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WOOF!

A look at dogs and their owners in Northern Liberties

By: Sarah Fry

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Copyright Š 2010 by Sarah Fry. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions. Printed in The United States of America. First Edition. 4


Preface In my time in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia I have noticed that there is a large population of dogs and dog lovers walking around. From the tiny chihuahua to the large mastiff, each dog carries its own character and has its own way of living life. In an effort to take a closer look, not only at the dogs in Northern Liberties but also at their owners I went around asking people three simple quesitons: what is the best part of having your dog, what is the worst part of having your dog and what is the best or funniest story that you can remember. Alone these questions may seem trivial but together they paint a portrait of the people and the puppies in this neighborhood. While each companionship is unique, it is easy to see a strong bond between every dog and person that I interviewed. Not only were the owners a support to the dog, but in many cases it was the dog that lifted up the persons spirits and gave them something to smile about. Thank you to everyone who participated in this book and who allowed me to photograph them and their canine.

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Popular Dog Stops Orianna Hill Dog Park 900 North Orianna Street Philadelphia, PA 19123 Liberty Lands Park 913-961 N 3rd Street Philadelphia, PA 19176 The Piazza at Schmidts 1050 North Hancock Street Philadelphia, PA 19123 7


Jennifer Costello and Onyx Location: Liberty Lands Park Age: 7 years old “I love the love that dogs give...She has so many facial features and she just has a huge personality I think and that’s what I like about dogs in particular.” “What’s hard is the fact that me and my husband have really different schedules. So it’s really hard to try to make sure that she’s spending enough time being played with at home and then coming out here. Were lucky we have a park.”

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Keith Blackwell and Life Location: Orianna Hill Dog Park Age: 1 year old “I like being a dog owner just to share a little more love to the animals, the other side and she’s a good friend. She’s a good mate.” “I guess it’s like being a parent; having to concede to her needs on a regular basis. If she shits in the house it’s not because she messed up, it’s because I didn’t take her out.” “I call life a beautiful struggle.”

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Ishmael Aderonmu and Sasha Fierce Location: On Poplar Street near Orianna Street Age: 16 months old “She’s loyal... having a loyal pet that loves you unconditionally, that’s one of the great things. For a small dog she’s pretty trainable and she listens pretty well.” “She just barks a little bit much and is a little bit territorial... but other than that she’s good. She’s a very docile dog for the most part...She’s not great with the elements but that’s to be expected. She’s ten pounds so just a little breeze I’m sure doesn’t feel too good. She’s afraid of the wind sometimes.” “One interesting note is, I was at a dog part at Curtis Arboretum. It’s in Cheltenham where I grew up, and I randomly met Sasha’s brother. The way we figured it out was the person that had the other dog, who was Sebastian Jack (the dog), and asked ‘so what’s your dog’s name and what kind of dog is it’ and we had the same exact kind of dog, and she knew Sasha because she had picked Sebastian instead of Sasha. I lucked out because Sebastian, no offense, has an ugly Pug face and she (Sasha) has the beautiful Papillion face.”

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Kim Dennison and Higgins Location: Orianna Hill Dog Park Age: about 1 year old Kim adopted her last August. She was 7 months old then. “Unconditional love of course, but that’s the cheesy answer that everyone gives. But waking up, coming to the dog park, ending my day at the dog park, she’s just so much fun, she’s my buddy.” “She’s still a puppy she just turned a year old so she requires a ton of exercise. It’s a good couple hours in the morning and a couple hours in the evening, and if you don’t do it you pay for it... and training of course because she’s a puppy. Other than that she’s awesome.”

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Amanda Altice and Sophie Location: Orianna Hill Dog Park Age: 2 ½ years old “I found her when she was a puppy at Wawa. I bopped her with the door walking out. She was like four pounds. She was really cute.” “She’s just always happy to see you walk home. It’s so funny because she goes berserk and it’s really sweet. She likes to curl up with you so she’s a really good blanket.” “Sometimes I feel guilty if I don’t get to walk her enough, and that kind of sucks. But I have roommates that help me out with that so it’s pretty sweet... They love Sophie, they’re like her two uncles.”

