Westside Walker: Fido Rains on the Holiday Spirit

By Westside Walker

“Excuse me sir!”

Nothing shocks you back to reality quite like a stranger shouting those three words at you, but, hey, maybe he’s got good news?

I’m a dog walker on the Upper West Side and I absolutely love my job. I get to spend every day in the fresh air working with man’s best friend. I don’t have to worry about office politics or if someone is going to microwave fish in the breakroom…again. My coworkers are always happy to see me. Well, that’s an understatement; it’s more like they’re borderline hysterical to the point where they can barely contain themselves.

It’s not all fetch and games though. Take your eyes off of them for just a second and you could find yourself in the doghouse. Just the other day I was walking down Columbus Avenue late in the afternoon, taking in the gorgeous scenery of New York after dark. I was walking a familiar route. I wasn’t in a rush. The lights and sounds of the city blended together to be hypnotizing. The dog I was walking started slowing and veering to the right. He was telling me “I’ve got to pee” and, so, I slowed down, telling him “go ahead.”

That’s when I heard a man shouting and snapped out of my fugue state. My dog was unloading the contents of his very full bladder on a pile of Christmas trees. Whoops! The only thing I could do was profusely apologize while simultaneously backing away and hoping I hadn’t just become the proud owner of a six-foot spruce. My dog looked at me with a puzzled expression, wondering why I cut his bathroom break short. I looked back at him thinking it could have been worse, at least he didn’t pee on Santa.

Westside Walker is an occasional column written by a professional dogwalker on the Upper West Side.
    1. Uwsmom says:

      Mine did this the other day too!

    2. Weird That Way says:

      That’s quite funny. Keep the stories coming!

    3. RWC says:

      Thank you for some happy news and good cheer!

    4. Debbie says:

      Pure love and precious!!

    5. ECM says:

      I have a dog and worked as a dogwalker for years. I don’t see how this could happen if the walker was paying attention. I see so many dogwalkers texting or talking on the phone while walking dogs. She should pay for the tree. It is very rude, to say the least, to let a dog urinate on someone else’s property and just walk away. Behavior like that is what makes it hard for other dog owners. Grow up and take responsibility. And pay attention to what you’re getting paid to do.

      • shemp says:

        I too also see many a dog walker(I ass ume) with 4+ dogs fiddling around with their phones plenty of times not paying attention to them.

    6. Ardsley resident says:

      Charming article! It brought a smile to my face.

    7. GREG says:

      Great story, well told! Thanks for the laughs!

    8. Charles Goldfine says:

      Our dog peed on Santa.
      It was January, when the holiday decorations become reclassified as ‘trash.’ Standing adjacent to bags of trash waiting for pick-up on the sidewalk in front of our building was a three-foot tall Santa, somewhat the worse for wear. No one told Howdy he’s not supposed to pee on Santa. We regretted not having a camera with us.

      • Evan Bando says:

        Well, Mr. Goldfine, your thinly-veiled contempt for the Christmas holiday contained in your vapid little story tells us more about you than your Howdy’s Doody. Smile, sir. God loves us all.

        • David says:

          Well, Mr Bando, your comment about Mr Goldfine’s posting may be a thinly veiled attempt at anti-semitism, unless you were just being snarky. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and Happy New Year to you

    9. Evan Bando says:

      I love how the dog walkers always project their rude lack of attention onto the poor, innocent dog. It’s not funny or precious that the dog peed on a Christmas tree that someone will pay a dear price for and bring back to their home. If you’re a “professional” dog walker, then, please act like one and take control of your charge. Even the dogs expect that much from you.

      • Rita says:

        Definitely agree! If you’re walking a dog pay attention to what you are doing. Disgusting that you would allow the dog to pee on someone else’s merchandise!

    10. Chrigid says:

      Someone is walking, and not picking up after, a large dog on Columbus between 91st and 92nd.

    11. fingerwagger says:

      I guess it’s funny, as long as you’re not the vendor, whose inventory is damaged.
      Or the sucker who drags home a tree to find his home wafting with the delicious scent of dog pee.
      Is there nary a dog walker in this town who understands the meaning of CURB YOUR DOG?
      A single proud puppy Mommy or Daddy who is capable of comprehending the function of gutters, and sewers?
      That’s where waste belongs.
      NOT in tree pits. It kills them.
      NOT on lampposts, or fire hydrants, where it’s corrosive enough to actually eat through their bases. (they’re essentially peeing on your tax dollars, and mine.)
      NOT on the side of buildings, or in the middle of the sidewalk.
      Cause when your dog pees there, there’s a hundred dogs behind your sweet thing that are compelled to pee on top of yours. That’s what dogs do.
      Be a human. If the most recalcitrant of toddlers can be toilet trained, you can manage to train Fido take it to the curb.

