“Ninety-percent of puppies in kennels come from mills.” So said the ethereal blue screen at last night’s benefit for ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), hosted by culinary connoisseur Katie Lee Joel. The annual 2008 Shaggy Dog Gala, held at the Gehry-designed IAC building in West Chelsea, boasted fanciful hors d’oeuvres like mini pig-in-a-blankets, and a silent auction of mainly sports memorabilia — including a neon orange soccer ball signed by Pele himself, a bundle of vintage Yankee tributes, and a photograph from 1973 of Elvis playfully greeting Muhammad Ali in a fighting stance.
Actress Lake Bell and Queer Eye‘s former interiors guru Thom Filicia attended, but neither a Hearst nor Martha Plimpton was to be found, despite the invite list. Actress Kristen Johnston, whose svelte appearance prompted weight-and-regime questions from reporters, remarked that she had “packed on some weight” after an ulcer-related illness while in London. Johnston also has a white pit bull named Pinky, whom she rescued through ASPCA, but said she would identify herself as a Great Dane. Why? “Once they get their shit together, they move,” said Johnston.
Bravo TV’s Ramona Singer from The Real Housewives of New York has a four-year-old shitzu named Cocoa, borne out of an ultimatum from her daughter who wanted either a sibling or a pet, but opted for a dog since she married “later in life” and found a pet easier than a child. Singer first considered a “breeder,” but after receiving no response, purchased Cocoa from a kennel across from Bloomingdales. “Dogs are really like people,” Singer said. “What does a child need? Love, attention.”