Celebrating the Urban Hound

For a big-city spin on making it through the day, dog owners can now turn to UrbanHound, the New York City Dog’s Ultimate Survival Guide (City and Company, October 2001). From fashion (“Where can I find a Burberry raincoat for my dog?”) and recreation (“What camp has freestyle dancing for dogs?”) to law (“Can I sue my dog walker?”) and art (“Who is the best pet portrait artist?”), New York City dogs and their doting humans will find all the answers in this new guide edited by Nina Munk ’92J and Nadia Zonis ’88C, a graduate student in European history at Columbia.

Munk, an award-winning financial writer and contributing editor at Vanity Fair, left her full-time magazine job in 1999 to freelance. With a newly flexible schedule, she met Mack, a Brittany spaniel, who moved in and subsequently inspired UrbanHound. (The two are pictured here together in the old UrbanHound.com office).

“I’m a great dog fanatic and always was,” Munk says. But when Mack arrived, she found she had questions that were frustratingly difficult to answer. “Being a reporter,” she says, “I want to consume and organize information.”

She figured that the more than a million dog owners in the city had many of the same questions. So in June 2000, Munk launched Urbanhound.com. Now considered the preeminent Web site for New York dog lovers, it has won numerous awards for design and content. It wasn’t long before a book was in the works. When Helene Silver of publisher City and Company read Munk’s article in The New York Times Magazine, “How I Started a Dot-Com for Dogs,” she called her up and said, “We want to do the book.”

PHOTO: Jason Schmidt