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Doggie's Day Out: How to Choose a Dog Walker
By Michelle Heller
Michelle Heller is a freelance writer, a dog lover, and the founder of Muddy Buddy, a dogwalking service in New York City

If you’ve ever seen the sad look on your dog’s face as you leave for work in the morning, then you know the special pain and guilt of being a dog owner who’s away all day. Hiring a dog walker can be a great solution to this problem. It will give your furry friend a much-needed bathroom break, some exercise and, if you choose your walker well, the cuddly company of someone who loves your dog almost as much as you do. The result can be a happier dog and a guilt-free owner. Here are some things to keep in mind when making your selection.

-An obvious love of dogs. Be sure to schedule an in-person interview with your potential dog walker, so you can see how he/she and your dog get along. Professional dog walkers should be energetic and affectionate, but also firm and in charge. Good dog walkers know the basic tenets of dog training and are familiar with the special needs and traits of all the different dog breeds. Certain breeds have chronic breathing problems, for example, so a good walker should know that those dogs need extra attention in hot weather or after heavy exercise.
-Reliability and professionalism. A lot of dog walkers become walkers just because they love dogs, but dog walking is also a serious profession that comes with a lot of responsibility. Good dog walkers should be mature, reliable, have good common sense.. 
-Reasonable rates and policies. Most professional dog walkers in urban areas charge around $20 for a half-hour private walk or for a full-hour group walk. If you choose to do a group walk, be sure to ask your walker how many dogs are in her group and how she will choose your dog’s playmates. (This is especially important if you have a small or skittish dog.) Also, ask if your walker can feed, water, or administer medicine during her visits. Many walkers will happily towel down dogs or even bring in your mail free of charge.
-Insurance and safety. Most professional dog walkers are insured and bonded as licensed businesses, in case anything goes missing in your home or should anything happen to your pet. Many dog walkers are also CPR-certified for animals. And of course, always ask for (and check) references!


Welcome to Yappy Hour! (Animal Friendly Bars)
by Paul Katz

Pets need to hydrate. So do humans. While animals might be happy with a bowl of water, owners often prefer their soda water to have a bit of Scotch in it. So where to go when the mood strikes for a libation but Fido is in tow? New York City area is awash in pro-pooch barkeeps and taverns that aim to please customers — two and four-legged.
FPO Kids

In Manhattan, we’ve got no bone to pick with Von (3 Bleecker Street; 212-473-3039) where the wine list is extensive and the complimentary bar nuts have been replaced with a milk bone for visiting dogs, the SoHo Grand offers a type of hotel for dogs at the sliver of a drinking hole in a side-alley known as The Yard (310 W. Broadway; 212-965-3588), and further north lies the misleadingly named Hudson Beach Café (Riverside Dr. at 105th St; 917-370-3448) with plenty of nearby park access for dogs to explore but little actual sand — so   leave the pail and shovel at home.

For those willing to hop boroughs, Brooklyn is a well woof the trip across the river. In the outskirts of Crown Heights lies Franklin Park (618 St. John’s Place; (718) 975-0196) that boasts a beer garden setting but sells top shelf cocktails too. Over on 4th Avenue awaits a giant tree inside a bar! Well, in the backyard of a bar — but humans or canines that find relief on the foliage can expect to be asked to leave from the Cherry Tree (5 Fourth Ave; 718-399-1353). Treat man’s best friend like a royalty with a trip to the infamous Queens waterhole, L.I.C. Bar (45-58 Vernon Blvd; 718-786-5400) where hair-of- the-dog is both happily dished out and invited in.  

And remember: try not to drink and walk … on a leash.

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