Sitting at the sidewalk café at my Park Avenue hotel, sipping my morning coffee and reading the New York Times, this is a little piece of heaven. My reverie is punctuated by the constant flow of dogs being walked by their fascinating owners. I’m struck by the veracity of the old adage that dogs look like their owners and vice versa (skinny dog, skinny owner; shaggy dog, shaggy owner, etc.) The “apartment” dogs are just adorable, French bulldogs, shiztus, and yorkies seem to be popular right now. Many hotels advertise themselves as pet-friendly and offer kennel services in the building and/or allow pets to stay in the rooms. (I hope the rooms are really cleaned well afterward for the benefit of future allergy-prone guests.) The dog-water bowl at my hotel’s front door encourages the four-legged neighbors to stop for a sip and allows the hotel guests to interact with their two-legged companions. Total strangers who would otherwise never speak to each other have no qualms about striking up a conversation, commenting on how cute the dog is, speculating on the breed, and complimenting the accessories. It seems that in a city previously known for its brusque and sometimes unfriendly attitude, dogs have become the “icebreakers,” allowing the humans around them to make a connection.