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Fairytail Of New York: Pictures Of A Big City Dog

Max In The City

The night I met my wife at a bar in Salt Lake City, she told me she had a black lab named Max.

I stared at this girl, this Monica chick, trying to figure out what the catch was with her. She seemed too good to be true and then she dropped the dog bomb and, well, I sort of lost my game. I was beginning to feel my heart race hard.

Something was up. My blood was on fire. I took another shot of Jager and tried my hardest to act cool, or at least to contain my inner spazz, but it was tough.

I told her how much I loved dogs.

She told me she got Max when he was just eight weeks old and that he was the sweetest guy in the world.

I almost feel off my bar stool.

Was I inside of a dream?

The more she talked about him the more savagely attracted to her I became.

Gorgeous women aren’t always easy to chat up. But smart, sophisticated, beautiful ladies with a dog of their own, and a black lab to boot: it was almost too much to comprehend. My mind  started exploding after about ten minutes of talking with Monica that night. And the detonations are still popping off up there. (Which probably helps explain why I rarely say or do the right thing any more, huh? My damn mind exploded years ago, ya’ll!)

Anyway, we ordered more drinks and talked dogs for awhile. I explained to her that because I was so nomadic, constantly in some far-off city touring with my band, I had gone for many lonely years now without even being able to dream of having a pup of my own. It had become something that I just had to sacrifice if I wanted to play music for a living. She told me how Max loved to ride around with her in her truck and hang out the window as they took long drives in the mountains where she lived.

I guess I fell in love with two hearts that night. Two months later, me and Monica got married one evening at a judge’s house.

Not long after that three of us climbed up into a giant moving truck one Sunday morning and pulled out of Utah. We were bound for glory in New York City.

Me and her and a dog named Max.

This is his tale tail.

