The Boudoir Interview starring YumYum and Lollipop

In the city, space is a premium but these pampered pooches are given more square footage than most New Yorkers!

Two of New Yorks biggest (and smallest) celebrities are Yum Yum and Lollipop, (owned by Teresa Costanzo) and they are taking the USA by storm!!!

Yum Yum and Lollipop

Yum Yum and Lollipop

Firstly, can you adopt me? Your house looks lovely

awwww, thanks so much

Dog Room

Dog Room

What fur babies share your space?

YumYum is my 3 year old, 2.7lb, applehead, cream, short haired chihuahua. She is extremely shy and a total scardy cat.  She is very loving, happy , healthy little girl. She loves to sun bathe on a sunny day or under the covers on a cold day. She loves to dress up and she will jump in my lap when she sees me bring out a dress.  She will jump right in her carry bag as soon as she sees it as she knows she’s coming with mama.

The dynamic duo

The dynamic duo

Lollipop is my 6 yr old, 3lb, tan, short haired chihuahua.  We rescued her this past July.  She was found on a construction site in Texas. When the owners were located, they told them to “put her down” because they didn’t want to pay for the double hernia surgery she needed.  A fellow FB’er who does a little rescue held a fundraiser to raise the funds.  She has her surgery and her photo was posted on FB.  That is when I first saw her and immediately fell in love with her.  The rest is history.  She is outgoing, and fun loving.  Loves to take walks and must go up and say hello to everyone.
Chihuahua are a very misunderstood breed as many claim they are “nasty & Mean”.  Soooo NOT true.  They are very loyal, and OVERprotective of their owners.  YumYum and Lollipop do not have a mean bone in their body. They are cold by nature so it is usually always necessary to have at least a little shirt or sweater on them.

Yum Yum and Lollipop with their proud mama

Yum Yum and Lollipop with their proud mama

What makes your dogs different to most dogs in the city?
It was when I started my FB page “Chi Yum Yum” that I started discovering all the Animal Rescue Groups and Charity Events to raise money for animals in need. We started attending some events and immediately knew it would be something we would continue to do.  Extremely fun filled events and all the proceeds go to different animal charities.  We started growing quite a fan base as many of these events held little competitions/contests within them and we have been on quite a winning streak.

Some of our achievements to date:

-2013 Doggies & Tiara’s – we won “Glamour” and “1st Runner up” overall,
-Paw’s & PJ’s (Counting Sheep theme) – won 1st place “mommy made it”,
-Disco Party – 1st Place,
-Yorkie 911 Event Won 1st Runner up
-Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade – won 1st place & Best in show (out of 500 contestants)- Lobster Bake Theme
-Paws for a cause (Carmen Miranda theme) won 1st place
-Tinsel & Tails (Christmas theme – Fireplace/tree etc) won 1st Place.
The Trophy Room

The Trophy Room

Yorkie 911 Event Winners

Yorkie 911 Event Winners

YumYum & Lollipop also have a wardrobe larger than most people I know.  I’ve lost count to how many dresses, PJ’s, shirts, coats, necklaces, hats, bows, doggie beds, blankets, strollers, and carry bags.

Getting ready for a photoshoot

Getting ready for a photoshoot

What is the most difficult thing about having dogs in the city?
The only difficulties having my babies in the city is that I cannot get 5 ft without a crowd surrounding us.  We like to call it “puparazzi”.  Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely love sharing our babies with everyone.  The only time it a bit of a problem is when we astually have an appointment but we have learned to now leave extra time for that.  lol
These celebrity pups have serious bragging rights!

These celebrity pups have serious bragging rights!

