New Yorkers and Their Dogs: Romantic Comedy or Creepfest?

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Photo: Who's Walking Who?

When it comes to New Yorkers resembling their dogs, canine-behavior specialist Stacy Alldredge believes it's a chicken-or-egg question: "Are people drawn to dogs that look like them, or do they start to look like each other?" she wondered during yesterday’s Neue Hund holiday dog gathering. “Bulldogs always look like their owners, or their owner’s boyfriend. Always." A former therapist who switched to dogs when people became "too depressing," she is careful to protect her client-dog confidentiality; she did mention, however, that one of her clients trims her blonde bangs in the same style as her long-haired dog. "They have matching hairdos and matching sundresses in the summer," she said. "I swear to God this is true — the dog is male, and the woman owner dresses them alike."

Alldredge's human-therapy skills often come in handy with her current line of work. "I have this client — it’s a couple, and they have two dogs," she said. "They’ve been married a few months, and they're already arguing quite a bit, which is very uncomfortable." Apparently the husband was annoyed by the dogs begging at the dinner table, but the wife didn’t think the dogs begged at all, which Alldredge found perplexing: "This is pretty black-and-white — they either beg from the table, or they don't." She suggested that they all sit at the table to see what would happen. "We sit down at their lovely Upper West Side two-story townhouse, and she sets the table — but she set four place-settings. At first I was like, well, maybe she’s just being proper." But no — the husband and wife sat down at the table, and then the two dogs joined them. "And I was like, ohhh. She doesn’t think they’re begging, because they’re sitting at the table, and he doesn’t want them sitting at the table. Wow. Where do I go from here? They were just so totally on different pages."

Remember this, New York dog lovers, before you start crowing about this week's study proving that dogs are better pets than cats.