Tails of the City

As previously seen in WAG Magazine

For dog owners living in New York, it’s hard to choose a favorite from the long list of personal services. Is it the gourmet meals and custom beverages? Maybe the abundance of personal grooming salons, fitness studios, daycare services, private tutoring and excellent public schools? Perhaps you’re a fan of the poop pickup and takeaway services or live in a building that offers round-the-clock pet concierge services. As with so many other things, New York leads the way in dog-centric activities and all-around dog love.

While the New York tri-state area is famous for restaurants, shopping and entertainment, home will always be where the heart is. And many hearts – from the city to the country and all points in between – are comforted by the pets that live along side. Meet the needs of your pet and the love returned will be unconditional and complete. And how New Yorkers love to meet those needs!

Spend some time in New York and you’ll see and hear about pets: television and radio spots, targeted internet ads, billboards, newspapers and magazines…ads and articles that are both influential, effective and abundant. Slowly, the role of pets have changed from trusted worker to beloved companion and the business world took notice. Pets are right up there with kids…and sometimes they are the kids.

During the 1980s, I started noticing that pet names were changing. Champ, Buck and Lady were being replaced by more human names. Last week, I trained a Shih-Poo named Monroe, house-trained Rose, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and helped Harold the Labradoodle learn to walk on a leash.

Life for an urban dog or cat is different than for their country cousins, but the reason people gather pets around them is the same. Pets offer solace and companionship whether your home and hearth is a chic penthouse or a casual cabin. Pets—who see us for who we are, overlooking flashy attire and ignoring the balance in our checkbook, often provide us with the unconditional love, that feeling of home—the warmth that we left behind with our parents.

Routine veterinary services have always been available for animals but there are medical specialists, drugs and therapies for pets that prevent and treat common and obscure conditions. Pets can attend school, work with a personal trainer, play at a park or meet friends (or mates) through social media. Pet stores have evolved from small corner shops to superstores.

This infrastructure has evolved from the fundamental human need to care for our companions.  In addition to the love that comforts us, pets also give us the opportunity connect: love a pet is a sure signal than an individual is beyond selfishness and ready for “commitment.”

Now widen your lens to the bedroom communities that hover around the cityscapes.  Few move out of the city alone, but for those who do, pets offer the same unconditional acceptance that calms and connects them to other pet lovers.  For families when rules are reinforced (thou must not hit, squeeze, poke, prod, or kick thy pet) pets help to socialize the kids, teach empathy and kindness and confer responsibility.  And don’t get me started on the empty nester!  While some prefer travel and the freedom from responsibility, most fill their empty hallways with the patter of paws, doting on their forever children with the same devotion spent on their children.

And what does this say about our human society here in the tri-states?  That we are—like people everywhere, in need of connection.  In the spirit of interaction we crave reflection, acceptance and love.  And that, at least to me, is very good news.  Especially if you’re a pet!