It’s a sad day, I just read that Jim Buck, famous for creating the profession of dog walker, has died in New York at the age of 81.
There are eight million occupational stories in New York City, and none cries Gotham louder than that of the professional surrogate — the shrewd city dweller who spies a void that other New Yorkers are too hurried, harried or hard-pressed to fill and rushes enterprisingly in.
Over time, the city has spawned professional car-movers and professional line-standers, but its most visible — and audible — paid surrogates are indisputably its professional dog walkers.
By all accounts, Jim Buck was the first of them.
Mr. Buck, who died on July 4 at 81, is widely described as the first person to professionalize dog walking in New York City and, by extension, in the United States.
Starting in the early 1960s, Mr. Buck, the scion of a patrician Upper East Side family, rose each morning at dawn to walk passels of clients’ dogs, eventually presiding over a business in which he and two dozen assistants walked more than 150 dogs a day.