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Upper East Side and Gramercy Pooches Star in New Reality TV Show

By Amy Zimmer | February 13, 2011 10:03am | Updated on February 14, 2011 6:22am

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — SalliSue has an active social life and a closet full of handmade evening wear. She's a pageant title holder and fashion model and soon to be reality television star.

The six-year old Yorkie, along with her owner, Upper East Sider Leslie Hughes, is one of the stars of "Doggie Moms," the latest reality show to join the crop of New York's housewives, aspiring fashion designers and scrap metal workers.

The show, which follows five New York women who dote on their four-legged "children" and compete with each other for fame and stature in the city's doggie social world, premieres Wednesday, Feb. 16, on NYC life (channel 25), the flagship station of the city's official network.

"There's a little competition, but it's friendly competition," insisted another of the show's stars, Grace Forster, of Gramercy Park. "It's all in good fun."

Forster's Yorkie, Portia, who she's had since 2005, already has a thriving career, winning many costume, beauty and photo contests, and appearing in OK Magazine, "Good Morning America," WE TV's video webisode "Puppy Weddings" and most recently on the cover of Yorkshire Terriers Magazine.

Fortster's other Yorkie, Rosie — who joined the family in 2008 and is "spunkier and livelier," but less photogenic and more prone to jumping on cameramen — has fewer photo credits and doesn't get along too well with Portia. But the two recently appeared together on the catwalk for 2010 Rochester Fur Ball.

Forster's dogs are popular in their dog-friendly neighborhood of Gramercy where the local wine shop, Gramercy Wine Cellars, for instance, always has doggie treats. But they don't go to dog runs, since it could muck up their long dog-show hair. Because of their hair, Forster even dresses them in T-shirts when they're home.

"The nice thing is, it's also cleaner for the business area," Forster said.

Episodes will examine the importance of grooming and nutrition, pet first aid and how to volunteer to help animals. The series will also include details about city licensing guidelines, dog parks, microchipping, and spaying and neutering.

The show promises to unleash a spotlight on the doggie social world of New York, which is relatively small. Forster had met Hughes before taping the show through the Barking Beauty Pageant, which Hughes started when she got SalliSue six years ago.

Her "pretty little thing" inspired Hughes to start the event as a way to raise money for animal causes, since the make-up artist, actress and singe didn't have extra cash to give to charity.

Hughes always makes matching outfits for herself and SalliSue for the pageant. But regardless of what SalliSue wears, she always prances around like a star on the streets of the Upper East Side.

"She gets stopped so much, she's gotten to the point where she stops first, expecting to be petted," Hughe said. "I say, ‘I'm sorry, not everyone is here to see you.' She looks at me like I'm crazy."

"Doggie Moms" airs Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 9:30pm on NYC life (channel 25), the flagship station of NYC Media, and will be available to watch online at nyc.gov/vod following the premiere.