We have officially entered the dog days of summer, by which I mean the star Sirius is making its annuals rounds above the eastern horizon, bringing with it a sun so hot that back in the old times, if we trust John Brady’s Clavis Calendaria (1813), “the Sea Boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid, causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.” Climate change has made that all worse, and now, there is an unfolding drama among purebred dog owners on the Upper East Side.
The dog fight broke out after NBC News reporter Kalhan Rosenblatt wrote a viral Twitter thread on Tuesday. Rosenblatt owns a French bulldog named Nacho, who she takes to a weekly meetup for French bulldogs at Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side. It is run by another local “Frenchie” owner who keeps followers updated on an Instagram page called @frenchiesofues. Owners from across the city trek uptown for this Sunday morning meetup.
The Frenchie cabal has irked other dog owners in the area enough that a rival Instagram popped up lobbying for the other to be dismantled. That one is called @stop_the_meetups. Here’s a sample of their complaints:
Every week, the small dog run in Carl schurz park is subjected to 30+ frenchies (plus owners) during high traffic times. The dogs are all over the 25lb limit for the run, and other breeds are not able to use it, which is against NYC Parks rules!...Dogs from all over the city, including Chelsea, Brooklyn, even as far as NJ, are regularly invited to and coming to these meetups. The run is too small for this!
It’s a feud with few sympathetic sides. On the one hand, there’s something strange about traveling out of state so your dog can play with its breed. On the other, no one likes a narc. And yet, there seems to have been an audience for the admin’s pushback; she told Upper East Site that “it’s a hot topic of conversation among nearly all of the non-frenchie owners in the area.” And her posts prompted sympathetic comments from dog owners impersonating their pets. Consider this person pretending to be their Maltese:
I feel that I’ve been pushed out of my favorite place to play at the dog run because the Frenchies meet up is too overwhelming for me. I’m only 7lbs and can’t risk being run over by Frenchies who are pure muscle.
Until Tuesday, the feud had been playing out somewhat privately between these two small accounts. But Rosenblatt’s thread seems to have inadvertently fueled the hostility. The ‘Stop the Meetups’ admin said she had turned off Instagram comments after “hateful and hurtful messages.” And a third account has entered the fray: @stop_frenchy_meetups_nyc, which mainly posts headlines about Frenchies mauling their owners to death.
The original two sides seemed to have reached some kind of detente, or at least taken the fight offline. On Tuesday, ‘Stop the Meetups’ thanked ‘Frenchies of UES’ for ending the meet-up on time; the latter account, meanwhile, posted a carousel of infographics condemning “harassment online.” Still, the ‘Stop the Meetups’ admin plans to deactivate the account on Saturday. “This has gone way too far,” she wrote in a caption. “There is no reason to be sending me physical threats.”
Maybe time to take a leaf from the Greeks who, per Brady, “usually sacrificed a Brown dog to appease [the sun’s] rage.”