Does your pup need extra exercise while you work from home? As a new addition to our Dog Walking Services in the DC Area, we’re bringing back the famous “Rock Creek Park Excursions”.
Rock Creek Park is a safe and dog-friendly area with paths, trails, and open fields that your pup is sure to love. Our experienced team of Pet Care Specialists will bring your pup on an exciting adventure through the park, on a mentally and physically stimulating excursion they’ll love each time.
Rock Creek Park: Walk Times
We will pick your pup up from your home between 9am-11am, and you can expect your pup to be home between 2pm-4pm all tuckered out and ready for their nap so you can prepare dinner in peace.
Patrick’s Pet Care is still here, and we have many of you to thank for that, especially those who have maintained their subscriptions (some, without actually using our services), purchased gift cards, tried our virtual dog training and grooming services, or simply kept their service in place because they needed it– WE THANK YOU. Your choices saved people’s jobs and positioned us to pivot and re-open.
Of course, if you have needed to make other choices for your family, we understand and hope to see you back at Patrick’s Pet Care when you need us. We’ll be here.
There are some important changes to our services and the way that we provide them that you all should know about going forward:
We will continue to offer our professional mid-day dog walking services Monday-Friday 10:30am-3:30pm, with optional “pinch hit” late afternoon weekday services. We will not be offering weekend dog walking services until after Labor Day, at the earliest.
Precautionary Measures: We’ve provided personal protective equipment and use guidelines to all our dog walking staff, inclusive of a supply of reusable masks, disposable gloves, a personal supply of hand sanitizer to carry on their person, forehead thermometers, a retractable “11th finger” to allow them to manipulate objects, buttons, and doors with the least personal touch possible, and paid time off to stay home and go get tested immediately on the first sign of any illness.
Staffing and Operational Changes: our dog walking operation will be managed by Joe Ryan and Emma Teller until such time that our workload can justify the return of the general manager, Ethan. To save money, we have semi-permanently closed our dog walking and pet sitting administrative office in Columbia Heights.
Our in home overnight pet sitting service will be our only weekend pet sitting service going forward, until at least Labor Day. If you need in home overnight pet sitting, please make your request via our website and your request will be processed within 48 hours. If you need pet sitting visits on a weekend before Labor Day, we’d have to refer you elsewhere and would be happy to make your key available for pick up on weekdays with 24 hours notice at our Columbia Heights location. You can request a key pick up by completing our online form.
We have dramatically scaled back our dog boarding operation for the remainder of this year. We will not be offering dog boarding again until Labor Day Weekend September 4-7, 2020. After that, the only dates we’ll be offering dog boarding for the remainder of the year are:
September 4-7, 2020 (Labor Day)
October 9-12, 2020 (Indigenous People’s Day)
November 25-29, 2020 (Thanksgiving)
December 23-January 3rd (Christmas/New Years)
We do have plans to transition to a premium slumber party style holiday only dog boarding model starting on Labor Day weekend, please stay tuned for details there as we get back on our feet. We also understand that some of our customers depend on us for dog boarding, which is why we have partnered with a reputable nearby dog ranch to provide an easy alternative. That company is still temporarily closed as a result of COVID-19, but we will announce it as soon as they are re-opened and accepting reservations. You’ll be able to drop off with us and use that service. Any customers who have reservations with us for dog boarding already on dates when we aren’t offering boarding and don’t want to use the partnership, can request a full refund by email to that will be processed the week of June 15.
Dog Day Care 2.0
The Columbia Heights location (for dogs 10 – 25lbs) will re-open on Tuesdays and Thursdays only beginning Tuesday, June 23rd. We’ll be piloting and modeling our long-awaited Dog Day Care 2.0 on those days in anticipation of a full re-launch after the 4th of July, if/when the demand is there. You’ll be able to make reservations for that service through the Gingr software portal beginning Tuesday, June 16th.
The Brookland location will re-open for daycare Monday / Wednesday/ Friday beginning Monday, July 20 for Dog Day Care 2.0, and will scale back up to Monday-Friday operations as soon as is practicable, ideally not later than Labor Day.
Hours: On the days we are open, the hours will be 8am -7pm. Late pick up will not be offered until further notice.
