Emotional Support Dogs for Anxiety & Depression

IMG_3199.jpg

Michael & Diana Ketchen are the owners and authors of Little Doggies Rule. They are avid dog lovers and have 5 fur babies of their own and hope to someday start a little dog sanctuary.

They just published this article below on "The Top Benefits of Getting an Emotional Support Dog" which I think you would truly appreciate and value.

For Brooklyn Dog Walking Services, Local Is Better.

Hey everybody!

I found this article on Medium about using a dog walking app, like Wag or Rover to find a dog walker vs a local business like us. Guess which one they think is better?

IMG_4624 (1).jpg

Very interesting stuff here about wages for dog walkers and the training process they go through. I was shocked that some of these apps barely train walkers at all. Sometimes it’s just with an instructional video and they have no idea if the potential dog walker even watches it.

Have any of you had any positive or negative experiences with dog walking apps? Share them here in the comments box!

Jason

Notes from a Park Slope Dog Walker: Review of How Dogs Think

Dogs are as idiosyncratic, peculiar and fascinating as humans are.

This past month Time magazine released a special edition called How Dogs Think: Inside the Canine Mind. The issue is a compilation of 17 essays about the inner workings and patterns of dogs’ thoughts and how we as humans can have a more meaningful relationship with them. It’s a short, very fun read and highly recommended for every dog owner or lover.

The book is divided into two sections. The first half of the book, “A Dog’s Mind,” contains essays such as, “What the World Looks Like to a Dog,” and “What It’s Like to Be a Dog.” These essays reference several recent neuroimaging studies on dogs’ brains and how they respond to stimuli, both in their physical environment and human body language. Here, you learn how dogs’ decode human communication and how their mind responds accordingly. There’s also an essay that compares human neuroses with dog neuroses called, “The Plight of the Neurotic Dog,” which is a huge benefit to anyone with a dog with a nervous disorder. Further, the complexity and diversity of dog intelligence is covered in “Dogs at the Head of the Class.”

The second section of the book, “Dogs and Us,” explores the nuances of the dog/human relationship. For example, a rhetorical question is posed: if all dogs suddenly had to fend for themselves, which breeds would be more inclined to survive, and which ones would be utterly lost and hopeless without their human companions? It’s important to realize that all dog breeds are different in this context.

Later, this section of the book pays close attention to the role of dogs in helping combat veterans later in life, but does so unsentimentally. This section shows how the human/dog relationship is reciprocal and also very different depending on the breed of dog and human (who may not be as fond of dogs as others).

There is no singular “human/dog” relationship. It always varies. Dogs are as diverse as humans—they have different needs, wants and desires. Some like solitude, and some fear to be alone. In that sense, reading this book makes you feel even closer to dogs. They are as idiosyncratic, peculiar and fascinating as humans are. It’s also important, therefore, to love our dogs for who they are, not for who we wish them to be.

2018 Brooklyn Dog Summer Guide

Dogs in Brooklyn wait for the summer like human New Yorkers do. It’s a time when we can all finally be outside, get some sunshine, and spend more time with each other. One major downside for dogs, though, is the fact that going to most beaches in and around New York City is challenging, but there are many other memorable things to do in Brooklyn and around the city. Check them out!

Dog Beach!

This is a classic, and it always needs to go on the list. If you haven’t been, this is a must for every Park Slope dog. The Prospect Park Dog Beach was closed in 2015 for renovations and re-opened in 2016. It’s easily accessible from Long Meadow, which also has off-lease hours in the early morning and late nights. At the Prospect Park Dog Beach dogs can swim freely with their friends, and you don’t have to worry about safety because there’s a fence in the water that keeps other wildlife out of the area.

Doga

It’s time for us all to embrace our inner doga, and take time to achieve inner peace while exercising with our dogs in the summer. There’s a vet in Bushwick named Ezat Luba who offers free doga classes around the city. Or, if you’re feeling extra motivated, yoga instructor Anna Farkas offers doga classes, which aren’t free. This is definitely an activity to take advantage of in the summer, instead of carrying your yoga mat into the cold.

Dog Days of Summer Festival

Across the water over in Jersey City is a free, all-day festival with dog-inspired carnival games, adoption agencies, food and contests. It’s the dog networking event of the year. Plus, you get a sweet view of the Statue of Liberty.

