City

Wag: Tinder for Dogs

The hardest thing for me about moving to college was not leaving my friends, family, own room, or even free food… It was leaving my dog. Sophie was everything to me, and still is. She was, in internet terms, a perfect floofer that I had the liberty of cuddling with when I was having a bad day, or when I just wanted some lovin’. My first week of Boston, I had somes serious pupper withdrawals; symptoms include: waking up in the middle of the night petting your pillow, having every background picture on your devices a picture of your pupper, and calling home and asking to speak with said pupper.

I knew this could not continue, so when I heard about doggo Tinder, (Wag), I signed up immediately. The sign-up process and background check took about two weeks, and after that I was in! I began to get notifications from ever floofer, woofer, and pupper in a 2 mile radius. I could not believe my eyes as countless pictures flooded my phone of dogs who wanted to be walked by me, me! I accepted the first walk that was two miles away in South Boston, (mistake). It took me an hour to get there and I crossed two bridges, a major highway, and traversed through questionable neighborhoods. Nevertheless, I was thrilled about my first walk and was overjoyed to meet Sam, a pitbull mix. I continued to do Wag walks for the next few months, sometimes three times a day.

Continue reading “Wag: Tinder for Dogs”

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City

Boston Common Dogs: An Investigation

I walk through the Boston Common bare minimum twice a day. For better or worse, I spend a significant portion of my life traversing the paths of the oldest city park in the United States.

Today, we’re focusing on the better, and that better has a name. Dogs.

I may not love walking through the Common all the time, but something I do love is that it is constantly filled with dogs. Small dogs and big dogs and puppies and the dog-elderly, most of them off leashes, all of them having a full-on blast.

But I have had a lingering question on these walks, a question of such deep significance it refuses to leave my mind for longer than moments at a time:

Are these planned dog playdates? Or spontaneous friendships forming between dog-strangers?

Despite my inherent reluctance to speak to the glamorous dog owners of Beacon Hill, it was time to investigate.

Thankfully, we live in the age of the Internet, and I was able to conduct an exhaustive investigation using only my laptop and the need to know whether there was an online dog-owner community I could stalk in order to be aware and later take advantage of the most dog-heavy hours.

My research began with the extensive and pretentiously-written Parks Rules and Regulations of the city of Boston. Immediately, I was given the shock of my life; Section 5 includes the statement, “No person shall, in any public park […] have or allow any animal, except a dog on a leash no longer than eight feet.”

It was a concept I had never considered. Were these dogs committing acts designated as illegal by Boston Parks and Recreation? Am I witnessing the cutest, fluffiest residents of Boston break the law on a daily basis? I had to find out more.

I delved into Google, finding only a Yahoo group called “Boston Common Dogs,” the last post of which was seven years ago—a user called CoOlBoY writing about parrots, for some reason. It was a dead end.

My first real clue came from an elegantly-designed website called Bring Fido, dedicated to giving tips to dog owners on ideal locations. Information on the Common was extraordinarily limited: a single review, a single photo, and a single sentence description. Although the photo is full-on amazing (see above), I had eyes for only one thing: the answers and new questions contained within that one statement of description.

“There are dedicated hours where dogs may play off-leash, but they are welcome leashed at all times.”

It was a lead if I’d ever seen one (which, in my limited investigative experience, I had not). If I were to find these off-leash hours, would they correspond to the heavenly times when hordes of dogs frolicked together, free in the oldest city park in America?

This question led me to the site Fido Loves, essentially a more long-winded, less well-designed version of Bring Fido with a very similar but more fragmented name.

The revelations contained within the essay-length entry on the Common were twofold.

First, the reveal of a private Facebook group: The Common Canine. It’s uber-exclusive at only 648 members, and Fido Loves cautioned, “It is a group open only to local dog owners in order to keep discussions focused on the needs of Boston dogs.” As I sent my request to join, I was overcome by thoughts of how to slip in unnoticed. Perhaps I had a picture with a dog I could change my profile to . . . Maybe a quick post stating, “Wow, I love taking my dog, who I definitely own and who definitely exists in the city of Boston, to play in the delineated areas allowed by Boston Parks and Rec.”

