“I also don’t touch the handrails of the escalators or the poles in the metro. You can’t find out where people’s dogs have gone.
Jason Duffy, 48, a producer in Los Angeles, said keeping a dog was like “driving a friend to LAX.” “I love you, but woof,” he said.
And, for owners, it’s not always easy to ask. Bryn Diaz, 43, lives in Alpine, Utah, has two dogs and feels more comfortable having someone she knows to look after them. The only catch, she says, is “I hate imposing and I don’t want my friends to feel like they have to help.”
The reasons some jump at the chance are better documented: Many people love dogs, and the emotional support they provide works both ways. Nikita Char, 22, a recent Binghamton University graduate who lives in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn with her parents in an apartment building that doesn’t allow dogs, found solace in the two German Shepherds with whom she stays and whom she takes care of frequently.
“They really helped me during the pandemic to get my mental state back,” she said. “A dog’s comfort is honestly sometimes better than a human’s.”
Julian Weller, 31, a New York podcast producer, agreed. “It’s like another way to socialize, but you can use muscles that haven’t been fatigued in the same way,” he said. “You can play in a different way.” The added benefit of staying in another apartment: “It was a great way to take notes, to find out what life might be like.”