There are more than half a million dogs in New York City, and for two years now, Kim Wolf has documented as many of them as she possibly can.
Through her project, Dogs Of New York — inspired by the series Humans of New York — Wolf travels all over the city taking pictures of, and asking questions about, people and their pups.
Hardly anyone says no; in fact, most people, no matter who they are or what they and their pups look like, are delighted to tell Wolf about their sweet dogs, and about themselves.
“They light up when they start talking about them,” Wolf says. “People love their pets … That’s something they all have in common.”
One of Wolf’s favorite photos is of a man named Marion with his dog, Lady.
When Wolf met the two last winter, Lady was wrapped up in a piece of carpet. Marion explained that he’d found Lady in the street a couple of weeks earlier. He believed she’d been mistreated, and decided to give her a home.
Among the first things Marion did was stitch up this “jacket” to make sure Lady would stay warm.
“Used some shoe string to tie it on to the dog,” Wolf says. “It just spoke so much to how strong a bond is with animals.”
If one goal of DONY is for Wolf to have an excuse to pet so many dogs, another, more socially minded aim is to show that it doesn’t take a fancy zip code to be a loving pet owner.
“I’m especially interested in sharing the stories of people who might have been discriminated against or pre-judged because of appearances — whether it’s the dog, the person, or both,” she said.
Another aim of DONY is helping get resources to folks who might need some assistance providing for their pets.
For example, Wolf brought Marion and Lady a brand new winter coat soon after meeting them.
She also made them part of a nonprofit she runs — Beyond Breed/Ruff Riders — which provides pet food and other supplies, mostly to Brooklynites, who have fallen on hard times.
You may see her riding around Brooklyn, making deliveries out of a bright blue cart attached to an adult-sized tricycle.
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