Dog-Run Duos | Raf and Bill

There’s much to see in Tompkins Square Park: birds, trees, and – best of all – dogs and their owners. Here’s this week’s duo from the dog run.

3Nicole Guzzardi

The Master: Raf Astor, 46, a musician who has lived in the East Village for 30 years. When the money from playing in his Latin-music band got slow, he decided to take up dog-sitting.

His Pet Tricks: Mr. Astor says he uses music therapy to rid dogs of behavioral issues. “I play for them and they respond to it,” he said. “They relax; it calms them down.”

BillNicole Guzzardi Bill

The Dog: Bill is a three-year-old Chihuahua mix. When he isn’t relaxing to his owner’s guitar sessions, he’s roaming the run and keeping order.

The Pup’s Playmates: Some call them “the Raf Pack.” Mr. Astor’s charges include Peanut, a two-year-old Chihuahua mix who belongs to a neighbor, and Bill’s best friend Toby, a.k.a. Punk.

At the park, Bill has also taken a shine to Lucy, a neighborhood Shih Tzu. “We call her his girlfriend, but they really act like an old married couple,” said Mr. Astor.

PeanutNicole Guzzardi Peanut.

Bill’s relationship with another dog at the park, Diego, is strictly business. “They investigate the park together, they have a long-time knowledge of each other,” said Mr. Astor. “They’re more like co-workers.”

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