Yoga_dog_(4045140609).jpg

Not to be confused with “Bark at the Park,” which is the Mets version on September 10th, Bark in the Park is at Cyclones stadium on Sunday July 15th at 4:00. Not only can you bring your dog to the park that day and participate in a dog parade, kids at the stadium can also run the bases, it's Grandparents Day, Marvel Super Hero Day, and you can get a Black Panther Bobblehead. That is a lot of celebration.

Paint Your Dog (Not on them though, don’t worry)

If doing yoga with your dog doesn't get you Zen enough, you can also paint a watercolor portrait of them in Central Park. The illustrator Michelle Cahill holds classes on painting and drawing. How it works is you email her a photo of your dog, and she’ll pre-sketch a drawing of your pet for you, then give you the sketch and the materials, so you can paint inside her drawing (that way it’s easier for you). Also, she’ll give you some assistance to get you painting a Renoir-style portrait of your dog (Renoir totally not guaranteed, but it’ll look good). Prices range from $450-$950.

There are a few quirky suggestions from your favorite Park Slope dog walker for you to make this summer extra memorable with your dog. Have fun, and don’t forget the sunblock!

Coney_Island_Keyspan_Park-2.jpg

The Park Slope Dog Walker Review of Isle of Dogs

If you’re a Wes Anderson fan (I am), and a dog lover (does this even need a parenthetical?), then Isle of Dogs is sheer joy. Further, if you’re a Japanophile, or Kurasawa lover, you might just go into a happiness seizure. If this is your case, I advise you to see it with a loved one and bring meds.

Isle of Dogs is a stop motion animated fable set in the near future in a fictional city in Japan called Megasaki where dogs have been exiled by an evil, cat-loving mayor named Kobayashi. They are ostensibly being quarantined to Trash Island, a wretched and depraved place, due to a suspicious flu all the dogs supposedly have.

The story centers around a dog named Spots, voiced by Liev Schreiber, as he adjusts to his life at Trash Island and finds himself in a pack of dogs who scrap constantly and seem out of his league: Rex, Boss, Duke, and Chief, among others. One day Spots’ owner, a 12 year-old boy named Atari, flies a mini-plane to the island to rescue him.

This movie has all the idiosyncratic elements of fantasy that Anderson movies like Life AquaticThe Grand Budapest Hotel, etc., are known for, yet this has a 1984-esque anti-fascist, dark political allegory that the purely silly Anderson movies lack (unless Steve Zissou is supposed to represent Stalin, which doesn’t seem to be the case). In Isle of Dogs, Kobayashi, who poisons his political adversaries, seems to represent Putin, and the dogs represent the exploited proletariat who, amidst systemic injustice, foster deeper, more intimate connections with their community out of sheer necessity.

There is also the signature mise-en-scène of Anderson—balanced, vibrant colors and intricately detailed scenes where you know everything was handpicked by Anderson to deliver a stunning image every time.

And Anderson maintains his usual team: Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, and, of course, Bill Murray, but has new talent: Bryan Cranston (Chief), Greta Gerwig, who plays an American exchange student who goes to Trash Island as a journalist to cover the controversy; Courtney B. Vance, Liev Schreiber, Ken Watanabe, and others. Anderson is undoubtedly the most stylized filmmaker of the last 20 years, but perhaps more impressive is his ability to attract the most gifted actors in the world. All of these qualities make for a stunning film-going experience.

With all this talk about Anderson, let’s not forget that this movie is a celebration of the special and magical spirit of dogs. Rex and Chief, the leaders of Trash Island, have so much compassion and loyalty, even though they were so betrayed in their exile. The dogs never lose their enthusiasm for life, the priceless ability to derive joy in the smallest of things. Isle of Dogs is a reminder that there’s always still so much goodness and decency amidst callous unfairness.

Notes from a Park Slope Dog Walker: a Conversation with Dr. Stocks

I cannot tell you how good it feels when people who truly love their animals and want to do best by them, get the answers they want about their animals’ health. I have had people cry and hug me before. It makes the hard days really worth it.

Growing up, every child wants to either be a fireman, astronaut, President of the United States, a professional athlete, or a veterinarian. But then, life has a way of showing us that those career paths are not for us. We don’t make the varsity team or get a D in biology or physics, or realize that running into a burning building is scary and dangerous. Finally, we go to law school or get an MBA and the dream of becoming an astronaut or a veterinarian is long gone.

But, a lucky and courageous few hold onto that dream and make it a reality. And, on top of that, some of them end up doing a lot of good for the world.

