An Overheard Conversation On a Dog-Walk Leads to Fear, Worry and ‘A Side of Outrage’

Small actions today can have large consequences over the next two weeks. Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s leading epidemiologist, said on Face the Nation, “if it looks like you’re overreacting, you’re probably doing the right thing.”

It is in that spirit that we run the following letter from an Upper West Sider.

To all the dog folks,

I write this with great fear, and worry, with a side of outrage.

I came home from my walk in the park this morning troubled and scared at hearing from two regular dog people that their spouses were sick at home with the “flu or maybe Covid 19”… reaction WHY ARE YOU HERE AMONGST US? Regardless of 6 to 10 feet apart you are supposed to SELF QUARANTINE….are you not on this planet hearing the same news we all are…?

I then got home to do a zoom breakfast date with friends to learn a dear friend (my first to come down with the virus) is in the hospital on a VENTILATOR. A ventilator folks!!!! That’s REAL!

This is not a casual virus….and FYI I have not seen him in 6 months.

If you live with or have been directly in contact with someone who has a flu or Covid 19 YOU must be in self QUARANTINE ASAP end of story….period….no and’s if’s or but’s about it.

And I am not sorry to sound so stern because it’s a goddamn world wide Pandemic! WAKE UP!

Please be smart respectful kind humans and don’t put others in jeopardy.


Thank you.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 60 comments | permalink
    1. Paul says:

      Anyone with a family member who’s sick should absolutely, 100%, self-quarantine.

      Stay out of your building elevator, your lobby, the touching of your building door, the holding of the side of a car or street post as you pick up after your dog,


    2. Evan Bando says:

      This is an important letter. Please, everyone who reads it, pay attention to it and don’t be afraid to politely remind others what we must all be doing to get through this crisis as well as possible.

    3. Frank says:

      Not sure why the writer felt it necessary to address this to only “dog folks”, the idea of self quarantining if exposed applies to everyone, even those that simply go out for a morning walk.

      Everyone can all get a little stir crazy being stuck inside so let’s do our best and be as respectful as possible.

      • Social Separation Please says:

        Because dog people seem oblivious to the need for other people to have “space”. Dogs hog the paths and sidewalks on long leashes and so there is not place to safely walk 6 feet from others without ridiculously zig zapping into others. It is not the dogs’ fault. Granted.

        • NPK says:

          As a “dog person” who walks my dog several times each day I take offense at what you say. I find many oblivious people on the street who force me into the street with my dog in order to keep 6’ away. In general I feel dog walkers are more conscious of the space they are using than people who are running, biking, scootering or just plugged in to their phones or music. Don’t bother to answer me as I have no interest in anything you have to say!

          • Rob says:

            I totally agree with you.The nerve to accuse dog owners and say we take up the sidewalk when regular walking individuals are the ones taking up more room then anything. I stay on the side and never hog up a sidewalk. Why is it that if you see someone walking their dogs in these trying times that one can’t cross the street or make it their personal business to walk outside the perimeter. It’s not like your walking into several ppl walking their dogs at once on the one owns the sidewalk but we all could be a little more courteous.

        • UWSEd says:

          “Dog people seem oblivious…” Says WHO?

          I own 2 dogs and, trust me, I’m not oblivious for owning them.

          Oblivion is NOT dog-related!

    4. Ahchoo says:

      Ah yes.

      Let the shunning and shaming and fingerpointing and blaming begin.


    5. jsv says:

      I’m a dog owner, and I’ve had some of the most inconsiderate experiences in my 15 years in NYC, in the context of interacting with other dog owners. Most are great. Some are absolutely mindless selfish idiots, letting their dogs crap anywhere, dig holes in central park, run after and bark at joggers, and snarl aggressively at other dogs. It doesn’t surprise me whatsoever that they’re utterly clueless when it comes to the correct moral activity with regards to COVID-19.

      • Rob says:

        None of what you said has anything to do with today’s climate. That does not apply to me and I have several dogs. I mean we can point the finger and say civilians litter, spit gum, walk side by side when others are coming the opposite way. But that would be irrelevant and looking to place blame like Trump is doing. We are all responsible here. Be courteous.

