We’re not ones to mince words: it is hard to have a dog in New York City (or any city for that matter). However, we are New Yorkers. We live in this city because we love a challenge. And so, in that spirit, we’re introducing a new series - a guide to your new dog in New York City... 

There will be no “just let them out in the yard” advice here. We know that keeping a dog happy, healthy, and stress-free in the city is a little different than anywhere else. In this series, we’ll be going over how to find the best services, get exactly what you need, the questions you should be asking everyone from your vet to your groomer, where to splurge, and how to save.

Your life is about to majorly change. Gone are the days of casual last-minute plans. You will be the person leaving the party to take their dog out for their nightly walk. Are you ready for that? 

It may not be what you are expecting at first. Developing routines takes time. Trial and error means that the errors have to happen. What no one wants to acknowledge about their dog is the stress that it brings into your life. This is not a forever phase. Do not feel alone in those first few months. You are the sole provider for a being with limited communication skills, so it’s going to take a little while to figure out that this butt-wiggle means pee time and that butt-wiggle means playtime.

As young dog owners in the city, there’s this common thread that bonds us all to one another. We’ve all gone through the ‘OMG, what have I done’ stage. We’ve made massive mistakes and coupled them with hilarious moments. It’s a shared bond in this tribe that says, I was able to do this incredibly hard thing. I was able to take probably the most illogical choice out there of raising a dog in a city and make something amazing out of it. 

It’s a funny thing though - no one wants to talk about just how hard it was in the beginning. Maybe it’s because we look back on difficult periods in our lives with rose-tinted glasses once we move past them and think, “that really wasn’t so bad.” But we’ve had incredibly raw and honest conversations with you about the challenges you faced up front, about how much it made you question yourself in the beginning, and then how you came out on the other side. 

While in the waiting room for at the vet’s office, we met the owner of an 8-month old Aussie Shepherd. We asked her how her puppy’s doing now and how she survived the early days because we know how challenging they can be. Her exact words were, ““OH MY GOD. I am so glad you said that because that is exactly how I felt in the beginning. The dog almost broke apart my relationship with my boyfriend. We talked about giving her back sometimes late at night when we were at our worst and had hit rock bottom… but now she’s my favorite person”. 

We talked to someone who told us she didn’t actually like her dog for the first 3 months and then one day, it suddenly just clicked - the routine, the bond, the whole thing. Another woman told us that she had to say goodbye to her social life all together in the first 6 months after getting a dog - the gym included, but now, her dog is the absolute best decision she’s ever made. 

This guide is here to help you navigate these challenging early days and tricky questions, but it’s also here to remind you that we’ve all been through it and that you’re not in it alone. Our dog expert, guru and wisest woman we know, Claire, is going to walk us through as much as she possibly can. But it’s only just a piece of the bigger equation. It’s hard to admit weakness and it’s hard to admit our shortcomings, but people have paved the way before us. Other young people like you have done the incredibly hard work of raising a dog in the city. We’re all making mistakes. We’re all learning. This isn’t effortless, but damn if it isn’t rewarding. 

So here’s what we know: Raising a dog in the city is hard, and we want to make it a little bit easier. This series will walk you through everything from mentally preparing to bring a dog home and getting your support system ready to checklists and questions you should be asking. It’s also a place for you to ask questions and give advice. Because here’s what we don’t know: What you are specifically going through and we don’t want to pretend to. We’re all here to learn from each other. You’ve done this all already or you’re doing it as we speak. Let’s do it together.

We’ve got your back.