Dogs’ Paradise in Manhattan


I love to go for a walk in Central Park early in the morning. It is a paradise for dogs and dog lovers because from when the park opens at 6 a.m. until 9 a.m., dogs are permitted to go off leash, and they can run around on the grass. The scene looks like real New York, and the dogs look like they are enjoying the real dirt, grass, and huge space as real wild dogs. I feel relaxed when dogs enjoy themselves at the park. When they return to a small apartment, they have exhausted their energy already, so they can calm down at home.

I was really surprised by how many people had dogs in Manhattan when I arrived in this city for the first time. There are lots of good schools (dog daycare centers), salons (grooming and trimming salons), and good nannies (dog sitters). There are also lots of rescue centers.

I have an unforgettable dog in my neighborhood. Her name is Fiona, and she is a really big and beautiful Saint Bernard. When our family arrived in this city, my eight-year-old daughter was so nervous to go to school every morning. Then we met Fiona. My daughter fell in love with her immediately, and we looked forward to meeting her every morning. This time was a sanctuary for us.

One day, her owner told us that Fiona had published a picture book. We found out the title was Fiona’s Central Park. Yes, she was a really famous dog here! During this crazy pandemic, I didn’t meet her for a long time. But recently, when I walked around the neighborhood, I was thinking about the dog, and I finally met Fiona again. I was so happy at that moment. 

During this pandemic, I heard that many people wanted to adopt animals because they felt strong isolation and stress at home. Actually, I wanted to adopt a dog, too. But I was shocked by the news that some not-so-good people gave up having animals really easily. I could imagine how sad those abandoned animals felt. I thought about it more and realized that it isn’t the right time to have a pet at my home now. It is the right time to know how to take care of pets. In addition, I can meet a lot of dogs in Central Park every day. So I keep watching dogs in Central Park as my daily routine.

Someday, I want to ask dogs, “Do you enjoy New York City, honestly?” I hope the answer is, “Yes, of course.” 


''Yumie Tsujimoto was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She has lived in New York since 2018 with her family. During the pandemic, she has taken an online conversation class with Lead Instructor Kathryn Bonn at the New York Public Library’s Tompkins Square branch. Yumie Tsujimoto writes: “I really appreciate Kathryn and all the NYPL staff. I have been very encouraged by Kathryn’s energetic lessons. I can’t wait to join in-person class after the pandemic.”