The RuffCity Story

A note from Heather & Stacia:

I moved to NYC with my black lab rescue, Blakely, in 2007 after graduating from the University of Maryland. Immediately, I realized what a dog-crazy place it was. It kind of amazed me actually, how a place so full of buildings and so lacking in grass could be home to so many furry friends. But I soon realized that man’s best friend is happy anywhere their Masters are located; as long as they have plenty of attention and resources to keep them that way. And this Big Apple has plenty of pup-friendly resources! Walking services, daycare, spas, swimming lessons (who knew the doggie paddle doesn’t cut it?), playgroups, endless pet stores and most importantly, a lot of people who absolutely love them. We knew right away that we wanted to work with the animals that we loved and that had given us so much love since we were little girls.

I took a job in advertising and stayed there for 3 years before taking the plunge and fulfilling my dream. My first NYC roommate, Stacia, and I started RuffCity Dog Walking in July of 2010. She had recently finished her degree at the New York School of Interior Design but like me, knew that she wanted to head in a different direction. It was there we began the journey that would lead us here to the present with a wonderful team of walkers on our side and a large group of the most ridiculously adorable dogs in all of New York. It isn’t always easy, but when you’re doing what you love can you really call it work?

We cover most of Manhattan with a primary focus on the Eastside from Delancey to 96th Streets and on the Westside in the West/Greenwich Village, Chelsea and the Upper West Side, and handle every type of personality imaginable. From the playful ones who make the dog park world go ‘round, to the formerly abused ones who need just a little extra TLC, to the brand new baby ones whose development we’re so proud to be a part of, to the challenging and temperamental ones who always keep us on our toes, we never go a day without learning something about ourselves or them.

At RuffCity, we lead lives full of the unconditional love and happiness we receive from the furballs we get to spend time with everyday and we have this beautiful city and all the beautiful people in it to thank. We love you and your pups!!



As a pet care service, we at RuffCity think it is important that our team take the time and energy to give back to those who work diligently behind the scenes to find happy homes for the beautiful animals that are less fortunate than the ones that we get to care for every day.

We devote our free time to work with a wonderful group of people at Suruluna Animal Rescue, an organization that is near and dear to our Founders, Heather and Stacia. Located in Upstate NY, they are a very special type of rescue that deals with a lot of severe cases of “last chances”, abuse and neglect. Their dedication and determination to save these dogs as their absolute last chance is a reminder of the important things in life.

As a team we have participated on Suruluna’s behalf in rescue events such as Best Friend’s Animal Society’s annual Strut Your Mutt and also devoted our time to volunteering with the animals and spreading the word.

Want to learn more about their work to save the souls and lives of the wonderful animals in their care?

Frequently Asked Questions

How many dogs do you walk at one time?

We don’t believe in large pack walks so instead offer private, individual walks to maximize the exercise, fresh air, and dog-to-walker bonding each day.

Your dog is your best friend, so their midday break should be their time, and with RuffCity, it is! Our private dog walks are dedicated solely to your pup, meaning we don’t spend time collecting other pups during your reserved time. They also allow us to customize your services based on your dog’s specific personality.

  • Have a wallflower? We’ll spend time on the quiet streets and in parks if your location allows.
  • Have a social butterfly? We are always happy to say hello to neighborhood furiends and we also offer dog park visits with your permission.
  • Welcoming a new puppy into your home? We’re here to help make the transition as easy as possible and contribute to their development.

Don’t let your pup get stuck in the hustle and bustle of pack and group walks when they can receive individualized love and attention instead!

Should we expect the same walker every day?

Yes! We believe consistency is of the utmost importance in ensuring your dog gets the most out of their walks. For all full-time clients (4 or more days per Monday–Friday week) we assign each pup to one main walking buddy that sees them everyday pending any planned vacation days or unexpected sick days (in those cases, we will always set your pup up with another buddy so they will never be without their walk). For flex-schedule clients (3 or less days per Monday-Friday week), we will do our absolute best to ensure as much consistency as possible but we appreciate your welcoming a few familiar faces for your pup based on availability

What happens when my walker needs a sick day?

We take great pride in our pup and client relationships and understand the importance of consistency, so we will always do everything in our power to make sure that your pup has a familiar face for their RuffCity date. Additionally, you will ALWAYS be notified if someone other than your primary walker is coming.

In instances where we have the ability to plan for your walker’s absence, you will be given proper advanced notice of the change. For instances of last minute sick notice, it will be a priority to notify you as soon as possible. In both instances, we will do our best to send someone that your pup has met before, schedules allowing, or we are happy to send a new face or cancel services without penalty if preferred, if a familiar face is not available.

Will we be able to meet our walker before we start walks?

Of course! Once we have finalized a schedule, and before the first walk, we will set up a time for your pup’s new pal to come by in person to get familiar with their environment and routine, collect keys (if necessary), etc.

What happens if I have to cancel a walk?

New Yorkers live crazy lives. Schedules change which means your pup’s needs change as well. We pride ourselves on our flexibility and only charge a $10 late cancel fee for any cancellations past 7pm for next day services. However, we do charge full price for services canceled past 10am for same day services, or any service canceled within two hours of the service’s start time, as well as any weekend walk that is canceled past 10am of the preceding Friday

Are you insured? What does that mean?

Each of our walkers is fully insured and bonded by The Business Insurers of the Carolinas through Pet Sitters International . Please visit the site for more info on what our policy covers.

Do you take dogs to the dog park?

Some dogs live for the dog park! Others do better on long strolls around their neighborhood. Together we can decide what is best for your pup’s daily routine. While we do offer trips to the dog park, please note that our insurance applies a $100 deductible for each incident resulting at a dog park where dogs are voluntarily unleashed, and a signed waiver is required prior to any romps in public NYC dog parks. If you agree to allow us to take your pooch to a dog park, you will be responsible for this deductible should something occur.

Will my dog be walked at the same time everyday?

While we do our absolute best to arrive at your pup’s specific, assigned walk times, NYC sometimes loves to throw unexpected curveballs, so we do kindly request a one-hour window for arrival time for full-time services and a two-hour window for arrival time for flex scheduling.

Is there a fee for same day walk requests?

Back to our flexibility pride! We can almost always accommodate last minute walk requests. Please add $5 to our regular rates for walks requested after 7pm the day before for weekday services, and $10 to our regular rates for weekend walks requested after 5pm on Fridays.

Are your team members employees or independent contractors?

Our awesome team is made up of life-long animal lovers and owners who are truly dedicated to the well being of the pups! Each is an official RuffCity employee and enjoy the benefits that come with it! We do not use independent contractors.

Every employee of RuffCity is subject to a criminal background check and has references checked before they are hired. They then complete a supervised training period to ensure they are familiar with all safety and company procedures, and to make certain that they meet the requirements of RuffCity’s overall high standard of care.