It has come to my attention that the longer I live in New York City, the less friends I have here. I tell myself that this is likely due to the fact that the natural course of the majority of people is to meet someone, settle down, have kids and then come to the realization that the majority of New Yorkers ultimately reach – This place is way too expensive to raise a family. So little by little, friend by friend, they disappear. I do have a handful of friends left here, who I try to see at any opportunity though given work schedules and their kids’ schedules, it’s not always easy to coordinate.
The truth, however, is that certain individuals are better at making new friends no matter how busy they are. So that by the time their pool of companions is flocking to the suburbs with the masses, they’ve got plenty of re-enforcements to fall back upon. One of those individuals, is my dog Wally. This guy is so popular, it puts me to shame. In the last two weeks alone, I’ve had 4 different dog owners contact me to see if Wally was available for play dates or a walk in the park.
Last week, he had a dog date with a cute puppy cavalier named Rigby, who was 17 weeks old. We met up with Rigby and Rigby’s owner at a dog park after work and they ran around together for a couple of hours. On Saturday in Central Park, a neighbor from a block away came up to me and said we should exchange emails and do a doggy meet up. This was after Wally had jumped into the lake there – this guy was amused and found Wally “very spirited.” So The Husband and I met this neighbor and his 2 cavaliers for a doggy date in Central Park.
While on the doggy date, another set of neighbors walked by with their Golden Doodle (golden retriever + poodle) who happens to be a very gentle dog that we see every morning on our early pre-work walks. Golden Doodle’s parents asked for my email so we could plan a doggy date and I had a request by the time I got home.
One of my work friends emailed me yesterday asking if we could meet up on Upper West Side for a doggy date and another neighbor in my actual building mentioned that we should go together to “Strutt Your Mutt” – a New York City dog event with contests, dog vendors and agility courses next Saturday. I also got an email from a family friend that the AKC’s “Meet the Breeds” is next weekend at the Javitz Center and we should meet up beforehand with the dogs.
Seriously, have you ever heard of a dog with so many potential friends and plans? He’s going to need his own iPhone soon to keep all of his friends and dates straight. I’m going to have quit my job just to keep up with his social calendar.
I think about Wally and what makes people want to hang out with him so badly. There’s lots to be learned from him. He’s super excited about everything. You tell him in an upbeat voice that you’re taking him outside to poop – he’ll start wagging his tail and looking for his leash. He’s affectionate, always giving kisses – even to perfect strangers. He just wants to be loved. He forgives and forgets. Step on his paw by accident? Five seconds later it’s a distant memory. I’m still angry at The Husband for ordering me the wrong pasta dish during a delivery last week and bring up the mistake at every chance possible.
Oh, you want to watch Breaking Bad tonight? Well, I wanted spaghetti with red sauce last week!
It’s the hormones. I know it’s the hormones, poor guy.
Wally is curious. Wherever we are in the apartment, that’s where he wants to be. If we’re sleeping, he’s sleeping. If we’re dancing to music, he’s wagging his tail and trying to get into it. If The Husband and I are hugging, he’ll jump up on one of our legs and try and get in on it. He just wants to be included. Who wouldn’t want a playdate with such an enthusiastic, loving, positive presence?
I might try to fool myself into thinking that these neighbors and new friends actually just want to spend time with me, not my dog. But the last time I tried turning a dog visit into a social, non-canine visit, it went something like this (over email):
Neighbor: Hey there, is Wally free this Thursday after work?
Me: Actually, my Husband’s having some people over for football watching, so will probably want Wally around. But I’m happy to go for a walk and meet up.
Neighbor: Ahhh, too bad. Another time then. Is Wally free this weekend?
Ok, clearly this person has no interest in hanging out with me one on one. This is so sad. I used to be fun and have a lot to offer people and not be so tired all the time and be up for new adventures and spur of the moment plans. But come to think of it, I’m better off not making any new friends for the meantime. I’ll be too busy handling Wally’s requests for playdates.