Lucky Dogs

According to www.petpopulation.org., millions of homeless animals sit in shelters waiting to be adopted. Fortunately for them, one New York jeweler is doing his best to take a bite out of that sad figure: Erwin Pearl, a longtime high-end costume jeweler, is aiding pet adoption efforts by donating 5% of retail sale proceeds from his Adorable Pooches line of jewelry to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The ASPCA is a New York City organization that provides financial and educational assistance to animal shelters nationwide, including shelters run by branches of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a separate organization.

A trip to a Westminster (N.Y.) Kennel Club show a few years ago served as Pearl’s inspiration for the 52-breed line of dog brooches, key rings, and cufflinks. “I’m an animal lover, and so are many of my friends,” says Pearl. “So I thought, why not create a limited-edition dog pin collection that pleases pet owners and benefits the ASPCA?”

The pieces, which Pearl calls “little works of art,” are composed of several layers of baked French enamel over a gold-tone metal base. Crystal eyes embellish many of the dogs. Just 2,500 copies of each dog are made, then the designer alters the model for a new look. Pearl’s best-selling brooch to date is the Bichon Frisé, but Pugs, West Highland White Terriers (“Westies”), and Yorkshire Terriers also are popular. Retail prices for the canine collection range from $80-$105.

Though Pearl sells the line only in his 20 stores nationwide, these Adorable Pooches have caught the eye of Colibri, a fine jewelry manufacturer in Providence, R.I. Fred Levinger, Colibri’s president, says that starting this fall, the firm will offer the line to 500 of its jeweler customers who carry better-made gifts. His interest in the products is two-fold—charity and unusual product. “Charitable ventures can be effective for business, but consumers also want unique and high-quality pieces,” says Levinger.

ASPCA officials are thrilled with Pearl’s pooches and his donation. “Proceeds from the line help us buy digital cameras to photograph homeless dogs and post them on the Internet for potential owners to view,” says Amy Lieberman, manager of marketing for consumer products and licensing at the ASPCA. Photos of animals that are waiting to be adopted can be viewed at www.petfinder.org, which is an ASPCA partner. Each day, some 2,000 animal shelters across the United States upload to the site photos of pets for adoption (though petpopulation.org estimates there are more than 5,000 shelters nationwide). Many of the shelters use digital cameras purchased with proceeds from Pearl’s jewelry.

One pooch up for adoption in New York was Cassy, a young brindle boxer found on the city streets nearly a year ago with two broken front legs. “She was in such bad shape we weren’t sure if we could save her,” says Leiberman. Cassy was treated in a nearby veterinary hospital for six months and had one front leg amputated and the other implanted with metal pins. After receiving lots of care from ASPCA and vet hospital workers and a foster mom, Cassy is now happy, healthy, and has a new home on a farm outside the city, says Leiberman.

Cat lovers, don’t fret: Pearl says cat pins are coming.