How Dogs of New York Is Helping NYC Pet Owners

dog in a coat

You may have heard of Humans of New York , the photography blog featuring portraits and stories of NYC inhabitants that was started by a University of Georgia grad named Brandon in 2010. It now has eight million social media followers and has become a #1 New York Times bestselling book.

But you might not have heard of Dogs of New York , a blog started by Brooklynite Kim Wolf two years ago. Wolf has been documenting New York City pets and their owners through photography and writing. Much like HONY‘s Brandon, Wolf travels the city taking pictures of people and their dogs and asking them questions.

“They light up when they start talking about [their dogs],” Wolf says. One of her favorite photos she’s taken is of a man named Marion with his dog, Lady. Wolf met them last winter. Lady was wrapped in a piece of old carpet. Marion explained that he’d found Lady in the street a couple weeks earlier. He believed she’d been mistreated.

He took her and immediately stitched up the dog’s “jacket” to keep her warm. “[He] used some shoe string to tie it onto the dog,” Wolf said. “It just spoke so much to how strong a bond is with animals.”

Through DONY, Wolf hopes to elucidate how one doesn’t need a nice apartment or expensive pet food to be a good pet owner. “I’m especially interested in sharing the stories of people who might have been discriminated against or pre-judged because of appearances, whether it’s the dog, the person, or both,” she said.

When interviewing people, Wolf asks many personal questions, but she never asks what they do for a living. “I’m going to see that person as an individual,” she said. “I’m going to let that person tell me the story of who they are.”

DONY aims to help NYC residents who might need assistance providing for their pets. This mission became clear when, shortly after meeting Marion and Lady, Wolf returned with a brand new winter dog coat.

Documenting humans and their pets led Wolf to start Beyond Breed , a nonprofit that provides food and other pet supplies to New York pet owners who have fallen on tough times. Wolf estimates that the organization has reached more than 60 families and 130 pets – a number that she wants to grow.

“I’m listening when people say, ‘Our pets are family, this is important to us,'” she said. “Having a pet might be a privilege, but I don’t believe that only privileged people deserve that companionship.”

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