What are your dogs fav things to do? 
Of course one of their favorite things is meal time.  They also love coming in the car to go with me wherever I go but I think what they love most is in the evening when our day finally settles down and we finally make it to the couch for cuddle time.  YumYum curls up between my arm and my body while Lollipop prefers to be in the bent part of my leg by my knee. Then its lights out and they just melt into me.  I won’t even think about trying to get up for a drink or bathroom break as I just can never disturb them.
The dog food fridge for their favorite meals made by mama

The dog food fridge for their favorite meals made by mama

How have the dogs changed your life?
My whole world revolves around my dogs.  I do not have children.  YumYum & Lollipop are my babies.  There is nothing I would not do for them.  I take care of them better than some children I know.  I cook, clean, sew and do their laundry. We go to many dog charity events and made some great friends and help rescues at the same time. Before them I didn’t have much to do.  Now, it seems like I don’t have enough time in a day. Much time is spent on making stroller and float decor for the events we go to. There is no shopping for mommie any more.  It’s all about them.  Even birthdays and Christmas when I’m asked “what would you like” , my response….anything for the girls.  Having them and their FB has opened my life to a whole new world about doggie rescue.  Now I want to do whatever I can to make a difference.
Do your dogs sleep with you? 
YumYum & Lollipop do not sleep in my bed with me although I wish they could.  My fear is that they are sooo tiny and fragile and if they were to fall off or try to jump off in the night, they could get severly injured and even die.  YumYum had an extremely “open” fontanel (soft spot) on her head that never closed and it very dangerous to for her to bump her head.  She could actually die from that and Lollipop has luxating patella’s.  So I am not one to take any chances.  YumYum sleeps in a little playpen just to the side of my bed so she cannot bump into anything during the night and Lollipop sleeps in her own little bed just beside my bed as well.
Yum Yum and Lollipop have their own beds

Yum Yum and Lollipop have their own beds

Do you want more dogs? 
I will always want more dogs, but for now 2 is good as I bring them with me everywhere and I think anymore would be very difficult to handle.  I grew up with dogs all my life.  The first 24 yrs we had German Shepards.  They each lived 12 yrs.  They are a beautiful breed but as I got older I grew extremely fond of the very itty bitty ones.  I think its the fact they they tend to be more “needy”.  I will never ever be without at least 2 babies.
Incredible handmade bed

Incredible handmade bed

Toy Box

Toy Box

Thank you so much Teresa, Yum Yum and Lollipop for such a wonderful insight into your incredible world.
Do you have any questions for Yum Yum and Lollipop? Post them in the comments below and we will ask Teresa to answer as many as she can

Tax Deductible Pet Fostering


One of our readers sent us a link to the below article. Let us know what you think


When it comes to tax deductions, there’s something to wag about for animal lovers, rescue groups and for people who foster (or are considering) fostering a pet: It’s now tax deductible!

A new landmark court case has volunteers barking up a storm about the paw-sitive news! What are the keys to getting the deduction? Massachusetts-based tax attorney and CPA Kevin Long says, “The basic requirements are that the expenses have to be directly related and solely attributable to the rendition of services to a qualified 501(c)(3) organization.”

Long continues, “In addition, you need to have documentation to support the expenses, and the organization needs to provide written acknowledgement for expenses over $250. The written acknowledgement must contain a description of the services provided, a statement of whether or not the organization provided any goods or services as reimbursement, a description and good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services provided as reimbursement and a statement that the only benefit you received was an intangible one (if no reimbursement was made). The written acknowledgement must be obtained on or before the earlier of the date you file your tax return for the year that you made the expenditure or the due date for filing your tax return for that year.”

This new development is the cat’s meow for people who love animals. But how do you make sure you qualify?

CPA Bryan Knuff shares his tips with GalTime:

  1. Unreimbursed expenses must be directly connected with and solely attributable to the rendition of services to a charitable organization.
  2. Document all of your expenses. Keep a journal if you need to but detail any expense that is not obvious. Keep your receipts and cancelled checks. You can claim any expense related to their care including vet bills, medicines, supplies, food, etc. It is apparent you can claim cleaning supplies, and a portion of your home utilities if your operation is substantial enough.
  3. For charitable purposes, you can deduct 14 cents per mile.
  4. Be sure what you claim is reasonable.
  5. For any expense incurred over $250, get a receipt from the charity.

