Those who have lived in Fort Greene for a while probably know its Revolutionary War history but for those who are new here's a brief rundown. After the American loss at the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, General Nathanael Greene supervised the building of Fort Putnam and the fort was later renamed after this Revolutionary War hero from Rhode Island.
What does this bit of American history have to do with dog walking in Fort Greene? Well, the British have returned to this section of Brooklyn and this time they've got an army of dogs. That's right - our dog walker in Ft. Greene is a Brit.
Ryan Lovejoy landed on American shores after meeting his future wife Kym online and proposing in front of her grade school class. A cross-country stag trip and three weddings later (Austin with her family, Brooklyn for a civil ceremony, and Cornwall with his family) and this British transplant is now an American at heart.
Ryan loves this quirky, hip, yet stylish neighborhood of tree-lined streets with well-preserved 19th century Eastlake and Italianate architecture, bodegas, and upscale speakeasies. Fort Greene's penchant for hand craftmanship is visible everywhere and is what helps set it apart from its neighbors.
He has gotten to know many of the friendly people in this neighborhood renowned for its outdoor movies and ever-popular flea markets. He also loves the history of the area and is glad the pups don't mind an occasional stop to read historical markers. In return for their patience, Ryan takes the pups to greet old friends and meet new ones at Fort Greene Park where they all have a barking good time. This was Brooklyn's first park, originally named for President Washington, but afterwards renamed for General Greene.
Ryan loves that some of the dogs he walks have favorite buddies; Ajax always tries to pull Ryan into Oskar's building even when Oskar isn't on the schedule and French bulldog Scout is smitten with Otis - maybe it's because of Otis singing along with the fire engine sirens! Some of the others that he finds particularly adorable are 13 year-old Daisy greeting him like a squirmy puppy, Sadie lying on the ground and hamming it up for the amusement of people walking by, and Harry doing his little snuffling dance routine to drum up some attention. He also loves it when some of the dogs come for a sleepover with the Lovejoy's two dogs, Fajita and Taco.
Besides walking dogs, Ryan's biggest passion is his Texan wife. He thinks it was only natural that he should marry a Southern charmer since his favorite foods growing up were fried chicken and sweet tea! As he puts it: "It's a love story that I feel amazingly fortunate to be a part of every day." Ahhh....
His other passions lie with Bruce Springsteen, America, and soccer, which for some reason he call "football". He has seen The Boss perform fifteen times in venues as far apart as Spain, France, Norway, the UK, and here in the USA. He credits Springsteen, along with a trip to Disney World at age eleven, with his fascination for all things American. Ryan aspires to visit all of our great country and has made a fantastic start, traveling the length of Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles and seeing a total of 20 states, so far.
As for soccer... Ryan calls it "the world's greatest game" and can stay up all night talking about it - even with those who can't speak English, French, or Spanish with this multi-lingual fan. He feels fortunate to have spent most of his working life involved in soccer, including covering the World Cup, the English Premier League and European Football Championships for Singapore TV. A Southampton fan for 29 years (ever since his dad took him to his first game at the age of 5), Ryan feels lucky to combine two of his passions in his jobs. As he put it, "I watched my team Southampton lose a big match only the other day but walking Scout straight away afterwards was the perfect therapy!"
Ryan wonders how he got so lucky that he gets paid for doing something he loves so much and that never feels like work. We wonder how Fort Greene got lucky enough to have a Brit marching his little (four-legged!) army up and down its streets again. if you would like to enlist your best friend in Ryan's British Doggie Brigade.