No Tux, But Plenty Of Tails

December 01, 1990|By Rafael Alvarez

The greyhound wore a trench coat.

Chip, retired from dog tracks out west, managed to combine fashion, economy and sensibility with his $27.95, water-repellent and wool-lined coat from the Richter Co. of New York.

Like most top models and almost all greyhounds, Chip has thin skin, short hair and almost no body fat. The trench coat kept him warm, comfortable and oh-so-stylish on a cold morning in Baltimore yesterday as he stepped out at the Fourth Annual Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Fashion Show.

"The dogs," said Katharine Thornton, SPCA president, "are walking around to be looked at."

Chip mostly stood in the SPCA mansion house in Hampden because racing greyhounds are trained not to sit for fear they will do so at the starting gate.

Nearby frolicked Fresca, a perky West Highland white terrier and the star of Wrigley's Doublemint gum television commercials.

Fresca looked casual and sporty in a plaid wool Christmas scarf, a fine winter selection, according to her owner.

"The dogs just love it because it is so comfortable," she said.

All around the SPCA's mansion, known as Evergreen on the Falls, were pooches in parkas, bow-wows in bow-ties and schnauzers in sweaters.

The dogs were accompanied to the do by their owners, fashions were provided by the Sheer Grace animal boutique of Roland Park, and the cause was the same one the SPCA has been pushing for years: finding good homes for abandoned animals.

Many people like to adopt SPCA animals over the holidays -- for a price of $40 for a dog, $28 for a cat -- but if you want to give a gift that barks this Christmas for that special someone in your life, you had better hurry.

"We don't let people adopt during the two weeks before Christmas. There's too much excitement in the home," said Constance Bendann, the SPCA publicist. "The dogs are likely to chew up the tinsel. Young children may think the puppy is just another toy."

The SPCA Dog Fashion Show will be held again from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the group's hillside headquarters, 3300 Falls Road in Hampden.

"We want people to go down to the kennel and adopt a kitten or a puppy," Ms. Bendann said.

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