‘I’ve had so many unusual experiences and unique experiences — all because he and I somehow connected at the shelter.’
“I have always been a pet person. For the longest time, I was into big dogs only. A couple of years ago, we had an elderly dog and a younger dog and we were looking for a friend for the younger dog. We went to nearby shelters looking to adopt, and my husband fell in love with a puppy of a purebred French mastiff.
“I was eyeing a dog that looked like the size of a rat. So I said to my husband, any food that falls out of the big dog’s mouth could be a full meal for the little guy, so it wouldn’t be any extra investment in money.
“And so home we went with two dogs. As the little dog, Andre, was growing, I realized he was so much more high energy than every other dog that I’ve ever had. We started running, but I soon realized he needed a little more of a challenge, so we switched to agility. Then I noticed flyers around for a ‘barking beauty pageant.’ It was a fundraiser to raise money for a local shelter and for an organization for the arts. And I thought, ‘Oh, that’s so fun.’
I’ve had so many unusual experiences and unique experiences — all because he and I somehow connected at the shelter.
“I started getting into these Facebook groups, and I’m like, what did I get myself into? The contest has three parts: formal wear, activewear and talent. For the formal wear, we got him a custom-made raw silk tuxedo. I’m thinking to myself, I don’t even have anything that’s raw silk.
“For the activewear, we went with a beach theme because it was in the Hamptons. For the talent portion, at the last minute, we got PVC piping and made our own very basic obstacle course. When we got there, we realized we didn’t have enough room for half of what I brought for the agility course and had to have him do it in a straight line, which is actually easy for a dog who is versed in it.
“We nailed it, and we won the talent portion and got second place overall. I couldn’t believe it. Since then, Disney chose him to model some of their officially licensed pet costumes, and he walked in the Anthony Rubio New York Fashion Week show.
“He has just turned my world upside down. I’ve had so many unusual experiences and unique experiences — all because he and I somehow connected at the shelter. Now he goes out, and we’ve got people who meet him and say, I was never a little dog person, but this dog makes me want to consider them.”
Interviewed by Hannah Fusaro