Dog Days
Casual Monday stroll. 1:35 PM. Photo: JH.
Yesterday was another oppressively hot and humid day in New York. I take it from the Weather Map that we aren’t the only ones. But that’s no comfort because these are dog days.

Which brings us to the dogs.
A friend sent us an email over the weekend with photos of six dogs who are currently at the Center for Animal Care and Control here in New York. Three are Shih-tzus, two are Pomeranians and one looks from the picture like a Spaniel. When I see pictures like this the first thing I think of are all the people who insist on going to a breeder and buying a dog. Get this: all of these dogs came from breeders. And then eventually they were dumped – dumped is the word – by their owners for a variety of reasons. God knows how they were treated before they were dumped. It’s a grim reminder of a lot of things about the humanity (or lack thereof) of so many people on this planet. Another grim reminder.

Buster. 8PM.
Buster chilling at Peter Rogers' in Connecticut.
Aside from that, let’s get down to business. I have a dog that came from the CACC. His name is Buster. I got him in 1997 when I lost another dog – her name was Mrs. Fa Fa (you gotta love that silly name — I loved that dog). Buster was three or four when I got him. They brought him out to meet me and he couldn’t have been less interested. He looked terrible; dirty, with large blotchy rashes all over his body. They told me “maybe” it was mange. I didn’t know what “mange” was although it didn’t sound good. They didn’t know if it would clear up or not.

We went outside into a little fenced in area. Buster took a dump and otherwise ignored me. The message was very clear: “who knows what I’m facing,” was how he might have regarded me. Buster’s “future” had been far from rosy. He had had three homes and was facing being put to sleep within 24 hours. Except he came home with me. With no expectations of course. The next day I took him to the vet who looked him over and concluded that the rashes might have been nerves and suggested he have a good bath and we wait and see.

So we gave the guy a good bath and we waited. Within the week, his skin rash cleared up. That was almost eight years ago and he’s been fine ever since; never had a problem. Buster is a dear little guy. He was housebroken when I got him and he always walks right at my heel. He’s sweet but timid leading me to believe some large bi-ped (most likely a humanoid) intimidated him thoroughly, to put it politely. Buster gets along with all dogs. I had two others when he came to live with me, and although they passed away, he has another companion – Missy, a four-year-old who’s been with us since she was about six months old. Missy’s never had any bad treatment and she’s quite confident and quite demanding; a handful who’s very cute and very affectionate. Her tail wags everytime anyone looks at her.

I’ve been adopting dogs for as far back as I can remember. Most of them showed up or someone brought them around and I took them in. I’ve been “partial” to Shih-tzus since the late 70s when a friend palmed one off on me for a few days and later confessed he didn’t want the dog. But I like all dogs. (I like cats too; I took two dogs and five cats with me when I moved to California many years ago.) And almost all dogs like people. The only exceptions are the dogs who have been trained not to like people. Trained by people, thank you very much. It’s the people who are the problem.

1. LASSIE - ID#A615070. I am an unaltered female, black and white Shih Tzu mix. The shelter staff thinks I am about 8 years old. I have been at the shelter since Jul 08, 2005.  No major medical issues, just matted coat.

2. ID#615099 - I'm an 8-year-old pomeranian. Blind with masses that may be tumors. You would not believe how absolutely divine this dog is. Will require medical intervention.

3. JUJO - ID#A615817. I'm 7-year-old male Shih Tzu. I was owner surrendered on 7/12/05. I'm 18 pounds, have cataracts and have limited vision in both eyes.

4. TRICKS - ID#616055. I'm a 9-year-old female. Status 4nc due to mammary tumors. Came to shelter as a stray. Sweet as can be but will require medical attention.

