially at night. The marble feels cool under my paws and there's always a nice breeze to ruffle my fur.

So there you have it, humans. It's a dog's world and you just live in it! Well, I better go, it's getting late and I have squirrels to hunt. Thanks for allowing me this honor to be the first dog to ever write Sunday Soap Box!

Murphy is a golden retriever who lives in Albany. His person, Martin Daley,is on Twitter: @daleyplanit.

Martin on the Soapbox:
+ The one-car household: a car junkie cuts back
+ The Lark Tavern: Where everybody knew your name
+ Of government and chickens
+ Loving -- and hating -- the Empire State Plaza
+ An urban planner grows in Albany

Comments

I love it! I also wish that more businesses were dog friendly. My poor pooch would get left home far less often!

Has anyone ever figured out what they put in the water at the plaza to make it black? I'm assuming it is non toxic because the ducks seem ok but on days like today my dog is likely to drink some of it. Actually on days like today, so am I.

Wonderful story! Murphy sounds a lot like my lovely doggie, Frida. She also looooves those pizza crusts and chicken bones around Ontario and Quail. We enjoy Muni during the winter too!

I would love for Albany to be even more dog friendly, it is such a benefit for everyone. We love bringing Frida with us wherever we go!

*Wag wag wag*

I could add a few things to your list: for example, my favorite things about living here are Benson's and the Western Ave Pet Supplies Plus. Everyone there is so nice to dogs who come in. I, too, wish there were more non-pet stores where I was allowed to go.

I live in Pine Hills too. It is infested with squirrels. I HATE THEM. But I do love to chase them. Don't tell them I said that.

I love Washington Park too, although I'm not allowed off leash at the "dog park" because I don't understand cars and I don't always listen to my human.

Hi Murphy! I had no idea you could type so well. I mean, your handwriting has always been impeccable, so it makes sense I guess.

I hate to be a buzzkill, Murphy, but you don't belong on restaurant patios, and your presence could result in restaurants being fined. When I looked into this last year, the Albany County Health Department told me unequivocally that state sanitary code prohibits animals, except service or police animals, from being anywhere in a restaurant. This include patios, which are considered an extension of the restaurant. The pertinent section of the law is clear — “Live animals, including birds and turtles, are to be excluded from food service operations” — but it would seem to allow dogs in bars that do not serve food.

Steve,

You're being a buzzkill.

Sorry.

Cocoa asked me to write this because she was so excited to see Murphy on All Over Albany, so this is from both of us.

From Cocoa: (nhhhhh nhhhhh nhhhh / translation "whine whine wine" which is what Cocoa does every time she walks by Murphy's house since Cocoa always wants to play) Murphy! I always knew you were the coolest dog on the block (besides your little bro, Guinness of course). You are so lucky to be able to tell everyone about your great Albany life. I hope to stop by your back yard and play one day soon, since that's the only place in all of Albany that I'm allowed to be off leash.

From Leah: MURPHY!! I'm so excited to see you on All Over Albany -- you tell a great dog story! Maybe one day we'll have a fenced in dog park that we can WALK to in our neighborhood so then you don't have to host every play date with Cocoal. All of the dog parks are way too far for us to get to by walking... and they don't allow dogs on the bus that aren't service dogs.

I've met a lot of animals in bars here in albany. and I'm sure there are a lot of guys who will say they've met a few dogs too.

Guess we're back to greater code enforcement!

@ steve

So long as the dogs is outside the perimeter of the patio he's not "inside" the restaurant. We know the ordinance well. We sit on one side of the fence, and Murphy sits on the other. This way he doesn't crash the wait staff or bother others.

@Murphy's person
Wow, during the final week when CDTA is taking comments on overhauling the entire Albany City mass transit system, you're doing a (very nice) puff piece on your golden? I was looking forward to your takes on the new CDTA scheme. Epic whiff from my favorite planner.

@#9: Martin's more than capable of responding to you, but it should be mentioned that soapboxers often submit posts to us a few weeks ahead of when the posts run -- so they aren't always sure of the exact Sunday when their post will pop up.

In that case, apologies to all for my unwarranted criticism. Still interested in your thoughts, tho.

