Sunday, December 16, 2007
When I would mention to people that I was moving to New York City with my Great Dane, Brooklyn, everyone's reaction was always the same. It was a mixture of disbelief and amusement that washed across their faces every time, as if to say "Good luck with that!"
It didn't phase me. I figured we had a whole city at our disposal and no strange looks were going to prevent me from facing the biggest move of my life with my greatest partner.
After the two and a half day drive I can't deny I was having second thoughts on my own judgment. Brooklyn was an angel in the car, riding like a pro in the back amongst everything else I had managed to cram into the SUV from my spacious Texas lifestyle, but I was beginning to believe I was a bit of a fool to think I'd have room for all of it.
As it turns out, I was kind of right. Having the crate was a joke. It took up half the living room. Had it been my decision I would have set one of the old recliners out on the street in favor of the crate, but I didn't think my two roommates would have gone for that. So to the basement it went as I told Brooklyn she would have to behave herself with out the confines of the crate. She has since taken over my bed as a substitute.
Fortunately she has adapted well to city life. She is somewhat of a local celebrity at the dog park where we visit almost every day. Everyone knows Brooklyn and her pink spiked collar. She has even met a few Dane boyfriends. Her favorite is a tall fawn Dane named Jake. He belongs to an equally tall Australian guy, and I believe its probably Jake's charming foreign accent that bought them together.
It's a short seven blocks from the apartment but even in that short distance we get the standard comments every Great Dane owner has come to accept and, in turn, ignore:
"You should put a saddle on that thing!"
"That's a huge dog!" (Oh really? I was told she was a Chihuahua!)
However for the most part, she fascinates people. They stop to pet her. I field questions about owning a giant dog in the city while Brooklyn works her charm by looking up at them with those beautiful amber eyes and of course – leaning.
It's been a great comfort for me to have her here during this transitional period in my life. Even in a city of 8 million people it can be a lonely, anonymous existence if you're not careful. Having a dog forces you to get out, walk around, meet new people and explore your surroundings. I look forward to our days in the city where she goes with me on errands and she, in turn, enjoys the sights and smells of the city (especially hot dogs!) She waits in line with me at fed-ex or lays quietly at my feet while I enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine at the cafés in Little Italy.
I never forget to mention, when talking to people about her, that she is a rescue dog. She is a true individual in a city filled to the brim with tiny chihuahuas, yorkies and maltipoos in custom carriers. Brooklyn is not my accessory, she is my companion, and I look forward to all our adventures together.
*This story was originally written in 2005 to share in the GDRNT newsletter. Brooklyn has since passed away but her memory and impact on the lives of everyone she met during her all too short life lives on. She inspired myself and others to be passionate about rescue.