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Ruth Hai and Piggy Location: Orianna Hill Dog Park Age: 3 years old “It was originally Petey from The Little Rascals but he’s just more of a pig.” “He’s a great cuddler. He excels at it.” “We go swimming in the Delaware in the summer and that’s really fun.” “Because of the three legs, he’s accident prone. He’s broken a leg, he’s had pneumonia, and he’s had a pinched nerve.” “He was a stray in Camden and he got hit by a car but the person who hit him called the SPCA. Then the vet he took him in and decided to save his life, because normally they put them down... He has such a nice personality and I think they saw that.”

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Micki Ramondt and Kiko Location: Near Randolph Street and Cambridge Street Age: 5 years old “He makes you laugh.” “It’s just mostly remembering that you have a dog and you can’t just up and leave. You have to find a place for him or find if he can go with you. That’s the most difficult.” “As you see he has large ears but as a puppy they were really small, and they were flopping and they wouldn’t pop up. At one point, one finally popped up and the other one didn’t and so I was very concerned that he would have a floppy ear and not have two perky ears.”

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Kara Karpink, Craig Gould and Colie Location Orkney and George Street. Age: 3 years old “She’s very affectionate and very loyal to me. She’s affectionate to other people and it makes me feel proud,” Craig told me. When asked what was difficult Craig said, “the training in the beginning because she’s very energetic and you just have to teach them right from wrong.” “There are always little funny things she does, just little stupid things, like go in the other room. We have a bin full of toys and she goes in and will pull out about ten toys separately to get to the bottom one. Or just little things like running into the room with a bone in her mouth,” Craig said. “She’s funny too, because she sleeps in between us in bed. And we don’t even have that big of a bed,” Kara said. “Even when she’s by herself in the bed, she will find her way under the covers like a human. Sometimes, I don’t know she’s in the bed because she’s completely under it,” Kara said.

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Jen Bragan and Bully Location: St. John Neumann Way and 3rd Street Dog Type: Bull Terrier Age: 3 ½ years old “The best thing about having him is that you always have a best friend with you, that’s hanging out. You always have someone to go for a walk, on a nice day, with no matter what.” “He’s got a lot of energy so sometimes if I don’t have a lot of energy, he still has his. His energy level doesn’t match mine all of the time.” “My friend’s drawing me up a drawing of our Lady of Guadalupe, but it’s Bully dressed as our Lady of Guadalupe. I might get it as a tattoo, and I think that’s really funny.”

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Scott Whittaker with Rocky and Jackson Location: Liberty Lands Park Dog Type: Yorkies Ages: Rocky is 1 year and Jackson is 2 years old When asked what is the best aspect of owning Rocky, Scott said, “The company and the unconditional love. They offer a pure companionship.” When asked what is the most difficult aspect of owning Rocky, Scott said, “The maintenance. The taking them out, the going to the vet, giving the baths. It’s probably the baths because they hate it so much.” “We were throwing a little frisbee for them one day and it flipped over upside-down and then they pee’d in it and filled it up.”

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Suz Garber with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Location: The Piazza at Schmidts Dog Type: Siberian Husky Ages: Frank Sinatra is 4 years and Sammy Davis is 8 years old “They’re just really fun dogs. They are very independent so they’re pretty smart. They think for themselves, which means I also have to think for myself. They are very athletic and they need a lot of activity, so that assures that my husband and I go out for long walks with them. They’re just really good companions too, and they’re good companions to each other.” “They shed like crazy! There’s tumble weed inside of my house if we are not vacuuming two to three times a day.” “We actually moved to Philadelphia from São Paulo, Brazil last year. So we were living in São Paulo and in Brazil it’s very tropical, there are tropical animals and so forth. Siberian Huskies are known for being very territorial and I guess they attack small animals because they are very prey oriented. There was something running in the backyard and Frankie went after it. He’s usually been quite successful at what he goes after. He lost this one. It was a porcupine. Unfortunately, it happened twice. The first time he had about five spines in his nose, so we were able to pluck those out. But then the second time, which you would think he’d be equating the animal with a lot of pain, but no he went after another one. This one he had about 50 and this time we had to get a tranquilizer to take them out.”

