For as long as I can remember, I have had an opinion about living in a big city and owning a dog. I always felt it was unfair to a dog to keep it indoors in a confined area. I always felt that the happiest dogs were those that spent their days outdoors or at least those that lived in more suburban or even rural areas, away from the concrete and congestion and noise. But recently I met a man named Bill who challenged my preconceived notions. Bill is a dog walker in New York City. For four years, he’s been walking sometimes nine or more dogs for several hours during the day. Weather permitting, he’ll take them to the park to run and when I met him, he had just run six dogs that looked very content. You can meet Bill and some of his dogs in the following video:
When I mentioned to Bill how I felt about dogs in the city, he told me that he felt these dogs were better off in some ways than dogs in the country. They were much more well-adjusted to noise and people and they spent lots of time together, either during their daily walks or with their owners who were often friends themselves that would socialize with their dogs. He felt they had very rich and happy lives. I asked him how he felt about being a dog walker and he said he loved it. I could see how his love for his job was helping to make others happy – most importantly, the dogs. And besides, there are so many unwanted dogs in shelters right now that need loving homes. This type of life would be a blessing for them. Talking with Bill changed my mind about owning a dog while living in the city and now when I do see one out for a walk along the sidewalk, instead of feeling sad for it, I smile.