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Tag: upper west side

Life after Broadway is fine with Fred

*Feb 27 - 00:05*

A stray South Bronx mutt who was “discovered” in a shelter and went on to appear in the hit musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” is enjoying his retirement in a posh home on the upper West Side.

Found wandering the streets as an 8-month-old pup, Fred landed at an ASPCA shelter in New York in early 2005. 

There Bill Berloni, a theatrical animal agent who has trained stray dogs for Broadway shows for more than 30 years, found Fred, took him home and spent a year working with the dog.

Berloni, who also is a behavior consultant for the Humane Society of New York — a no-kill shelter that supports rescued animals — took Fred, a terrier mix, to try out against dozens of other canine hopefuls at the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” auditions.

The New York Daily News recounted Fred’s “wags to riches” story in an article today.

When the show closed in 2006, Berloni arranged for Fred (third from the left in the photo) to be adopted by Chris Grabenstein and his wife, J.J. Myers.

Grabenstein, an author of adult mysteries and childrens’ ghost stories, has created a character based on him. The couple also built a rooftop dog area, where Fred can continue to enjoy the bright lights of the big city.

Dognapping scare hits Upper West Side

The New Yorker reports that a dognapping scare recently hit the city’s Upper West Side — leading to warning posters, email alerts, rumors and panic

DOGNAPPING attempts in NYC with RAZOR and RANSOM—get dogs ON LEASHES—happening on West Side,” read the subject line of one email warning.

Although there was no mention of police confirmation, the “Talk of the Town” piece said various rumors included a two-man team at work, one of whom goes by on a bicycle, slices the leash with a razor, then pedals away with the dog — no small drive-by feat when you think about it. Later, the second man calls with a ransom demand.

Other theories were that dogs were being taken to supply research labs, or being used for dogfighting dogs to practice on. Most of the dogs, according to the rumors at least, were small purebreds.

“The thinking used to be that a dog would provide security, not require it,” the piece begins. “But this was before Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, went missing, in 2004 … It was before Trouble, Leona Helmsley’s white Maltese, inherited, in quick succession, twelve million dollars, a series of death threats, and a six-figure bodyguard detail. It was before the former Post publisher Ken Chandler and his wife responded to the disappearance of their blond dachshund, Gus, by hiring a publicist and a private detective. And it was before the subject of the Secret Service’s future canine charge became a national fixation.”