Precautionary Measures: In addition to the precautionary measures outlined above for dog walking, the brick and mortar locations will have the following changes in place:
12-hour shifts for staff so that there is no staff change interaction at mid-day to limit cross-contamination
Hospital Grade UV Light/HEPA Filters in all rooms
No customers will be allowed inside
Contact Free Apple Pay/Google Pay/ Tap Cards will be the only forms of payment accepted at either location, outside. Chip cards and cards that require button pushes or signatures will no longer be accepted
iPads for staff Facetime have been added so that staff can easily communicate with each and get support without needing to do so in person. Customers can also make contact for virtual conversations
A drop off vestibule lobby is being built at Columbia Heights and a back door drop off tent is being added at Brookland to enable contact free / open air drop off. Curbside pick up will remain available.
We’re upgrading our already good webcams so that customers can feel that they are inside and can see everything from wherever they are.
Taking advantage of the down time, the Brookland location is in the midst of adding new Nap Condos in lieu of crates and is completing the facade renovation with new signage and paint which will be done by the time it re-opens July 6th.
Our day care managers will remain home until July 6th. Until then Patrick will be managing the day care program
The managers are being quite productive using PPP funding to attend dog training and behavior school online.
Unfortunately, none of our van drivers remain employed at Patrick’s Pet Care. Consequently, we do not plan to re-offer day care transportation until September 1, 2020.
When we do, it will be re-organized with a bus stop style option to eliminate the need to go in to customer homes to the greatest extent possible. If we can re-launch it sooner, we will.
We plan to resume partial grooms or “just nails” by July 6th.
Our force free certified dog trainer, Nikita, has been busy doing virtual (and to some extent in-person, outdoor) dog training. Details and rates of that service can be found here. You can book a free 30-minute consultation directly with Nikita via our website form.
Common issues she’s been helping clients with during the pandemic include:
Bonding with new Family Members – Communication
Loose Leash Walking – Stop the Pulling!
Leash Reactivity – Greeting Other Dogs Calmly
Crate Training & Separation Anxiety – Stop the whining!
Tricks – Tools and games to have fun with your dog
Basic Manners: Sit, Stay, Down, Come, Off, Etc
We greatly appreciate your patience, kindness, and support during this re-opening period. We’re grateful to still be here, knowing that many small businesses around our city will never come back.
Exercise is important for all dogs—it prevents boredom, stimulates the mind and encourages physical fitness.
The Importance of Pet Exercise
Routine exercise is a must for pups of all sizes (unless instructed otherwise by an expert); however, different breeds require different approaches.
Beagles, for example, need more exercise than other small breeds due to their heritage as hunting dogs. Some beagles can go up to 90 minutes before wearing out for the day! On the other end of the spectrum, we have breeds such as the pug. Due to their short snouts, it is recommended that pugs only walk for around 20 minutes at a time.
If you haven’t met your dog’s walking quota yet, Fido will be sure to let you know! When your furry friend displays these behaviors, it’s time to get some exercise:
Sitting by the door
Staring at you in close proximity
Age is another factor to consider with physical activity. Puppies may have a similar build to small adult dogs, but their needs vary considerably. Most owners can attest to a pup’s boundless energy and need for increased activity.
Why Dogs Need Exercise
We know dog walking is great exercise, but it’s also a time to bond with your bud.
Dedicating time on the trail for you, your pup, and Mother Nature promotes health and happiness. We’ve put together a list of our top six dog-friendly hikes near D.C. that are sure to help you find your zen.
Before hiking, consider bringing:
Water bowl and sufficient water
Snacks or treats
Collar and leash (potentially a long-line leash)
Toys (like a Frisbee)
Bedding, if hiking overnight
Most trails are open daily from dawn to dusk, but check before your trek!
Trails with varying difficulties that appeal to a range of hikers
Spanning the Blue Ridge Mountains of western Virginia, Shenandoah National Park boasts dynamic wildlife, beautiful scenery, and crystal-clear waterfalls. While some trails are off-limits to dogs, there are still plenty of amazing options to travel with your furry friend. Check out Lands Run Falls, a 1.3 mile-long hike with a 325-foot elevation gain. Compton Peak, West and East Hike is another great option with 2.4 miles of trail and an 855-foot elevation gain.
Visit the park’s calendar for information on upcoming dog-friendly events.
