Diary Of A Dog Walker

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Amanda Nazario fondly recalls working as one in her twenties:

How to explain what it feels like to walk three dogs through Greenwich Village, as your job, on a beautiful spring day in the full flower of your youth? Some people are incredulous when I tell them this was my favorite job, the one I might not have minded having forever—especially when they learn about the dogs that bit me, the bounced paychecks, the “emergency” calls I got that forced me out of meals and bed. I refer them now to the stretch from Danny Boy’s back to Sam’s at noon, jogging to beat the Don’t Walk signs, cruising past stately linen-curtained windows of apartments I wished I could live in, channeling my best friend on the walkie-talkie, watching the three tails wag like metronomes. …

For dog walkers, the Village is the best neighborhood in New York.

The Upper West Side, where I worked all through grad school, isn’t bad – I remember crisp Februaries in Riverside Park, snow melting and the puddles reflecting the sky, little windows of blue glass. But the Village is better. The clients are friendlier; the architecture is more fun to look at; the buildings are closer to each other, so you can walk a lucrative route without ever having to get on the subway. If your energy is flagging, you are always near a smoothie parlor. And the people you encounter – tourists, students, doormen – are more fun to interact with; they’re enjoying the beautiful day as much as you are. Me: sweaty, messy-haired, smiling. Ethan Hawke: sweaty, messy-haired, smiling.

For more, consult the Dog-Walker Whisperer.

(Photo by Kristine Paulus)