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A Dog Story

A family of four in the park. 3:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Thursday, April 17, 2014. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day in New York, and cold. From the high 60s the day before into the low 30s. But the buds are budding and so we’re going along with it.

It was Wednesday. Where else? Michael’s. The Wednesdays customers are always in the mood to know who’s in the room; who’s breaking bread by their side. Public relations, media, authors, agents, bankers, corporate executives, editors and Wendi Deng Murdoch who is at the top of the “talk-about” list because of her marriage break-up with a man named Rupert. Mrs. Deng Murdoch was lunching with Erik Gordon and Fisher Stevens, the actor, director, producer who won an Oscar four years ago for his documentary feature.
Lunch elsewhere in New York ...
Also in the room, Vanity Fair writer Amy Fine Collins with Debra Spar, president of Barnard College; Bernard Gershon, Senior VP Disney; Steve Solomon of Rubenstein Associates (public relations), Jim Abernathy (vip public relations); more PR: Lisa Dallos of HL Group; Audrey Gruss (founder of Hope for  Depression) with Jay McInerney; Michael Gross, who is busy right now publicizing his new book “House of Outrageous Fortune” about 15 Central Park West, the building where retired banker Sanford Weill sold his penthouse apartment to the young daughter of a Russian oligarch for $88 million.

Moving around the room: Glenn Horowitz, the rare book seller, an occupation which is much more than meets the eye, as you will learn here; producer Beverly Camhe; mega-entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman; Scott Marden (Compass Partners); Martin Puris; Henry Schleiff with Steven Schipopa (from The Sopranos); Lisa Linden and Julie Menin, the Manhattan Community leader who ran for Borough President (; Gus Oliver with Frank Biondi, media and film executive (Viacom, Universal Studios); Marty Pompadur, former President of News Corporation (Murdoch); media executive Peter Price; former Redbook publisher Tony Hoyt; author/cosmetic surgeon and Renaissance man Jerry Imber and dah Boyz: Jerry Della Femina, Michael Kramer Andy Bergman; Kathy Lacey (major public relations); private media mogul Christy Ferer with Pauline Brown of LVMH; Barry Frey; Dini von Mueffling (public relations) with Charlie Shuler, Joe Armstrong with David Zinczenko; fashion executive Miki Ateyeh; (another) Michael Gross, Apollo Global Management co-founder, CEO of Solar Capital; Cayli Reck of Style SovereignDon Epstein of Great Talent Network, with Tom Goodman.
Michele Gradin, Laura Zambelli Barket, Laura Moore Tanne, Kim White, Linda Lambert, Arriana Boardman, and Allison Aston at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' 17th annual Bergh Ball.
Last Thursday night at the Plaza, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals hosted its 17th annual Bergh Ball to raise funds to directly impact the lives of homeless, abused and abandoned animals across the country. The theme this year was “House of Paws.” It was a black tie evening and Isaac Mizrahi was the emcee.

Henry Bergh,
who lived and died in the 19th century in New York, founded the ASPCA in 1866, three days after the first effective legislation against animal cruelty in the US was passed into law by the New York State Legislature. Mr. Bergh’s work prompted the formation of both the New York and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
Lake Bell, Jessie Schuster, Mollie Ruprecht, Allie Rizzo, and Georgina Bloomberg
The Bergh Ball gets a great turnout. Among those attending this year were: Lake Bell, Nathan Lane, Vincent Piazza, Andy Cohen, Victor Garber, Georgina Bloomberg (who is ASPCA Associate Chairman), Chuck and Ellen Scarborough, Nigel Barker, Drena DeNiro, chairpersons Allison Aston, Arriana Boardman, and Margo McNabb Nederlander and James Nederlander, Linda and Ben Lambert, New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton  and his wife Rikki Klieman, GMA’s Ginger Zee, Kathy and Rick Hilton, Danielle Knudson, Vice-chairpersons.

Several guests walked the red carpet with adoptable dogs from the ASPCA Adoption Center, in hopes of finding a new home for the dogs. Commissioner Bratton escorted ASPCA dog Duchess, who had been brought to the ASPCA by the NYPD from the Bronx in November. Andy Cohen accompanied his own dog Wacha.
Andy Cohen
Victor Garber
Alicia Quarles
Jacqueline Stroyman
Nathan Lane
Drena DeNiro
I missed the Bergh Ball this year and also last year.  I totally support their work and I had other commitments, but the Bergh Ball was on my mind. Two years ago when I went to cover it, I adopted a twelve year old shih-tzu named Jenny. It was a spur of the moment decision because I already had two (rescued) shih-tzus at home, and I have a busy day-to-day life away from the apartment. But Jenny, who was being carried around that evening by one of the ASPCA volunteers, reminded me of another shih-tzu I adopted back in the late 90s from the Center for Animal Control. Many NYSD readers have read about Buster (here). He was a little sweetie.