Founded in 1890 as a recreational outlet for D.C. residents, Rock Creek Park lets visitors forge their own paths. The park’s two main hiking trails—Western Ridge Trail and Valley Trail—are linked by a series of connecting paths. There also is a covered bridge where visitors can watch local fish, birds, and other wildlife.
Dog owners from Montgomery County will appreciate Cabin John Regional’s convenient location. The park boasts over four miles of natural surface trails and two miles of paved trails, with opportunities to view Monarch butterflies, bluebirds, and more.
Owners looking for a less intense experience can visit Cabin John Regional’s on-site dog park or Mature Forest trails for plenty of shaded rest spots.
Montgomery County law requires that dogs be on leash outside of designated dog exercise areas at all times. Inside these areas, owners must have a leash ready.
This expansive network of waterways and trails offers hikers a plethora of scenic views spanning three states. Popular trails include Mount Vernon and Billy Goat.
Mount Vernon Trail, located near the George Washington Memorial Parkway, spans 18 miles between the Mount Vernon Estate and Theodore Roosevelt Island. Savor the amazing view of D.C.’s skyline, or connect to a larger network of trails.
Billy Goat Trail starts and finishes on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, offering hikers three sections of varying difficulty. Dogs are permitted on Section B and C. Section B is a 2.7-mile loop, and Section C is an easy walk with panoramic views of the Potomac River. Section A does not allow dogs, as the trail is strenuous and very technical.
Whether you’re new to the D.C. area or new to pet ownership, licensing your dog is a must. The licensing process, however, can prove intimidating if you haven’t done it before.
We’ve put together a comprehensive breakdown of the dog registration process in D.C. With our advice, you should have little to no issue navigating dog licensing.
Why Do I Need to Register?
Often the first question for most new dog owners is simple: Why should I register?
Well, it’s the law, for starters. D.C. Code 8-1804 asserts that all pets must be registered with the city’s health department. The registration process helps owners, as well.
For example, registration data inform the city’s decisions on upkeep for pet parks. As the number of registered dogs in the city increases, so does the need to maintain the appropriate facilities.
Registration also helps to ensure your pup can be returned safe and sound if they run away or get lost. If Fido runs off and doesn’t have an ID tag, the agency has no way to get in contact with his owner. We also strongly encourage the use of microchips in conjunction with ID tags.
What Does Registration Entail?
Once registered, dogs are required to wear a collar at all times. This is an extremely important component for identifying lost pets.
Registration is not a one-and-done process. Dogs must be re-registered annually by July 1st each year, to accurately track pet populations in the city and enforce annual vaccination requirements.
How Much Does Registration Cost?
The registration process is not free. If your dog has been spayed or neutered by a licensed vet, it will cost $15 per year to stay registered. Otherwise, you’ll pay $50 annually.
How Soon Do I Need to Register?
Your deadline for dog registration in the D.C. area depends on your dog’s age. Owners of young pups do not have to register their pet until he or she turns 4 months old. If your dog has already passed the 4-month threshold, you must register them within 10 days of adoption.
What Do I Need to Provide For Registration?
Registration requisites don’t end with annual payments. Up-to-date medical info is another requirement for dog owners.
During the licensing process, you’ll have to fill out an application requesting basic info about you, your dog, and your residence. The application requires proof of vaccinations for rabies and distemper, as well as proof of neutering/spaying, if applicable.
Owners of more than seven dogs all over 4 months of age are required to fill out a separate application. This form provides a hobbyist license to inform authorities that you’re qualified for large-scale care.
Where Do I Go to Register?
The easiest way to register your dog is to visit the D.C. government website. You can fill out an application online, via email or by sending the completed application by mail. You also can register by contacting or visiting:
Life is busy. Responsibilities abound. Sometimes, it’s all too easy to slack off and overlook the most basic duties—but both you and your pooch benefit from keeping active! Be sure not to skimp on exercise for your dog. Walking with your furry friend is a great form of exercise and socialization, but each dog has different needs. Here are some tips for creating the perfect workout for you and your pooch:
The Benefits of Exercise
Corgis, German Shepherds and all breeds in between require daily activity for peak physical health. Obesity, one of the most common diseases in pets, is easily preventable with regular exercise. Staying active also wards off certain breed or age-related illnesses, such as arthritis and cancer.
