Dog stories

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The Grand Ballroom at the Plaza Hotel for the ASPCA's 22nd annual Bergh Ball.

Monday, April 29, 2019. Chilly early Spring weekend in New York, with temperatures hovering around the mid-50s by day, and often overcast with rolling in Saturday afternoon.

JH was out in his nabe yesterday when he saw this note posted on a traffic pole. A white Havanese named Havana, “… gone lost, last seen on 4/27/19 at approximately 3 p.m. on 92nd Street between Madison and Fifth … If you have any information … please call 917-842-7042.” My first thought when I saw this was: WAS the dog on a leash? There are not a few New Yorkers who evidently think it’s cool to walk a dog here in the city without a leash? It’s not cool; it’s stupid and insensitive. OR: was the dog tied up outside a store while its owner was inside shopping? Another very dangerous move. People steal dogs all the time for all kinds of reasons, usually not the kind that are good for the dog? Dog fight victims, homeless using the dog to play on your sympathy and leave some $$$. More than too bad for the dog.

Also while running his errands yesterday, JH saw this little cutie below, tied up outside a store. He does have a collar and a leash, neatly tied to a post. But again, People Steal Dogs all the time for all kinds of reasons. 

JH once saw a man about to help himself to a dog someone had left on the sidewalk while marketing. JH went up to the would-be dog thief and announced to the guy that this was his dog and to scram, and the would-be thief took off. JH then waited for the owner to appear so he could explain the risk his dog faced by being left there unattended. The owner was surprised, even shocked because it never occurred to him that he was risking the dog’s safety by leaving him alone in the street.

This is outright animal cruelty, and it goes on all the time, leaving these innocent pups to the horrors of city life.

Coincidentally, the subject has been very much on our minds. The big day (night) for me last week was on Thursday for the 22nd Annual “Reach Fur the Stars” ASPCA’s Bergh Ball at the Plaza. The ASPCA was founded by a New Yorker, Henry Bergh in 1866. Mr. Bergh had witnessed a man abusing his horse so cruelly that he was moved to do something about protecting the creatures from other creatures (specifically, the homo sapiens).

The program for ASPCA’s “Reach Fur the Stars” gala.
Cocktail hour ran from 7-8 PM.
During the cocktail hour, the organization brings a few adoptable pups and kittens housed at the ASPCA. Here’s ASPCA adoptable dog, Bunny.
And two beautiful playful kittens, Cashew and a little orange tabby. I mean, how can you resist?
Guests were seated in the Grand Ballroom by 8:10 PM.

Isaac Mizrahi returned as Master of Ceremonies, and the honoree this year was none other than this writer (DPC). Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO, spoke about the important work of the organization.

“The ASPCA Bergh Ball is a unique opportunity for those of us who care about vulnerable and victimized animals, to support our deep commitment to their welfare,” Mr. Bershadker said in welcoming the guests. “That compassionate support is crucial to ensuring the life-saving impact our work.”

L. to r.: ASPCA Bergh Ball Chairmen Jeff Pfeifle, Paige Nelson, Linda Lambert, Mindy and Tom Fortin, Laura Barket, Arriana Boardman, and Laura and Fred Tanne.
Emcee Isaac Mizrahi.
Paige Nelson.
Laura and Fred Tanne.
L. to r.: Giulia Caltagirone; Jessica Hart.
ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker with Bunny.
Allie Rizzo.
Neil Blum and Kimberly Paige with Linda and Ben Lambert.
Alex Pashkowsky, Amy Lau, David Scott, and Terri Kahan.
L. to r.: Lili Buffett and Elizabeth Kurpis; Christoper Mason and Margo Langenberg.
Rosalind Schaefer and friends.

There was a brief auction conducted by Jamie Niven with such items as VIP Billy Joel concert tickets with included a meet-and-greet of the star (went for $18,000), as well as artwork by David Wiseman and Peter Beard. Arriana Boardman, who is a member of the Board of Directors of the ASPCA, presented me with the ASPCA’s Voice for Animals award (“which recognizes individuals in the arts who use traditional and modern media to increase awareness and inspire action on behalf of animals in crisis in this country”).

On accepting I talked about my dogs, and one of my cats – Nikki – who used to put her head in my dog Rex’ mouth. If that last sentence looks like you misread it, you didn’t. But more about that later.

The evening raised $1.1 million. It is the cornerstone of the ASPCA’s fundraising efforts to directly impact the lives of homeless, abused and vulnerable animals across the country.

Arriana Boardman presenting DPC with the ASPCA’s Voice for Animals award.
DPC telling his “dog” stories.

Event Chairmen included Laura Z. Barket, Arriana and Dixon Boardman, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Fortin, Linda and Ben Lambert, Amy Lau, Paige Nelson and Rob Wiesenthal, Jeff Pfeifle, Mr. and Mrs. Fredrick Tanne, and Kim White and Kurt Wolfgruber.  Sponsored by Generation Tux and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the event featured décor design by Stonekelly in collaboration with décor chair Robin Bell.

The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. With more than 2 million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. For more information, visit

Linda Lambert and Sharon Handler.
Dixon Boardman.
John Loeb.
Arriana Boardman and Tom Dean.
L. to r.: Barbara Preminger, Rory Read, Mary Read, DPC, Emilia Saint-Amand, Margo Langenberg, and Christopher Mason.
DPC with Mary and Rory Read.
Wes Gordon and friends.
Candace Bushnell.
Madeleine Barket with Matt and Nina Bershadker.
Laura Z. Barket and Joey Texeira.
Leslie Weiss, Mindy Fortin, and Mrs. Raidy.
Alex Pashkowsky, Amy Lau, and David Scott.
Jessica Hart, Arriana Boardman, Allison Aston, and Charlie Ayres.
Gillian Miniter and Danielle Hirsch.

DJ Sam French entertained the crowd throughout the evening and got them dancing  …
… and dancing.
Peter and Jamee Gregory.
Madeleine and Laura Barket.

We leave you with the acceptance speech I gave after being presented the Voice for Animals Award by Arriana Boardman, where I thank the ASPCA and point out that the honors should go to those men and women who work there and protect, comfort, and heal the animals that fortunately arrive there. Then I told the guests a couple of dog stories …

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