THE BLOG
03/07/2012 09:05 am ET Updated May 07, 2012

Canines Occupy Central Park

Occupy Wall Street in New York and other parts of the country received a lot of press, but some occupy movements didn't make the news. Here's one of them.

It was a brisk, January morning in Manhattan and Mrs. Teplitsky began walking her hypoallergenic, caramel-colored, genetically-engineered Schnoodle to the park. The usual scene on a Sunday morning consists of dogs out on the street. The Upper East Side Wall Street, "Ivy Legacy" families walking their... or rather, the families' nannies and/or dog walkers, taking their weekly groomed, white Standard Poodles on a walk, the Upper West side families with their child-friendly, loyal Golden Retrievers and the artists who inhabit downtown with their pound-rescued, lovable mutts.

In Manhattan, a city of 1,585,873 people, almost less than a quarter of New Yorkers own dogs. With weekday schedules monopolizing their time and attention, Sunday provides a much-needed respite, giving New Yorkers a chance to catch their breath. What does one do with free time? Well, one can pick up a coffee at Dean & Deluca's and walk his or her loyal, licking companions to the park. Mrs. Teplitsky stopped to pick up her usual morning mocha and bagel from her favorite eatery on 80th and Madison while her dog, Linus, was tethered outside to the Number 4 "uptown" bus stop. They proceeded to Central Park -- the United Nations for dogs, if you will -- where one can see a Siberian Husky, Portuguese Water Dog, or a Mexican Hairless. The park allows dogs of different breeds and various socio-economic backgrounds to let loose and run around, thus allowing their owners to relish their coffee and croissant and read the Times to find out where Mitt Romney is stashing his money. Recently, though, there seems to have been a movement spreading in the park. The majority of dogs who occupied Central Park were upset about the economic disparity amongst the canines.

Mrs. Teplitsky's dog is one of the elite, a one percenter. Linus was born and bred in upstate New York. His mother took home a plethora of awards from the Westminster Dog Show and had a stellar reputation among the dog show crowd. Linus' original owner did not want his mother's career being derailed by raising her five puppies, so the owner decided to auction the pups for a charity event, benefiting orphans in Asia (a bit ironic).

A young couple walked parallel to Mrs. Teplitsky, and at the end of their leash was a handsome but non-pedigreed mutt, Asta, named after the dog from the Thin Man series. "Have you heard about the protest?" Asta asked Linus. Linus was taken aback, thinking that this flea-smuggling dog would even consider talking to him. Asta waited patiently for an answer. Linus arrogantly responded, "That protest, it's nothing. Why do those creatures feel the need to ruin my park? It will all be over within a week." The mutt's face could not conceal his disappointment, although Asta realized that the Bergdorf's hand-stitched, Italian-leather collar on Linus was real, rather than pleather, like his own. At the same time, Asta thought to himself, wow, that dog is part of the upper class I loathe and I just asked him about his own, stuck-up kind. Taking a cue from his owners' behavior, Asta decided to keep his mouth shut.

As the two dogs and their owners got closer to the park, Asta and Linus saw twice as many dogs as usual: word of the protest had gotten out. The park was inhabited by disheveled, homeless mongrels. They vastly outnumbered the domesticated, well-coiffed pets. The couple was too distracted by their iPhones, and Mrs. Teplitsky by her coffee and lightly toasted bagel, to notice the great number of dogs that occupied the park on this cold morning. On the other hand, their dogs were overwhelmed by the turnout. Beaming with pride, Asta thought to himself: you could never get this many apathetic cats at a protest.

"Asta, you're here! Us mutts got together today and went along with the plan. I know it's just the beginning, but I think some youngsters are coming all the way from downtown," stated some reddish, tiny dog that looked like it hadn't been bathed in weeks. Another dog shouted, "Yeah, we gathered as many dog bones, treats, and bells as we could, in case we have to hunker down." Asta was astonished at the movement's turnout. But as the days progressed into weeks, then months, animal control began cracking down on the park, putting up barriers, and pepper-spraying the pooches. Havoc spread throughout the park.

The park was not the Shangri-La escape for the uptown neighborhood dogs who usually had the place to themselves. That Sunday in January was just the beginning for a protest that would span a period of three months. None of the dogs really understood what the protest was all about; they knew there were inequalities in their society, but failed to come up with a logical, sensible solution. They hadn't thought their plans through.

After the protest ended and the excitement wore down, life for one of New York's most popular indoor pets returned to their routine schedule of eating, drinking, sleeping and weekly walks in the park. Linus went back to his custom-made, Swedish bed and Sprinkles doggy cupcakes, while a disillusioned Asta pondered Sartre's philosophy on social class and finally realized there will always be some dogs better off than others.

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