Deep within this train of thought, I received a notification. After 15 seconds (presumably dedicated to an intensive examination of my Facebook profile) I was admitted into the Common Canine.

A scan of the last few months of posts revealed four equally important facts.

  1. No concrete meetup time planning occurred.
  2. There was still a sense of community within the dog owners of Boston Common that could only be created by regular dog/human bonding.
  3. Every time a new member was added, a post was made greeting both the two- and four-legged, and I needed to get the dickens out of this group before I was discovered.
  4. The excellence of the dog pictures and the rigor with which dog-related events were shared convinced me there was no way I could leave this group.

I had never felt more undercover detective-y (and therefore cool) in my entire human existence.

But Fido Loves’ Bible-length posting contained another revelation within its millions of words: “Dogs are allowed off-leash during the morning hours between 5 am and 10 am, and then again in the evening between 4 pm and 9 pm.”

The investigation was complete. There was only one thing left to do: Trawl Boston Common at optimized hours for dogs to pet—now equipped with the knowledge only the Common Canine could grant me.

Opinion

Doggy Digitalization

I remember the days when dogs were just dogs. Cute little animals that prance about filled with energy and brighten everyone’s day that spots them. When you wanted to see them you had to go outside to your backyard or the local park. But, now, like with everything, you no longer need to go outside to see these pups! There is a plethora of ways to see these dogs from dog spotting facebook page to Instagram pages filled with cute pups.

Dog Spotting Facebook Group

This is a glorious page filled with pictures of dogs all over the world! Some are sitting on the T, some are chilling in the common, and some are running through the beaches of the Caribbean. The fun of this page is one day if you run into one of these cute pups it’s kinda like you’ve run into a celebrity! What makes this page even more interesting, is that there’s a whole competitive edge behind it. There’s a whole list of rules that can be found on the page and yes people do take it seriously. They range from not posting a dog you know to no service dogs allowed. People get so serious that they even have a page to contest any alleged “bans” against you. This just goes to show the passion that people have for dogs.

Wag

Have you ever wondered how someone gets the wonderful gig of a dog walker? Did they just know the right people? Have the right doggy connections? No need to fret any longer because you don’t need an in anymore! You can become the dog walker you have always been meant to be by just signing up through wag! Of course you’ll have to pass a background check and have your info in the system, but I can’t imagine anything more worth it than quality time with a pup.

Insta Dogs

No longer is Instagram just for selfies taken in perfect lighting. It also can act as the perfect portal to dogs all over the world! No longer are you limited to seeing dogs in your neighborhood, by tapping a few buttons you can have access to dogs playing the waters of Cabo or walking the streets of London. Some of the cutest ones can be found on the pages puppiesforall or if you want to follow one specific dog I suggest Marine the dog! Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 10.32.33 AMShe is so precious with her blonde locks and her post will really pull your heartstrings. One that really got to me was when Trump passed the Muslim ban and Marine was out with the protestors at the airport! Could you ask for more of a touching photo?

Rover

This is a lot like Wag, but instead of just walking the dogs you would get to take care of them! It’s a dog sitting website that lets you have access to tons of dogs in need of some love! This is wonderful if you are missing your little dog at home and just need some puppy love in your life again! Might have to commute a bit, but so worth it!

Dog internet personalities

Weratedogs twitter is a gem! You can’t but be happy when scrolling through their feed! They pair little funny blips about the dog pictured and give every dog a rating on a 1-10 scale, but of course they always rate above a 10 because every dog in the world is automatically a 10! One of the recent post they had was of a tiny little pug sticking its tongue out and said, “This is Kyle. He made a joke about your shoes, then stuck his tongue out at you. Uncalled for. Step the h*ck up Kyle. 11/10 would forgive” Come on, can you get better than that?

