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Downtown Dogs Dress Up for Annual Puppy Prom

By Julie Shapiro | August 10, 2011 1:33pm
Prom king Bandit and prom queen Holly celebrated with their owners, Anthony Rubio, left, and Kristen Tyburski, right.
Prom king Bandit and prom queen Holly celebrated with their owners, Anthony Rubio, left, and Kristen Tyburski, right.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

SEAPORT — The king and queen made an unlikely pair at The Salty Paw's fourth annual Puppy Prom Tuesday night.

Bandit, a dapper 10-year-old Chihuahua, perched calmly in his owner's arms, while his queen, Holly, a much larger 10-month-old Burmese Mountain Dog, bounded enthusiastically forward to accept her crown, shaking her pink tutu and reveling in the attention.

"I'm so excited," said Doug Tyburski, 31, a Seaport resident and Holly's owner. "I've never been so proud in my life."

The Salty Paw, a pet spa and accessory shop on Peck Slip, has been hosting Puppy Prom for the past four years as a way of bringing the neighborhood's dogs and dog owners together.

Dozens of dogs donned costumes ranging from $75 satin designer duds to sequined homemade creations. Many owners dressed to match their pooches.

"Nothing ceases to amaze me anymore," said Amanda Byron Zink, owner of The Salty Paw. "Right when I think I've seen it all, every year I see something new."

This year, the event raised money for Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine in memory of Tyras, Zink's beloved Great Dane, who had a bad heart and died in May.

The king and queen were bestowed on dogs with standout costumes and friendly demeanor. The coronated Bandit wore sunglasses and a stately gray-and-black jacket designed by his owner, Bronx resident Anthony Rubio. Bandit is a regular on the canine costume circuit and appeared unruffled by the fuss.

But Holly, who was attending her first prom, was filled with a newcomer's enthusiasm as she made new friends and downed doggy cupcakes while wagging her frothy skirt, which came from the children's department at Century 21.

Kristen Tyburski, 29, Doug's wife, said that in light of all the excitement, they wanted to make sure Holly didn't get too carried away on her first prom night.

"My husband and I had a talk with her prom date," Kristen said. "No funny business — she's not that kind of girl."

While a few of the prom-goers tussled on the floor and the odd growl was heard, the partiers mostly behaved themselves and did not seem to mind being covered in lace, ribbons and glitter.

Marlene Hungria, 34, a Bronx resident, said her two Yorkshire terriers are used to getting dressed up. They even get excited.

"They know when the clothes come on, they're going outside, so they're happy about it," Hungria said.

Ilene Zeins, a Brooklyn resident, said the $45 pink-and-black gown for her Maltese-poodle ZZ was a small price to pay for her dog to go to prom.

"I never went to prom," Zeins said, "so I wanted my little baby to have the whole prom experience."