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City Dog: The Pet Gala, a night of fashion, fun and fur

BY LYNN PACIFICO | The same evening as the Met Gala, New York University’s Faculty Housing & Residential Services held the Pet Gala on the lawn by N.Y.U. housing. It was an opportunity to enjoy our canine family members with our canine community. The event was free and participants received complimentary caricatures, giveaways and photos, as well as red carpet and photo-booth photos.

It was a chilly evening but dog owners are a hardy subculture, going out in all weather and are an active, energetic group. Wind and chill do not deter them from having a good time. Not knowing what to expect, I walked into the event behind the incredibly small Chihuahua Gia and her guardians. As they hurried to the event, Gia was more interested in the smells along the sidewalk and kept stopping her patient guardians to sniff along the way.

Gia in her Rihanna headdress. For Gia’s outfit, Gladys, the mother, a designer and seamstress, copied the costume Rihanna wore to Carnival in Barbados. (Photo by Lynn Pacifico)

Upon arrival, the mother-daughter team (both named Gladys), rushed to get Gia outfitted into a truly stunning peacock costume. It included feathered wings and a feathered headdress that didn’t want to stay on in the cold wind that blew across the lawn. (With all those feathers, a good gust could get this tiny Gia airborne.) Gia’s garments illustrate the talent, time, energy and creative enjoyment that went into its construction. Gladys makes custom canine outfits and can be reached through her Web site:

The Met Gala, called “A Line of Beauty,” was held this year as a homage to the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld (1933 – 2019). And just like this year’s Met Gala, the Pet Gala had pearls and sunglasses, both signature looks of Lagerfeld. Just like the Met Gala, there was an energetic buzz to this event: lots of dogs and children attended and everyone was smiling and laughing and discussing their dogs. Play and fun ruled and I witnessed a camaraderie in the many expressions of love and kindness.

Pearls were dripping off a tiny Chi named Cleo, impeccably dressed in a classic pink Chanel suit. (Coco Channel loved pearls, too.) After her initial walk down the red carpet, her owner, Grace Forster, changed Cleo into a more formal, full-length, black-and-white haute couture gown for another red carpet appearance. Both are stars of TV’s “Doggie Moms” reality series and Cleo is a professional model who is active on the New York dog social scene.

So pretty in pink. Peanut, a 5-year-old rescue Chiweenie, is on Instagram at @peanutonbroadway. (Photo by Melanie Chaves)

Adorable N.Y.U. dogs of all sizes walked the red carpet, but many were wearing more practical (warm) outfits. There was a couple attending with their toddler in the same peacock hat as his canine twin, sort of a brother from another mother kind of thing. I had difficulty getting a picture of both of them together since both rarely stopped moving!

Waggytail Rescue, which saves mostly small, tiny and medium-sized dogs from high-kill shelters down South, brought Ringo and Bosco, who are looking for loving homes. There is no shortage of great dogs needing homes and Waggytail has a selection (and some cats, too) who can be viewed on its Facebook page (“Waggytail Rescue”). Waggytail is also looking for foster homes to receive a dog after it is rescued. (The more foster homes WT has, the more dogs that can be pulled to safety.)

Bosco, in chiffon, is looking for love with Waggytail rescue. (Photo by Lynn Pacifico)
(Photo by Lynn Pacifico)
Bounding into spring. (Photo by Lynn Pacifico)
The plaza outside Silver Towers was looking like the Westminster Dog Show. (Photo by Lynn Pacifico)
Someone snuck in a cat in a backpack! (Photo by Lynn Pacifico)
The dapper Louie, ear blowing rakishly in the wind — dressed in a casual but chic open-neck white shirt, with black suit jacket and black sneakers — brought a bit of masculinity to the gala. He calmly participated, remaining fascinated by all the activity around him and what the girls were wearing. (Photo by Lynn Pacifico)
(Photo by Lynn Pacifico)
A cutie in a tutu. (Photo by Lynn Pacifico)
Black and white chic. CICi, left, is a 10-year-old Shorkie. Tinky Mae is a 10-month-old Morkiepoo. (Photo by Bobbi Mitchell)
Ringo is up for adoption with Waggytail Rescue. (Photo by Lynn Pacifico)

Erin Donnelly, community liaison for N.Y.U.’s FH&R Services, which hosted the gala, thanked everyone for its success.

“We thank all the pet parents, friends and families who participated in the event to share the joy and love they have for their adorable companions with all of us,” she said. “Given the evening’s success, we plan to hold the Pet Gala next year as part of our ongoing N.Y.U. Faculty Housing Happenings community events.”

She urged everyone to connect with them on Instagram at @nyufacultyhousing for “latest looks” and pix from the gala.

You cannot beat the Pet Gala’s red carpet for cuteness and the unexpected. A good time was had by all, including a lot of butt sniffing (a canine handshake) and good-natured wrestling. Congratulations to N.Y.U., and to all who participated, for making it so much fun.

Pacifico is a fourth-generation Villager who loves dogs, nature and New York City.


  1. Grace A Forster Grace A Forster June 8, 2023

    Thank you so much, Lynn Pacifico & The Village Sun, for the fun article about the NYU Pet Gala. Cleo & I had the best time, and I so much appreciate the inclusion of the lovely photograph of us and our interview with you! Best, Grace & Cleo (Forster) .

    • lynn pacifico lynn pacifico August 26, 2023

      This was the most fun I have had while covering the Village for the City Dog column. It was a pleasure and very nice meeting you and Cleo.

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