 

Sure, digitalization can be seen as this horrible monster that is taking over everything. But, in terms of dogs it seems to be only making things better! You know have access to dogs all over the world and little communities, like insta dogs and dog spotting, have popped up all over. I’m just grateful to know I am no longer alone in my obsession with dogs, I only have to click my phone open to find the other millions just like me.

Opinion

Why You Should Care About Senior Dogs

There are few pleasant places left on the internet, save for the Facebook page belonging to Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary (OFSDS). I first discovered OFSDS sometime last year, after seeing the organization mentioned in one of the many dog-friendly Facebook groups I’m a part of. After finding their Facebook page, the rest was history. I became enamored with the organization and the dogs it takes care of. As the name of OFSDS might suggest, they absolutely create a sanctuary for senior dogs. While senior dogs are often abandoned or euthanized, OFSDS provides them a second chance. Besides the fact that the dogs are cute, the good that they do is the real reason you should be supporting them on social media.

Continue reading “Why You Should Care About Senior Dogs”

Globe

Se-paw-ration Anxiety: How to Deal with Being Away from Your Pets

I didn’t realize I was homesick or missing my pets until I got a text from my dad with a picture of Dexter, my fluffy gray cat, staring straight into the camera. My dad had ice cream and my cat’s only mission was to get in on the treat. I immediately wished he was with me so I could pet and hold him but spring break still seemed so far away.

When I left my home in New York for college in Boston about a little over a year ago, I left a lot of things behind. I left behind family members, some of my possessions, friends and, probably the worst of all, my pets.

Whenever I go back home for break, I always find myself looking forward to seeing my two cats or my aunt’s dogs the most. I think it might be because I can always communicate with my friends or family while I’m away, but obviously the opportunity for communication with pets is limited.

For all those missing their pets, whether it’s just while you’re away at work for the day or away at college, here are some tips to help manage the pain of separation.

Videos

Luckily, there are no shortage of cute videos online for you to watch. If you’re missing your furry friends, there are probably some cute videos that you can watch that will put a smile on your face. This is great for people who can’t have pets either, because everyone can enjoy a video of a cute animal. Here are some of my favorite animal videos:

Visiting Animals

Sometimes if I’m really missing animals, all it takes is seeing someone walking a dog on the street and I get so much happier. If you’re away from animals for a long period of time, or can’t have your own pet, you can always visit animal shelters or find a friend who has an animal you can visit every once in a while. Some stores like PetSmart have adoptable animals that they keep in the store, so you can always visit the animals there as long as you think the urge to adopt one won’t be too hard for you. Lastly, sometimes sitting on a bench in a public place where people are bound to be walking their dogs is enough. More often than not, the dog will walk past you and approach you, and sometimes, the owners will let you pet the dog for a while. For those who prefer cats, cat cafes are gaining popularity, so you might be lucky to have one near you where you can visit the furry felines.

Get a Job Involving Animals

If brief visits with pets aren’t enough to solve your separation problems, getting a job involving pets might be beneficial. You can volunteer to work at an animal shelter, or get a job as a dog groomer. Especially if you live in a city, there might be a high demand for dog walkers, so you can get exercise for both yourself and the dogs, while spending time with the furry companions. Some stores or businesses have pet hotels and you can volunteer to work at one of those and help attend to the animals. PetSmart also has Doggie Day Care, and you could apply to work there so that playing with dogs becomes your paying job!

Electronics

With technology these days, it’s a lot easier to find alternatives when you miss having an animal around. There are online games and apps, like the ever-popular Neko Atsume app that lets you play with cats and collect them, and if you still have a Nintendo DS laying around, there’s always Nintendogs. There are also Nemuriale Sleep Aids which are stuffed animals that help with anxiety and sleep issues by emitting a small heartbeat. So not only can it help you when you miss cuddling with your pet, but it’s also helpful for stress.

