Looking after Ling Chao


If you’ve never experienced being woken up by a 50lb dog that is standing directly on on top of you, one paw on your breast and one on your throat, then spare yourself!  This is what happens when you score the biggest bed and the dog’s owners are away and said dog tries to get your attention in the middle of the night!!  Ouch!!

The whole premise of our visit to NYC was to dog sit for our friends Marc and Keju while they went to visit their new home in Seattle for the New Year’s weekend.  Their fabulous apartment in the Financial District in Manhattan is on the market but hasn’t sold yet.  Lucky us!  Marc was already on the west coast but Keju was of course with us the first night.  Ling Chao, their Chow, is quite the character!  Our duties were to walk her, feed her and of course, love her.

She’s one of those dogs that commands attention wherever she goes and also knows exactly where she wants to go. She’s gorgeous to look at so is much admired and she’s pretty stubborn!  The doormen all greet her by name and keep treats for her and the many other dogs that live in the building that houses 400 apartments.

The apartment building is a classic Art Deco structure designed by the same architectural team as the Empire State Building.  Marc, Keju and Ling Chao are fortunate to live on the 14th floor which has the largest terraces.  I thought my porch was big!  They have 1400 sq feet of terrace and thanks to Marc’s expertise in landscape design, it is absolutely stunning.  We so enjoyed staying in this beautiful place that is so tastefully decorated, comfortable and full of great artwork, including many pieces by Marc’s late uncle.  A real treat.

Ling Chao missed us during the day when we went out but there’s no denying that every time we came back you knew she was secretly hoping it was Marc and Keju.  She put up with us though and enjoyed being lavished with attention despite the fact that we aren’t her first loves.

One of her favorite walks, last thing at night, is down the street where the back door of a Burger King provides endless entertainment because that’s where the trash comes out of and is put on the sidewalk overnight.  By entertainment, I mean rats.  I did the late night walk twice.  The first time, there were only 2 or 3 darting around the trash.  But last night we rounded the corner and as there were no other people around, there were at least a dozen to “entertain” us.  Ling Chao just suddenly sat and watched them all, refusing to move.  I was happy not to as well.  When a couple finally walked up towards us, I felt like we had a decent human/dog to rat ratio and we quickly traversed the area as the rats scattered into grates and onto car wheels.  City life!  There must be millions of them but at least Ling Chao was happy to see them!

Could we have possibly had more fun dog sitting in New York?   I think not!  Robin, Kerry and I are home now, while Cherry continues with this job for a couple more days.  We caught trains home today, without a doubt the best way to travel to and from New York.  Kerry kindly made us Eataly/Le District sandwich combos for the journey.  Even the train ride was an adventure, hats off to the Amtrak employees for dealing with a train at full capacity and assigning seats to each and every passenger on the spot with just the right combination of authority and humor.  And to the young soldier who sat across from us:  a girl that sends you back to your Base in North Carolina with a six page neatly handwritten letter adorned with hearts, particularly in this day and age, is a keeper.

We packed an awful lot into these last few days.  We ate extraordinarily well, walked a lot, avoided all the super touristy stuff, enjoyed each other’s company and absorbed the magnificent energy and culture of this city and the many many offerings it has.  Many thanks to Marc and Keju for the opportunity.   Can’t wait to go back again!  Now it’s time to plan some more adventures….

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