A pandemic puppy changed the way I see (and hear and feel) my world

Before I had a dog, I wondered how having one could change our home. Was he going to eat the couch? Would his dog beds, toys, and food bowls outgrow our living space? Would it disrupt my workday? None of these concerns materialized to any significant extent. Instead, it simply changed who and what I see throughout my day. A few days ago another neighbor appeared in my yard because his dog, Solly, has as much energy as my dog, and so the two play frequently. She asked me when I moved to the neighborhood. I have been here for 10 years. She has been here for 20 years. But we had never met, or even seen each other, until she adopted Solly last summer.

“The dog becomes something people care about and can become a hub for getting to know your community in different ways,” said Melissa Cooper, who for years blogged about the walks she took with her dog, Strider. , after returning to Manhattan. from Dallas in 2008. Strider (known as Esau in the blog) died in 2018, but Ms. Cooper still takes the same walks, looking for her favorite spots, like where raccoons like to hide at Central Park. “Now I’m trained,” she said.

In her blog, aptly titled “Out Walking the Dog,” Ms. Cooper often photographed the wildlife she and Strider spotted, or the sunsets, or the way the ice would freeze on the rocks of Central Park. “If you’re serious about wildlife, walking a dog is not the way to go,” she said. But if you want a companion to point out other creatures and heighten your senses, a dog will definitely help. “He opened up worlds to me,” Ms Cooper said. “He would see things before me. I would learn to see, to listen, to hear.

He was also, apparently, an excellent rat hunter, with a knack for effectively eliminating rodents hiding under trash bags on sidewalks in his Morningside Heights neighborhood. “It’s amazing,” she said. “He could have cleaned up the whole neighborhood.

Tanvi Misra, a journalist who writes frequently about migration and urban politics, had been living in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. for two years when she adopted Ruth, a pooch, in 2020. Ruth, a rescue, lived on a farm in Arkansas and was terrified of the busy, noisy streets of her new neighborhood. So Ms. Misra searched the quiet lanes behind the townhouses and schools.

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