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Dan Krause and Nellie Location: The Piazza at Schmidts Dog Type: Australian Shepherd Age: 4 years Occupation: Therapy Dog “She keeps me active. So I always have to be moving around. It’s nice to be out in the woods or in the park somewhere. It’s good to get out.” “Just working full time and trying to take care of her throughout the day.” “She saved our lives. We were hiking and there was a rattlesnake on the trail. She had sensed it about 50 yards away.” “She ran up to it and started barking at it. I thought Nellie was going to die for sure but she chased it away.” “She’s a therapy dog so she goes to different schools. The kids that are nervous to read out loud will go with her into a room and they just read to Nellie and she lays there. They get over their reading fears.”

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Gerald Guzinski and Leo Location: The Piazza at Schmidts Dog Type: Rhodesian Ridgeback Age: 1½ years “The connection, having an animal as a good friend.” “The care. There’s obviously the basics but there’s more of it. It’s easier with a smaller dog. Everything’s bigger and more difficult with a larger dog.” “He gets to come to work with me everyday.” “I own a door company. He’s the office, warehouse dog at times. He’s very spoiled. He doesn’t get put in a cage or locked up or left alone.” “He loves sticks so quite often he’ll find the biggest stick, more like a tree, and because he’s big enough he’ll often move it around. Last fall, we were in Virginia at a friends house, they have a lot of property, and he comes trotting out of the woods with probably something of that size [he points to the small trees in the Piazza]. That’s a small tree but to him it was a stick. He had it in his mouth and he was just carrying it, so happy. That was his prize.”

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Katie Daley and Koda Location: The Piazza at Schmidts Dog Type: Mix between a Ridgeback and a Beagle Age: 8 or 9 Owner for 5 years, Koda was a rescue from the SPCA “She keeps me company, and that unconditional love. It’s nice to come home and have her there waiting. She’s happy to see me and keep me company. That’s the best part.” When asked what is the most difficult aspect of owning Koda, Katie said, “On those morning that you don’t feel like getting up and walking her. You are either tired, or maybe hung over, or something and you just don’t feel like going outside and you have too.” “She never barked. It took her about a year to start barking and once we were out camping and she saw a shadow passing by and she got up and started barking. I got up and was like ‘who is that,’ because I didn’t know who it was and it was Koda. She makes a lot of noise now.”

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Cory Miller

(left)

and Ben McClung

(right)

with Finn

Location: The Piazza at Schmidts Dog Type: Papillon, Jack Russel mix Owner for over a year, Finn was a rescue from the SPCA “I’d say the best part is waking up in the morning and seeing him get all excited,” Cory told me. “Feeding Finn strawberries is awesome. He loves them,” Ben said. “And watermelon,” Cory added. “And lettuce. He loves lettuce. I think that might be the best part is that whenever you open the fridge he thinks he’s getting produce,” Ben said. “And he’s a rescue dog too, so I think in general the best part is we just look at how happy he is and how much he has filled out. He’s gained 8 pounds since we got him. He was so underweight. We got him from the pound. So that overall too is just something that puts a smile on your face,”Cory said. “Schedules. When you have a dog, you have to kind of plan your life around the dog; when they have to go out, and when they have to eat breakfast, and when they have to eat dinner, and you have to make lots of time to walk them,” Cory said. “And never sleeping in ever again. He’s always ready for a walk at 8 am every morning and he won’t let you sleep through it,” Ben said. “When we first got him. I love salsa and I had this habanera salsa. It was fiery hot, really intense and I left it on the coffee table. So he caught whiff of it and next thing I know I turn around and he’s up with his paws on the table just licking out of the bowl. And I was like ‘Oh my God, no Finn, no!’ and then he heard my voice and was like ‘oh I did wrong.’ Then it caught up to him what he had eaten and he just ran around coughing and sneezing. I had to bring him to the water bowl and put water in his mouth for him to realize that, that would help,” Ben said. “But it did teach him not to take food off of the table because he has never done that ever again,” Cory added.

