Friday, May 5, 2017

Rufus Thomas – "Walkin' the Dog" (1963)

If you don't know how to do it
I'll show you how to walk the dog

When my dog Lily needs to poop, I just open the door and let her go into the backyard.  No fuss, no muss!

But what if I lived in a happening neighborhood in Brooklyn instead of a boring Washington, DC suburb?  I’d have to take her down the elevator in my apartment building and walk her on the busy streets until she got down to business (in full view of everyone walking by) – and then I’d have to pick up after her.

(By the way, did you know that most mammals need only about 12 seconds to poop?  If you don't believe me, you can click here to read the Science magazine story that is my source.)  

Picking up poop s not the only inconvenience that a New York City dog owner has to suffer, of course.  Let’s say I run into a friend while I’m taking Lily back to my apartment building, and the friend suggests we get a beer.  What the hell am I supposed to do with Lily while I’m in the bar with my friend?  

Do I tie her to a parking meter or bike rack?  That’s not advisable – after all, there are a lot of shady characters in the Big Apple.  And what if it’s raining, or really cold, or really hot?

So I tell the friend I’ll have to take a raincheck on that beer.  Because I’m not going to walk Lily all the way back to my building, go up in the elevator to my floor, put her inside my apartment, take the elevator back down, and walk back to the bar.

Thanks to a Brooklyn dog lover, there’s a solution to my dilemma:

The Dog Parker
It’s the Dog Parker – which claims to be “not your average doghouse.”  

From the company’s website:

Precision Engineered

Dog Parkers are designed to ensure your dog is safe, secure and protected while you go inside.


Dog Parkers automatically cool the air to ensure your dog is comfortable and safe all year round (32-80 degrees F).

Spacious & Comfortable

Dog Parkers are designed to fit most dogs comfortably and use fans to keep the air inside fresh.

Veterinary Grade

Dog Parkers' interior surfaces are firm, non-porous, comfortable and easy to clean.

A Dog Parker in action

Dog Parkers use UV lights to kill bacteria, viruses, and molds between uses, giving you extra peace of mind.

Remotely Monitored

Dog Parkers are internet connected, allowing you to keep tabs on things remotely via your smartphone, anytime.

I saw a Dog Parker recently when a friend and I were taking a postprandial stroll through DUMBO (“Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”), my favorite Brooklyn neighborhood.

How does it work?  Easy-peasy, actually.  You use the Dog Parker app to find the nearest vacant Dog Parker, and make a reservation for it.  When you get to your Dog Parker, you simply open the door with your membership card and put your dog inside.  You can then run some errands or get a drink with a friend, knowing that your dog is safe and secure.  When you’re ready to retrieve Fido, you unlock the Dog Parker with your membership card – only your card will work, so no one else can dognap your pet.

What gave Dog Parker co-inventor Chelsea Brownridge the idea for a shared dog house?

The inspiration for Dog Parker started with my dog, Winston, a terrier mix rescue who lives with me in Brooklyn. Winston is extremely high-energy and suffers from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).  For a long time, it was difficult taking Winston around the city with me because so many places don't allow dogs inside.  I wouldn't tie him up because, like many, I worried he'd get loose, get scared, or be stolen.  Sometimes, Winston needed to stay home more often than either of us wanted just because I'd go into a store for a few minutes where he wasn't allowed.  I hated that Winston and I were missing out on lots of extra walks and adventures together.  It made me sad to see his disappointed face as I left the apartment right after getting home from work to run errands, leaving him behind again.  Eventually, I realized if Winston and I faced these challenges, then millions of other pet parents shared this experience when it came to spending more time with their dogs.  

Dog Parker co-inventor Chelsea Brownridge
As a solution, I created the Dog Parker — a shareable dog house — so that the Winstons of the world can enjoy exploring the city life more with their owners.  The Dog Parker combines dog-first design with technology to create a safe and comfortable house for dogs.  It is important to me to make Dog Parkers accessible for all dog owners and to better enable dog-friendlier communities with the help of local businesses. 

My vision for the world is a place where every dog owner has an option to have their dog join them for a walk, anytime and anywhere.  I'm committed to giving dogs a safe home away from home — one Dog Parker at a time. 

(Standing ovation for Chelsea Brownridge!)

There are about 20 Dog Parkers in Brooklyn.  It’s not clear when Dog Parkers are coming to Manhattan, or Boston, or Washington, or any other place.  But hopefully every city that has bike sharing will have Dog Parkers soon.

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The legendary Memphis soul singer Rufus Thomas was 46 when he wrote and recorded “Walkin’ the Dog.”  Often billed as “The World’s Oldest Teenager,” he continued to perform until a few years before his death in 2001.

Rufus Thomas
“Walking’ the Dog” was Thomas’s signature record.  It peaked at number ten on the Billboard “Hot 100” in December 1963.  The song was later covered by the Rolling Stones, Johnny Rivers, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the Flamin’ Groovies, Aerosmith, Spirit, Green Day, and many others.

Here’s “Walkin’ the Dog”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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