New York is a dog’s life

From the burbs to the boroughs, the tristate area is often a wonderful place to be a pet, and thus, a pet owner.

For dog owners living in the Big Apple, it’s hard to choose a favorite from the long list of personal services. Is it the gourmet meals and custom beverages? Maybe, it’s the abundance of personal grooming salons, fitness studios, day-care services, private tutoring and excellent public schools.  And that’s just for the pooches.

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 in so many things, New York leads the way in dog-centric activities and all-around dog love.

Spend some time in New York, still the media capital of the world, and you’ll learn all about pets – from television and radio spots, targeted Internet ads, billboards, newspapers and magazines. Slowly, the role of pets has changed, from trusted worker to beloved companion, and the business world has taken notice. Pets are right up there with kids. Sometimes, they are the kids.

This goes along with something I started noticing in the 1980s. Pet names were changing, with Champ, Buck and Lady 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, the feeling of home and the warmth we left behind with our parents.

While routine veterinary services have always been available for animals, urban centers like New York City have upped the ante. 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 (and mates) through social media. Pet stores have evolved from small corner shops to superstores.

Now widen your lens to the bedroom communities that hover around the cityscapes and you’ll see much of the same. Few move out of the city alone, but for those who do, pets can offer the same unconditional acceptance that calms and connects them. For families who reinforce the Pet Commandments (thou shall not hit, squeeze, poke, prod, or kick thy pet) pets help to socialize the kids, teaching empathy and kindness and conferring a sense of responsibility. And don’t get me started on the empty nester. While some prefer travel and the freedom from responsibility, most fill their  hallways with the patter of paws, doting on their forever children with the same devotion spent on their children.

While the tristate 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 whose own hearts beat alongside theirs.

Learn more from and about Sarah, WAG’s Pet Whisperer, at whendogstalk.com.

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