Walking the dog, New York style

Most of us in NYC, and especially in Manhattan, live in tiny apartments. If we are allowed to have a dog at all, there are so many restrictions. Dog people who are also New Yorkers often end up without a loyal companion — but an outdoor company now offers the chance to walk a shelter dog in the woods north of New York City.

Walking the dog (Image by vastateparksstaff, Flickr)

Walking the dog (Image by vastateparksstaff, Flickr)

The process of renting a New York City apartment is a complex one. In the end, you have a contract that stipulates how much of your apartment floor should be covered with carpets, tells you that having a fish tank is illegal, and even informs you about the maximum weight of a pet, if you can have one at all.

Add to that the long hours many people work in this city, often involving extensive travel, and you can see why New Yorkers I know who grew up with dogs, and dreamt of having their own one day, may be unable to find time or space for these loyal creatures.

Brooklyn-based journalist Lana Bauwens pointed me to an article last week that highlighted Discover Outdoors, which has a program for dog lovers.

In the morning, you gather with other hikers in Lower Manhattan. After an orientation and dog pick-up from the shelter, the team drives dogs and humans north of the city, where you spend the day hiking, picnicking and walking your friend-of-the-day. Later, the team drives you and the dog back to the city.

Part of the $110 you pay to Discover Outdoors goes back to Animal Haven, the shelter that provides the dogs. More intangibly, potential dog adopters get to know a dog that’s up for adoption, city dwellers get a chance to be out in the woods, and the dogs have a nice day away from the shelter, with plenty of attention.

As an additional perk, the morning orientation counts as one of two required sessions to become a volunteer at Animal Haven. The program seems to have filled up for the next available dates in November, but if you keep an eye on the Discover Outdoors website, we might meet at one of the next walks!

Would you like to follow what I see in NYC? Check out Things About New York City!

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