Lisa Snyder is a passionate warrior.
Twice a day she hikes deep into the woods, the only two legged of her bunch. The other eight wear huge freedom grins and jump frantically out of her SUV one at a time, sniffing and pawing each other. With a shrill scream and a strong but kind presence, every weekday, in the woods of Rockland County, her pack knows to stay near.
Snyder owns Dog Day Afternoon, a dog exercise company she started in 2010. She takes eight to ten dogs, all off leash on twice-daily afternoon adventures. Her own dogs Mia and Bea come along as part of the pack. Bea was saved from the Newark Humane Society just days before she was to be killed. Her clients send her photos of their dogs at night sleeping peacefully…”all because of you” they say in their notes.
“I am more the dog yeller than the dog whisperer,” she admits.
“Dogs need to be free, they don’t love running around on a leash, just like people — freedom is key,” said Snyder. “It’s even more than that. They learn how to behave in a pack and to socialize.”
One day in the woods Snyder was pondering life and realizing that everything was falling into place. She was very much at peace, or so she thought. She looked down and was standing inside of a snake, the thickness of three times an elephants trunk. “I don’t remember stepping into the snake circle!” she said. “I yelled RUN to the dogs and jumped over the snake and just kept running. I found an official and he said it was probably just a rat snake getting some sun.” The answer did not help ease her.
Snyder grew up in East Brunswick, New Jersey the oldest of three sisters. She did not grow up with pets. “The first dog I ever had was Bogie who I rescued when I was in my twenties,” she recalled. “It was as if I saw a dog for the very first time when I got him.” She started Dog Day Afternoon in the 80s when she lived in California but it really took off in New York.
“Independent businesses run in my family,” she said. Her father owned Jolly Plastics, a mail order garbage bag business. With a huge afro (it was the 70’s) her Dad did business and his logo was a clown with a matching hairstyle. “It was kind of like having Wolfman Jack for a Dad.”
Snyder went to college for marketing and shortly after moved to Philadelphia for a short while and then to Los Angeles. A friend was a big costume designer for movies like Pretty Woman and asked if Snyder wanted to work on a movie.
The movie was Somersby with Richard Gere and Jodi Foster http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sommersby. Snyder went to Virginia to shoot the movie. After the movie was finished Snyder met a handsome violinist who lived in New York. “We were very different,” she said. “But I loved him very much.” They dated for five years and were headed toward marriage.
“He got a job as the Associate Concert Master of the New York City Ballet and I moved to New York,” she explained.
“If I have any regrets at all, it is that I did not marry him…but he’s never even been on a Ferris Wheel! I know that sounds crazy. He was a child prodigy and I was a completely passionate free spirit,” she said.
In 1996 Snyder moved to Morningside Heights, Manhattan and shortly after bought an apartment in Inwood. She worked for many years as a representative for a homeopathic pharmaceutical company and for Halstead Real Estate.
On September 11th Snyder got in her car with her dog Bogie and just drove. She somehow ended up in Memorial Park in Nyack. “I had been to Nyack before and made a mental note that I was going to live here one day.” She said. “I really don’t know how I even got there, it was surreal.”
In 2006 Snyder went to see the house that she lives in now and made an offer before she even went upstairs.
“I am the free spirited older sister and dogs have changed my life. I am satisfied with these creatures. Nothing rivals having a baby but I really feel like I was Mother Earth in another life. This time around, I choose hedonism. This is a fast life. I want to get massaged, cook, travel and watch my two beautiful nieces grow.”
Dog Day Afternoon can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 845-480-5213. If your dog cannot be off leash, Dog Day Afternoon also works with Dog Walkers and does have Dog Boarding Services.
Article Reprinted in Nyack Hamlet Hub here:http://news.hamlethub.com/nyack/life/273-leader-of-the-pack