      • nicole b says:

        THANK YOU! I am so upset by dog owners who do not train their dogs to do their business at the curb. CURB YOUR DOG. It ires me to see owners allowing dogs to pee on buildings, at building entrances on people’s brownstone stoops, on flower beds, in the middle of the sidewalk. To me it is a huge quality of life issue. I don’t have a dog but I love them, and when I dog sit my friend’s dogs, I bring them to the curb. It’s not that hard. We really need to start some type of public awareness campaign about this. People in my building let their dogs pee right outside the door – which attracts all the other dogs.

    12. J says:

      I have a dog…
      sorry but I think it is pretty mean to make light of dogs peeing on Christmas trees.🙁
      Tree-sellers work hard, are outside in 24/7 shifts etc.

      Seems to me Westside Walker should have paid for the tree.

      And don’t really understand how Westside Walker did not notice a bunch of trees in the first place…

      • Anon says:

        Because Westside Walker wasn’t paying attention to the dog. Most likely he was looking at his phone.

    13. chris woo says:

      this sucks. i feel bad for the seller. this guy possibly just killed a hard working person’s chance of getting money for a tree. as someone who has a dog and walks my dog, i don’t see how you could miss something like a christmas tree setup (the smell hits you even before you pass them). someone who doesn’t notice a grove of christmas trees will probably also miss that bike messenger or car running a light. #getaNEWwalker

    14. chris woo says:

      one more thing. Any dog owner will tell you dogs do not pee ON THE RUN. which means the dog walker was **standing** there not paying attention while the dog was damaging someone else’s chance of making a living.

    15. dorothy says:


    16. Arlene says:

      I’m so glad to see how many feel as I do — that this story was not cute, charming or funny. I think the customers of the author should find another walker who is more attentive and careful.

    17. UESdogowner says:

      You should have offered to pay for the tree.

    18. Justinan World says:

      owning a dog is a loserish endeavor

    19. CocoPuff says:

      Excellent article keep them coming.

    20. itsgross says:

      I’ve always wondered why its acceptable to allow dogs to urinate on anything they want to and not have to clean it up like we do their poop. Carry a water bottle and give it a rinse at the very least!

    21. Karen H. says:

      With all due respect, if you curbed your dog, the problem wouldn’t have happened. I grew up here, and Curb Your Dog notices were on every block. They disappeared, I can’t remember when, and now I (and everyone else) have to step over rivulets of pee and smears of poop. An easily solvable quality of living problem.

      COMMUNITY BOARD 7: Are you listening?

      • David says:

        BTW – to all dog owners:

        Now that winter is upon us, when it is snowing or there is snow on the ground, you still must pick up after your dog.

        Got it ?

    22. Dog owner says:

      Not a cute story. You’re being paid to take care of the dog, not to daydream. Pay attention and be responsible to the community. It’s the job you chose, just do it.

      Hate to be a hater, but c’mon.

      • Tim says:

        Not a hater.
        Yep, this isn’t a cute story at all. The walker should have paid for the tree. Not amusing when urine gets on someone’s property that they’re trying to sell. The people who think it’s funny obviously have no empathy whatsoever.

    23. Chester says:

      My friend’s dog peed on a tray of wheatgrass a few years back. She manned up and paid for it. I probably would have sneaked off.

    24. Stu Dabaker says:

      Lol at all these responses. You guys do realize that there is genocide occurring in Yemen? That we’ve just seated a drunken rapist to the highest court? That climate change is going to bring western civilization to an end in a decade?

      Some chick letting her dog tinkle on a Christmas tree though… Oh yeah that’s the real tragedy. You’re all pathetic

      • Deb says:

        The real tragedy is the alleged pen-name “Stu Debaker”

      • Teds says:

        Everything does not have to relative. I have dogs and would have definitely offered to pay for any tree that was made not fit for sale from the pee. Why should the tree guy suffer b/c of the walker’s lack of attention?

    25. TemCee says:

      Can tell most of y’all don’t have dogs or just don’t like them in general. Like how people can ONLY go at home, reading a newspaper, smoking a cigarette, needing the best of surroundings to take a dump, some dogs are particular. And sometimes you have a slow walking dog who will just lift his leg wherever. On a tree, on a hydrant. It’s beyond ridiculous to blame the walker for allowing their dog to pee on a tree or wherever when literally THOUSANDS of dogs have probably marked it already. Dog walkers are some of the hardest working people in NYC. Allow them the extravagance to space out while their dog does their business. You have no clue. BYE

      • Evan Bando says:

        I have a dog. As for your comment, “THOUSANDS of dogs have probably marked [the Christmas trees] already.” Is that your logic? Well, that’s the point. There are too many dog walkers, “professionals” or not, who are rude and contemptuous of the city’s street life and its residents, especially those New Yorkers who do not have a dog and are therefore presumed haters of “man’s best friend.” Quit turning yet another issue into “us against them” and just walk your dog like a responsible adult. And, no, TemPee, dog walkers are not some of the hardest working people in the city. Clearly.