THERE AIN’T NOTHING LIKE A HOUND DOG
New Yorkers love their dogs.
The thing that I never understood when I came here though – was why, in the city with a reputation for the meanest people and the smallest apartments, did everyone’s hearts melt when it came to four legged companions?
Then it hit me.
In a city where people will screw you over in the blink of an eye, having someone (or something) around who will love you unconditionally, who doesn’t want anything from you other than some cuddles and food and who will stand by you no matter what, is a rarity.
And thus came the craze of the New Yorkers and their dogs.
All shapes and sizes, all ages and breeds and every wacky and weird outfit combination out there will grace the streets of New York every day. Head held high, tail pronounced they strut the city like nobody business.
So in honor of our sassy little friends, here is a tribute/guide to the New York City pooch.
Now adopting a dog/cat/animal of any sort is a lot harder than it may appear. Speaking from experience, I spent a good 4 months looking for a shelter or rescue in New York that didn’t feel like a scene from a horror movie and where adoption was welcomed. Many of the shelters advertised around the city, are located in bad areas, where the dogs are kept in tiny cages and in unsanitary conditions. The workers of the shelters are often scary themselves and make it very difficult for you to volunteer/foster or adopt any of the pups? This goes along with the large online websites such as adopt-a-pet.com and petfinder.com. For some reason, these sites provide information on thousands of abandoned animals but then provide no way of contacting them, and if so, only via email – in which most of the time are never answered.
Then I had the pleasure of discovering Unleashed in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint. This shelter/spa/daycare center is a yuppie’s idea of dog heaven. Clean, bright and spacious – this center offers a perfect environment to find a little someone to love.
After walking dogs for a while and then fostering a little lady called Stella, I got too attached and ended up adopting this 12 year old, blind and deaf senorita. The staff we extremely helpful and even paid for her medicine and vet visits after I had adopted her.
On a side note – for those younger people who would love to help out this cause, I recommend adopting an senior citizen as they are often less popular for adoption. Stella is by far the best pet I have ever had – so easy, so friendly and so relaxed. Older dogs need less exercise, less space and you are able to give them a nice end to their life and don’t need to commit to a 15 year relationship. All Stella wanted was someone to love her – and as a result, has become attached to me insanely quickly and will slowly follow me around at all times. She doesn’t need a leash and will walk next to me independently, will wait to cross the street (only at the crossing) and her daily ritual consists of three naps, broken up by intermediate sleeping sessions.
I can truly say that I finally understand the New York obsession with all things furry. After the worst day, coming home to see that little smile, and knowing that she relies on me, is a feeling unlike no other. A happiness that is often lost between the skyscrapers and the busy streets.
After sampling many of the cities spa and grooming facilities for these little guys, I can recommend no other than Happy Paws, in Soho.
This all service pet center offers everything for grooming to day care to play dates and merchandise. Stella often enjoys the luxury of a pamper sesh here and comes out stink-free, immaculately groomed and sporting a new complimentary bandana for the walk home. The staff are very well trained and knowledgeable in the field and the price for the services are much cheaper than most doggie days spas. Nothing but positive praises for this place.
(No you are not dreaming, that IS infact a giant camo Croc for your dog to live out their wildest dreams in)
Sick pets are an expensive exercise. If all else fails and you are forced to take them to the vet – Brooklyn Cares (www.brooklyncaresvet.com) is a cheaper option. Unlike most vets in New York who charge a minimum $90 base consultation fee, Brooklyn Cares is $25. Not sacrificing quality of treatment in anyway, this place is amazingly caring, helpful and supportive. And a hell of a lot cheaper than everywhere else.
Given that many parks and outdoor areas are ‘dog-on-leash’ zones, it is integral that you find a place for your little lovers to run around and “let their hair down.” There are a variety of parks throughout the island that cater to this, but most support goes to the dog park in Thomson Square Park on Avenue A and 7th street. Here, two areas (one for the bigger and one for the little pups) allow for your dogs to have some fun with their own kind and run to their hearts content. A great and supportive community atmosphere, this dog park is a must visit for all resident pooches.
And so, on those lonely nights when you are alone, dreaming of someone to spoon you, or a friend to comfort you – think about all those dogs out there on the brink of death who could make you happier than you have ever been.
It’s a small price to pay for some serious snuggle sessions.
(And in reference to the above image – yes, that happened. Think about it)