Javits Center’s “Meet The Breeds” Meets KATIE

Posted October 14th, 2010 in Friendship by Glenn Plaskin

It’s going to be more fun than a circus, more exciting than Animal Planet, and a definite treat for all animal lovers fascinated by the endless variety of dogs and cats that inhabit earth.

What could it be? It’s MEET THE BREEDS, the annual event hosted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), held at the Jacob Javits Center this Saturday and Sunday, October 16th and 17th.

Last year, I was one of 36,000 attendees who enjoyed the event, with its 200 individually decorated official breed booths that allowed dogs and cat lovers to interact with dogs, cats, puppies and kittens and learn about their history and unique attributes directly from the experts;

100 vendor booths offered every imaginable product for pets and their owners; and five ongoing demonstration rings featured law enforcement K9s, grooming, agility, obedience and an interactive “Cat Idol” showcase and more.

The event was also a big hit with the press, generating more than 475 million media impressions.

This year’s event is especially exciting for me, as KATIE UP AND DOWN THE HALL, is making its MEET THE BREEDS debut. In fact, KATIE is the only book being featured at this grand event.

So this Saturday, from 1 to 3 p.m., please come by and say hello, pick up an autographed copy of my book, and meet me and my new puppy, Lucy, who will have her picture taken with you and sign your book as well, as she has excellent pawmanship.

Lucy can't wait to autograph your book!

Borders will be on hand to distribute the book, and we’re going to be in the American Kennel Club’s Humane Fund Booth #2225. I’ll be especially glad to see American Kennel Club’s President Dennis Sprung and the AKC’s Communications Director, Lisa Peterson–both of whom were on hand for the KATIE UP AND DOWN THE HALL LAUNCH PARTY.

So please join me and Lucy there–and for anyone getting there early, they’ll be a special treat for chocolate lovers.

Here’s what the American Kennel Club recently wrote about the event in their newsletter:

You’re Invited! Come see what happens when 160 breeds of dog and 41 breeds of cat get together this October at the second annual Meet the Breeds! Join the American Kennel Club, Cat Fanciers’ Association and breeds galore on October 16 & 17 at the Javits Center in NYC for the world’s largest showcase of dogs and cats.

Presented by PetPartners, this family-fun event features hundreds of breed experts in every pet-related field including breeding, grooming and training who will answer your questions and help identify the best breed for you.  Play with thousands of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens!  Shop the mall of fun pet products! See exciting demonstrations including dogs and cats racing against the clock in the fast-paced sport of Agility! Play games and take home free samples from hundreds of vendor booths.

Meet the Breeds is an entertaining way for friends and families to enjoy quality time together while learning how to become responsible pet owners.  Giant Mastiffs in a Medieval castle, Siamese cats depicting a scene from Lady and the Tramp, Norwegian Elkhounds on a Viking ship, and Russian Blue cats set in an Imperial Palace are just some of the more than 200 dog and cat booths that were at last year’s event.

Come Meet Us at Meet the Breeds!

Rescue InkMeet Rescue Ink – When you think of animal rescue groups, do tattoos and motorcycles come to mind? You better think again! Rescue Ink™ is a group of tattooed, motorcycle-riding guys who have a zero tolerance policy on animal abuse and neglect. You may recognize them from their popular National Geographic show, Rescue Ink Unleashed, but now you have the chance to meet them!
Katie Up and Down the Hall

Meet “Katie Up and Down the Hall” Author – Glenn Plaskin and his Cocker Spaniel puppy Lucy – for a book signing on Saturday from 1-3 p.m. at the AKC Humane Fund Booth
Canine Excellence

Meet Canine Heroes – Meet three of this year’s AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence winners – Cassius the German Shepherd Dog, Rufus the Colored Bull Terrier and Wyatt the Rhodesian Ridgeback – who will be on-hand for the local awards ceremony and to meet and greet the public at the AKC Humane Fund booth. Bring your camera and take a picture with them!