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Eldar Beiseitov and Chi Chi Location: The Piazza at Schmidts Dog Type: Chihuahua Age: 8 years “She’s super friendly. What surprised me about a chihuahua actually is that she is very smart too. She’s very easy to handle. She loves people.” “She doesn’t go outside when it’s cold. I think it’s the breed. They need to be warm. So she won’t do her business and she doesn’t do it in the house so it becomes a huge problem.” “She is good that way, I guess friendly would be the word. At the same time she’s self-reliant. She will take all of the attention that you will give her but she won’t be a burden.” “She loves spending time under the blanket. She will dig in. If you are in bed she will go under the blanket and build a house, a nest. So she stays in the bed with us and she doesn’t wake you up. That’s the cool thing. But then when you wake up then she’ll start playing with you and giving you kisses. She will eat as much food as you give her. So, she will eat and then she will walk out and become immediately the center of attention.”

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Regina (mother) and Nicholas

(son)

Vicoli with Samsom

Location: Liberty Lands Park Dog Type: Shiatsu Age: 1 year

“He’s a really great dog. He lets us sleep late. He doesn’t wake us up in the morning. He’s a great companion.” “We have to take him into consideration for everything we do. Whatever we want to do, if we want to go away its like ‘what do we do with him, we don’t like kennels, do we find someone else to watch him. That’s the hard part. You always have to take him into consideration.” “He’s just funny, as soon as you start to pet him he flips on his back and wants his belly rubbed. He jumps on the coffee table. A couple weeks ago he was actually walking backwards for some reason and he banged into a wall. It’s just so hard to pick one thing but he’s entertaining.”

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Hello. 42


Nice to meet you. 43


Heather, Renè and Ermilio with Rocky Location: Liberty Lands Park Dog Type: Puggle, ½ pug and ½ Beagle Age: 8 years “The cuddles in the morning. He’s always happy when you come to the door. Our kids love him so much. My son comes up and he just snuggles with him in the morning. It’s so cute. And then he just sits in the baby seat with him in the back of the car.” “The hardest part probably now with the other children is not giving him enough time. But he’s such a good dog there is no real negative points to him... Maybe picking up poop.” “He got out of the house, we were at a friends house, one of the neighbors called us and he was sitting at our front door just waiting to get in. We had been gone and he had roamed the neighborhood for however long he did. I come back and he was just sitting at our gate waiting for us.”

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Amy Silverman and Ema Location: Liberty Lands Park Dog Type: Golden Retriever Age: 12 years

“The unbridled joy that she shows with everything she does. She just has such a great spirit about her. For a twelve year old dog she’s still so active and playful and she’s just a great companion.” “It’s getting hard because she’s aging. She’s solely my responsibility so I do have to walk her three times a day which gets difficult sometimes schedulingwise, because my life and my schedule basically has to revolve around her. So I wouldn’t say it’s difficult, you know it’s a little bit of a challenge but that’s what you sign up for when you get a dog. And just watching her age. There are times when I look at her and I get teary because she is twelve. I’ve had her since she was a puppy.” “She has a really strong personality. She knows what she likes and what she doesn’t like, she knows where she wants to go and doesn’t want to go and when she wants to go so it’s hard to pick a single moment because everyday is something different. She will surprise me with some of the funny things she does because she is just so playful still.” “If there are kids around she’ll ignore me and take her toy over to the kids and try to get them to play with her. And she is very “licky”. Sometimes she’ll just walk past and sort of give a drive by licking. In the snow and in the sand she loves to dig holes and I actually took video of her this winter. Particularly with that ball, she will drop the ball and then dig, dig, dig, dig until the ball falls into the hole that she’s dug and then she’ll pounce on the ball, take it out of the hole and move to another spot where the snow is deep again and start it all over. She does the same thing in the sand and in the snow. She’s always been like that. She’s always entertained herself.” “Often times, because she is so sweet kids will see her playing or interacting with other kids and even the ones who are afraid will slowly come over and be like ‘can I pet her’ and then if it’s someone who’s afraid I will certainly hold her.” “I always am amazed at how she is with children. That’s really when she impresses me the most. There is another couple who I befriended here at the park and their son, I believe he’s three now, but he really was not very verbal since I met them. But during that time when he was using very few word... he learned ‘Ema’ and every time we were at the park he would come running over and he would say ‘Ema, Ema.’ Actually we just saw them last week since the fall and he’s in school now but he’s become much more verbal said ‘Hi Ema.’ But still through all of that he remembered Ema’s name. He doesn’t know my name. That’s just the power of a dog, what it can do for a kid.” 46