Take Dr. Kelsey Stocks, for example. After graduating from veterinary school, she took a post at the
New York City Community Medicine clinic with the ASPCA. She offers free veterinary care to pet owners in low-income neighborhoods in New York City. “Recognizing that animal homelessness and many of the most serious animal health crises arise in neighborhoods with limited access to veterinary care,” their website says. “The ASPCA brings subsidized spay/neuter services directly to such communities. The ASPCA's Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinics are staffed with professionally trained, fully-licensed veterinarians and technicians who follow best practices established by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.”

Dr. Stocks took time out of her busy life working with the ASPCA to talk to Jason the Dog Walker Co. about her her life as a veterinarian.

Jason the Dog Walker: So where are you from?

Dr. Stocks: It’s hard to say where I’m from exactly. Both of my parents were in the military, so I have spent some time in D.C., southern California and a little bit of time in Japan. I moved to a suburb outside of St. Louis, on the Illinois side, when I was in 5th grade and spent the most time in and around Illinois, so I usually say I’m from there.

Jason the Dog Walker: Did you want to be a veterinarian when you were a kid?

Dr. Stocks: I’ve wanted to be a vet since I was about 5. Being a Navy brat, there were a lot of inconsistencies in my life, but we always had animals. My parents are both cat people, but I also brought home a number of animals, ranging from guinea pigs and mice to wild turtles and birds (that the cats caught).

I think most kids briefly go through a “vet phase,” but I was always pretty adamant about it. It became serious in junior high, when my cat was diagnosed with Feline Leukemia and subsequently died from it. I remember being very confused and angry that I wasn’t receiving answers or just not understanding them. It was then I decided I was absolutely going to be a vet, so I could help others in similar situations.

Jason the Dog Walker: What brought you to New York?

Dr. Stocks: So, I actually did not plan on ending up in New York. I had been a few other times in my life and always loved the energy of the city but was intimidated by big city life, especially because I’m from a relatively small town in southern Illinois. I spent a month last October (2016) doing an externship at an emergency clinic in Brooklyn, but again—I didn’t go out of my way when I was looking for jobs to end up in NYC. My mentor reached out to me once I started my job search.

He had received an email from my now manager, who had reached out to all of the shelter medicine professors at all the veterinary schools and inquired about “star pupils.” I certainly do not consider myself as such, but my mentor always believed in me and encouraged me to apply for this job, which was largely experimental and new. I had two phone interviews with the ASPCA after they processed my application and I was the first new veterinarian hired. I received my offer in May, and moved to Brooklyn in June. I don’t really know anyone out here, and it’s just my dog, my cat and myself. So, I really put myself out there—all for this job.

Jason the Dog Walker: So what exactly is the job?

Dr. Stocks: The ASPCA was hiring six new veterinarians for a program called “community medicine,” where we go to veterinary deserts within all the NYC boroughs. It’s my dream job—providing necessary services without the burden of finances. And I love surgery, so it’s a perfect balance.

Jason the Dog Walker: What’s a “veterinary desert”?

Dr. Stocks: It’s comparable to a food desert, where people don’t have access to the resources they need. Despite living in a densely populated city, it’s amazing how many people don’t have access, transportation or the financial ability to pay for basic veterinary care. So, the ASPCA is the first to go out to these deserts and provide care—for free.

Jason the Dog Walker: Where does the funding come from?

Dr. Stocks: It’s all funded by private donations, and the ASPCA is a huge organization, which is how they can provide this service. There are two units we have and use to reach our targeted population. There are two “primary care” units, which are essentially small hospitals on wheels. It’s what you think of when you think of general practice, with a small waiting area and an exam room and a small pharmacy. Mostly, I see skin issues, eye issues, ear infections and administer vaccines. If an animal needs further care than I can provide, I can refer them out through the ASPCA where we cover up to $500 worth of medical care to help.

Jason the Dog Walker: Are there other services you perform?

Dr. Stocks: The other type of unit is a spay/neuter unit, where we go out to destitute areas and spay/neuter 25+ cats and dogs within a few hours. To give you an idea of how many that is, the general practitioner does maybe 3 spay/neuter surgeries a day- max. And they generally take 30-40 minutes to do a cat spay, whereas I have received the training to be able to do a cat spay in 4-5 minutes.

Jason the Dog Walker: Is there a different process you learned to perform a cat spay? How can you do it so much faster?

