Dogs & Dogwalkers, New York City
(work in progress)
This rather incongruous photo was taken just by the entry to Battery Park and really caught my imagination.
From what I could determine, the elegant mutt in question was a borzoi, and either its owner didn't think that a mere stroll was exercise enough, or the dog was so fast that his owner needed a bike to catch up with him!
There's no doubt that the dog was a pedigree (with a price tag to match) and given the cost of apartments in this area (let alone somewhere large enough to accommodate a dog of this size), I began to realise that - regardless of his casual attire - this bloke had to be loaded!
Many of us have heard of professional "Dog Walkers", well New York is the world centre for dog walkers. As most people live in apartments there is a need for a community place to exercise these dogs and provision has been made in many local parks with "dog compounds". They look nice and the dogs enjoy it, a few squabbles but I did not get to see a decent dog fight.
For people watchers I recommend you take time out to visit one of these dog runs, there is much more to see than dogs. We spent some time at Madison Square Park and really enjoyed the show, but I must say dogs are harder to photo than small children.
Packs of dogs around a single human being are a common sight on the upper east side, the stretch of Manhattan to the east of central park.
You'll find tons of ads (either in the papers or online) for dog walkers - anything from classifieds by individuals looking for or offering the service of dogsitting/walking, to specialized errand services.
I found that over here, most New Yorkers have dogs, and was suprised how many have little ones. If you see a guy with one you are guarenteed to get a woman talking to him, so I guess if you're a man and want to pull, buy a dog ! Ha
While walking around, especialy around Central Park, you will see numerous people walking a group of dogs. Sometimes up to ten dogs! These are professional dogwalkers. They take out the dogs of people who are working and make there money that way.
On internet I found this ad of a dogwalking business.
Even though Manhattan’s an island packed with apartment-buildings, and barely a garden in sight, Manhattanites love their dogs. Some of them keep extraordinarily big animals in extraordinarily small apartments (our neighbor had a big black lab, who almost knocked over the doormen on a daily basis in his delight at being able to run around), but more often than not you find the kind of over-bred ratlike creatures that we took to referring as ‘Manhattan dogs’, since you’d never see them anywhere else in the world, except perhaps Beverly Hills.
One day, in the store, we heard a couple behind us chatting to their baby, pointing out the colorful vegetables and all the kinds of fruit; when we turned around to admire the little fellow, it turned out to have four legs and shaggy coat. On another occasion, we saw a guy carrying his dog attached to his chest with a dog version of a baby carrier. Still, we can’t complain too much: the dogs, and their owners, kept us amused on a daily basis…
Washington Square Park has a special space for New Yorkers to take their pets to socialize. I'm always amazed at how well they all get along. (Both owners and pets!)