Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category

Dogs in Art: Not Just Poker Dogs and Carriage Hounds

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

A Snow Lion roars with a Tiger in a detail from one of the Baylis Collection carpets.

Last weekend Raja visited the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (150 West 17th St) to see the Patterns of Life exhibition of antique Tibetan rugs from the private collection of Robert and Lois Baylis.  And why would Raja want to see that?  Why wouldn’t he? 

The Shih Tzu or Lion Dogs came originally from Tibet and their mythical counterparts, the Tibetan Snow Lions, are featured prominently in Tibetan art.  In Tibetan mythology, some animals have meaning.  The dog is brave and optimistic and meets each day with a positive outlook.  (What a role model!)  The Snow Lion is an imaginary super Shih Tzu, dreamt up by a people who never saw a real lion, even though the lion was part of the mythological stories that came north into Tibet from India about the life of the Buddha (he rode on a lion, Lion was his family’s clan name).

Raja reclines on two of his own Snow Lion carpets (book detail).

Look, it’s all very complicated… but in a land of snow, the mythical Lion was modeled by artists on the shaggy companion dogs of Tibet.  Big feet, fluffy manes, playful paws, loyal and patient natures and the temperament of guardians if anybody had harmful intentions.  The Snow Lion (super Shih Tzu) is featured on the Tibetan National Flag as well as redundantly in Tibetan art and craft.  So that’s why Raja had to be there.  It’s about heritage. 

You might want to go too.  The exhibit closes on August 22nd.  It’s a gorgeous museum with lots of magical, mystical things to see.  The docents are very friendly and the attitude is decidedly unstuffy.  You can have lunch at the museum or you can trot a few blocks down and have lunch in the Petite Abeille Restaurant (44 West 17th), which was also very gracious to Raja. 

And, if the explanation about the Tibetan dog confused you or intrigued you, either way, consider clicking the Raja’s Book Tab up top and purchasing Raja’s book on the subject.  Or go here…   Or buy a copy at the Rubin Museum gift shop.

Raja and Dog Jaunt double team for pet travel!

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Many thanks to Dog Jaunt for asking us to guest blog this week. Dog Jaunt is a wonderful resource for people who want to take their small dog along with them, on trips of any length.  Dog Jaunt stars, Chloe, the beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel!  Look for an expert guest blog about the famous street food of Seattle, Washington on our site from Mary-Alice Pomputius of Dog Jaunt in June!

Please check out our article:  And don’t forget to keep in your sights for small dog travel resources and evals!

Never be Afraid to Ask: Raja Visits the Vatican

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Raja leaves the Vatican Museum

Raja leaves the Vatican Museum

Raja was just in Rome for a few days and what we wanted to do most was see Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museum. Did Raja want to see the Sistine Chapel?  Of course!  He loves art!  

You may be wondering how Raja got in to see the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum.  The answer is simple -  we asked permission. 

Once inside the daunting doorway through the walls of the Holy City, we told the guards that we would love to see Michelangelo’s ceiling, but we have Raja with us.  We told them he is a certified Therapy Dog who can visit nursing homes and hospitals in the US and that he is tame and gentle.  Raja did his part by looking sleepy but therapeutic. 

Can you imagine, the guards initially thought that we wanted to check him in the baggage room?  They said, “Oh no Signore, we cannot be responsible for keeping him with the coats.”  They were relieved when we explained that we didn’t want to check him, but that we wanted to take him in his travel bag.  Then the guards had a mini conference and they decided that he could go too, “Yes, OK, you will be responsible, please go ahead.  Enjoy yourselves.”  

The Vatican Museum consists of magnificent chambers and halls lined with artwork that lead, after an extremely long shuffle, past many mini-shops of licensed Vatican mementos, to the Sistine Chapel.  If you want to see the Sistine Chapel, any good art book will show you the images better than being in the actual room, which is dim and crowed.  You can’t speak and you can’t take photos.  BUT, it was an awesome privilege to be under a work of art painted, however much it has been restored, by the 16th century genius Michelangelo.   

This blog post isn’t really about how to take your dog to see the Sistine Chapel.  Honestly, most dogs would lose patience with the long walk to the final chamber.  Our theme is that you should never subvert yourself by giving up without trying.  Don’t be the one to tell yourself that your dreams are impossible.  Give others the chance to hear you and help you.  Every day I have been thinking of those kind and smart guards who concluded that mild mannered, non dangerous, art loving Raja could go through the Vatican Museum. 

Next blog we’ll tell you about Trastevere, one of Rome’s nicest districts, and begin our tales of Raja’s visit to Calabria in Italy’s agrarian south.