Dr. Stocks: Yes, there are a few different surgical approaches. In school, I knew I wanted to go into HVHQSN (High volume high quality spay/neuter). I can positively impact more lives and usually the surgeries are much less expensive than through private practice. I traveled to Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, Mississippi State Vet School, Animal Protective League in Springfield, Illinois, Humane Alliance in Asheville NC, and I worked with my mentor on the University of Illinois Spay/Neuter unit.

By the time I graduated, I had done over 200+ surgeries. I learned at Mississippi State how to make tiny incisions, which saves a LOT of time. My cat spay incisions are about half the width of a pinky nail, versus a couple inches like you see in private practice. I also use different techniques for the procedure itself, which are also incredibly safe but are more time conservative. But also, this is what I do 2-4 days a week, so repetition really helps with speed. But with the smaller incisions and the quicker surgical times, the animals wake up faster and they heal faster. We have an insanely low complication rate.

Jason the Dog Walker: Where are your services offered in the city?

Dr. Stocks: Primary care is only offered in the South Bronx and East New York (Brownsville) currently. I see mostly dogs, and I would say that about half of my clients only speak Spanish, so our appointment coordinator also serves as a translator.

Jason the Dog Walker: What are some challenges you encounter?

Dr. Stocks: A lot of my clients do have a hard time communicating. Quite a few have learning disabilities or are struggling with their own battles, whether that be substance abuse or a previous trauma, etc. For example, the other day I had a woman who was deaf and unable to speak. We communicated strictly through text, but she was also not great at spelling/typing, so there was a lot of filling in the gaps. And she was a first time dog owner of a dog who has pica (an affinity for eating non-dog food items), so communication about proper behavior and enrichment took a while.

A lot of clients want to breed their animals, because they love them so much they want them to experience parenthood for themselves and for the opportunity to keep one of the offspring. There is a lot more personifying animals in these neighborhoods than I have seen elsewhere. It stems from good intentions, but it feeds directly into contributing to overpopulation and also puts the animals at risk for birth complications and an increased risk for various cancers. I have to really think of how to break the cycle of personification. So, for people with a mother dog and her puppy or two siblings, I talk about how even though they are related, they will still breed. That works for many people, to kind of snap them out of this “my dog is a person” thing.

Another example is with food. Feeding a chihuahua a piece of bacon every morning because the owner himself likes bacon is done out of love but puts that chihuahua at risk of pancreatitis, obesity and general gastrointestinal upset.

Also, I see a lot of kids who are the sole owners of the animals. There was a 14-15 year old who brought me his kitten who was laterally recumbent after jumping off the bunk bed and landing incorrectly.

There was one boy, though, who I won’t forget. Many of the kids I get on the units are playing on their iPads or just being noisy kids. But this one was very different. He was maybe 8 or 9 years old, and he had a little sister who was too little to speak. His mom only spoke Spanish, so he was our translator.

He had so many GOOD questions about his dog, who they had just recently acquired from a friend. The dog was a normal neutered poodle, a little overweight. The boy was like, “I was doing some searching and I see that his, uh, incisor—is that right?—looks different than his other teeth. Can you look at that?” He was right, the incisor was chipped, but fine. He told me he thinks his mom feeds the dog an inappropriate diet, since she feeds him puppy food and he was an adult. We discussed nutrition and why he was correct. He asked if the dog was too fat and how much exercise is appropriate. The whole appointment was with this kid. He listened respectively when I spoke and never interrupted. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he said a zoologist.

I would love to write him a letter of recommendation in like…15 years or so. You meet very inspiring people in places you don’t expect.

But the vast majority of my cases are skin issues. Almost every big dog I see is a pitbull, which is a breed inherently predisposed to skin issues, namely allergies. So they come in itching and with scabs and hair loss. I do remember one gentleman who had a dog with severe allergies. When they have a secondary bacterial infection, they need baths 2-3 times a week. The guy didn’t have running water in his house, so he memorized the sprinkler system outside, and used that to bathe his dog. Of course, this was in the summer.

One time, a client walked on the truck and I didn’t see any animal with her. She then reached into her chest and grabbed a kitten from between her cleavage. She said the kitten liked to be there and sure enough after the appointment that’s exactly back where he went.

Jason the Dog Walker: How has working in low-income communities affected your views of the pet/owner relationship?