@save the #9

Just so you know I submitted written comments to CDTA about the #138 route, requesting it be made a loop utilizing Hackett, Holland, And Morton. I also think, even if CDTA doesn't like the #138 loop, you could still use the #13 or the #6 to get downtown. To the DEC building for example. ;-)

My dog Minnie would like to add:

I love to meet new friends in Washington Park, but it's important that my friends' owners understand that Washington Park doesn't have a dog park, and there are leash laws in effect throughout! Many of the two-legged use the "dog lawn" to let their furry ones run, and most of the time it's not a big deal, because they've trained their pooches to listen when they're called. But just because "everyone else is doing it" doesn't make it OK when your untrained, off-leash dog harrasses me when I'm walking on-leash with my person! Dear new friends, remember your manners!

Julie,

I can agree with you that there are some dogs who seem to roam Washington Park without much supervision (or manners), but as a dog owner who has lived in many other cities, I've become a little annoyed by the folks here who seem bothered by canine behavior that is normal. First, dogs sometimes measure-up one another; they also sometimes need to establish their pecking order. This is not fighting. Second, dogs off lead will occasionally wandering towards dogs on lead, and the owner shouldn't get bent-out-of-shape because of this; dogs are curious, let them remain so. Places like Portland, Chicago, and Santa Fe all have much more advanced "dog cultures" than Albany, and this is one reason these are nice places to live. I have never witnessed a dog fight at the park, nor have I witnessed a dog "out of control," so just relax and enjoy your time. Stop by overly protective of your pooch and expeierence the fun of dogs playing.

@julie

Just to bring you up to speed on the leash law - it does not apply in Albany parks. City code, Chapter 115, Article One, subsection 115-2

"Run at large. All dogs are to be restrained by an adequate collar and leash, except that within the parks in the City of Albany, not including Hoffman Park, all dogs shall be so restrained or under the control of its owner or responsible person over 12 years of age. For the purposes of this section, "control" shall mean within sight of the owner and subject to immediate restraint."

That said, here are some funny regulaltions for if and when you skate on the Washington Park Lake (which, you can't)

"The use of any sled or of the racing or Donaghue skate or the playing of boisterous games of any kind, such as head on, tag, prisoner's base, shinny, snap-the-whip, all hands around, hockey or any game involving a temporary obstruction of the ice or the inconvenience of the skating public, will not be permitted."

Reminder: NO BOISTEROUS GAMES OF SHINNY ON WASHINGTON PARK LAKE!!

Regarding the trash, glass, trees & uncurbed doggie doo on Quail St.: I am trying like hell to make the city aware of what doesn't get cleaned up by residents/biz owners/street cleaners each week. Our daughter might be the biggest dog lover ever and we don't have one yet - every time we walk down the sidewalk or stop to pet a dog (because yes, we have to ask to pet every single one we see), I think about doggie paws/children's knees/hands getting cut up by the glass shards that are everywhere, perhaps seriously. I know DGS has limited manpower & funds, but we need recycle bins & more trash cans (with firm instructions of what is allowed into each) to accommodate the mini Mardi Gras-like hoards that inhabit Quail St. every weekend from Washington to Madison, and the refuse that inevitably follows. I'm certain there are funds that can be allocated to make that happen.

Additionally, I'd like to see compostable poop bag dispensers put up all over the off-campus housing area (and butt receptacles, for that matter). We're going to buy some of those poo bags and give them for free to anyone who needs them. If we encourage responsibility from everyone in the neighborhood, maybe we can see some improvement. I've asked DGS about better tree/plantings upkeep & even sidewalks. It appears some especially wonky areas are in the process of being updated, but more investment in the neighborhood is clearly required, desired, and oft requested. Maybe I need to get on the Soapbox...wait, I think I'm on it already. I'll step off now.

Dogs are always welcome outside of All Good and we're happy to provide water anytime in exchange for sloppy doggie kisses for our daughter :) (She has about 30 stuffed dogs - I'm not exaggerating.)

We're not putting out our patio tables regularly anymore because of the possible nightmarish scenario of one of the chairs going through our front plate glass window (we experienced minor vandalizm recently), but they are easy to move out and back in as needed. We're getting a bike rack in front of the shop, so if you're just dropping in to the bakery and need a place to secure your leash, we'll have that available soon.

Happy trails, to all you lucky dogs.

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