2016-06-09 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Yorkie911’s seventh annual fashion show -“Rescues Rock the Runway” - was a spectacular event. And this praise comes from someone who’s been a fan of canine couture and dressing Afghan Hounds for over 35 years. In fact, most of the sight hounds that accompany models during Fashion Week in NYC belong to people I know. So, yes, this is a huge compliment.

Founded by Heidi Walker in 2010, Yorkie911 Rescue, Inc. is a 501(3) c non-profit based in North Babylon made up of volunteers dedicated to rescuing, vetting, protecting and raising awareness about the Yorkshire Terrier and other small breed dogs. The dogs are nurtured in foster homes while awaiting adoption. Yorkie911’s goal is to find the best home environment possible for each and every dog they save.

Usually, the tiny dogs under the care of Yorkie911 are owner-surrenders, puppy mill victims or from LI and NYC shelters. Yorkie911 has helped many Babylon Shelter dogs, some with health issues and others taken from precarious situations, including a tiny dog tied in the woods. In less than six years, more than 680 tiny treasures have been placed by Yorkie911. Lots of the adopted alumni were spectators or participants in the fabulous fashion show last weekend. The dogs in the audience were dressed to the nines. Many sat on chairs or inside their pup strollers so they could see the fashion show.

“Harley” the Bulldog as Sophia Loren “Harley” the Bulldog as Sophia Loren “Rescues Rock the Runway” is an annual fundraiser. This year it was held at the Upsky Hotel in Hauppauge where over 200 guests sat at tables on either side of a long runway. Vendors sold clothing and accessories for Yorkiesize pups at the back of the ballroom. The festivities began with pup supermodels dressed in the creations of three designers of clothes for toy-size dogs. Each dog model was carried down the runway by the handsome “Men in Black” who were for the most part adopters or volunteers for Yorkie911.

“King Tut” the Pomeranian as a bald eagle “King Tut” the Pomeranian as a bald eagle This year’s designers showcased their wearable artwork. Swarovski crystals, feathers and velvet embellished their creations. The Harlow and Grace collection by Kendra Cunningham included a watermelon print dress for summer barbecues while the Furry Fashionista line by Adrianne McManus displayed a lily of the valley sundress and cotton candy ruffly skirt. September Phillips brought her Foo Foo Fido “Alice in Wonderland” collection with evening wear for the White Queen, Rabbit and Alice herself. Many ensembles had matching leashes, of course. Guests could purchase or order the designer’s outfits for their petite pooches in the vendor area.

After the buffet was served, Yorkie911 honored Dr. Deborah Wheat, a Bayport veterinarian dear to the organization, and Caroline Loevner and her Husky Beau for their many years doing pet therapy visits. Then, the games began. There were three costume contests. First a Pet/Owner Look-a-Like contest. Top honors went to a Shihtzu and owner dressed as identical clowns. Next was the “It’s a Small World” competition, inspired by Disney and the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing. Each canine contestant strutted (or was carried) down the runway in the garb of a foreign land, but not necessarily the country of their breed origin.

”Meeka,” a Havanese, portrayed a German country gal; a Yorkie balanced a tall Brazilian head piece; a Mexican Shihtzu shook maracas, while a male and female Chihuahua wore traditional, turquoise beaded garb from India. However, the winner represented the USA. A Pomeranian named “King Tut,” a Yorkie911 adoptee, was disguised as a bald eagle. Such a patriotic transformation. His owner Ruben, a canine stylist, shaved Tut’s coat and dyed his tan fur red and blue. Tut wore a white feather headdress and a sculpted raptor beak as Ruben and his “eagle” flew down the runway, waving an American flag. “Tut” posed for photos after winning. It’s hard to believe a dog would keep these props on so long.

The grand finale celebrated the Golden Age of Hollywood Celebrities. We saw a canine Grace Kelly, followed by a Gene Kelly singing in the rain. A Fred Astaire pup danced down the runway with Rita Hayworth. Vivien Leigh wore a hoop slip under her “Gone with the Wind” skirt, whereas a Marilyn Monroe was resplendent in a red-sequined evening gown because “Some Like It Hot.” “Harley,” an adorable Bulldog puppy decked out as Sophia Loren, received top honors from the Academy Award of fashion judges.

“Einstein,” a Westie mix in a plaid shirt, sat at his table like a perfect gentleman every time I walked by. Turns out he was a Yorkie911 foster dog from Hempstead Town Shelter who’s been looking for his forever family for nine months now. When first found as a shelter stray, the Terrier had only a few tufts of wild, white hair on his head like his genius namesake. Once diagnosed and treated for hypothyroidism, his coat grew back. He takes two inexpensive pills each day. “Einstein” is about eight years old, well-behaved and gets along with other dogs. To find out more or to adopt “Einstein,” contact yorkie911rescue@gmail.com or call 631- 965-6418.

Yes, all style traces back to Afghan Hounds. We were invited to the show because Sophie Cardone, the backbone of Yorkie rescue on LI for decades. recently adopted an Afghan in need. “Jake” frolics with her three Irish Wolfhounds.

Also for Adoption at Last Hope in Wantagh (631- 671-2588): “Froggy” is a small-boned, male Redbone Coonhound from a Virginia shelter. He has bowed back legs either from a birth defect or an injury that healed on its own. He gets around fine. “Froggy” loves all people and all dogs. He’s quiet and was the staff favorite at his sending shelter. The VA shelter director says, “Froggy brings an immediate smile to your face every time your eyes meet. Loving, smiling, wagging personality, he lights up a room with his infectious personality! Did I mention we ADORE him?” Froggy is about three years old and weighs 57 pounds.

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