Dr. Stocks: It amazes me how grateful people are. I cannot tell you how good it feels when people who truly love their animals and want to do best by them, get the answers they want about their animals’ health. I have had people cry and hug me before. It makes the hard days really worth it, reflecting on the owners who appreciate everything we do. And while I am just vaccinating their animals or talking to them about allergies, etc., the stories my clients have about their own hardships is truly astounding. They say to always treat others kindly because you don’t know what kind of battles other people are facing, and I cannot tell you how true that is. A lot of my clients tell me about their battles with cancer, or about how they lost a loved one, or how they’ve been in and out of shelters. And for a lot of them, their animals are really their best friends and their whole lives. Which goes to answer your question: has my perspective changed about those impoverished and the relationship with their animals? And the answer is no.

I have always believed that every human has the right to owning an animal, provided they are kind and do the best they can for that animal. You don’t have to be terribly wealthy to provide a good life. For a lot of poor people, their social groups are smaller. Therefore, their pet really can be their entire life. Their pet may have saved their life, or be their main emotional support system. And sometimes it can be easy to point fingers and say, “Well, they shouldn’t have an animal if they cannot afford one.” But really, who are we to judge? We don’t know everyone’s stories and while that animal may not have access to all the medical care it needs and may live a somewhat shorter life as a result, the life is still very much filled with love. And hopefully with myself and the other community medicine veterinarians, we can work on extending those lives as much as possible to maintain these relationships.

Happy Holidays from Your Favorite Park Slope Dog Walkers!

Happy holidays from Jason the Dog Walker & Co. !!!

Happy+Holidays+2017b.png

2017 was such an amazing year. We had the privilege of hiring some amazing new dog walkers, and meeting some special new dogs. That's why we'd like to give back. 

In the spirit of the season of giving, we are raising money for

The New York Bully Crew

The New York Bully Crew is a 501c3 Not-For-Profit rescue organization founded in December 2010. Though based on Long Island, NYBC's outreach is nationwide. They specialize in rescuing Pitbulls, however, no animal in dire need of rescue is ever turned away. Currently, they are rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming dogs who have been affected by the hurricane in Puerto Rico.

DONATE HERE: https://www.facebook.com/donate/524714514550740/

Your donation will help NYBC provide medical care, food, and shelter for pups who are lucky enough to be taken in by them. Every little bit helps! You can donate here.

Thank you so much for your donations! Happy Holidays!

How Effective Are GPS Dog Collars?

Many innovations in the digital era have not increased our quality of life at all, for example, Twitter Bots and Facebook’s “Poke” feature. But an advancement that has clearly made our lives easier and better has been GPS. Just ask anyone who’s been stuck on the BQE in gridlock only to be rerouted to quaint and vacant side streets for smooth and happy driving. Amazing!

Now, for us dog people, are GPS dog collars, which use digital technology to track your dog's location and activity. How it works is you set up a home base for your dog’s GPS collar—your home or some other location they would frequent—and then whenever your dog leaves that location, you receive a text/email notification that your dog is not home. As long as your dog’s GPS collar’s battery is charged, there’s no reason why you'd ever lose sight of them again! 

It is estimated that every year approximately ten million pets are reported lost or stolen. GPS collars are currently the most effective solution to this problem.  

In addition to tracking your dogs realtime location you can also view your dogs walking history, monitor their exercise output and set daily/monthly exercise goals for them.

Which GPS Collar Should I Buy?

There are a few differences in GPS collars’ functionality that are important to point out. Here are a few of the most common GPS collar brands:

Whistle, $79.95

GPS_Block_IIIA.jpg

Waterproof and durable, Whistle is a standard in the industry that allows you to set up a home base for your dog. After purchasing the collar, you pay a monthly fee ($6.95-$9.95/monthly depending upon how long you sign up for) for GPS and activity tracking.

Pod, $129

With advanced tracking that allows you to always know your pet’s location and activity, this lightweight GPS collar is waterproof and with batteries last up to five days. The monthly service ranges from $4.95-8.95.

Tractive, $76.94

With options to export your dog’s location history in their premium plan, Tractive is another fantastic GPS and location device with a monthly subscription that costs $5.00.

Fitbark, $69.95

Fitbark is Fitbit for dogs. It’s actually not a GPS tracker, but it does monitor your dog’s health: heart rate, sleeping patterns, calorie index, and exercise habits.  Also, you can share your dog’s health information directly with other people, including your veterinarian. It doesn’t come with WiFi, so you’d have to buy that separately.

