Moving from a Manhattan apartment to a suburban Connecticut townhouse has benefited Howie Elson in many ways, including walking Leo, his 3-year-old miniature goldendoodle.
Elson, an actuary in the insurance industry, moved to West Hartford in May and appreciates more living space and getting away from the coronavirus epicenter in New York City. He and his wife, Dani, lived for the past three years in the Financial District where it was no picnic to walk Leo.
Life Wasn’t Easy Walking a Dog in New York City
Elson recounted the procedures he followed each time he left his high-rise building to walk with Leo. The negatives began when he closed his apartment door.
“The whole process of preparing for a walk in the midst of the pandemic was stressful for us.” he says. “Gloves on, mask on, sanitizer in pocket, waiting even longer to get on an elevator without other people on it.”
There were many other hardships, beginning with dirty streets where they had to “constantly avoid garbage, spilled food or other unappealing obstacles.”
Leo had no grass to sniff, walk or play on and was faced with lots of distractions, including people, lots of noise and other dogs.
“Leo gets tunnel vision when he sees another dog down the street and refuses to budge until he gets to say hi,” Elson says. “When there were lots of dogs out, walks could become very drawn out.”
Walking Leo during the coronavirus epidemic created a lot of anxiety, because social distancing was required.
“We took Leo on less long walks, and his interactions with other people and dogs became very limited,” Elson says.
Moving From NYC to West Hartford, CT
In the days before social distancing, there were some positives, though, about walking a dog in New York City. Leo had lots of dogs and people to socialize with and some parks and waterfront areas to explore, Elson says.
But West Hartford, where Elson grew up, is undoubtedly a big improvement.
There’s No Place Like Home
“There’s endless grass for Leo to walk on and sniff,” Elson says. “He is so happy walking on the grass that he sometimes spontaneously starts rolling around on it.”
Other improvements include walking on quiet neighborhood streets without Leo getting distracted, and it’s much easier to social distance during the pandemic.
Plus, Leo is really enjoying his suburban setting. “He loves his immediate access to our fenced-in backyard much better than having to wait for the elevator down from our New York City apartment,” Elson says.
For Elson and Dani, walking their dog with the absence of stress they experienced in New York City is “life changing,” he says. “Now, as we walk along the wide open suburb sidewalks, there is a noticeable pep in Leo’s step, and we can all breathe a little easier.”