Is the dog-eat-dog modern world getting you down? TechWallet CEO and dog owner Eugene Plotkin’s got the cure — find yourself a furry friend.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs are the most popular pet in America, with 76 million being told to get off couches across the country. The second most popular are cats, with more than 50 million felines swatting at laser lights nationwide.
Self-avowed pet lover Plotkin freely admits that he’s biased in favor of dogs, but notes that he has good reasons for this perspective.
“I did not grow up in a household with pets,” Eugene Plotkin says. “In a way, this was freeing because I could make my own decision about the right pet for me. There were no childhood preferences to sway my choice. On the other hand, I had no idea what I was doing and there was definitely a learning curve.”
Once the financier settled on getting a setter or a spaniel, he says with a laugh that it was something akin to “animal attraction” that overrode the naysayers.
“My friends said that a dog was a lot of work, especially if you get a puppy, but that never stopped me,” Plotkin says. “There is something special about a dog, and watching that puppy grow up and seeing its personality develop is a unique experience. Dog owners will understand, and if you’re thinking about becoming a dog owner, I would absolutely recommend it.”
Eugene Plotkin moved to New York City after completing college and planted roots there. Cooper, a long-haired golden retriever, became his roommate five years ago. He says the Big Apple has much to offer to canine human companions.
“NYC is great if you’re a dog owner,” Plotkin says. “There are lots of parks and dog runs, so it creates lots of social opportunities. I have built lifelong friendships with folks I met through our shared appreciation for pets. There are also a lot of pet services in the city, from day cares to dog walkers to pet boarding services in case you have to take a longer trip out of town. There are even pet-friendly restaurants and coffee shops, which is amazing because you no longer have to choose between taking your dog on a walk and getting a cup of joe or a flavorful meal.”
Plotkin also talks about the health benefits that he’s experienced by being a dog owner. He notes that this is an advantage that’s often overlooked.
“Dogs keep you active,” Plotkin explains. “They force you to go on walks, at a minimum. If you’re open to doing more, you can go on runs with your dog or play with your dog at the park. Most dogs love to get out of the house and move around, and they keep their owners moving as well.”
Eugene Plotkin notes that people in his line of work tend to lead sedentary lives and any opportunity to exercise is highly beneficial.
“As a banker, I used to be on the computer, on the phone, or in meetings for 10 or 12 hours a day,” Plotkin says. “It was grueling. You spend the whole day sitting and consuming tons of carbs and coffee to keep your brain functioning. But owning a dog is like taking an antidote to the poison of office work. It forces you to get outside, to move around, to breathe, and smell the flowers.”
Plotkin adds that investment banking was often highly stressful. He worked with executives from many of the world’s largest corporations and they made for challenging clients.
Getting Healthy With Hounds
“Petting a dog has been scientifically proven to release oxytocin and reduce cortisol,” Plotkin explains. “The simple way to think about it is that oxytocin makes you feel happy and cortisol makes you feel stressed. So just spending time with your dog, you’re getting this shot of good hormones and it helps you deal with day-to-day stresses.”
No less an authority than Johns Hopkins backs him up. According to the esteemed medical institution, “Adopting a pet may seem like a selfless act, but there are plenty of selfish reasons to embrace pet ownership. Research has shown that owning a pet provides an amazing array of health benefits.”
Eugene Plotkin notes that dogs also make their owners feel loved. He talks about how New York City can be a lonely place for many people because everyone is laser focused on their own life.
“I’ve seen so many folks go through relationship heartbreak,” Plotkin says. “To me, it seems like the dog owners have an easier time bouncing back. Your dog will love you unconditionally and, let’s face it, that kind of loyalty is not easy to find in our modern world.”
Plotkin goes on to say that dog ownership can help people become more compassionate and altruistic in their daily lives.
“Owning a dog means taking on responsibility for another living creature,” Plotkin says. “You have to not only walk your dog, but also make sure your dog has the right nutrition and the appropriate veterinary care. And I believe that caring for a living creature other than yourself helps you open up in a different way to the world.”