Family Dog MagazineMeet AKC Family Dog Magazine Cover Dog – Lennon the Pomeranian – at the AKC Publications booth on Saturday. Lennon is the “cover dog” of the September/October 2010 issue. Complimentary copies of AKC Family Dog will be distributed both days. Be sure to stop by and snap your own photo with the cover dog!

I own a dog and I voteMeet Honorary Chairpersons – Visit Pet-loving Lawmakers – at the AKC Booth and see one of the DOGNY statues too!


To purchase tickets and learn more about the event visit today! The site includes event information, a special advance ticket offer and a list of vendors who will be selling unique dog and cat products. Fun interactive features include and games, fun , the opportunity to and cat breed that represents NY, NJ and CT, a hosted by AOL’s Paw Nation, and of every dog and cat breed.

Tickets purchased at are $10 for adults, $6 for children under 12 if you use the code: YAKC. Take advantage of this special pre-event offer by ordering your tickets now! Tickets purchased at the door are $15 for adults and $10 for children under 12. The event is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday, October 16, and Sunday, October 17. Each ticket allows admittance for one day.

Attention Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts

We are excited to announce that all and will be able to earn their Responsible Pet Ownership Patch at Meet the Breeds! Click on the above links for more information and be sure to visit the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York’s booths at Meet the Breeds!

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AOL’s Paw Nation Interview Makes Katie’s Tail Wag

Posted October 13th, 2010 in Friendship by Glenn Plaskin

A few days ago, after being a regular follower of AOL’s popular PAW NATION, it was especially exciting when I saw my own book about KATIE featured on the site. The conversation I had by phone with the interviewer, Liz Ozaist, was a very emotional one, as Liz is also a passionate dog lover. We talked about the joys of dog ownership and the deep sorrow that comes with the loss of man’s very best friend.

I hope you enjoy it:

New Book – “Katie Up and Down the Hall: The True Story of How One Dog Turned Five Neighbors Into a Family”

by Liz Ozaist (Subscribe to Liz Ozaist’s posts)

Every dog owner knows how exceptional the human-canine bond can be, but celebrity journalist Glenn Plaskin’s cocker spaniel, Katie, had an even more unique talent: She single-handedly turned a floor of strangers living in a lower Manhattan high rise into a family by nosing her way into each person’s apartment… and heart. Plaskin reminisces about the four-legged star of his new book, Katie Up and Down the Hall: The True Story of How One Dog Turned Five Neighbors Into a Family.”

Do you think there are other stories like yours of people coming together because of a special animal?

Absolutely. I believe there are communities throughout the U.S. with neighborhood mascots that race from backyard to backyard, uniting strangers along the way. I tell people that dogs are like emotional anchors; even though they’re not able to speak, they have a strong sense of communication and are sensitive to emotions. If you have something on the end of a leash, it can lead you anywhere.

How did Katie go about charming several people on your floor?

I like to say that I took the initiative and she was my ambassador. When I first got Katie, I didn’t know a thing about dogs. A neighbor, Pearl, had once owned a cocker spaniel, so I knocked on her door for advice, and the rest is history. Katie crawled into her lap and never left. After breakfast, she’d wait at my door to be let out and then she’d run down the hall straight for Pearl’s apartment, where she’d spend several hours with Pearl and her husband before heading back to my place. We started leaving our doors open, so Katie could push them open herself. She eventually ended up doing the same thing with John, a single dad who lived down the hall with his son Ryan. My dog brought us all together, helping us to create our own version of a family.

Katie was a big people pleaser, but she wasn’t too keen on hanging out with other canines. Why do you think she was so averse to her own kind?

That was all my fault. I didn’t know that you need to socialize dogs within the first three months, exposing them to everything from other dogs to kids and even traffic. Katie didn’t have contact with other dogs until it was too late, so she became a human dog. Whenever we came across another dog on the street, she’d put her nose up into the air and look at them as if they were alien creatures.

You brought Katie along to several celebrity interviews. What’s your favorite anecdote?

I named her after Katharine Hepburn, so I decided to take Katie to meet her once. Hepburn’s reaction wasn’t exactly what I expected. After glaring down at Katie, she exclaimed, “Small compliment, a midget me!”

