With this year’s animal issue, we thought we’d try something a bit different — seeing our furry, feathered, finned and four-legged friends through the human animal. Our opening essay sets the tone for this as we explore how the female of the species calls the shots in every group except one — us.
But that has changed somewhat in China where a shortage of young women, thanks to the country’s nearsighted one-child policy that selected for boy babies back in the 1980s, has given these women their pick of men today. Meanwhile, Phil offers a different animal-through-a-human lens tale by way of a fascinating 19th-century take on the biblical story of Jonah and the whale that demonstrates the human capacity for imagination — and gullibility.
Elsewhere, you’ll meet Gretchen Carlson, who fired one of the first shots in what has become the #MeToo movement when she sued Fox News and its then chairman Roger Ailes for sexual harassment — a move that would lead her to seek to empower women. The Greenwich resident — who’ll be a keynote speaker at the Westchester Women’s Summit that WAG is co-sponsoring Sept. 10 — is the parent of two teenagers and Lagotto Ramagnolo Water Dog Bella, who doesn’t much care for the water.
Broadway and cabaret star, and cover subject, Melissa Errico — happily ensconced in Bronxville with husband Patrick McEnroe of tennis fame and their three girls, as Gregg discovers — is also mom to Yorkshire Terrier Pepper. Westchester art collectors and Neuberger Museum of Art honorees Jim and Susan Dubin are so fond of their Schnoodle Coriander (Cori for short) that they recently threw a “Bark Mitzvah” for him and their Cori-loving friends.
The love of animals has turned the personal into the professional for many of our two-legged subjects. Fashion-turned-home-design goddess Carolyne Roehm is so passionate about animals that they are reflected not only in her new The Birds & Bees Collection but in her Going to the Dogs initiative on behalf of dog and cat shelters, as Mary explores. She also reintroduces us to Bob and Karen Madden, the Poughquag husband-and-wife artists of Rock and A Soft Place Studio, whose love for their Dobermans led them to support local animal shelters (Robin’s Pet Portrait).
Knowing us as you do, however, you are assured that we’ve found animals everywhere this month — in Hunt Slonem’s bunny paintings and books, seen recently at Madelyn Jordon Fine Art in Scarsdale (Jeremy’s story); in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new British Galleries (Mary again) and “Crossroads” installations, both helping to mark The Met’s 150th anniversary; in the delightful creations that accent The Tailored Home in Greenwich; and in WAG alumna Martha Handler’s new novel “Winter of the Wolf,” which draws on her longtime relationship with the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem.
Why our fascination with animals? They give us joy, says Scott Falciglia, co-owner of The Tailored Home. But it goes beyond that. We think Wolf Burchard, curator of The Met’s to-die-for British Galleries (the recreation of the dining room of the Neoclassical Lansdowne House alone is swoon-worthy), hits the nail on the head when he says that animals have given the button-down Brits (and, by extension, the rest of us) an emotional release. They calm, console, energize and inspire us, as psychotherapist Dana Dorfman notes in her piece. And we have repaid this at times with cruelty. The Ox Ridge Riding & Racquet Club in Darien was once the Ox Ridge Hunt Club, although it hasn’t been associated with fox hunting for years, as Phil notes. Centers for orphan elephants like the one in Umani Springs, Kenya that John Rizzo brings us wouldn’t be needed if we didn’t have poachers. Nor would we need the SPCA, partner in our Pet of the Month feature, if there weren’t so many animals requiring rescue and forever homes.
Dorfman urges us to adopt them — as a way of also rescuing ourselves.
A couple of postcripts about this month’s issue. We’re always innovating at WAG, so you’ll notice that in addition to Friday’s WAG Weekly, we now have daily e-blasts called Teatime WAGging — trends, inspiration and things to anticipate on your afternoon power break.
Also, we go to press amid COVID-19. We’ve done our best to ensure that everything we’ve advanced here is actually happening. But hey, you never know. Please check with venues for the latest details. As for Debbi and Bill’s article on their cruise aboard the Regent Seven Seas Splendor, Doug’s story on wine-tasting in Umbria and Jeremy’s speakeasy piece, well, these places will come back and so will we. Spring, after all, is the season of hope.
A 2018 Folio Women in Media Award Winner, Georgette Gouveia is the author of the new “Burying the Dead,” “Daimon: A Novel of Alexander the Great” and “Seamless Sky” (both JMS Books), as well as “The Penalty for Holding,” a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist (JMS Books), and “Water Music” (Greenleaf Book Group). They’re part of her series of novels, “The Games Men Play,” also the name of the sports/culture blog she writes. For more, visit thegamesmenplay.com.