In addition to the physical benefits, exercise improves your pup’s mental health. Insufficient exercise might cause destructive outbursts, which often leads to damaged furniture, clothes and other belongings.
Considering the above, the general sweet spot for exercise is anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours per day.
Your Dog’s Exercise Needs
While the previously mentioned time frame is a good starting point for most owners, it’s not a hard and fast rule. Just like we have ideal routines, so do our pups.
One main factor is size. A common misconception is that smaller dogs don’t require the same level of exercise as larger breeds. The Chihuahua, for example, has a reputation for its hyperactive nature. As a result, the recommended exercise for these little rascals is on par with larger breeds, including 30-minute minimum walks.
The second key factor is breed. Many of the breeds we know and love today were raised for specific purposes in the past. Two main camps include hunting dogs and lapdogs. Beagles, Retrievers, Pointers and many more were bred for hunting wildlife and require significantly more physical activity than other dogs. Meanwhile, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, and Pugs were preferred for their small sizes and even tempers. They have substantially lower physical endurance than the average pup (though they still love a good run through a field!).
General opinions can only go so far. If you’re still uncertain about the exact needs of your dog, consult your vet for a more personalized assessment.
Properly Exercising Your Dog
The duration of your dog’s exercise is one of many considerations. Activity also should provide meaningful intensity and stimulate the brain.
If your dog frequently tugs at the leash on walks, consider increasing your pace to a brisk jog. The undeveloped terrain on a hike also provides a healthy challenge for active breeds.
Another option is to incorporate mid-walk activities at off-leash locations. Chasing after Frisbees or tennis balls in the midst of a walk makes the exercise significantly more demanding.
Accommodating a Demanding Schedule
Now that we’ve reviewed the needs of our dogs, let’s consider what may impact our ability to fulfill them—namely, adult responsibilities. For many owners, a demanding work routine and other commitments can leave little time to exercise your pup.
If you can’t carve out the necessary time, consider hiring a dog walking/day care service. Patrick’s Pet Care offers discount rates on walking services from anywhere between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., and also is available outside these hours. No matter what unique needs your schedule requires, we’re always willing to discuss options. After all, your dog’s health is a priority!
A weekend getaway at the slopes doesn’t have to exclude Fido. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite dog-friendly ski resorts in the Mid-Atlantic.
If your aim is to enjoy an adventurous experience outside the city with your canine companion, then pet policy is not the only factor to consider. ‘Pet-allowing’ and ‘pet-friendly’ locations are vastly different. Seek these resort amenities that provide an enjoyable experience for you and your dog:
Dog walking trails (keep your dog’s capabilities in mind when considering trail length)
Dog-friendly restaurants and sitting areas
Onsite dog sitting services (if dogs aren’t allowed alone in rooms)
Stoweflake has over 60 acres of wide-open space, which is a welcome sight for urban dog owners needing a getaway from the DC hustle and bustle.
This resort boasts extensive dog-friendly trails and accommodations, including the 5.3-mile Stowe Rec Path. Stroll side-by-side with your pooch through woods, meadows, farmland, and crystal clear swimming holes.
Book in advance, as dog-friendly accommodations are limited!
This resort and spa are nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, welcoming dogs 30 pounds and under.
Upon arrival, your dog will receive the royal treatment with complementary items that include waste bags, dental treats, and a plush Opal Paws dog mat. Concierge services are available for unexpected needs that arise during the trip.
Lake Placid Lodge offers several activities for summer adventure. Enjoy a hike with your dog on the famous 125-mile Jackrabbit Trail, which offers scenic views of the Adirondacks and passes by the resort’s front door.
This all-inclusive ski resort is located in Vermont’s Killington Valley, the East’s “outdoor adventure capital.” Whether paddling, hiking or skiing, there’s something to enjoy for every outdoor lover escaping north with their pooch. Bonus—check out the lineup for Killington’s free Cooler in the Mountain Concert Series.
Killington Resort welcomes quiet, non-aggressive pets on leashes, allowing them on the ski and hiking trails around the resort.
D.C. dog lovers seeking southern adventure must check out Appalachian Ski Mountain, a European mountain resort experience without the hassle of international travel.
The Village Inn of Blowing Rock, one of several lodging options on the premises, is pet-friendly. Guests can stay in a traditional country room or a spacious suite with a deck offering beautiful views.
