New York Book Signing

Trip to New York
Winnie and I have always wanted to go to New York.  Finally our chance came when the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) planned a book signing for some of its members just before the big Westminster Show.  There were ten of us in attendance–nine humans and one dog!  We drove up to the Philadelphia airport to meet Sarah, our sister, who flew in from Atlanta.  Sarah was the driver for the rest of the way to the Big Apple. 
The Holiday Inn Martinique Hotel
After unloading the car at our hotel, the Holiday Inn Martinique, we checked in at the desk with (left to rt) Heather Nemeth, Taina Tanco and Tara Gilbert.  Because everybody on the hotel staff was dog friendly, we found New York City to be a much more welcoming place than we had anticipated.

An elevator ride took us to our room where Winnie and I set up our own little apartment in one corner.  Mom had taken one of our crates, and we found that it fitted perfectly under the desk.  To make us feel right at home, she had also packed our placemats and dishes. 

Believe me–we were starved after driving so far.  At home, we’d have run around and barked up a storm, but we figured we’d better not bark in the hotel.  So we stuck close to Mom’s heels until she fixed our supper.

We had taken my laptop with us so I could do some writing if I wanted to.  With the phone cord for the Internet connection conveniently located up on “our” desk, we plugged the computer in, and I played around on the Internet while Mom and Sarah settled in. 

Meanwhile, Winnie was bored. To pacify her, Sarah let her get up on the bed to see around in the room better.
The Streets of New York
After dinner the first night, we walked up to Madison Square Park to find some grass and trees.   No luck.  The grass and trees in the little park had been roped off for replanting.  At that point, Winnie and I realized we’d just have to pretend the concrete walks were grass.  As we walked back to the hotel about 10 o’clock, snowflakes began to land on our noses even though the weathermen had predicted that the snow wouldn’t start until around midnight.
When we got up the next morning, several inches of snow covered everything, and it was still snowing.  With snow hiding all the litter, the city looked really beautiful.  After breakfast, we took a taxi from the hotel to the Dog Spa for the book signing. Usually when we’re in a car, we ride in our crate, so it was a special treat to sit on Mom’s lap in the taxi and look out the window at the blur of white rushing by.
New York Dog Spa and Hotel
The New York Dog Spa and Hotel is a fashionable dog-daycare center on West 25th Street that offers–you name it--boarding, grooming, training, swimming, field trips and massage therapy. Winnie is always dreaming about a new hair-do, but there wasn’t time for such foolishness.  When we arrived, Dale and Frances helped us brush off the snow and set up my book display.

DWAA Book-signing Event
Amy Fernandez, who is a writer and an artist, was overall chairman of the DWAA book signing event.  Because she had made all the arrangements with the authors and the Spa people, we had e-mailed her several times but had never met her.   Let me mention several of the authors we enjoyed meeting.

Gayle Kirschenbaum (left) had helped us locate a New York publicist, Laurie Sheppard (right).  I could tell right off the bat that both Laurie and Gayle were real dog lovers.  We talked with Laurie a lot and enjoyed meeting Gayle.  Gayle had expected to bring her Shih Tzu, Chelsea, with her, but Chelsea decided at the last minute not to venture out in the snow.  Gayle and Chelsea are working on a Dogamentary about New York, and now that we’ve visited there, we’ll be especialoly interested to see it.
Nikki Moustaki, another author, plans to include therapy dog information from my LapDog Therapy book in an article she is writing for Popular Dogs Magazine that will come out in the spring.

Columnist Julia Szabo writes for House Beautiful, the New York Times Magazine, and the Sunday New York Post.  Her latest book, Animal House Style, is an interior decorator’s guide for dog lovers–well for pet lovers--but most of the book really is for dog people.  Although Ms. Szabo has pit bulls, she took a special fancy to Winnie and me, calling us “champagne truffles.”  

Jean Keating’s Papillon. Driver, helps her write mysteries for dog lovers!  We were pleased to have another Virginia author in the group.

Chris Walkowicz, president of the DWAA, set up her books right beside us.  Imagine sitting in the lap of the president of the Dog Writers Association of America.  Mrs. Walkowicz, a Bearded Collie enthusiast, is a well-known author who judges dog shows all over the country. 
After a group of NYU film students interviewed the Dog Spa manager, they interviewed us.  We’re looking forward to getting a copy of their finished product describing dog life in New York City.
City life vs. small town life
Before leaving New York the next afternoon, I hopped up on my lookout in front of the window, looked down on the street activity and began to reflect on our time in the Big Apple.  Coming home, I thought about it some more.  I loved being in the fast lane for a couple of days.  New York is lots of things.  It is teeming, endless activity. It is all the colors and all the smells of bakeries and restaurants--and it is bad smells, too.  It is work and play.  And it seems to be optimism and hope.  But for my everyday life, I'll be perfectly happy to be back in my little town down in Virginia where we have grass and trees and beautiful flowers everywhere.  As for me, I think the most beautiful flowers of all are feathery dandelions puffs that are always waiting for me to pop! 
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