Welcome to my Blog, inspired by Captain Will Judy, who in 1928 launched a special way to celebrate the unique enduring bond between dogs and their humans, observed the last full of week of September each year!

Congratulations to Michele Adams and her dedicated team of  volunteers down in Big Pine Key, FL. (see post of March 24th for details).  Last Saturday, they successfully raised over $500.00 at their dog wash/vaccine clinic.  Proceeds go to realizing their vision for a state-of-the-art dog park by early next year.  Good luck to them as they plan their final fundraiser of the year, a Christmas Party event to be held on December 12 at Parrotdise on the Beach (a great place)  – all dogs and their humans are welcome for a fun-filled celebration with a “paws.”  I think our dogs really put a lot of fun in our lives, and keep the spirit of generosity in our holiday season.  Stay-tuned for a post about Ada Nieves and her holiday event at Bryant Park, NYC, on November 20th!

The following is an interview with Carla Gambescia, whose fundraiser will leave you craving to help her cause…

As a child, Carla Gambescia preferred stuffed dogs to dolls, and soon fell in love with the real ones that would populate her life.  Now through her business establishment, she gets to fuse her love of dogs with her passion for food, which has resulted in a unique, and flavorful way to raise money for a cause that helps dogs to help people – Guiding Eyes for the Blind, America’s leading Guide Dog School (which is now also breeding and training dogs for both visually impaired and autistic children).  

Dogs in Party Hats, is a contest that has dog owners dreaming up some delicious gelato flavors inspired by their faithful companions.  Some recent concoctions are Carnivale Caramel Teddy, La Boheme Almondine, and a popular favorite from their gracious spokesdog, Bocker’s Doodlicious Swirl (a yummmy blend of banana and caramel). This year’s contest was launched on April 28th on International Guide Dog Day and runs until Midnight, December 12, 2010 (Please note this extended deadline).  Entries are $20.00 each- which serves as a donation going entirely to Guiding Eyes for the Blind.  To learn more about the contest, and enter your dog, go to www.dogsinpartyhats.com or visit their Facebook page.


Spokesdog Bocker Labradoode


Hi Carla, thanks for sharing your work on behalf of dogs, and humans in your creative way.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself…and your eating establishment, Via Vanti! Restaurant and Gelateria located in Mt. Kisco, New York.

I have been a Marketing & Communication Veteran of nearly 30 years — from Madison Avenue  advertising agencies to my own marketing consultancy business which I had for 20 years — I specialized in foods, beverages and food service new product development.  I was also a partner in a gelato company — Ciao Bella for several years before I opened my own place.

I have had poodles and various mutts/rescues.  Dogs are people and totally connect with our emotions — they just make life better.  Did you know that the popular dog name  “Fido” comes from the Latin word fidelis for faithful and trustworthy??!!!  I also have a great love for all things Italian — my parents were both Italian and we traveled to Italy frequently even when I was just a child.  I have always loved gelato ( a highlight of each and every trip to Italy).  In 2007 I designed a bike trip that won Outside Magazine’s Best Trip in Western Europe — the Giro del Gelato designed around gelato tasting!!

Via Vanti! Restaurant & Gelateria is a dream of nearly 15 years that I have now ” brought to life.”  This brings together my professional experience and personal passions (for Italy, gelato etc).  The restaurant is eclectic Italian — NOT traditional Mama Mia fare.  Everything is lighter, fresher, healthier … our menu integrates local and seasonal ingredients as well as fusion elements.  We were well reviewed by the New York Times (Zagat rated very good to excellent for food, service and ambiance) and named “Best Gelato Shop in New York” We offer 18 flavors daily.  YUM!!

Please share your mission with your Dogs in Party Hats fundraiser…

We have an official Mission Statement which is: “Dogs in Party Hats is dedicated to raising awareness and support for Guiding Eyes for the Blind and all their good works. Dogs in Party Hats is also dedicated to celebrating dogs and all the amazing ways they make like better”. Guiding Eyes for the Blind (http://www.facebook.com/l/b0f3dngh6hy1Zrr2rf_u-WXlHBg;www.guidingeyes.org) is a national organization headquartered in Yorktown Heights, New York very close to my restaurant. Guiding Eyes has recently initiated an addition program matching guide dogs with kids struggling with autism. They are a wonderful well managed organization that provides all services to the visually impaired and autistic for FREE. I have 3 blind cousins whose lives have been vastly enhanced by caring canines.

Tell us how dogs as gelato flavors can help this great cause …

As a foodie and I see flavors everywhere. I love dogs and have seen them as gelato flavors (their colorings and personalities) for a long time I see a Pug and I think “Butter Rumba” or a Collie and think “Pumpkin Latte” or a Chihuahua and envision Mojito Spice (as a spunky refreshing sorbetto!). Anyone can do it — all you have to do in UNLEASH YOUR IMAGINATION! Think of your dog as a yummy flavor, dress them up — ideally in their party best, snap a picture and upload to http://www.facebook.com/l/b0f3d8c9Tl3u1y78st0bUezdJ3A;www.dogsinpartyhats.com. The entry fee is a donation and there are 12 annual winners — each who will inspire me to create a 2011 Gelato Flavor-of -the Month. Winners also become a Flavor-of-the-Month “Pin-up Pooch” in the next year’s Dogs in Party Hats Annual Calendar. We are selling the 2011 Dogs in Party Hats Calendar online for $15 with ALL profits going to Guiding Eyes for the Blind. So there are TWO away to help support Guiding Eyes — by entering the contest or purchasing a Dogs in Party Hats calendar. The calendar is a fun affordable gift idea for dog lovers everywhere! I encourage everyone to do BOTH!

Party Hats off to  (I mean on to) Carla and her dogs of fundraising…In the innovative way she has used her savvy business skills and talent, she embodies the true spirit of Will Judy’s National Dog Week Movement, every week of the Calendar Year.  Carla, can you come up with seven great flavors for seven days of the dog for next September’s dog week?  I don’t think that will be too “ruff ” for you!