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Alison Lecker and Yukon Location: Liberty Lands Park Dog Type: Siberian Husky Age: 11 years Owner for 3 years. He is a rescue. “He’s kind of like an old man. He’s grumpy when I have the TV on late at night and he wants to go to bed. He goes and sits as far away from the TV as possible. But he’s very loving and very loyal. He’s very protective of me when we are at the park. My grandmother spends the days with him while I am work and he’s super good with her and he loves her. He’s understanding of her balance issues and the fact that she wants to sleep all day. He gets along with everyone in my family and is just a good member of the family in general.” “It’s a little bit like having a child. I didn’t really realize that. I was lonely and I wanted a dog. I had never had a dog growing up and during law school, which was painful, I was like ‘oh my God, I need a dog now.” But it was good because I was at home a lot studying.” “One time he ate an entire papaya off the counter. We had forgotten that we had even bought the papaya and then all we saw were a bunch of seeds. That was all that was left. He never got sick.” “He runs in his sleep. He’ll be dreaming about racing in the Iditarod I think... Seeing him in the snow is a sight because he is pretty fast normally but in the snow it’s like nothing for him.”

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Stacey Markley and Pepper Location: Liberty Lands Park Dog Type: Dachshund Age: 1 year “She’s fun and lovable. She loves to give kisses.” “Having her to listen. She doesn’t know her name or she just gets occupied with other things.” “I’m here in the park, we’re sitting over there one day and there’s a nest in one of the trees, a birds nest. I didn’t realize it and the birds kept coming over and she kept chasing them.”

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Kerry Hasler-Brooks and Harper Location: Liberty Lands Park Dog Type: Pitt Bull Age: 3 years Owner for 2 years. Harper was a rescue from the SPCA in North Philly. “I think the best part is just how active she is. She’s a really hyper dog which has it’s limitations but she loves to go for walks, she loves to play fetch and swim and it’s just really fun trying to keep up with her.” “I think because she is a rescue dog it just comes with lots of complications and concerns for her and for other people and puts her in situations that will stretch her and make her adapt to new things without making other people uncomfortable.” “Once we started looking at dogs in shelters, you almost can’t go in one without walking out with one. In Philadelphia most of the dogs in shelters are pitt bulls and we never thought we would ever want a pitt bull. But she just sort of picked us and we loved her and the rest was history. You know you definitely don’t have much choice sometimes with dogs. They definitely choose you.” “When we first got her, we brought her to a place where there was water she just ran into this, it was a pond, a man-made pond, so there was no gradual lead into the water. She just ran and I don’t think understood that the water was not going to support her the way the ground was and she just totally submerged and came up and looked so terrified. And we thought she would never want to go into the water again but now she loves the water desperately.”