Regarding expenses from a different tax year, they must be deducted in the year incurred. You can amend but only up to 3 years back.

If your head is now aching after sifting through “Foster Pet Tax Deductions 101,” animal rescue groups say another ‘bottom line’ you should remember is: You will be save furry, cute lives. The moment a dog or cat gets sprung from a “kill shelter” into a foster home, they’re off death row.

Christy Glover from Lucky Lab Rescue is thrilled by the court decision. “I think this tax write off is great! It will help encourage many people to foster who may have been afraid of the costs involved. Foster homes are a crucial key for success in all rescues.

Shelters extremely overcrowded and without available foster homes, many of the animals would be euthanized. Foster homes also help diminish the stress of living in a kennel and help the dog get adjusted to what a home life is like. A little love, a warm bed and a belly rub goes a long way in the life of a dog who prior had no knowledge of this.”

Some people think fostering a pet would be emotionally tough, they say, “Oh I’d get too attached.” But remember the alternative to not opening your door and heart for a bit could mean “dead dog or cat walkin” for some animals. Seriously, it’s foster home or death. It’s that terrible and that black and white.

Glover characterizes it like this, “Do you get attached, yes absolutely. However, the joy you receive knowing you played a part in saving a dog’s life and helping to make a family complete is by and far the best feeling in the world. They are scared and frightened, it takes a combination of love, hard work and persistence to help the dog get past the hurt and begin to heal and trust again.

I can tell you wholeheartedly, that what you give out to this dog, is returned to you two-fold. Knowing you not only saved their life but found a home they can thrive in, is an amazing feeling.”

by Mary Schwager

Royal Canin Food

royalcanin.us_logoHP When we were asked to review some of the dog foods by Royal Canin, I will admit that we were a little hesitant to accept as it is such a touchy subject for many pets and owners. Be it kibble, raw, gluten free, freeze dried, canned, puppy, performance, homemade, etc everyone has an opinion on what the right food is for their dog.

Buying food for our pets can be a little overwhelming sometimes

Buying food for our pets can be a little overwhelming sometimes

Most of our dog food purchases are made based on fancy packaging or things that owners as “untrained experts” think are good for our pet (I am very guilty of this). Most of us do not understand the science behind dog food and how our pets eat.                                    .

Did you know that different breeds and species eat in different ways? Royal Canin does.                                                                                        .

I had no idea that Persian cats picked up kibble using the bottom of their tongue and that different breeds need different shaped kibble for optimal chewing and digestion needs!! Mind Blown download-214x300 I was given the task of heading down to a Royal Canine/Pet360/PetMD event where I had the chance to ask as many questions as I wanted and get some free samples for the pups to taste test thanks to their two week bonanza in NYC (you can find out more details and how to get your free samples here) This was a very special mission for us as it was Folly’s (the new puppy) first adventure in the big bad city and she did great. We will make an agent out of her yet!.

Folly and the rather dishy vet from PetMD

Folly and the rather handsome vet from PetMD

The event took place outside of Beasty Feast (one of our favorite pet shops in NYC) and seemed to be drawing huge crowds of people to chat to the vet, the Royal Canin rep and also get some free samples to try.

Outside Beasty Feast NYC (one of our fav pet shops)

Outside Beasty Feast NYC (one of our fav pet shops)

The display was outside the store and showed most of the selection of dog and cat foods available to consumers (more detailed list of foods here where they have diets for 2lb to 200lb dogs!)

A little wind swept table (seriously, it was blowing a gale)

A little wind swept table (seriously, it was blowing a gale)

Some of the available pet formulas by Royal Canin

Some of the available pet formulas by Royal Canin

Just like with any food, the proof is in the tasting so armed with 3 bags of food (for 3 different dogs) we headed back to HQ to see how the pups enjoyed the formulas

Notice the different kibble shapes

Notice the different kibble shapes

New canned formulas available also

New canned formulas available also

First up was Folly. As she had worked the hardest on this assignment, I felt she deserved to try the food first

Next up was Harley Quinn and Houdini

All pets loved the Royal Canin formulas. We should have picked up some for Chaos the Cat also….next time!