Pets are allowed on both the ski and hiking trails at the resort.
Break up the monotony of your neighborhood dog walk with one of our 15 favorite places to walk your pup in the D.C. area! These picks, many of which are National Park Service sites, offer breathtaking scenery, open spaces, wildlife, history and more.
Ready to hit the ground running? Before you and your four-legged friend embark on a new adventure, be sure to:
Check the rules of the trail or park
Bring a leash no longer than six feet in length to avoid incidents
Pack a travel bowl and water so you and your pup stay hydrated
Enjoy abundant and engaging scenery along the brook as you stroll on Klingle Valley Trail. This paved, multiuse trail is less than a mile and is best for walking and biking. Its design makes this a friendly trail for all abilities of visitors and their dogs.
The rest areas located at key points are helpful for more physically-restricted breeds, such as bulldogs. Various trailheads allow you to tailor your walk to you and your companion’s needs.
The wide-open space at Hains Point is ideal for all activity levels. Stroll down the 4.1-mile trail and view a variety of cherry blossoms along the river. Check out some unique historic sites, including Fort Lesley J. McNair and the George Mason Memorial.
The trail’s prime location at the southern tip of East Potomac Park also offers an unmatched view of the area from the banks of the Potomac River.
Designed by architects to emulate the natural state of the island, Theodore Roosevelt Island offers miles of trails that honor our former conservationist president.
Visitors can choose from three different trails. Swamp Trail is a 1.5-mile loop around the island perimeter. The trail, which is part pea gravel and part boardwalk, is ideal for active breeds. The .33-mile pea gravel Woods Trail leads to Roosevelt Memorial Plaza. Finally, Upland Trail covers the full length of the island from east to west in .75 miles. Upland circles the old Mason Mansion site, previous owners of the island.
This historic “suburban oasis” is a private nonprofit open to the public to explore and enjoy. Known as the village green of Cleveland Park, the conservancy boasts three acres of pristine lawns with roots dating back to the 18th century. Added bonus—the conservancy offers several off-leash periods throughout the day that can be found here.
Owners must register their dogs prior to admittance. Dog owners pay $100 annually for registration and membership; each dog costs an additional $75. This is a great investment for local residents, but the cost might prove cumbersome for occasional visitors.
Breathtaking scenery offers visitors activities that range from birdwatching to photography to picnics. Both trails are less than a mile long—one on boardwalk, one on a dirt path—that boast beautiful plant life and an impressive roster of birds.
Don’t miss the two-day Lotus and Water Lily Festival in the summer—a multicultural experience with loads of activities to keep you and your pup busy!
As their website says, meet, sniff, run and play at Shaw Dog Park! Its 15,000 square feet is divided into one large and one small fenced area.
The smaller section is dedicated to pups that require special care, such as elderly dogs, breeds weighing under 25 pounds and any dog with a physical restriction. The larger section is for all other visitors. The park offers plenty of space for activities!
At just under 12,000 square feet of fenced property, Langdon is D.C.’s largest dedicated dog park. This is an ideal location for dogs to socialize. The park hosts a variety of community events throughout the year, creating plenty of opportunities to meet new friends.
This park’s quarter-mile trail travels through urban and natural environments, offering great exercise for you and your dog. A dedicated space provides a safe haven for smaller breeds. While this park may be further for D.C. residents, it’s worth the visit.
If you live in the city and crave a safe place for your dog to run free, visit Bundy Dog Park. Organized by neighborhood volunteers, Bundy is the product of meaningful community involvement. The fenced-in location allows dogs to socialize and play off leash. Keep an eye on the park’s website for events and fundraisers.
With 446 acres of exceptional landscape and ornamental plants, this is a must-see spot. Just 10 minutes from the U.S. capitol, the arboretum was established in 1927 by an act of Congress. Japanese maples, ornamental grasses, daffodils and a stunning display of azaleas create unmatched scenery through miles of various pathways. Check out the arboretum’s event listings for moonlit hikes and educational programs.
The historic Congressional Cemetery includes burial sites of influential citizens who impacted our city and nation. Its unique approach to dog walking benefits owners and the cemetery itself. To enter the park with your pooch, owners must sign up with the organization Cemetery Dogs. Dog owners can safely let their dogs run free in 35 acres of fenced in property, while the cemetery gains an active pup patrol that wards off vandals. Funding from Cemetery Dogs also helps preserve the cemetery grounds. Several dog-friendly events are held each year.
