By Camilla Vazquez

In the midst of life and its constant intensity, I found myself pondering on the the fact that I always felt an inclination in my mood throughout the day. What was it that was making my day gradually better?I had figured mornings were rough and it was the whole routine of it all. Wake up, hour train ride, work, hour and a half train ride, school.

For the past eight months I had begun my transition. The thought of conversation and connecting with others caused me discomfort. But there was still this question- what was it that was making me happy. Had it had been my friends, hormones, or even that majority of the day I was by myself in my own existence? Not seeing what was right in front of me, it had finally clicked, it was the dogs!

Camilla & Ava

The day I realized was the first day I came to work presenting as female. Being a dog walker, outside the Fed-ex delivery guy and the occasional nanny, it's mostly just you and the dogs. Presenting alone was the greatest fear I had accumulated. The hate trans people receive on the daily is excruciating. I’d endure the usual comments, stares and even at times assault. But this particular day was so affirming and easy. The dogs that I had created such strong connections with loved me for me. It may have taken an extra two seconds to come to the conclusion that it’s me but then came the kisses and never ending tail wagging. They all saw me and recognized me for me. I’m their friend who takes them to the park, plays with them and has the best treats. They don’t see gender how our society views it- which is stricken by binaries. Once I finished my shift I had felt such a wave of emotion for these pups like Ava, Frankie and Maddie. They were the ones who made me more comfortable with myself as they never judged me.

I believe our world can learn a lot from dogs.

As long as you show loyalty, respect and love- the rest comes naturally. The hate doesn’t have to be as prevalent if we take just a minute to realize that Trans people are still people who love just like these dogs.

Hi! I'm new here!

The holidays is a busy time a year to add a pet to your home! Who doesn't want a puppy under their Christmas tree?!

The following is a guest submission from Jessica Brody of

According to Gallup polls, 6 in 10 Americans own pets, with cats and dogs being the most popular choices. If you’re about to become part of this statistic, congratulations! You’ll have a lot of fun with your new friend, but you’ll also experience a pretty big lifestyle shift, too. Naturally, you want to get your relationship off to a good start, and you’re probably wondering how to do that. Well, wonder no more. Read on to learn how to help your new pet settle in.

Choosing a Pet

To have the best chance of building a good relationship with your new pet, you should get the type and breed of animal that best suits your lifestyle. Some key characteristics to think about are independence, friendliness, and energy level. If you and your pet match in these three areas, you’ve got a great shot at becoming friends. If you’re looking for a dog, energy might be the most import of the three. Cesar’s Way has tips on determining a dog’s energy level here.

Overall, ask yourself, what is the main reason that you’re considering getting a pet? For example, pets are great companions for people with mental health concerns. If you want a pet for this purpose, a dog might be the best choice. Dogs tend to be more social and more responsive to human emotions, which can help reduce feelings of loneliness. They also require frequent walks, which will increase your own activity level, another good habit for people who have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

Home Prep

Before your new pet arrives, you’ll need to do a little bit of up-front home prep. Go around your house and put away or cover anything that might be hazardous if chewed or eaten, such as electrical outlets, cables, cleaning products, and small items. For cats, you’ll want to cat-proof your home, which includes moving expensive and breakable items from shelves and making sure your furniture is secured to your walls and won’t topple if your cat hangs from it while climbing.

No matter which pet you choose, there will likely be messes. Invest in pet-friendly cleaning products, including a good vacuum, before you bring your pet home. Many dog and cat owners prefer vacuums with water-filtration systems because they are excellent for carpets. They also clean dirt and debris from the air, and many can double as air purifiers and deodorizers -- a must for eliminating pet smells.


If you’re getting a dog, be prepared for a six-to-eight-week acclimatization period. Try to keep house guests to a minimum for the first week so as not to overstimulate him at first. Keep treats handy and reward any good behavior, including when he approaches you, goes to the bathroom outside, or obeys your commands.

If you’re getting a cat, it’s best to start by giving her one room to live in at first. This room should have all the necessary amenities: litter box, scratching post, food dish, and water dish. Spend some time in this room but don’t worry if she keeps her distance. Just ignore her until she comes to you, or perhaps try to coax her out with treats. Don’t pick her up or chase her; she’ll come to you when she feels comfortable. After she gets more comfortable, give her access to another room in your house.


The bonding process will take time initially, but you’ll soon become friends if you provide two things: toys and treats! Get some toys that are suitable for your new pet and see if you can get him to play with you. Also remember that, as with humans, the best way to a pet’s heart is through their stomach. They will soon recognize you as the one providing the food, and their affection will quickly follow. If you want a dog, remember to walk him every day. Most dogs need two 15-minute walks each day. Professional dog walkers or doggie day cares are a great alternative if you need help giving your pup all the exercise and attention he needs during the workday.

With proper care and attention, you’ll build a strong and healthy relationship with your new pet. This process starts before you even get the pet, as you’ll need to do a little research to find the best type and breed, as well as the shelters operating in your area. The good news is that you can get started on that right now!

Photo: Pixabay

Dog Walk NYC is featured in Reader's Digest!

"Intelligent dogs are very good at sensing and interpreting your emotions, says Katie Nitti, dog behavior expert and owner of Dog Walk NYC. Had an awful day at work? Fight with your spouse? A smart dog will read your sadness and take steps to comfort you, such as cuddling up with you or refusing to leave your side until your tears dry, she says. Make sure you’re taking care of him too! Try these 19 things your dog really wants from you."

Can I come?!

Being highly observant is another characteristic smart pups share, Nitti says. For instance, when you pull out your suitcase, does your dog recognize it’s a sign that something is about to change (you going on a trip)? She may show her understanding by trying to jump in or hide your suitcase, or stick unusually close to you, Nitti says.

Don't stop petting!!!

“All dogs love attention, and smart dogs know the best way to get it,” Nitti says. Intelligent dogs will place their head under your hand and “bump” it to prompt you to give them a scratch behind the ears, or they may even “pet” you as an example of how they want you to pet them. Did he used to do this and now doesn’t? Check out the rest of the post, HERE!

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