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Ryan Walker and Maggy Location: Liberty Lands Park Dog Type: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Age: 13 years “She pretty much is always at your feet. She’s just always with you. She just follows you around the house and is pretty chill. She doesn’t bark a lot. She’s real calm. So I like that it’s nice having a little buddy.” “Right now she has congestive heart failure so I have to give her eight pills a day. Four in the morning and four at night, so it’s a pain in the butt trying to get her to eat them.” “She jumped out of our canoe in the middle of rapids in Shenandoah National park when we were canoe camping. She wasn’t happy. She freaked out a bit and then my dad jumped in. She also ate a bunch of rocks and clogged her intestines and had to get emergency surgery.”

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Ben Battles and Krista Bera with Kensington Warchild Battles Location: Right outside of Orianna Hill Dog Park Dog Type: Border Collie, Lab Mix Age: 6 ½ months He is a rescue from a Kentucky Transplant. “He’s constant entertainment,” Ben said. “It’s nice to have someone around. It’s just part of daily life. It’s nice to have Ben and Kenny around. A good gang,” Krista said. “He ate my shoes and my clothes. Sometimes he eats things,” Krista said. “He doesn’t always listen,” Ben said. “I thought it was really funny when he was learning to swim, which happened the other weekend. It was fun to watch. He was very afraid of the water but there was another dog there that was a little more advanced and so he was just gradually getting to know the water, as terrifying as it looked,” Ben said. “I guess it’s kind of cool to watch him grow up. I’ve never watched anything grow up before that I payed attention to. He gets better everyday. He stayed out of his crate all by himself and didn’t destroy anything the other day. I think that’s my new favorite moment,” Krista said.

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Jackie Perskie with Lucy and Bennie Location: Orianna Hill Dog Park Dog Type: Collie Ages: Lucy is 5 years and Bennie is 3½ years old Jackie is the owner of Lucy since January. She was a farm dog who bred show puppies. “They are my companions, my best friends. I just adore them. I love coming home to them. They just make me so happy.” “When I leave them. When I go on a trip and have someone stay with them I miss them a lot and worry about them. But at this age it’s just all good stuff.” “My best Lucy and Bennie moment is when I go upstairs at night and I’m in bed and they’re both downstairs quiet.”

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Marilyn Esner with Jake and Alex Location: Orianna Hill Dog Park Dog Type: Poodle Terrier Mixes Ages: Jake is 3½ years old and Alex is almost 3 years old “Well I’m a person who lives alone so they’re company. That’s all. They’re company, and they’re cute, and they’re lively, and they’re easy to please.” “The little one tends to be very possessive and doesn’t share well. He’s not nice to Jake.”

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Shoshanah Murray and Bandit Location: Liberty Lands Park Dog Type: Shepherd, Lab, Retriever mix Age: 3 years Shoshanah has been an owner of Bandit for 8 months. She got Bandit from the Main Line Animal Rescue. “He makes me play a lot more than I think I have since I was a kid, which is really nice.” “Getting him to get enough exercise because of our schedules is a little difficult.” “It’s just really nice to come home and have a dog really excited to see you right when you walk in the door. I guess that’s my favorite part, is coming home.”

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Shaun Thompson, his daughter Madison and Oreo. Location: Liberty Lands Park Dog Type: Jack Russell and Shiatsu mix Age: 3 years “I want to say the company, the companionship. She’s really fun, really energetic. She doesn’t allow you to be lazy. She wakes me up at seven o’clock every morning. I don’t need an alarm clock. She’s pawing at the door trying to get in because she has to go to the bathroom. I’d say that’s the best part right there.” “The hardest part is probably just training her. Initially, that was probably the hardest part. Right now she’s pretty low maintenance. She needs to go out a lot just because she has a lot of energy to burn. Just getting her out three or four times a day, that’s probably the hardest part now. We don’t have a large backyard so we try to take her out on atleast a fifteen minute walk in the morning and then if I can make it home for lunch sometimes, because I work in the city, I give her another one and then usually twice at night. So that’s probably the hardest part, all of the walks. But it keeps me active.” “Funniest is when she got out of the house and had me running around the neighborhood for about fifteen minutes chasing her trying to get her back. It was scary at the same time, but it was funny when we got her back.”

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Ocean Gibson, Ireland Gibson, Gavin Gibson, Marshall Lowe and Bella Location: The Piazza at Schmidts Dog Type: Pit Bull, Rhodesian Ridgeback mix Age: 3½ years “She’s just part of the family really. She’s a very sweet dog. She’s really affectionate, loving. There are really no negatives. She’s almost like a human. She’s not a lot of work. She just all love,” Marshall said. “Nothing is really that hard... She doesn’t like getting her nails cut,” Marshall said. “I remember when he was a little guy [Gavin] they used to spend a lot of time at the park, so they grew up togeher,” Marshall said. “When we got her she was the cutest little puppy ever. I put her in my coat...We fell in love with her. She liked to lick necks.” Marshall said.

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Dawn Frisco, Liz Curry, Jakkie Frisco with Web and Ben (Names from left to right.) Location: The Piazza at Schmidts Dog Type: Pitt Bull Ages: Web is 6 months old and Ben is 4 years old. Dawn, Liz and Jakkie are all foster moms to Web. They work for the SPCA. Liz told me that being a foster mom is “taking them in and making sure they are healthy enough, and basic training to find their forever home. It’s a lot of work.” Dawn described it as “patience.” The best part about Ben is “how loving he is towards other dogs and people. They see the 80 pound pitt bull coming at them and they are petrified and really if they took two seconds to get to know him he’s not like that. He’s a big love bug,” Liz said. “I used to coach field hockey. He loves the girls and gets really excited and one day his collar got off of him and he went running. It was at a Catholic school and there was this big formal event happening after school and my 80 pound pitt bull was running through socializing with these people. He was really happy to be there but they were not quite so happy to see him that time,” Liz said. Web has “got a big heart. He just wants to love and play... and run. He’s sort of like a hippie because he role in the grass, he loves to play and he loves being outside,” Dawn said. “Being a foster mom is finding them the right home. No one is going to take care of him like you do, but its just about finding someone who will love them,” Liz said.“The hardest part is giving him up because he is just the perfect dog,” Dawn said.“He was running across a covered pool. He would run and slide where his amputation is just for fun. It was hysterical because he did it on purpose,” Dawn said.

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Rob Epstein and Henry Location: The Piazza at Schmidts Dog Type: Wheaten Terrier Age: 2 years “He keeps me busy all of the time. He’s high energy and all kinds of fun.” “He’s crazy, he’s wild.” “All the time the way he greets people. Just the way he jumps on people. He wants to say hi but some people can’t take it because he is just too boisterous.”

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Aubrie and Zach Walrond with Leo Location: Orianna Hill Dog Park Dog Type: ½ miniature pinscher, ½ miniature bull terrier Age: 4 years “For me it’s nice because he’s in the Air Force so he’s gone a lot but I always have a friend. I don’t come home to an empty house. I come home to someone who is genuinely happy to see me,” Aubrie said. “When I get back from missions and stuff and I have time off she’s busy doing law school. So we go to the park and stuff like that because a lot of my buddies are gone too. He’s my buddy when I’m at home,” Zach said. “He thinks he’s big and mean sometimes. He’s definitely not a push over kind of dog. He wants to be the head of the house. Especially when I’m gone for a little while he tries to take over the head of the house role and I have to put him back to where he needs to be,” Zach said. “I think the best moment would be to show his loyalty. There was one time when he was gone and I had the flu and I was literally crawling on my hands and knees into the kitchen to make some Gatorade and he literally army crawled next to me crying like ‘aw this sucks your sick.’ So I think that was the best moment for me,” Aubrie said. “He always wants to be right where we are at. It’s funny, if she walks into the room and gives me a hug he comes running in and trys to stand in between us, like ‘oh, I’m here too now. Now it’s perfect,” Zach said.

