I would like to share a tale or more precisely a tail that is, in my estimation, a quintessential New York experience that proves to me that the milk of human kindness flows as freely in NYC as does the Hudson River along the western banks of this unique island.
Sunday was a gorgeous sunny summer-like day, which inspired Ann and me to take Willy, our 15-year-old Golden Retriever for a walk in Riverside Park. We had seen the NYC Greenway along the Hudson many times during our daily commute from Westchester and couldn’t wait to hit “our” trail. Willy was excited to see the water and with tail wagging, the three of us began our trek at 99th Street and headed north. There were people and their canine companions galore. Runners, walkers, and cyclists breezing by us as we pranced, then plodded, along our route uptown.
At about 120th Street our pace had slowed markedly, that is until Willy decided he had gone far enough and just plopped down on a patch of grass and wouldn’t budge. A woman cyclist came to a stop to behold our pooped-out pooch. She dismounted from her bike and began to give Willy copious amounts of water from her bottle all the while cooling and caressing him. She offered to put Willy on her bicycle, but somehow I couldn’t picture a 75 lb. dog sitting in her basket. We thanked her for her kindness and decided to rest along the riverbank.
After a while, we decided to head back home—that is Ann and I decided. Willy had other ideas; namely, he wasn’t going anywhere. His 15-year-old arthritic hips had had it. What’s a father to do?
I hoisted Willy upon my shoulder and began the march downtown. UGGH! After ten minutes, I had to stop. People were watching us with amusement and while Willy was content to be coddled and carried, I did not see the humor in our predicament. Some time passed and once again, alley-oop! Willy was on my shoulder and away we went.
This continued on and off for while (a long while), when from out of the blue a couple of roller-bladers came along side us with a stroller and asked us if they could help. They offered us the use of their stroller (I wondered what they were going to do with their child in as much as they were on skates). They were as insistent as I was bewildered. Joyce and Jeremy were Willy’s saviors. Joyce popped off her skates and slaked Willy’s thirst with her water. Jeremy opened the top of the stroller to reveal two tiny pugs (no baby). The baby stroller was in fact a pet stroller and with Jeremy’s help, Willy was hoisted into his red “chariot.” Jeremy and Joyce were a young couple and avid dog lovers and to me they represent all that’s special about New Yorkers. They urged us along and would meet us at 99th Street.
Twenty minutes later, Willy dismounted refreshed and renewed and the wheeled footed Jeremy appeared to reclaim his canine carriage. Refusing any form of gratitude besides a heart-felt thank you, Jeremy disappeared as quickly as he arrived. What a wonderful welcome to New York. Thank you Jeremy and Joyce.