Link AKC, $177.00

This price tag is considerably higher than the others, but for good reason. If Whistle and Tractive’s GPS tracker was fused with Fitbark’s health monitor, you’d have Link AKC from the American Kennel Club, which does both. It’s a GPS collar that can track your dog’s location, and can monitor your dog’s heart rate, temperature, and optimal exercise habits. The monthly fee for GPS and health monitoring ranges from $5.50-$9.95.

GPS collars are absolutely an effective way to keep your dog safe and sound. Which GPS collar is right for you? That all depends on what your priorities are. If you have any questions, just let us know. Along with our Park Slope dog walking services, we’ll help you get your GPS collar set up!

NOTES FROM A PARK SLOPE DOG WALKER: HOW PALM OIL IS DESTROYING OUR PLANET

Palm oil is in more than half of everything you consume. And today, more than 300 football fields of rainforest are destroyed every hour to construct palm oil plantations.

In the last hundred years the global orangutan population has gone from 230,000 down to 50,000. In addition, endangered species such as tigers, rhino, and elephants are being decimated in tropical areas, most notably, in Indonesia. Not to mention, local communities are being destroyed and children forced into labor. And what is causing all of these crimes against humanity (and animals)?

Palm oil.

As Robert Schumacher of the Conservation and Life Sciences Division of the Indianapolis Zoo said: “It's the greatest threat” to the entire extinction of the orangutan.

Since the 1990’s the palm oil industry has taken over rainforest areas in Borneo and Sumatra, two places that are natural habitats for orangutan. And it’s not only that palm oil farmers simply clear cut the land, decimating their habitat, which is already bad enough—palm oil farmers also routinely murder and maim the orangutan to simply rid themselves of the potential problems their presence in the area could create.

palm oil.jpg

You might be thinking right now: why is palm oil so prevalent? Why kill so many animals and commit so many atrocities for this stuff?

Palm oil is in more than half of everything you consume. It’s in various foods: ice cream, cookies, icing, instant noodles, non-dairy creamer, and even Nutella. It’s in so many things that companies try to trick us by listing it with alternative, and confusing names, such as: laeis guineensis, vegetable fat, vegetable oil, glyceryl, hydrogenated palm glycerides, palm kernel oil, palmitic acid, palmitoyl, palmolein, sodium palm kernelate, and stearic acid. In addition to food, palm oil can be found in detergents, shampoos, lipstick, and candles, among many other things. The demand for palm oil comes mostly from the US and Europe, but it’s expected to triple by 2050. And that’s after it already increased 400% since 1990.

Today, more than 300 football fields of rainforest are destroyed every hour to construct palm oil plantations. And not only does it endanger the lives of the orangutan, it also could lead to the extinction of the Sumatra tiger, the elephants of the region, rhinos, and many other animals of the rainforest. Not to mention, the local communities who once thrived with small farms are now pushed off their land, and forced to work for low wages in large companies’ palm oil plantations. Finally, the lack of a lush and thriving rainforest accelerates the impact of global warming.

Local tribes remain seemingly powerless though, as these palm oil production companies buy out government officials. For many, it seems hopeless.

What are some alternatives so we don’t have to support this soulless and destructive industry?

In 2003 the World Wildlife Fund collaborated with many companies and government officials to establish the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Since then, they’ve been fighting to get more large multinational corporations to purchase palm oil strictly from ethical producers. To date, they have almost 6 millions acres of land established for sustainable palm oil production. And thousands of companies, including Nestle, Hershey’s, Loreal, Proctor and Gamble, Mars Inc., and Starbucks have joined the cause.

The list of all the companies who are devoted to ethical palm oil development can be found here. As a consumer you can make the choice to only buy products whose supply chain is constructed ethically.

Jason the Dog Walker Co. is a small Park Slope dog walking company, but we can still all do our part to ensure that vulnerable animal and human communities can live in peace, and free from the exploitation of industry. Please join us in supporting only companies who ethically source their materials, and say no to destructive palm oil. Let’s prioritize the future of the Earth, one where subsequent generations can experience the natural beauties of this world, instead of increased profit margins, which only benefit the wealthiest citizens.

Where did the French Bulldog come from?

The French Bulldog, or the “Frenchie” as they are charmingly referred to, is the most popular dog breed amongst NYC dog owners. Due to their small stature, adorable face, and naturally social disposition, there has recently been a huge surge in breeding, with an increase of 245% in French Bulldog registration in the last ten years.