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Kathy Gallagher, Kevin Leenig and Tonka Location: Orianna Hill Dog Park Dog Type: English Mastiff and Newfoundland mix Age: 2 years Weight: 170lbs. When asked what is the most best aspect of owning Tonka, Kathy said, “The companionship. I love to hike. I go up to Wissahickon park all of the time and he loves it. So, to see him running and being happy, it’s kind of cool.” When asked what is the most difficult aspect of owning Tonka, Kathy said, “Going away on vacation for me.” “Washing him. It’s like washing a Cadillac.” Kevin added. “He’s good with other dogs and good with people.” Kathy said. “I get a kick out of when I’m driving and he has his head out of my tiny little car and people, like anyone will just roll down their window and just say ‘awesome dog’ or ‘oh my God look how big that dog is.’ I get a kick out of that because he is a large dog and I don’t realize it because I’m with him all of the time. Until you see the average size dog and it’s like, ‘wow, you are gigantic,’ Kathy said. “You can tell who the dog lovers are and who they aren’t because some people will cross the street before I even get to them. Or some people will come right up to him. It always amazes me, the little kids that come right up to him. And he’s a gentle giant but if I was this tall and seeing a dog looking up, it’d be kind of scary for me I think,” Kathy said.

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Jen Smith and Floyd Location: Orianna Hill Dog Park Dog Type: West Island Terrier Age: 5 months “When I come home from work he is a stress reliever. He takes my mind off of the whole day. Everything that went wrong I forget about. And I don’t bring work home anymore. He’s entertainment. He’s so playful and he’s constantly doing things that he shouldn’t.” “Leaving him at home. I can’t take him to work, because he’s not ready to come to work yet. My work is dog friendly. But I’m still waiting because he still needs to be trained more.” Jen works at Urban Outfitters. “The funniest thing recently. He always takes our things and brings them into his cage. He likes his cage. Recently he took a beer mug and brought it into his cage. It was his dad’s favorite beer mug. There was no beer in it. He licked it clean.”

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Amanda DeNinno and Ernie Location: Orianna Hill Dog Park Dog Type: Boxer Age: 2 years “He is so excited to see me when I get home from work. I come home and I could have been gone for ten minutes or ten hours and he is still just as excited to see me. Jumping all over the place, he gets his toy and holds it up in the air and shakes his butt. It’s so great. No one is ever that happy to see you.” “He is high maintenance, I guess. He’s huge. I guess, it’s just like any other dog; it’s having to take the time to take care of them…It’s like having a kid. You have to do everything for them.” “So John and I were having dinner outside at one of the tables [at North 3rd] and Ernie was with us and he was kind of laying under the table and I don’t know what happened, what got him excited, it could have been just a bird that landed in the street or something, but he jumped up and he must have had his leash wrapped around our chairs or something because I just remember us getting pulled together, the table went up, there was just ketchup and broken glasses and food and everything all over us. He’s barking and freaking out. And so all the commotion settles down and we realize it’s silent everywhere, everybody’s looking at us. So we were like, okay, we are just going to leave we were like can we get a six-pack, we’re just going to go. We paid our bill. We crossed the street and Ernie jumped on John and the six-pack just shattered all over the sidewalk, in front of the restaurant still. Everyone saw. We were just like, ‘wow, we have the worst dog ever.’ He broke everything.”

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Steve Bader and G Location: Orianna Hill Dog Park Dog Type: American Field Lab Age: 14 months “Right now he’s my hobby because he takes so much time. He needs a lot of attention. He needs to get out and burn off a lot of energy. I live in a condo so I have to get him out at least twice a day.” “Labs need a lot of exercise, so he’s very excitable and rambunctious. But he hasn’t torn up anything in my house. He tears up his toys but he’s not destructive. He’s great with my grandchildren. He loves people and other dogs. He has a real good personality.” “He loves the water. He’s happy.” “When he knows he’s coming here, he starts barking and jumping around in the car. Actually I have to keep him on a leash in the car on the head rest because he’ll jump all over the place. Kind of annoying, but kind of funny.”

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Woof!  

A look at dogs and their owners in Northern Liberties.

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