To celebrate the 4th of July we're excited to feature one of our favourites - Brooklyn and her mom Renee, to tell us about their adventures from New York to Philadelphia! Renee and her husband Dante were based in New York when we met them (and had the joy to be introduced to their pup Brooklyn) and since have not only moved to Philly, but also welcomed their son Noah to the family!
Bea: Renee, Thanks for your time today and it's lovely to catch up! So just to ground ourselves how long has Brooklyn been in your lives?
Renee: We got Brooklyn back in 2011, she was 8 weeks old when we got her, just a little pup. I was a student at West Virginia University and I rescued her from a kill shelter that was close by. I was dating my now-husband at the time and had told him there was a Puppy Event at the shelter and that a friend and I were going and he said: "you're going to come back with a dog, I know you are". I had never had a dog before and after meeting Brooklyn I asked them to hold her while I thought about it as I was still in college and irresponsible..and then a few days after that I went and picked her up!
Bea: What is Brooklyn’s favourite type of regular adventure to go on (in or out of lockdown?)
Renee: She loves long walks, pretty much anywhere so not much has changed during the lockdown situation. We have a couple of parks now that are close to us so if we're in the bigger parks and is feeling adventurous she'll go in the stream but she just loves long nature walks. Our favourite park is Houston Park which is wooded and she really loves walking around there
Bea: What has been your favourite big adventure so far with Brooklyn?
Renee: We would take Brooklyn everywhere with us and we went on one trip to Poughkeepsie in upstate New York and it was just so nice, and she just loved it! We went on a proper hike and it was pretty strenuous for all of us and a first for Brooklyn! We hiked up a huge mountain and once we got to the top there was this huge overlook and you could just see the whole area and the city. We did so much hiking and the week after she pretty much flopped and slept for the next week but it was so much fun and lovely to take her with us and experience it together.
Bea: When you used to live in New York what would you say was the best thing about living in the city for you and Brooklyn?
Renee: We were in Astoria, Queens for about 6 years which was a little bit calmer than the inner city but there were so many dog-friendly places nearby which was amazing. It also got better, especially for big dogs which was great. We could take her with us pretty much everywhere - to coffee shops, for brunch, to food festivals, stores and I do miss that a bit here as it's not quite as dog-friendly. The city of Philly does have some dog-cafes but so far we haven't found too many establishments that we can take Brooklyn with us close by.
Bea: And now you’ve made the move to Philly - What has the move been like?
Renee: Like a lot of people we realised we wanted to buy a house with more space and were in a 1 bedroom apartment and it felt like a good time to move. It was a big transition for us coming from New York where everything is so accessible at any time of day so we do miss it but it felt like the right time to move on and make the move to Philadelphia.
Bea: How does Brooklyn feel about the move? What’s been her highlight?
Renee: Brooklyn's great, she's very adaptable and this was her second big move since we had moved from West Virginia to New York and then from New York to Pennsylvania. There's so much more space for her here, we have a fenced-in yard which is definitely the highlight of the move for her. We also a lot close to our family, my husband and I are both from this area and Brooklyn gets along really well with my mum's dogs and they have play dates round here so she's done really well.
Bea: Now we know that you have a new arrival in the family, Noah, your son who arrived last year. What did Brooklyn think of it all? Has he embraced his new human?
Renee: Another transition for Brooklyn, when we first bought Noah home she probably ignored him for a month and then one day about 4 months in she became a little more interested and would check him out a bit. He's 11 months old now and she still seems a little confused and maybe a little jealous so it's been a slow warming up process for her. But she's getting there. Noah, on the other hand, is so fascinated with Brooklyn. He's constantly trying to pet her or play in her water bowls, he's generally amazed by her!
Bea: What do you think Brooklyn thinks of Independence Day - what does it mean to
Renee: Independence Day is just a terror for her, she's not a fan of the fireworks and she'll usually hide in the basement for most of the day. We've tried a few things like the anxiety wraps that we've put her in on the 4th but it doesn't seem to make that much difference, to be honest, but I like to think it's doing something to help her! We put her bed in the basement and make sure she has a safe place down there that's quiet and dark. Actually, over the past two weeks, lots of people seem to be setting off fireworks so when Brooklyn being able to go down to the basement where she doesn't need to hear that is really useful.
Bea: What does July 4th mean to you as a family and what are your hopes for America right now, in 2020?
Renee: For our family, the 4th has always been about food and family - we've always enjoyed hanging out together, spending time in good company with good food and good drinks. I guess though that in America we're in a really weird place right now and I hope we can pull it together and do better. We've just had a really bad few months with current events, racial injustice and police brutality and I think we've hit a place where there's this awakening happening and white people are realising all the injustices that are happening in society and people are starting to have tough conversations that they weren't having before that feel like they will start initiating change. So I'm just hopeful that we will see change and that that will start this year and that people are in a place that they're open to change.
Renee and Brooklyn - Thank you so much and we look forward to hearing from you soon and hope Brooklyn enjoys the 4th from the comfort of her Safe place and that you all have a wonderful day with your family for Independence Day! And for our readers who would love to follow your story on Instagram @muttcitybitch