More news from a rapidly gentrifying Harlem: The neighborhood’s first upscale pet store opened last week. Rest assured, Harlem pets will no longer have to suffer the indignities of resembling mere dogs or cats. Little Yorkies and Pomeranians with heretofore unrealized dreams of becoming stupid humans can now deck themselves out in doggie sundresses and tees that say “Harajuku Lovers” or “pimp” in rhinestone letters. It’s just like God and Paris Hilton intended.
Fortunately, while the aforementioned cutesy clothes do take up a back corner of Posh Paws and a few leather dog carriers are priced at $200 a piece, proprietors Doris Wade and Helen Paulino are not here to gift Upper Manhattan with $600 handspun tweed Fifi & Romeo doggie carriers or $350 ostrich-skin collars. The store keeps reason mostly in sight, offering many products dog and cat owners used to have to trek down to the Upper East Side for. The expansive organic and holistic pet food section, the focus of the shop, includes chicken-and-sweet-potato meals from Wellness, Newman’s Own organic chicken and brown rice, and Evanger’s super-premium roasted chicken drummette dinner. Apparently you can live much better as a pampered pet than an alt-weekly writer.
The torrential downpours kept all but the most ardent pet owners/stage mommies away at the Pet Pride Pageant held last Saturday at the West Village’s Rubyfruit Bar & Grill to benefit the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. Each owner brought his or her drenched mutt to an outdoor tent to be judged in five categories: cute, senior, most talented, and our two favorites, pet/person lookalike and butch/femme fashion showdown. Sometime after learning that Boris the bulldog likes to kiss mommy on the lips and fourteen-year-old Nikki knows basic sign language, the paparazzi seas parted and Liza the Great appeared. Minelli got there just in time to bestow doggie crowns on the winners and throw in a bit about her animal-rights crusade. We secretly applauded the judges’ choice of the pearl-wearing Lilly over Nathan, a dog who sported a yarmulke and was about to celebrate his bark mitzvah. This might have less to do with the dogs and more with Nathan’s dog of an owner, who growled at us cur-style when we got near her precious little dog. Still, it was worth it just to hear the announcer bark out lines like “Maddie’s sporting the leather-bar look,” as if the Westminster Dog Show had finally come out of the closet.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 27, 2006