Where did the French Bulldog come from?

Interestingly enough, the French Bulldog originates from England. In the 19th century Bulldogs were widely used for bull-baiting, a cruel dog-fighting contest that became illegal in 1835 with the passing of the Cruelty to Animals Act. Later, Bulldogs were continued to be bred in two general categories: Molossers (Mastiffs and large hunting dogs) and smaller companion dogs. Companion Bulldogs, which today encompass English and French Bulldogs, were crossbred with Terriers and Pugs to keep them small and give them adorable features.

french bull.jpg

So Why Are They Called “French” Bulldogs?

During the Industrial Revolution many garment workers moved from England to Normandy, France, and they brought their companion Bulldogs with them. Soon after, these new arrivals became very trendy in Paris, as butchers, café owners, art dealers, and even the famous Impressionist painter Henri Tolouse-Lautrec, adored the breed. This is why these dogs gradually were adopted the name “Bouledogue Francais,” and for English speakers, the French Bulldog.

Due to the breed’s popularity in France, there were few of them left in England. Dog exporters in the UK took advantage of the opportunity and flooded the market with dogs for their European neighbors.

How Did They Become Popular in the US?

During this period, wealthy Americans of the Robber Baron era (think: Edith Wharton novels) were travelling to France, and they also fell in love with the breed. Americans, though, preferred the Bouledogue Francais with bat ears as opposed to the “rose” ears. This is why the breed typically has these features in the US.

To sum it up: if you’re asking the question, “Why are French Bulldogs so cute?” It was no accident. Humans made them that way.

Important Health Information About Frenchies

This may come as no surprise to you, but something to know about Frenchies is that they do have health problems. Their adorable short-face and body type—large frame on a small body—causes breathing problems. Veterinarians are currently warning dog owners about breeding their Frenchies with other breeds. Make sure you are extra mindful of your dog’s exercise habits and whom they breed with, if that is something you are looking to do.



Jason the Dog Walker Celebrates Ten Years in Park Slope, Brooklyn

2007 was a great year for America and for Park Slope. Steve Jobs debuted the iPhone (of course, I didn't have one) and most people had MYSPACE accounts. For a good portion of the year the economic crisis hadn't happened yet so spirits were still running high. And, locally here in Park Slope, Barclays Center hadn't opened its doors so the neighborhood was a little quieter. But something else monumental occurred, bigger than all those things combined. (Or maybe it was only monumental for me.)

JASON+&+SONNY.jpeg

In the spring of 2007, I moved to Brooklyn and found my calling when I met Jack & Daisy, twin Jack Russell terriers—and started my Park Slope dog walking service.

Back then Jack and Daisy were young and full of energy. Their mom Jill called me because she was having her first child and needed someone ASAP! I was so excited and couldn't wait to start!  It was really hot that summer but I was there everyday with water at 12PM to take them out for their daily walk.

Looking back on these ten years, I feel really lucky because the timing to start my business was so perfect. I started dog walking in South Slope, and it was right at the time that a lot of people with dogs started moving here.  And, because google searching was still a new thing, my business was able to spread via word of mouth.

In the past ten years, I’ve had so many great memories as a Park Slope dog walker. I remember 3 years into starting my service, many of my clients were needing help with dog training. A lot of people owned rescue dogs and they needed leash training, puppy training, and socialization training. So I started teaching myself to be a trainer.  I read tons of books (that was still a thing), attended seminars and made connections with other trainers in the neighborhood. I remember working with a pitbull rescue dog named Forest who had behavioral challenges.  I really wanted to help Forest’s family because they were super nice people trying to give him a happy home. After working with Forest everyday on his leash training for about a month, he went from constantly pulling, tugging, and lunging, to walking calmly by my side. This was such a huge moment for me. I was able to make a difference in Forest’s life, and his family’s.

Since 2007 Jack, Forest and I have changed a lot, and so has Park Slope. The growth of Atlantic Center (and Barclays) has brought a lot of shopping, dining options, and people. The rise of Gowanus as one of the hippest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and the development along 4th Avenue has brought a lot of construction, coffee shops, restaurants and UPS trucks:/  In my fifth year in business I was able to start hiring people! My first assistant Saruh is still with me today, helping me run the company.  And, sadly, Daisy passed away this year from cancer. She lived to be 15 years old.