Have great stamina and need to burn off some of Fido’s energy? Check out the 20-mile paved Riverwalk Trail along the Anacostia River that features impressive modern architecture. A 12-mile stretch of the trail is heavily used by walkers, runners, cyclists and dog walkers. With a minimum 10-foot width, you’ll never feel crowded on the trail.
The largest of the Capitol Hill Parks, Lincoln Park is ideal for residents of Hill East or Capitol Hill. Allow your dog to indulge in new sights and smells while you soak in the park’s rich history. Lincoln Park includes a statue dedicated to its namesake, as well as a memorial to Mary McLeod Bethune. Bethune is best known for her activism of civil rights causes and improving education.
With nearly two miles of open space between the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol, the National Mall is a popular choice for many dog-walkers. A plethora of iconic monuments and art installations provide exciting routes to keep you and your dog engaged as you explore. The location’s popularity may even open doors to new furry playmates!
Three rugged trails—two of which are open to dogs—make this a great escape for active breeds and their humans. As the name implies, these routes just south of Great Falls Visitors Center are rocky. Section B is a more challenging 1.4-mile trek, while Section C offers a slightly easier terrain over 1.6 miles. Wear proper shoes to avoid accidents, and check park conditions before arriving.
Dog-friendly D.C. and the surrounding areas offer great options to adventure with man’s best friend. At the end of the day, you know your dog’s abilities the best, whether that’s a 10-mile jog or a scenic stroll through the gardens.
If you need help walking your dog, consider signing up for dog walking services. We’re happy to fill in the gaps of your pup’s exercise routine! Happy trails!
If you’ve visited our Brookland location, you know that between our day care and boarding pups, Patrick’s Pet Care: Brookland is always the center of activity. But what you may not know is that Patrick’s Pet Care: Brookland serves as a hub for our community engagement work as well.
Beginning this past summer, our Brookland staff have worked hand-in-hand with Deaf-REACH, an organization that provides specialized programming for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the D.C. area. The team from Deaf-REACH visits PPC: Brookland to see how the day care business operates and give our day care pups some extra socialization and love (including handmade treats!). At their last visit, the Deaf-REACH team created a lovely poster for our day care pups (pictured below). Our staff loves having them at the day care and looks forward to each of their visits.
We have also been fortunate to partner with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue by serving as a boarding facility for some of their dogs while they await adoption. During their stay with us, the Lucky Dogs receive supervised socialization time, prepping them to be well-behaved in their forever homes.
One of those rescue dogs, Rhonda, has made amazing strides thanks to the work from our Brookland staff. When Rhonda arrived to stay with us, she was anxious and avoided socializing with people and pups alike. But our Brookland staff worked with her each and every day, easing her into her new life with people to love her, and dogs to be her playmates. A once standoffish stray, Rhonda is now full of energy and loves playtime with her day care buddies. She’s begun her adoption process, and we can’t wait to see what home is lucky enough to adopt her!
With the holiday giving season fast approaching, please consider a donation to either of these wonderful partners. And if you’re looking to board your dog or enroll them in day care, know that your choosing Patrick’s Pet Care helps us strengthen these relationships with organizations performing essential services in our community.
If you live in our service area, you’ve likely seen one of our caretakers zip by on a bike while commuters in cars slog along in traffic. It’s no surprise why so many of our caretakers opt to bike in the city. Biking proves to be one of the fastest ways to get around town.
At Patrick’s Pet Care, our caretakers are given a free Capital Bikeshare membership to use both at and outside of work. For caretakers that need to cover lots of ground, we maintain a fleet of Riide e-bikes to help keep their legs fresh as they get across town. And we cover the cost of routine bike maintenance for employees who use their own bicycles.
Ultimately, we know that giving your pets the best possible care requires making Patrick’s Pet Care a good place to work. And that’s why bike benefits are just one of the perks offered to our employees.
So the next time you’re stuck in traffic, and a person wearing a blue t-shirt emblazoned with the Patrick’s “P” whizzes by you in the bike lane, know that there’s a dog nearby whose day is about to get a bit brighter.