It must have been tough to lose Katie. What advice would you give to someone grieving for a pet?

A friend of mine once said an incredible thing about how animals hide their suffering from us because their mission in life is to make us happy. I know that’s what Katie would have wanted — for me not to be too sad — but it wasn’t easy. I actually wrote a blog about how to recover from the death of a pet. A few things I learned: Go ahead and cry, no matter how old you are. You don’t have to be stoic. Second, tap into memories by framing photos, watching videos, and reliving moments by talking to people who knew your pet and understand loss. I also held a memorial for Katie — two, actually, because so many people wanted to come! Finally, don’t try to replace your pet because you can never really replicate what you had. Like humans, each animal is unique.

Was it difficult to get another dog?

After waiting eight years, I brought home a cocker spaniel puppy named Lucy last May, so I now have a new chapter to write! She’s completely different from Katie. Lucy’s very alpha and will go up to a husky and bite its tail to play. She’s also more difficult to train. I’ve lost 18 pounds since I got her because of all the walks we go on. I call it the puppy diet. She’s laying claim to her own hallway turf too. The other day, I asked her if she wanted to visit Stanley, her dachshund boyfriend, and she ran down the hall to get him.

Lucy and her down the hall boyfriend Stanley

What’s the underlying message you hope readers glean from your book?

A family is anything you want it to be, whether it’s human, canine, young, or old. Often, it’s not our biological ties that bind us to the people who mean the most in our lives.

Plaskin and his cocker-spaniel puppy, Lucy, will be at Meet the Breeds for a book signing on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 1–3 p.m. at the AKC Humane Fund Booth.


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A Thunderstorm, Liz Smith, and Canine Fun at Barnes & Noble

Posted October 4th, 2010 in Friendship by Glenn Plaskin

Planning my Barnes & Noble bookreading was like planning a wedding. It went on for months. There was the advertising  in the New York Times, New York Post, the three local Battery Park City newspapers; the art department at Hachette Book Group USA designed a two-sided brochure;  5,000 of these flyers were printed for the neighborhood, including 2,000 of them put under every door in my apartment complex. We also passed them out at our Battery Park City block party, and otherwise spread the word in dogs parks, pet shots, restaurants, and my vet’s office! Moreover, the New York Post did a feature story on the book that appeared right before the bookreading, announcing the night, while our local newspaper, The Broadsheet, also did a feature interview. After all this build-up, including my passing out Katie adhesive stickers to anyone I could, telling them they could stick them anywhere they liked–the big night was finally here! I had even arranged for a celebrity to host the evening, the legendary LIZ SMITH who agreed to moderate, not just introduce me but engage in a full-length conversation that I believed would be more effective, and entertaining.

My puppy Lucy and the Katie book both on the New Arrivals Table!

And, at last, the night was finally here. But just as I was leaving to pick up Liz Smith in a car, with my puppy Lucy skipping alongside me, seemingly disaster struck. The one thing that will keep people away from any bookstore at 7 in the evening is a severe thunderstorm combined with high winds, right?! Could anything be worse? An author must therefore pray for good weather, but getting my wish was not my fate. Just as Lucy and I stepped out of my building to get into the car, rain started pouring down, the sky darkened, thunder booming away at us as we pulled from the curb. Feeling disheartened, we trudged uptown to get Liz. It took almost 45 minutes to get there, and another 45 to get back downtown to the Tribeca Barnes & Noble. Liz, an incredible trooper, could easily have canceled the evening, as she had a wicked cold and cough. In fact, in the car, amusingly on the way downtown, she was swigging back a bottle of cough syrup with codeine in it. I was so nervous about the weather–and fearing that nobody would show up–that I jokingly suggested that I needed a little codeine too (which I did!) About 15 minutes before the reading was to start, we were still nowhere near the store, but I called the B&N community relations manager, Carolyn Hughes, who had been incredibly helpful in planning every detail of the evening. I asked her if people were arriving. “We have about 30 people so far,” she said, my heart sinking as I thought to myself: ‘I went to all this trouble and we’re going to wind up with 30?!” But the show must go on. Finally, after 90 minutes in the car, at 7:05 p.m., Liz and I arrived at the store late and were brought in through a back entrance up into the green room. Maybe thanks to a prayer or two, the rain had stopped about 15 minutes earlier–suddenly gone with only a light mist of moisture still threatening the night. Once we were in the green room, Carolyn walked in with a smile. “We have an overflow crowd, standing room only, about 150,” she announced. What?! “That rain stopped and everyone arrived at the last minute.”