5. ID#616339 - Just arrived to the shelter and seems to be fairly healthy and friendly if not a little timid.

6. BRONSON - ID#A615347. I'm a 1-year-old male Shih Tzu. I was owner surrendered on 7/9/05. I'm housebroken, love men, women and children. Owner said that they kept Bronson outside 24/7 in the summer. He has dirty, matted, unkempt coat and would need extensive grooming. Upon medical exam, he bit the handler but didn’t break the skin, so he has some behavior issues.

If interested in adoption/assistance, please contact:

Animal Care & Control of New York City
Office: 212-722-4939

So I was looking at these pictures and thinking about what these little creatures have been through and how they must feel now that they’ve ended up in cages at the CACC. And unless they find homes soon, they’re doomed. For some, if not all of them, that might be a relief, considering what they’ve been through living with those lovely bi-peds. But remember, a lot of the bi-peds even treat their children and their partners pretty terribly.

I’m thinking of adopting another. The CACC tells you the problems the dogs have but actually most of their problems are minor. Cataracts can be taken care of nowadays, for example. Dogs can easily be altered. And a single grooming can make all the difference in the world to the animal, just like a good bath can make all the difference in the world to any of us, after going for days (or in these cases maybe months) without one. The little guy who nipped his handler when he was being inspected may be the gentlest of all. The greatest remedy is T.L.C. It works miracles. Sometimes even with bi-peds, as you might have noticed.
Missy making herself right at home at Peter Rogers' in Connecticut.
When I got Mrs. Fa Fa from a pet adoption agency (I’d called to see if they had any Shih-tzus that needed a home) I was told they had her – she was three (and had had three homes) – but that she was “a biter.” That doesn’t mean “attacker.” It means if you approach the dog and frighten it, or get too close to its face, it may react sharply. I’ve never been one to put my face or my lips to a dog’s. Ewwww, is what I say.

Mrs. Fa Fa did nip me a couple of times when I petted her a little too intensely, or surprised her with my hand. Then she was full of remorse and obviously waiting for the punishment she must have got many times. I didn’t punish her. Instead, I told her, in a very calm and comforting tone, that it would be all right. And it was. She was almost fourteen when she had to be put to sleep because she had congestive heart disease and it was slowly killing her.

Buster came in to replace her, to give me the opportunity to share my affections with these little ones in need. And in turn, of course, they share their affections with me all the time. It’s all about affection, and love, and need; and with these little creatures, it’s all free and unconditional. A very good bargain, you can’t deny; and a good lesson for any of us.
You might think of how you can brighten the day of one of these dogs. They’ll love you for it.

Peggy Siegal had a birthday party for herself last Tuesday night at the Hotel Plaza Athenee. It was after a screening of a new television show “Hopeless Pictures, which is an animated satire of the movie business in which Peg does the voice over of a 'diva publicist' who calls herself Peg-ela which is what Peggy calls herself at times (as in “hello, this is Peg-ela”).

Annette Siegal, Matti Siegal, and Peggy Siegal
Peggy Siegal has been doing her thing for quite some time now, longer than some people in her position might even care to admit. Although not true with Peggy because she’s got a bottle of the waters from the fountain of youth in her handbag, (from a lifetime supply) and as much as things (the pressures of the biz) can drive her nuts, (and she, in turn, can drive others nuts – like the gang who work for her), she loves what she does and she does it better than anyone else. Giving parties that accompany screenings chock-a-block with VIPs here in New York. There’s a signature to the Peggy Siegal parties, and it’s called Her Guest list. One of these days there will be a whole movie just about her because her life’s come to that: it’s a movie.