    6. S.richards says:

      I know of several people who are now taking this seriously. I tried to tell them to please follow the rules. They had a very cavalier attitude about it. They are thoughtless selfish people. Makes me mad and sad

    7. denton says:

      So, the writer can go out, but the DOG FOLKS need to stay home. Sure.

      • ReadingComp says:


      • smb says:

        I’ve had to remind several dog owners walking their pets in Riverside Park, whose dogs would like to sniff and play with mine, to stay 6′ away. And these are adults, not children.

      • Dolores Del Rio says:

        You are missing the point. The writer can go out because they are not living with someone who’s sick with the virus or what appears to be. These two dog walkers are knowingly exposing others to danger because they don’t want to restrict their pets’ quality of life. And before you snark I too have a dog. But I’m not hangin at the dog run these days, andI don’t even know of anyone who’s ill.

        • JL says:

          @ D. Del Rio: I am more saddened that you have to explain this than I am by the original overhead conversation.

          When I traveled as a student to places like Athens and Rome, I questioned if those once great empires and cultures know they were in the decline as it was happening, and were there nothing to be done to stop it from happening?

      • ben says:

        read the F’ing article before you leave an uneducated comment next time.

      • Kris says:

        That’s not what he said, he said follow the rules regarding quarantine if you may have been exposed.

    8. Erica says:

      This is nothing new for dog owners on the UWS. Take a look at the sidewalks on a normal day.

    9. Returnofthenativd says:

      If an entire household is quarantined, who walks their dog? Not my situation, just wondering.

      • AES says:

        You can walk your dog on the sidewalk outside your building while wearing a mask so I’ve read. The point being that the ill person’s spouse in the story was in the park closely amongst others, thus prompting the post.

    10. Scp says:

      Zoom breakfast? Aren’t we not supposed to cluster? How many friends were at the zoom breakfast? This sounds like a gloss-over the writer’s own indiscretion.

      • David S says:

        I’m truly not sure if you’re being facetious, but I’ll assume you’re not and explain. Zoom is a videoconferencing app that allows people to see each other and chat from multiple remote locations. So, no one was “clustering”.

      • AES says:

        Zoom is an online hangout where multiple people can log in and see each other so they can have meetings or socialize. Perhaps know exactly what you are disparaging before typing.

      • West Ender says:

        Zoom is an online platform that allows video and audio calls. It was a virtual breakfast where she and her friends probably all logged on from their own isolated spaces and ate at the same time. Relax.

      • Annabelle says:

        ZOOM is a computer program that allows groups of people to interact with each other all at once. All the Universities are using this program to teach online. Others use it to socialize—online.

      • Dana Reimer says:

        Zoom is software that allows two or more people to meet electronically, not face-to-face. A Zoom date is a great way to keep in touch with friends but without putting anyone in danger of exposure to Covid 19. Or the flu or a cold or measles…

      • Sense and Sensibility says:

        Please forgive me if I am missing an attempt at sarcasm or humor. But Zoom (with a capital “Z”)is a video-conferencing app that lets people get together virtually for parties, meetings, classes, psychotherapy sessions, whatever, while each participant remains safe at home. I assume that’s what the author is talking about.

      • Laurel says:

        “Zoom” is an online meeting or online classroom type forum.

    11. Judy says:

      Thank you for this post. I will be giving up my long daily walks until people take this dire situation seriously. It’s a short-term (I hope) sacrifice that I must take to maintain my health. For those people who ignore advice, facts, and how their behavior negatively affects others, I have nothing (kind) to say. Good luck to us all.

    12. Lorene Farnsworth says:

      You are totally right, I can’t even imagine being that stupid, and I am a dog walker with dogs of my own, btw. If I get sick my poor dogs will be utilizing the wee wee pads I have in abundence.

    13. Karen says:

      Which park, please? I walk myself — a very senior citizen — and keep away from other folks but would just as soon choose a different park from those who are living with infected people.

    14. Eric M, MD says:

      Thank you. Needs to be said but more importantly – HEARD and HEEDED!