Liz, Glenn, and Lucy Backstage at B&N

My spirits soared. It was such a poignant night, especially because some of the main characters in the book were there. John,the single Dad who moved into our building with his three-year-old son Ryan, had flown all the way from Paris France to be present at the book’s debut. Also on hand was the wonderful Georgian physician, Naia, who had lovingly taken care of Pearl, our matriarch, and star, of the book. Also

Dear friend Peg, my sister Debby, Lee, who rescued Pearl on 9/11, and Naia, Pearl's caretaker in her final years

there was the lovely Lee, our neighbor who had rescued Pearl on the Esplanade during that horrible Tuesday, September 11, 2001 .

NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Lucy, and Me

Veronica Kelly, Glamorous As Always

Shaking hands with my neighbor Sy, longtime friend Michael Simon in bow tie to his left, to his left Sy's wife, Esther

And so the show began. Carolyn introduced Liz as “someone truly extraordinary, a Living Legend of New York, the former gossip columnist who toiled for more than 35 years in the vineyards of the New York Daily News, New York Newsday, Newsday itself, the Los Angeles Times, for 70 syndicated Chicago Tribune newspapers culminating in a long stint for the New York Post where she insists she was fired a year ago in March.” Liz then followed it up by saying: “I’d like to re-introduce myself. I am the former Liz Smith. I used to be a big shot GOSSIP columnist but now I am just an Internet nobody like everyone else in the world. However, I do still have one claim to fame. Glenn Plaskin has been my fevered fan for more years than I can remember. So much so that when I went to rave about his book KATIE for a jacket plug…I had to disqualify myself as being impartial. I am partial to Glenn and his dog. I do want to say that even before publication, KATIE has received more space, more media fill, more PR, more heated discussion than anything since the 1936 search for who was to play Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind. Katie will be even more famous after today. So you picked a good time to be here.” I was amused and touched by all this as I sat with my new puppy Lucy in the green room. Before I came out, Liz introduced the Katie book trailer, a 4-minute video with music that captures the essence of the story. Afterward, with many tears in the audience, I finally came out. There were my friends, my neighbors, my family, many of the characters described in the book, alongside people I’d never met, with people standing all along the perimeter. And then the conversation rolled as Liz and I traded anecdotes about dogs and movie stars–including a spirited exchange about the legendary Kate Hepburn. When it came to the time I was going to read a passage from the book, Lucy began chewing on my papers, bored with the entire evening and ready to get some action. After finishing a chapter from the book titled “Prancing With The Stars,” in which Katie meets hotel queen Leona Helmsley and Miss Hepburn, the evening ended with hugs and autographs. Liz stayed behind, as she was surrounded by the audience, kindly signing Katie books. One neighbor of mine who is 90-years-old went up to Liz for an autograph, and Liz signed it this way: “We may be 90 (Liz isn’t!) but we’re still here!” How can I ever thank Liz Smith for her generosity in hosting this evening, even when she was feeling ill, and in doing it in such a charming, beguiling way? One of my favorite moments of the night was when she sardonically said: “It must have been so comforting sleeping with a dog….” to which I answered: “Liz, I’ve slept with a lot of dogs, but Katie was a lot better!” Liz finished by saying she’d host my next bookreading, “probably in a wheelchair.” “I’ll be in one too,” I told her, both of us laughing as we left the stage, with lots of KATIE books in people’s hands–and hopefully their hearts.

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