Normally James’ black and white fur looks as sharp as the uniform of an English butler, just as his serious name implies. But on a walk in Central Park one day, the five-month-old Border Collie-Basset Hound mix took a spill that hardly befitted the dignity of Mr. Carson on “Downton Abbey.” James was walking near Harlem Meer with his owners when he mistook the bright green algae covering the lake for a continuation of the grass surrounding it. He ran right in, sank, and luckily discovered that he knew how to swim. “He was scared for a second, and then he started paddling,” owner Nicole Dykman said. “The look on his face was like, ‘What was that? How did that happen?’” Nicole’s husband, Angus Dobbie, fished James out. The puppy was covered in slimy algae. He hasn’t gone near the Meer since, but Nicole hopes he’ll go swimming in a pool when they go on vacation this month. James has the short, wide legs of a Basset Hound, but his face looks far more like a Border Collie’s. He is twenty-two pounds now and expected to grow to about forty-five pounds. He is an intrepid player, wrestling, running around, chewing, and climbing in and out of crates with his playmates at Doggedly Devoted. He has been coming to daycare here since the first day we opened at the beginning of July. James especially likes to play with bigger dogs, like his “B.F.F.” Dweezil, an eight-month-old Akita-Boxer-Bulldog mix. “Doggedly Devoted has been so great,” Nicole said. “He just passes out when he gets home from daycare.” In addition to Nicole and Angus, James is lucky enough to have four kids in his family: India, 11; Atticus, 9; Arlo, 7; and Banjo, 5. “James love the kids, and the kids love James, and they all fight over who gets to sleep with him,” Nicole said. James came to the Dykman-Dobbie household by way of Kentucky, where he was rescued from a kill shelter and brought to New York City. Nicole’s previous dog, a pug, died in May. A week later, the family was in TriBeCa when they saw a pet adoption fair. They went to look and fell in love with James. He was eight weeks old at the time. James likes to herd the family, like a good Border Collie. Ironically, a stuffed sheep is one of his favorite toys. “If I could send him to a sheep farm for a week and he could learn to herd, that would be fantastic,” Nicole said.
August 1, 2012 by megan