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  • Start Spreadin’ The News 1 of 23
    Start Spreadin' The News
    Listen up and I'll tell you a real real good story. Years ago, when I was young pup, my people took me in a truck and we drove and drove and drove for miles and miles, for days on end. I'd hang my face out the window while we were rolling down the gray ribbon and I could smell so much stuff, man. I smelled antelopes and cougars. I smelled fresh corn in the fields and sweet flowers I had never ever whiffed before. Then, one day, I could smell the rivers, their ripe wonderful scents filling up my head. When we got out of the truck for the last time we were in a place called Brooklyn. That's in New York City, young buck. I smelled pizza. We had arrived. Our new home. The Big Apple.
  • To Be Young 2 of 23
    To Be Young
    Oh, I was a wild one back then. I was only 2-years old and I was full of vim and vigor, I was. In the mornings my peeps would take me to a big park before anyone else was around and I would zero in on a stand of old trees that we all called "Squirrel Country". Man, did I chase some of those midgets around! I used to give 'em heck, that's for sure. But they were sophisticated buggers, not some country rodent who'd never seen a strong guy like me before. So they were impossible to catch. But whatever. We had a blast playing our little cat and mouse thing.
  • Right At Home 3 of 23
    Right At Home
    I suppose some other dogs might have a hard time coming to the big town, but not me. Even though I had been born out in the Wild West, reared up chasing mule deer along steep canyon ridges under big old skies, I fell in love with the the city real fast. We lived in a little place back then, all three of us packed in like sardines (God, I love sardines!) and there were times, I'm not gonna lie, there were times when I sorta wished I could have got my own place/nothing fancy/just a studio in Flatbush or someplace out of the loop. But, we managed alright. We had a lot of love, you know, and they had their wine juice and I had my dishes to lick after they ate dinner and so we were pretty happy.
  • Out Of The Shadows 4 of 23
    Out Of The Shadows
    People say the Big Apple is a mean place but they are wrong, friend. It's not at all. People always petted me and said hi and if had to squat and do my thing right there on the sidewalk in front of their stoop, they were always cool with it as long as my peeps bagged up the memory, you know what I mean? Ha! One time, though, not long after we arrived, the city did reach out to sting me. We were just walking along singing our song, me on my leash soaking in the spring sun, when out of nowhere came this little Pitbull girl and she just laid into me, man. I had to get a lot of stitches and operations and I wasn't myself for a good while, but in the end my peeps loved me so hard that I got better. (PS...that fight would have turned out different if I had seen her coming!)
  • Hot Time/Summer In The City 5 of 23
    Hot Time/Summer In The City
    By summertime, I was back on my feet, back out in Squirrel Country, back livin' and lovin' once again. My peeps were big on walking around too, which was awesome for me because we would spend hours cruising around the streets and I would get to smell so many hydrants, dude! New York City offers a lot of different things to a lot of different people, you know, but for me, a connoisseur sniffer of dog whizz, I was all about those hundreds of fresh nose-fulls I could imbibe for free every time we hit the pavements. I was in heaven. Sometimes, my peeps had to drag me away from certain hydrants, that's how good the whiffing was back in those days!
  • Manhattan Skyline 6 of 23
    Manhattan Skyline
    I cannot even begin to tell you how cool it is to walk down to the East River and look out across the water at Manhattan. All three of us were just hooked on doing it and because we only lived like two blocks away, we were down at that waterfront ALL the time. And at night, with the buildings all aglow, it was magical. Plus people were always taking hot wings and slices down there to eat their lunch with a little view and so it was like a big old garden of bones and crust nuggets for me. And I'm a foodie, so that Brooklyn riverfront was a regular haunt for me and the gang.
  • Pigeons Forever 7 of 23
    Pigeons Forever
    There was this place we would go to, in a park down our street, where we would sneak up on this giant concrete lot and I could smell the hot buttered scent of a million pigeons. And just as we were getting up to the edge of it, man, my peeps would reach down while I was pulling so hard I could barely stand it, and they would unhook my leash with a tug and a click and I would be off like a black lightning bolt! Oh the joy! I would tear into the middle of a flock of pigeons so vast you could ride a jet around on it, and they would scatter up into the bright Brooklyn sky like some kind of reverse confetti storm! I never felt so alive as right then. I miss those New York pigeons maybe more than anything. I came to respect them, their wily survivalist ways. But I always chased them with everything I had in me.
  • Frozen City 8 of 23
    Frozen City
    When the winter rolled around that chipmunk coffin we were living in could get mighty small, I'll tell ya' that. So we kept up our outside ways, no matter how cold or snowy it got. We needed our fresh air and so we went out and took it. When the snows came, my peeps would take me down by the river where I could be unleashed and run wild through the snowbanks that the plow trucks left behind. And I would jump high after snowballs they tossed up in the air for me, catching them in my mouth and loving the cold shatter of them in my clamping jaws. Those were great times. And man did we sleep good those nights.
  • We Will Always Be In This Together 9 of 23
    We Will Always Be In This Together
    Now, it's true that New York has it's share of bad apples (no pun intended!), but most of the other mutts I ran into were really cool. Once, during a blizzard that stopped the whole town in it's tracks, I met up with this one girl and she was so awesome. We ran through the snow as if our lives depended on it, chasing each other and play-nipping and all. When I finally had to go home, I said goodbye and left. But sadly I never really saw her again. The city is like that sometimes, I guess. You find someone, and the next thing you know, they disappear in a crowd, forever.
  • In An Arty Mood 10 of 23
    In An Arty Mood
    My peps were always taking pictures of me and at first I was a little put off by it, mostly because it would slow us down when I had a million hydrants to whiff, you know? But eventually I came to really like it because I figured out that when they were in one of their "Arty Moods" that meant we were probably gonna end up going somewhere super cool so they'd have their background or whatever. At one point, I'm fairly certain I was the most photographed dog in the Five Boroughs. This one is one of my peeps faves...probably because they think it's "arty".
  • Spring Is Just A Wish Away 11 of 23
    Spring Is Just A Wish Away