Stay in Touch

If you have a pet at home, try to stay connected with your pet like you would with the rest of your family. Whenever I FaceTime my family I often bug them to bring my cats into the room so I can see them. Most of the text conversations between my dad and me are just pictures of my cats. Whenever I miss them, I can always count on my dad to send a picture of the cats snuggling on the couch or doing something silly in a video.

Here are some photos of pets, courtesy of Emerson students:

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Whenever I get home for a break and my aunt’s dogs, Ollie and Sandy, excitedly run up to me, or my cat, Isabella, purrs as I pet her, it reminds me how great pets are. While it may be hard to be away from your pets, just remember that it makes the reunion that much sweeter. You probably won’t be away from your pet forever, and when you see each other, it will almost be like you never left.

Globe

How to Love Dogs When You Can’t Have One

Maybe you’re not ready to give a dog a forever home. Many landlords don’t allow dogs in their rented apartments. Dogs are also a commitment. They need attention, exercise, playtime and meals everyday and some working families just don’t have the time and money to keep up with one. If you can’t own, but want to spend some time with furry friends, there are lots of other ways you can get involved.

Volunteering

Aside from donations, animal shelters rely on volunteers to run. Animal shelters are one of the most popular places to volunteer at, so you may have to wait before they can find a spot for you, but they will always need volunteers. Shelters need help socializing, walking, playing with and cleaning up after dogs. If you’d prefer some other furry friends, you can also help out with cats and other small animals, depending on what you shelter has.

“Borrow” a Dog

Chances are you know someone who has a dog. You can offer to walk their pooch while they’re out, dog sit or ask to go over and play with the pup every once in a while. Dog lovers love other dogs lovers, so they are more than likely going to have no problem letting you spend some quality time with their pet and they’ll appreciate the help.

This is especially useful for younger children who can’t have a dog in their own house. Parents can send them off with friends and family they trust and the children will love spending some quality time with a dog.

Become a Dog Walker or Dog Sitter

There are many working dog owners who need someone to walk their pooch everyday. Or many owners who go out of town and can’t take Fido either. Websites like Rover or Dogwalker can help connect you with people in your area that need a little help with their pup. This is flexible job you can do part time or full time around your schedule, so it’s a great way to make a little extra cash.

Work in a Kennel

All you would do everyday is spend time with other people’s dogs. You may be a young professional yourself trying to make it out in the world, but happen to need a part time job. Check around for kennels in your area that may need some extra help. If you happen to be studying some type of veterinary care or animal care this is also a great job to gain experience in caring for many animals at once.

Keep in mind that a job like this requires the dirty side of owning a dog as well. You’ll be required to clean up after them when they go to the bathroom and make messes, as well as the kennels every time a dog leaves.

Foster A Dog

Fostering can save a dog’s life while costing you no more than your time and love. Rescue organizations and shelters often can’t provide care for the high number of dogs that are given to them for various reasons, but they provide food, training and any medical care the dogs needs.

Fostering often saves dogs from being euthanized. This is for dog lovers who are ready for a short commitment, because a dog could be living in your home anywhere from a couple of weeks to a year, depending on how long it takes to get adopted. Once you receive a foster dog, you are not only their caretaker, but also their PR person. The shelter can only do so much, so you need to be on your game marketing your new friend.

Many foster dogs have suffered abuse and neglect in the past, so they will probably be terrified when they arrive. This is another reason why fostering is necessary: shelters need volunteers to help dogs with behavioral issues adjust to a normal, loving home.

The worst thing you can do is get a dog and  then have to surrender it to a shelter. So if you’re not ready for one, try a couple things on this list first. Also, remember to research what breed of dog is best for you before taking the plunge. Once you do decide you’re ready, dogs are loving, adorable animals and owning one is worth all of the work it takes.