Demanding (and Judgmental) Dogs in NYC

I’m lucky enough to have friends in NYC who own dogs and ask me to take care of them once in a while. And every time I do it, I’m amused by the observation I get to make. 

You ought to know that us New Yorkers love their dogs (I mentioned that at Just Like NY before) and even if the conditions that we live in are not the most suitable for having a dog, many of us decide to have one anyway. That’s why dogs’ parks, where dogs can run around in total abandon, are really popular in NYC. Well… “park” is perhaps too big a word – we’re talking a tiny patch of land with some plants and benches and a fence around it: a special area where dogs can enjoy some room. I’ve never been in a park like that, but I did watch dogs and their visible joy from the outside many times.  Sometimes, the dogs play with one another, but most of the time they just sniff each other once and run back to their owner. And this is something that always amuses me – whenever I go for a walk with a dog here, I don’t have to worry that I’d have any problems with other dogs. Why? Because they simply don’t care. And the two of us – my dog in particular – don’t care either. When I walked my dogs back in Poland, they always got agitated when they saw another dog (the agitation was mutual). It was hard to keep them on the leash, because they wanted to get to know this other dog immediately. And over here…? They walk, notice the other dog (or not), they look at each other (or not), sometimes when they’re carried away, they will sniff one another and… they will walk away looking in a different direction. It only happened to me once that that my dog (Bacio, a male poodle) started playing with another dog (Suzie, a female Yorkshire terrier), but it lasted only three minutes and I can bet they simply forgot about each other as soon as they parted. This process always makes me laugh, because it’s a perfect reflection of their owners’ behavior. New Yorkers act the exact same way. We spot someone we like, we acknowledge each other, sometimes we chat for a while or even play with each other for a bit and then we walk away forgetting that we even met. And next time it will be exactly the same. Apparently, dogs are better observers than I gave them credit for being. Still, they should know better that there are certain types of behavior that are not worthy of copying. You won’t even notice one day that what’s left for you is only this shabby little park surrounded with a fence, where you’re left to play all by yourself.