    15. SLJ says:

      good grief. Instead of politicizing right now, there will be a time for that, we NEED major media outlets to make it absolutely clear what the rules are. Front page. Top of every story. Scrolling on every news channel ticker and in breaking news style banners on websites & social media platforms and, instead of multiple alert about price gouging (not that it isn’t important) the city should be sending these texts to through their alert texts. WHAT TO DO IF …etc.

      additionally we are going to have to start speaking up when we hear this stuff. We are prone to stay out of peoples business in this city, but speaking up (from a safe distance) could save lives.

    16. Heilika Jordan says:

      How can they walk their dogs?

    17. Bob says:

      Who was it who said some 400 years ago that all of mankind’s problems stem from our inability to sit quietly in a room alone?

      Too many of us live in a nation of 328M, with a population of one.

    18. geoff says:

      Consider this from the American Kennel Club (

      “How can dog owners protect dogs from coronavirus?

      For now, healthy pet owners in the U.S. don’t need to do anything other than follow basic hygienic precautions such as washing their hands with soap and water before and after contact with any animal, including dogs and cats. If you test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, experts recommend that you should “restrict contact with [your] animals — both to avoid exposing the pets and to prevent getting the virus on their skin or fur, which might be passed on to another person who touches the animal.” To reduce the spread of all germs, you may consider wiping your pet’s paws when they come in and out of the house with a paw cleaner and paw wipes.”

    19. Louisa Cabot says:

      You are ABSOLUTELY right!
      I have been scolding a few friends ( late 70’s and 80’s)
      for not staying home!
      “I went for a haircut and picked up my dry cleaning.”
      “I walk the park with a friend and her dog,,, 10 feet apart
      doesn’t work,”
      I can run around the corner to WS Market and get
      a few things.”
      I’ll keep preaching; this is Life and Death

    20. S says:

      I’m a physician working at a city hospital perform “super spreading emergent procedures” wearing full PPE. Of course I have been exposed but I’m expected to work daily, as long as I’m asymptomatic, wearing a mask and following CDC and DOH guidelines. Please don’t generalize your limited understanding of current guidelines. I would assume everyone has had some contact and may be an asymptomatic carrier. Your best protection is frequent handwashing with soap and water, sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available, and keep your distance. Let dog owners walk their dogs!

      • C says:

        Let dog owners walk their dogs if the dog owners are sick??? And out in the population?? Seriously Dr.?

    21. Katie Fiore says:

      I am a dogwalker – I said g’bye to the last of my dogs on Friday. I cried all week, as my clients fled the city or service, one by one – ive been carrying my own leash, gloves, sanitizer, masks, and quit hugging and kissing my clients dogs 2 weeks ago. It’s been extremely hard and sad – I be stayed away from even stepping into my clients homes, so as not to even bring a footstep across their threshold.
      Some of us are extremely careful and consious of this growing nightmare – I am now out of a job. Till further notice.
      My dogs are my happiness and my job is my joy. I’m staying home not because I’m sick, nor is anyone I know – but because it’s the only thing I can do.
      I agree that people should know better and pay attention. The fear and struggle is real.
      I hope to return to walking again when this is over – I’m absolutely heartbroken for missing all of my pups.

    22. Eileen Simpson says:

      It is good to hear your outrage bc I am so sick of watching so many selfish people just disregarding all of the warnings. They are putting EVERYONE at risk. We cannot stop this without EVERYONE doing what they are told. So many are listening to people like Rush Limbaugh who has a very large audience. He continues to compare this to the flu!!! IT IS NOT LIKE THE FLU!! Humans have no way to fight an I’ll ess that originated in animals!!! We have no immunity to this new virus, that is NOT the case with the flu!!!! Do your homework folks, stop listening to an ignorant man who has is more interested in making this look like a conspiracy to harm Trump than keeping people alive. Also, this virus is afflicting EVERYONE young and old and it is mutating so the rules may keep changing!!!

    23. Gemmag says:

      Bravo…pleeze people stay HOME

    24. Sandra says:

      I agree, 1,000%
      This is not easy for everyone world wide. Everyone is making sacrifices to live!

      This is not a joke. Ppl are dieing and more will die. So the least we can do is OUR PART and stay home if we DONT NEED TO GO OUT.

      The doctors, nurses ppl in the grocery stores, banks etc…. need us to do our part.

      That’s love & respect. Do unto others, as you would want others to do unto you – Gokden Rule

      If our partner is sick, you must quarantine yourself for you can be a carrier and transmit it to others.