Grab your free bag as soon as you can.


Halloween Madness

Houdini and City Dog Expert at Halloween

Houdini and City Dog Expert at Halloween


Halloween is so much fun and as many of you know, I will use any excuse to dress up in a ridiculous costume (as shown here).

This year  Alice in Wonderland was the theme chosen and Houdini was the white rabbit and Miss Harley Quinn was Alice. However, Harley was ill so had to miss the festivities but Houdini and myself put our glad rags on and shook our tail feathers to have fun at the 3rd annual Pups on the Runway ball to raise funds for The Sato Project .

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We didn’t win but I think we both looked rather fabulous. As Harley missed out on the festivities, I decided to take them both to The Central Park halloween competition the following day where we were joined by the incredible and fabulous Lily the schnauzer (who won first place and the hearts of many).


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All photos by Joann Mercado and Striking Paws


What did you get up to this halloween?


The Salty Paw Grand Reopening

Hurricane Sandy hit NYC very hard last year and entire areas or Manhattan and Brooklyn have still not recovered from the devastation of the storm.

Almost one year to the day, The South Street Seaport area has finally reopened and a huge street party was held to celebrate.

With the reopening of the area, one of our favorite pet shops returned to it’s rightful home. Welcome home The Salty Paw

As myself and the pups live in the area, we felt we wanted to get as many friends as possible to come and celebrate with us.

City Dog Expert with The Pup Scouts

City Dog Expert with The Pup Scouts


The store is looking fantastic with a line up of some of the best treats, toys and bags money can buy.



Vast supplies of Warren London products


Our favorite girls at Bocce’s Bakery make everything look classy




review of this coming soon


Welcome back The Salty Paw, we are so glad to have you as our local again

Sailing with pups

For my 29 again party *cough cough* and Harley Quinn’s first birthday, we were treated to a sailing adventure in NYC by some incredible friends.

Sailing with your dog can be a lot of fun but it is important to make sure that you follow a few basics to make sure that everyone has a good time.


1) make sure your pups have a puppy life vest which can prevent drowning if anything serious happens. Even the best swimmers will get tired in rough waves so always be on the safe side.



2) Make sure you have plenty of towels for drying off your pups and also blankets for keeping them warm as the winds can be rough at sea this time of year



3) Have plenty of water available as being at sea can become very dehydrating and you never know what may happen that will delay your return to shore. Prime example being when our engine fell off the boat and we had to be towed back to land resulting in being 3 hours late.

Harley Quinn and Houdini with Captain Marco

Harley Quinn and Houdini with Captain Marco

4) Pack pee pads as if they gotta go, they gotta go


Have fun and make sure you get some great pictures as it will no doubt be a wonderful experience


Dress up for Charity




Sometimes being silly and dressing up for charity is exactly what the Dr ordered.



The dog world in NYC likes to take things to extremes and the charity events here is no exception.

As many of you know, the team at City Dog Expert do a lot of fundraisers for various charities in the USA but we always make sure that we support the events of those around us also.

Celebrity Catwalk was founded by Jennifer Bartok with the goal of raising funds & awareness for National Animal Rescues. To date, she has donated thousands of dollars to help animals in need.

Her event in September was “Paws and PJ’s themed” and we decided to think outside of the box. Neither my personality (or that of my pets) was to dress up in sexy négligée and strut our stuff so we decided to have some fun and embrace our inner children by dressing up in dinosaur pajamas!




The pups had so much fun dressing up and playing with their friends. It was like a huge slumber party for puppies and they had a blast. I was thoroughly exhausted at the end of it as watching Harley Quinn and Houdini run around like maniacs.

Having fun and raising funds for pups in need