- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2002

PALM BEACH, Fla.
Pampered pooches with this exclusive address already have their own chefs, poolside chaises and birthday parties that even the most spoiled child would envy. The purebreds now have their own society magazine to chart the season's biggest canine social events, the latest designs in dog beds and the general comings and goings that make them the talk of weekly grooming sessions at the spa.
Joanne Cutner, the owner of a Lhasa apso named Mr. Churchill, wanted to make sure the island's pets had everything their masters did, so she put out the glossy Palm Beach Pet Society a close replica of the Palm Beach Society magazine featuring locals of the less-furry sort. The 44-page oversized magazine, which went on sale at island newsstands this fall, features more than 100 Palm Beach dogs and cats at play and at home.
A photo of Mr. Churchill, who carries the title of editor, graces the opening pages, along with a half-dozen paw prints. He is sitting at his desk, before a computer with spectacles atop his wavy, blond tresses. A photographer also caught him at the birthday event of the season, along with eight panting pals, where he sported a tropical lei, cool shades and a burgundy bow.
"In Palm Beach, this is yet another social outlet," said Caroline Clore, owner of the pet boutique Paws on the Avenue.
A society magazine for pets doesn't seem so out of place for Palm Beach, where the average home costs in excess of $1 million and many dogs spend more time getting prettied up than their owners.
Palm Beach pets attend lavish $1,000-plus birthday parties, an annual charity ball held by the local pet hospital and a yearly Halloween celebration. This year's Halloween costume party drew 400 dogs. In true Palm Beach fashion, no two pooches dressed alike.
The purebreds regularly strut along Worth Avenue, shopping with their owners at tony boutiques, showing off their $75 designer collars, $100 sweaters and even pricier jewelry with authentic pearls and diamonds. They travel in yachts and private jets, and at least one Palm Beach restaurant offers a menu just for them.
"We're probably nicer to our pets than we are to the people," said Sherry Frankel, the proprietor of a Worth Avenue gift shop who brings her standard poodle, Magic, to work each day. "There are two watering holes on the avenue for our pets and they don't have to pay."
With so much to do, many pets rid themselves of stress and tangles with standing weekly appointments at the doggie spa.
"They get Evian water, gourmet treats. They get pampered, talked to, brushed, massaged," said Glen Nelson, manager of Royal Pet Grooming, which sees at least 300 pets a month. "They get dropped off in their limos, or their butler brings them in. It's hilarious."
Many of the island's 10,500 residents either don't have children or the children are grown, according to census figures. Having one, two, three or four dogs gives wealthy Palm Beachers other "children" to pamper and an excuse to socialize with each other, said Miss Clore, the pet boutique owner.
She helped arrange the extravagant birthday affair for Lucy, the 1-year-old Westhighland terrier whose big day was featured in a two-page spread. Decorations were in red and white (because those colors best flattered Lucy's coat) and each guest received a jeweled, crown-shaped bowl filled with cookies and bones.
Lucy also gave her small friends matching bandanas, tropical leis and sunglasses, but wasn't so gracious when a tuxedo-clad waiter presented her with a cake. Worried that her guests would get a bite, she smeared her face in the pink frosting.
"It was the cutest thing," Miss Cutner said.
Even so, a photo of Lucy's messy muzzle didn't appear in the magazine.
Like Palm Beach Society, Pet Society shows only the most flattering photos of its stars. So pictures with drool, growls or the derrieres of more uncooperative models are tossed aside.
Since it has become the new place to be seen, pet owners have been clamoring to get pictures of their dogs and cats in the next issue. But other than those who attend April's "Coats and Tails" gala, Miss Cutner won't reveal who the magazine's next stars will be.
"Mr. Churchill has been sniffing things out, and he has some really great leads," she said.


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