So she had this party. I couldn’t make it because I was over at another birthday party on Lew Miano’s terrace on Sutton Place and 57th Street (see NYSD 7/20/05) which was ostensibly a birthday party for himself and Brooke and Peter Duchin; and although I thought I’d get out early enough for a looksee at Peggy’s, I didn’t. But they surely didn’t miss me because the place was packed and everyone had a good time. I know that even though I wasn’t there, because you always have a good time when Peggy gives a party. And you always meet interesting people to talk to. Which is how the hostess means it to be.
Bob Balaban, Regis Philbin, and Josh Sapan
Woody Johnson and Bob Balaban
Joy and Regis Philbin with Peggy Siegal
Aby Rosen, Ron Delsener, and Samantha Boardman
Mariah Balaban, Hazel Balaban, Lynn Grossman, and Bob Balaban
Joanne de Guardiola, Samantha Boardman, Aby Rosen, and Roberto de Guardiola
L. to r.: Dixon Boardman and Veronica Hearst meet and greet; and have a laugh or a guffaw; Chris Meigher on a more serious note.
Celerie Kemble and Dorinda Lynch
Barry and Diana Levinson
Dixon Boardman, Matti Siegal, and Peggy Siegal
Carolyne Roehm and Nina Griscom
Josh Sapan, Bob Balaban, and Evan Shapiro
Joel Siegal and Claudia Cohen
Lynn Grossman and Joel Siegal
Peggy Siegal and Andre Balazs
Woody Johnson and Suzanne Richa
Woody Johnson, John Loeffler, and Lucas Loeffler
Lara Spencer
Grace Meigher
Felicia Taylor
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Chris Obetz, a face that is familiar to a lot of NYSD readers, grew up in Upper Arlington, Ohio near Scioto Country Club where his father Robin was a childhood friend and college teammate of Jack Nicklaus. Robin was, in fact, best man at Jack and Barbara Nicklaus’ wedding.

Classic Golf Instruction. Click image to order.
Additionally, Chris’ grandfather whom Chris regarded as his best friend and mentor, inculcated a passion for the game of golf in his grandson. It was his grandfather’s constant search for the perfect swing and a comprehensive golf book collection that led Chris at age seven, to read his first gold instruction book – Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.

It was his early exposure to the works of Anthony Ravielli who illustrated Hogan’s book that led to Chris’ coincidental discovery of the original artworks from the book one day in a Manhattan antique shop. Understanding the values of these illustrations in helping golfers everywhere improve their technique and skill, he turned the collection in Classic Golf Instruction, published last month by Rizzoli.

To celebrate the book’s publication, Rizzoli hosted a party last month here in New York.
Ron Grimaldi
Chris Obetz and Sandra McConnell
Edward and Dawne Bethel
Audrey del Rosario and Chris Obetz
Marco Ausenda and Chris Obetz
Robert Melendez and Sandra McConnell
Jane Seamon and Chris Obetz
Robin and Robin Obetz, Chris Obetz, and Sandra McConnell
Ron Kaspriske, Jerry Tarde, Matthew Rudy, Cliff Schrock, Bob Carney, and Alan Goggins
Tony Ravielli, Jr., Chris Obetz, Georgian Ravielli, Bob Carney, and Jerry Tarde
Victoria Wyman
Tony Urrutia, Chris Obetz, and Jill and Bill Stines
Letter of Emergency:

Gentlemen -

I enjoy browsing the NYSD on a daily basis. I am hoping that you may be able to provide some assistance to my friend Shari, who is in the final hours of her struggle to find a full liver transplant. Her doctors at NYU Medical Center have given her just days to live.

You may have seen coverage of her situation in the Daily News, and on local TV news broadcasts here in New York.

Shari is a beautiful person who recently spearheaded the largest blood drive in American Red Cross history. She is getting married in October, and we are trying to do everythng we can to make sure that happens.  

I am hoping you might be able to help by posting the information below on your website. Photos of Shari and a PDF flyer can also be found on our website:

I know that many influential people in NYC and around the world read your Diary on a daily basis. The chances I know are slim, but I am hoping that reaching just one of your readers may make the vital difference between life and death for Shari.

Please contact me with any questions you may have. I appreciate your consideration to this matter.



July 26, 2005, Volume V, Number 129
Photographs by Jimi Celeste/PMc (Siegal) & Chance Yeh /PMc (Obetz)


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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/