It turned out that this new girl was twelve, was blind, had been in terrible health, had had tumors on all of her teats and had a bronchial problem. Who cares, she needed a home. After I agreed to share my home with her, they waited until they were sure she was in good health before releasing her. That was in June 2012. She’s been in very good health ever since.

Jenny Jen Jen waiting to see if Dave's going to feed her some treats. It's about that time of day.
She’s a sweet dog, blind, but able to maneuver around carefully. She loves affection but unlike my other two she does not come for it, and at first was uncertain about receiving. I don’t know what her history was but she was a very alienated dog. They told me that at the Center she stayed to herself.  It always amazes me that people have animals (and children) and abuse them or abandon them. Those are the real losers in life. Losers in many ways.

She was very tentative when she came home with me. Also my other female, my alpha dog, Missy/Madame, was not hospitable. In fact she was something of a little bitch about this new girl in town. I could actually see the dialogue going on between the two of them. Jenny backed off quite easily, as if to say: “have it your way.” I excoriated Madame and she wagged her tail in response. The other guy Byron, follows Madame around like her little puppy (unless she shoos him away). It is a very amusing scene for me to watch them live their lives quite apart from me.

When Jenny was first living with us, she wouldn’t sleep in the bedroom with the rest of the gang. I tried by putting her on the bed, but she wanted to get off, and then she’d leave the room. I wondered if it were something between the two females. Eventually I made a little bed in a basket for her and put it next to my bed. After about nine or ten months, she claimed it. However, her presence still quietly riles Madame who has been known to get into the same little basket bed, driving Jen out. I reprimand Madame/Missy, who always acts like she doesn’t know what fuss is about, and Jenny returns to her pillow.

She must be about fourteen now. She’s not a warm and cuddly girl like her cousins, although she responds to affection with pleasure. I’ve brought her up on the bed and held her by my side and petted her, and although she likes it, when it stops, she leaves. However, now she mainly sleeps in the bedroom but always makes an appearance at mealtime (her time twice a day).
The Gang: Madame/Missy on the left, Jen in the middle, and Byron on the right.
She’s the first dog I’ve had who is very reserved after living with me for a long period of time. I have a feeling that if Missy weren’t around, she might be more enthusiastic. But these dogs know boundaries and respect them unlike a lot of us. I can’t imagine what her earlier years were like that would dampen the canine spirit, but it did. Nevertheless, in the two years she’s lived here, she’s managed to make it her home, and she is safe and cared for. And fed. She, like her cousins M and B give me, this solitary man, the opportunity to express my profoundly joyous affection for them daily, and that is their gift to me. The more, the merrier.
Scott Sartiano and Allie Rizzo
Vincent Piazza
Cristen Barker and NIgel Barker
Ellen Ward Scarborough and Chuck Scarborough
Issac Mizrahi
Margo McNabb Nederlander and James L. Nederlander
Rikki Kleiman and Bill Bratton
Diane Neal and Rob Sartiano
Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady
Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady
Somers Farkas and Marisa Acocella Marchetto
Mark Gilbertson and Carmen Torruella
Georgina Bloomberg, Jessie Schuster, and Allie Rizzo
Danielle Knudson
Stewart Lane and Bonnie Comley
Howard Lorber and Jeanine Gouring
Kipton Cronkite and Alex Hamer
Kathy Hilton and Rick Hilton
Matt Bershadker
Dominic Chianese and friend
Laura Zambelli Barket
Important information about what we feed our cats and dogs and what we have to beware of at Easter time.

Never give your pets chocolate. Chocolate can be life-threatening to cats and dogs.

Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats.

Easter basket grass can be fatal if swallowed. Cats and dogs may eat the grass and it can become lodged in the intestines.

Keep your pets on their normal diets. Many spices and foods that are safe for humans are not safe for animals. Onions, garlic, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, the sugar substitute xylitol and raw or undercooked food can be poisonous to pets.

Make sure as guests and deliveries come and go, pets remain safely inside. Doors left open can result in your pet being hit by a car.

If traveling with pets, make sure they are comfortable. Try to get them acclimated when they are young by taking them on trips. If needed, your veterinarian can assist with medicine to calm your pet.

Photographs by Rob Rich (ASPCA).

Contact DPC here.

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© 2013 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/