Dogs of New York: The Therapeutic Power of Pets

We’ve talked to nearly 600 New York City dog owners through our project, “Dogs of New York.” Some trends have emerged in the process.

Over and over, we hear stories about the therapeutic power of dogs to make us happier human beings, especially in our time of need.

Here are 8 examples that stood out.


“NEEZY,” Brooklyn, Brownsville

Neezy, Brooklyn

“I had a Lhasa Apso for 18 years. Last month we had to say goodbye to him. Neezy is helping my wife and I with the transition. Right now I’m helping him get used to new sights and sounds.”


SNOW WHITE, Bronx, Parkchester

Snow White

“When I found her, she was so skinny. Her ribs were like a piano. I had just lost a baby, so I decided to be her rescue. She’s deaf, so I use hand signs like this.”


“SHANIYA,” Brooklyn, East Flatbush


“A few years ago, I met a woman who was giving away her dog. At the time, I had another dog who was 21 years old. She looked just like the dog this woman was giving away, so I decided to take her. That dog was Shaniya. Three days after I got her, my old dog passed away. It was like God knew it was going to happen, so he sent Shaniya to me at just the right moment. She was like a bridge. I still cry thinking about my old dog, but Shaniya helps with the pain.”


“SOOKIE,” Manhattan, Union Square


“I adopted her from a woman who couldn’t keep her anymore. Sookie is my best friend. Sometimes people give me grief because I don’t have a permanent home right now. But we’re together 24/7. She has a great life. And she makes mine better, too.”


“MEISTER,” Brooklyn, East New York


“He’s a healing dog. Whenever you’re feeling low, he makes you feel better.”


“LITE,” Queens, South Jamaica


“They gave him to me when my daughter died of cancer in 2010, to help me heal.”


“LUCY,” Manhattan, Upper East Side


“My last dog, Rose, lived to be 16. When she passed, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be ready to get another dog. But then I heard about Lucy, who was a rescue dog needing a home. I think Rose brought her to me.”


“ZEUS,” Brooklyn, Bushwick


“These dogs, they’re like babies. They’re like kids. And at the end of a hard day, you come home and they put their head on your lap, and everything is okay.”


Related post: “Dogs of New York: Working Dogs”

“Dogs of New York” is a project of Beyond Breed. Want to meet more? Visit our Facebook page at:

We believe that the human-canine bond should be available to everyone, regardless of where they live, how much money they have, or their ability to access pet care services. To bridge that gap in our own Brooklyn community, we share resources  with pet owners in need through our “Ruff Riders” project:

To make a donation to support our “Ruff Riders” families visit: