Dr. Harvey Weinstein was sitting with his head on his paws, looking at his empty food bowl with mock consternation, as if he might fill it through sheer force of will.
It had been a long week for Dr. Weinstein, pet psychiatrist, and he was worn out. Tired from a long week of dealing with the problems of his canine friends and looking foward to a lazy weekend with Darlene, his beloved owner, whom he most praised for her laziness and disinterest in walking him farther than two blocks.
Dr. Weinstein got enough stimulation during the week.
First it was the Bichon Friese with the acute anxiety every time her owner went to the gym. Chloe would see Mrs. Parker get out the yoga mat and her little doggie heart would race. She feared Mrs. Parker, who she thought was too old for such things, would pull a muscle and not be able to pick her up.
Chloe was, in short, nuts.
Things had gone downhill from there.
Every day at around noon, his walker, Carl, a ex-hippie who lived in the East 70s would come by Dr. Weinstein's place on 84th between Lexington and Park and strap on the leash. Then they would trot over to the dog park and Dr. Weinstein would begin his work.
After Chloe on Monday he talked with Samson, a middle-aged Golden Retriever wtih a chip on his shoulder. Samson was in love with a Bulldog bitch named Ella, but Ella wasn't having it. She would turn her head and walk away when Samson tried to sniff her butt. She stood still, staring at him, when he tried to play chase. Ella was cold. Samson had to realize that it wasn't personal. She'd never gotten over being spayed, and secretly dreamed of puppies of her own. Even if she did have a litter, Dr. Weinstein figured she'd still be a pain in the ass. He didn't like the Park Avenue dogs with their gilded collars and steak dinners.
Dr. Weinstein sighed as he started at his empty bowl. Darlene was late, and his stomach knew it. He tried to amuse himself by moving over to the window. He perched up, with his paws on the sill, and stared down at the evening traffic on 84th Street. A Schnauzer pulled at his leash. A woman walked a double stroller, Dr. Weinstein's favorite kind to shade himself behind on a summer afternoon in Central Park.
"Where could she be?" thought Dr. Weinstein.
But he was no good at finding the reasons for human behavior. Those beasts were beyond him.
Dr. Weinstein preferred his canine bretheren -- furry and fierce. Although he had to confess that it was hard to find a fierce one among the Upper East Side dog park set. Most of his patients were depressed. Longed to see what real, natural dirt felt like under their paws. Very few were openly angry.
Except, of course, for Enid, the Rotweiller. Why she lived in the city Dr. Weinstein could hardly fathom. She'd come from the Chicago suburbs where she used to have her own yard, she would boast. Yard. Sticks. Wild rabbits to chase. Paradise, she called it.
New York City was purgatory.
Dr. Weinstein listened to Enid on Tuesdays and Thursdays, trying to get her to see that things weren't so bad in the city. Fresh food. Nice walks. Other dogs to play with. The occasional kid to throw a stick. It's a good life, he would say. A good life.
The line repeated itself in his mind as Dr. Weinstein curled up on his doggie bed, facing the door, and closed his eyes.
It's a good life, he thought, as his mind faded and his dreams turned to he seaside, where he could romp among the waves, forgetting he ever knew the feeling of concrete beneath his paws.