New York Times: “The City as Chew Toy”
As an apartment-dwelling dog living in New York City, I was excited to see “The City as Chew Toy” on the New York Times homepage over the weekend. Sometimes being a city dog is ‘ruff, and it’s nice to know that someone is paying attention. Mom and Dad do their best to make sure I get lots of exercise and socialization at the dog park, but let’s face it. Living in a 500-square foot apartment and pooping on the sidewalk aren’t ideal for dogs.
I was hoping to get some suggestions for how to let loose and have a little fun in this urban jungle. The article mentioned my dog run in Carl Schurz Park, and clued me in to Central Park Paws events. Otherwise, the article focused on finding the ideal breed of dog for cramped city living. While I agree that it’s important to do research before bringing home a pet, I was disappointed with the article for a couple of reasons.
First of all, the article did not discuss the best kind of dog: mutts like me! Shelters are full of mutts who need homes, and it’s no secret that Uptown Dog is a big advocate for adoption. Mixed breed dogs also tend to have more balanced temperaments than purebreds, which gives them a little extra patience while they are cooped up inside waiting for their next walk.
Second, the article focuses on the dog’s attributes and neglects the owner’s responsibilities. Even if you pick a breed with ideal traits for apartment living, you can’t expect the dog to adapt perfectly to your lifestyle. There is no substitute for training and exercise, and having a happy dog in the city requires extra effort. I think Andrea Arden has great advice on the unique challenges of training a dog in the hustle and bustle of New York.
There is one aspect of this article that I agree with. Big dogs can be happy in apartments, so don’t rule them out! My friend Riley is a Bernese Mountain Dog who lives in a Washington, D.C. apartment. She gets tired quickly, so after a morning jaunt at the dog park she’s happy to rest on the couch while her mom is at work. It’s all about knowing what your dog needs, and making sure they get it – even if your living situation makes it difficult sometimes.