All photos by Dorri Olds
Last Saturday, during the Pre-Westminster Weekend, I attended Celebrity Catwalk’s “Fire & Ice” brunch in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. The jam-packed event benefited the city’s homeless pets by donating to Yorkie 911 Rescue, and two animal activism heroes —Stephanie A. Mattera and Caroline Loevner — were honored at the event.
Mattera is the spokesperson for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. She advocates for rescue and adoption and spaying and neutering pets. She is mom to three beloved rescue pets: Japanese Chins Keiko and Romeo and a Calico kitty named Sophie. She grew up in a house full of rescued animals and is passionate about putting her efforts toward volunteerism and charity to improve the lives of the millions of four-legged fur-babies who are in need of love.
Loevner rescued Beau, a dog on a euthanasia list at a Philadelphia shelter. Now, every week, She and Beau volunteer their time at the Ronald McDonald House and daycare facilities for people with HIV and an inpatient drug rehab center. Loevner also raises funds and awareness for the LGBT community. Beau is a registered therapy dog who also helps out at Bailey House, Bideawee, Angels On A Leash, Pace University, AIDS WALK, Animal Friends, SPCA and FEMA Coney Island.
Laura Souza and her Shih Tzu Gianna Souza both looked glam. I’ve seen this dog at almost every animal fundraiser, and each time she looks this diva-fabulous. I asked Laura if Gianna is a pet fashion model, but she handed me a card and told me that Gianna is the face of G Girl Productions, an events management company. Then she said I simply must come out to visit and come to one of these happening shindigs. When I left, I hugged my heavy coat closer and thought, “Florida sure sounds good right now.”
Another attendee was Marie Rumpza of Charmed One Designs. She enjoyed the festivities with her Yorkie named Teeny Paris Hilton. The little pooch was adorned with dramatic black bows and a polkadot tutu. Rumpza was all smiles when she told me the two of them will be attending the Oscars this year. Rumpza said, “Teeny Paris Hilton will be visiting all of her old friends on the red carpet.” They traveled all the way from sunny and warm Orlando, Fla., for the ice-cold Pre-Westminster weekend here in New York City.
Her designs are couture pieces and she happily donated to the silent auction to help doggies in need. Teeny Tiny Hilton was the runner-up to the Queen at the Doggies and Tiaras Pageant this year.
Carol “Cho” Meir arrived with her Sphynx cat, Moshe Moshi, in tow. I’d heard that this bald breed of cats require a lot of special care. When I asked about that, Meir said, “She’s definitely not low maintenance!” I asked how she met Moshe Moshi. She told me that it was through Pets-DC, a non-profit organization she works for that helps people living with HIV/AIDS or any other disabling conditions. “Pets are very important for emotional support, but many ill people are too sick or too financially strapped to care for their pets,” she said. “That’s where we come in. We help out with each person’s specific needs, whether it’s to watch the animal or bring food. When my cat’s owner passed, I was happy to take him.” When I commented on the feline’s cool black hat and hip brass-buckle vest, Meir laughed and said, “He has a better wardrobe than I do.”
Dorri Olds is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.