      Life is changing we must learn how to adapt to it. So we save more lives rather than kill more lives.

      Time is of the essence. If we do our part and work together in this, we will save lives and our future!

      I will say a pray for your friend, you & everyone🙏🌎🌍🌏🗺. Stay strong💪💪, stay safe.
      Xoxo to everyone❤🧡💛💚💙💜🤎🖤

    25. Judith Miske says:

      So sad people are not taking responsibility. May God protect you.

    26. Timothy Richard says:

      So, what do you propose they do with their dogs?? Put them down?? Dogs have been known to contract and die from this virus as well. But before you put your outrageous outrage to good harm at shaming ppl who are doing the best they can to get thru this as everyone is. Use a little common human decency & compassion for those with ill family at home. Try using a little common sense to keep YOUR distance from them & let them care for their pets & their own sanity at being afraid for a loved one at home ill. Stop being so selfish & realize they are being safe by keeping their distance from you. Please stop trying to spread pandemic panic by over blowing the situation. Calmer heads prevail.

      • dog person says:

        Timothy Richards,
        Wow buddy you missed the point….re read the letter why don’t you….nobody is suggesting to put animals down or shaming anyone….OR talking about dogs getting the virus….It is about people who are exposed directly to the virus and coming into the park around other people….so get off your soap box dude. And have some compassion yourself.

      • geoff says:

        according to the American Kennel Club, no dog has contracted this virus. Nowhere on earth.

        But they do carry it on and in their fur. In fact, one of the problems with dogs and this virus is that the virus can settle into their fur, not just lie on its surface. They are transmitters.

        They advise to not touch ANY dog and if you do, wash and sanitized afterward.

    27. John says:

      Thanks for being stern. Sometimes that just what we need. This is not play time.

    28. Finger point to everyone says:

      How about all the hoarders who line up at grocery stores and stand directly next to you vs a bit back in line? If they are shopping for someone who is home sick? There are plenty of joggers bikers and walkers eho feel walking 5 across is ok also so let’s not point at JUST dog people…

    29. Swimmy44 says:

      Fortunately for us, our friends who are sick with this scourge are 3000 miles away. Sadly, one is housebound and has no help coming in. Hopefully he will emerge OK shortly. But we just don’t know.

    30. ROZ POTISCHMAN says:



    31. MB/UWSer says:

      My gosh shout it! I hear you!

      Your sternness reminds of myself just weeks ago, I asked with shouty capitals to head to the requests to self-quarantine if asked – that was before this!

      Thank you for your voice!

      May the good force be with your friend and all in the circle.

    32. Sidney Olivia Savage (S.O.S.) says:

      Whoa!! Goodness, you’ve offended some “Dog people” and they seem to not understand the underlying point. Some of them don’t even want anyone to respond to their unnecessary defensive remarks. Maybe you should have just said “people”. I feel that even could have sparked some hard feelings, like, “Hey, I’m a people and I take offense to that!” … Hey YOU – quit taking things so personally. If people keep getting offended by everything, especially relatable experiences and go all keyboard warrior on others then those others are going to stop sharing their experiences and their information and what will we have then? … Oh, I know, the same buttheads that complained about what they read and how they took offense taking offense to people not giving them anything to complain about. Yes, I’m talking to YOU offended people. Now go look at yourself in the mirror and think about what you did. Tell that shallow, boring complainer how it is and don’t forget to scoff at them a little too.

    33. Angela says:

      I absolutely and undeniably agree with you. Working in lab that performs this test I see the outrageous amount of positive results. Let’s put it this way during my 8 hour shift today, I called 122 positives. PEOPLE ARE JUST ACTING LIKE IDIOTS. DON’T THINK IT IS ALL OLDER PEOPLE MY PATIENTS RANGED BETWEEN 14 MONTH TO 84.

    34. Kathy says:

      Don’t be sorry, some people need to hear/read that. Thank you!

    35. Lauren says:

      The point of the story is WAKE UP people and realize what’s going on. Stop focusing on the “dog walkers” and realize that their is more importance to this story the which “idiots” were possibly exposing other people to the virus!I’m sure the purpose of this story was not to point fingers, but rather to make people more aware of the severity of the situation as a whole!!!