It’s a Dog’s Life, if You Want It

“I don’t touch escalator handrails or hold poles in the subway, either. You can’t know where people’s dogs have been.”

Jason Duffy, 48, a producer in Los Angeles, said dog sitting was akin to “driving a friend to LAX.” “I love you, but woof,” he said.

And, for the owners, it’s not always easy to ask. Bryn Diaz, 43, lives in Alpine, Utah, owns two dogs and feels more comfortable having someone she knows take care of them. The only hitch, she said, is “I hate to impose and don’t want friends to feel like they are obligated to help.”

The reasons some leap at the chance are better documented: A lot of people love dogs, and the emotional support they provide works two ways. Nikita Char, 22, a recent graduate of Binghamton University, who lives in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn with her parents, in a building that does not allow dogs, found reassurance in the two female German shepherds she stays with and cares for frequently.

“They really helped me during the pandemic to get my mental state back,” she said. “Just the comfort of a dog is honestly sometimes better than a human.”

Julian Weller, 31, a podcast producer in New York, agreed. “It’s like another way of socializing, but you can use muscles that haven’t been tired out 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, for what life could look like.”

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