The Super Secret Society of NY Dogwalking

OK, not so secret.  One thing that seems to surprise tourists is how many of us here in NY have dogs.  I understand the surprise if you’re coming from a place where having a dog equals hunting or long romps through grassy fields. Big Senile Dog is such a city dog he’ll only “go” on concrete or asphalt.  Not fun when visiting friends in the country, and I’m walking my beast down an unlit road at night because he won’t poop on grass.

A special relationship, she likes to walk under him when he’s peeing outside, then we come home and she pees on his bed.

Believe it or not, most NYers are pretty friendly, just not chatty.  The exceptions come out once you’re walking your dog(s). All of a sudden, people you’ve never noticed before, and who’ve never noticed you, are stopping to say hello, how are you, tell you about their day and begin friendships.  An entirely new dimension of bonding and neighborly love becomes clear. Cause nothing says intimacy like a conversation when one or both parties are holding a bag of dog poop.

I think dog owners here are the holders of the neighborhood secrets. We know who’s sick, who’s in love, getting married, divorced, which building is about to shift from rent controlled to co-op, who lost their job. I’ve heard many stories over the years of people finding jobs through connections in the dog run.

Like a bartender recognizes people by what they drink, we recognize people by the dogs attached to them.  Sometimes I can tell you what type of dog, elimination quirks, and all about the owner’s life, but can’t for the life of me give you a physical description of the person attached to the leash.

please curb your dog

please curb your dog (Photo credit: Charley Lhasa)

6 comments

  1. Here in Calgary dogs seem to be an excellent way to meet people of the opposite sex and are used for this purpose quite extensively! At least from what I’ve observed. They seem to be an invitation to talk, like they make a complete stranger safe…go figure…

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    1. Dogs are great for meeting everyone. If you define everyone as other dog people, of course. Funny, people do see every dog as a conversation starter, even when it’s my definitively not friendly dog.

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  2. Great post!

    One of my favorite things about NYC is the abundance of dogs and friendly dog owners. I grew up in NYC with three small dogs and fondly remember going on nightly dog walks with my parents and stopping to chat with fellow neighborhood dog walkers and getting to pet their dogs.

    Whenever I visit from Boston (where in my opinion, there is a serious shortage of both dogs and friendly humans), one of my favorite things to do is to pet as many dogs as I can.

    On my last trip there, I stopped to pet someone’s dog and we wound up talking for a half hour – dogs really do make wonderful conversation starters!

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