Monday, 15 December 2008


Waiting for walkies

Manhattan is a charming, charismatic, vibrant, multi-faceted place but does have characteristics in common with a sardine tin - its a bit, no it is very, pushed for space. The wonderful world ranking parks aside, it is a heaving mass of humanity squashed into mainly very small apartments, the vast majority of which do not have of have access to a balcony let alone an outside garden area. Not the spot to keep a dog then?

Autumnal stroll along The Mall in Central Park

You're wrong! Its dogs galore in Manhattan. All shapes, breeds, and sizes rule the roost in this jungle of miniscule living quarters. They are to been seen in profusion wherever you go. In 2003,the New York Department of Health estimated 530,000 dogs of which less than a third were licensed, however, estimate was hotly disputed by anti-dog groups who argued that the number was nearer 1.3 million.

A dog run in Washington Square Park - notice the male owners appreciate the bitch

One can only speculate on the desire to have a dog in Manhattan when there is so much against it. However, the fact remains that dogs are an important feature of many peoples lives in Manhattan and with that comes a cost. Dogs cannot be shut up in inevitably miniscule apartments while the owners are at work, away on business or holiday and so the only alternative available to many owners is to hire professional walkers and sitters from one of the hundreds of agencies that specialise in this service. This doesn't come cheap as a median rate for a 30 minute dog walk, twice a day for 5 days is $150.

"We're nearly there lads."

Give credit where where credit is due, the Manhattan pooch is very well behaved, as is its master and/or walker who are usually considerate in removing its droppings. In England one dog is a crutch sniffer, two dogs fight savagely, and three or more are a marauding bloodbath. In France they are mobile fast-operating, highly effecient spreaders of facies on pavements. It is safer to tiptoe through an Iraqi minefield than to promenade down the Champs Elysee. Full marks to Manhattan then.

"Phew! lost him at last. I didn't want to go for a walk in the first place."

Unlike Europe, dogs are not allowed into the interiors of restaurants, but are allowed into outdoor cafe areas at the discretion of the management.

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