    By the end of winter, we'd all had enough. Everyone had. You could start to feel a bubbling under the surface of life when the days began to grow a little longer/a little warmer. Then, lo and behold, by the time you were just about to go all Cujo on a coffee shop full of peeps, spring had sprung and we were freed at last. Spring is a welcome sight anywhere in the world, I reckon, but in the city...it's magic, man.
  • That River Callin’ My Name 12 of 23
    That River Callin' My Name
    By the time summer came back around, man did it get hot. And me with this dang coat...ugh! I started to feel a little inclined to jump in that East River after a while, but my peeps were a little scared of that and I had to listen to them or the Treat Train would take a detour to Nowheresville. Still, I had my own little dream, like all New Yorkers do, and I was just biding my time/planning and plotting for that one big break to come my way.
  • Art Attack! 13 of 23
    Art Attack!
    Williamsburg in Brooklyn is a real creative mecca if nothing else. At least it was when we were living there. And when we first arrived, I could have cared less about the art scene, to be perfectly honest with ya. But after a while, it sucked me in. It has to unless you're made of ice or you're a cat or something. I came to really dig all the incredible free art just stuck up to telephone poles and walls and all. Of course, if it happened to be on a hydrant....well, yeah, it got a little spritz courtesy of yours truly! Sorry art lovers!
  • Is A Dream A Lie If It Don’t Come True? 14 of 23
    Is A Dream A Lie If It Don't Come True?
    The more we went down to the riverfront to walk around and watch the skyline in that shimmering haze of the city summer, the more I wanted to take a dip in that water. I just KNEW it had to be cool and refreshing, I didn't care what anybody said. But again, I had to pay my dues and wait for my ship to come in.
  • There’s More Than One Way To Love A Hydrant 15 of 23
    There's More Than One Way To Love A Hydrant
    Sometimes, me and my peeps would be out strollin' and all of the sudden we would turn a corner and SHAZAM! There would be a beautiful smelly fire hydrant just standing there wide open, gushing more delicious water than I could lap up in a thousand city lifetimes! But, I sure had fun sticking my head in there and letting that hard fast water bounce my head around like a balloon in the wind. Gosh, I took some EPIC pees after those sessions! Ha!
  • Meeting Across The River 16 of 23
    Meeting Across The River
    One day, out of the blue, my peeps hooked me up to my red string and we went out walking. I had no idea where we were headed, the waterfront or the park or something, I figured. But ohhhh no. Next thing I knew: we were out there walking across the bridge and it dawned on me: we were going into the CITY city...into MANHATTAN! Wow, what a day that was...what smells and traffic and, OMG!: the dropped treasures! Pizza crusts and egg roll cabbage and bits of hot dog bun and even bits of hot dog; it was all just a little bit of heaven. After that, we all needed more of that stuff, so we began to walk over there a lot. I'm proud of it, too, man. In the grand scheme of things, there aren't too many of us who can say,'Oh yeah, I've tinkled on darn near every hydrant in the Village."
  • To Be A New Yorker 17 of 23
    To Be A New Yorker
    There are a lot of opinions about how long you have to cling to the Apple before you're a real true New Yorker, but I don't really listen to any of that. By the time I had lived with my peeps for over a year in the city, I really felt at home. I felt like I was meant to be there and that the city knew about me and looked out for me and vice-versa. Nothing phased me after a time. The wail of sirens, the smell of garbage, the crazy raccoons of Brooklyn (yeah, they are there!), all of it just added up to the city that I loved. Life was good and I was a New Yorker and no one could take that away from me.
  • You Gotta’ Believe! 18 of 23
    You Gotta' Believe!
    Well, I guess you can see that I stuck with my dream and never gave up. You can't give up in the big town. Otherwise the city will chew you up and spit you out...which is a good thing for guys like me if you happen to be a hot wing bone or a dropped ice cream cone. But overall it's a sad way to go. In New York, you need your dreams to keep you going. So, one day finally it happened. Everyone was nervous and yeah, I know it wasn't the smartest thing I have ever done, but buddy: I SWAM IN THE EAST RIVER!!!
  • Come Home Now 19 of 23
    Come Home Now
    Back then my main man, my 'Poppers', he had to go away a lot, to play his guitars and stuff with his band. I missed him when he was gone, but I still had my super slice, my 'Mommers' to hang with. Me and her went for all kinds of crazy long walks when he was gone. And I was always a little more on guard, protecting her without letting her even know it, like a good man should. But, when 'Poppers' finally came home after a month or two away...it was so great to see him again. He's such a great fella. And, if I do say so myself, he's quite a looker, too!
  • Somethin’ Goin’ Down 20 of 23
    Somethin' Goin' Down
    Eventually, after a couple years, I began to get the sense that something was brewing, that something was going down. I tried to key in on what it was exactly, but I couldn't quite make it out. It was more of a gut feeling than anything else, I guess. But it was there, and I could really feel it.
  • Leaving 21 of 23
    Leaving
    We were leaving. I had known something was up, but I hadn't really guess that it could possibly this. Yet it turned out that it was. We were moving away from the city that we had all come to love. Why do we ever leave New York City? It's a hard thing to figure out. But my peeps called the biggest shots and I would stick by them no matter what. And it appeared that they needed to move on, so that's what I'd be doing too.
  • The Last Moments Of A Real Good Time 22 of 23
    The Last Moments Of A Real Good Time
    What can I say? The day we left was a sad one. I knew my peeps were excited to be going and that was something that I carried in my heart and began to feel too. But I could also see that they were crying and sad to be going away, from our little hole in the wall in the best city in the whole wide world; a city where the energy was electric and the fire hydrants were simply legendary.
  • Home Is Wherever We All Are 23 of 23
    Home Is Wherever We All Are
    We ended up far away from the streets of New York and it took us a while to adjust. But that's natural. We are a tough gang if nothing else, so we were fine. Pretty soon I strolled over to the window of the new place, of our new home, and I looked out at the green trees on the quiet street and guess what I saw, man?!! You better believe it: two fat squirrels just sitting there staring across the sidewalk at me as if they'd never seen a dog like me in all their days before. I was home.

 

 

You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.

And on Facebook and Twitter.

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More from Serge:

Eat The Wind: 25 Supercool Dogs In Cars

25 Things About My Daughter, Violet

Soul Survivors: The Stray Dogs of the Moscow Subway

 

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