Canines, their owners meet and greet in downtown L.A.

Libby Johnson

Pussy ‘ Pooch teamed with Bark Avenue Foundation to present Furlicious, a special outdoor evening event for pet owners and their furry friends on June 23 at J Lounge in downtown Los Angeles. More than 100 humans and approximately 70 dogs attended.

Guests enjoyed a variety of activities from placing bids at the silent auction to benefit Bark Avenue Foundation to an opportunity to adopt a pet. In addition, guests partook in complimentary massages by Salon Pure and had a chance to win a prize in the complimentary raffle.

Pets were treated to meaty organic treats through several vendors and “pawticures” by the same salon mentioned earlier. Dogs romped on an area of fresh grass, referred to as The Lawn, and drank non-alcoholic Happy Tail Ale Beer.

“It has been so wonderful that everyone turned out and supported tonight’s event,” said Melanie Pozez, founder and president of Bark Avenue Foundation. “We look forward to more to come.”

Janene Zakrajsek, a founder and self-proclaimed “Petreprenuer” of Pussy ‘ Pooch, said it was an awesome turnout and everyone left with a smile on their faces. This was the first event, and it was free, to bring the community together.

“It was a joint effort that we wanted to be free as to not deter anyone from coming,” Zakrajsek said. Because there was no entry fee, cost and profit of the event was not disclosed.

Zakrajsek worked with six of her own staff members, 10 from Bark Avenue and three vendors, which she noted were the big hit at the event. Hungry canines sampled treats from ZiwiPeak Dog Cuisine, Wagalicious Natural Pet Foods and SOUPLEMENTS by dogpeople.

Emily Chan created soup for pets, the first of its kind, when her dog Miles became severely dehydrated. Miles, a shepherd mix rescue dog, suffered from food allergies as a puppy that led to vomiting and loss of appetite. In 2003, he required intravenous fluids and overnight hospital supervision.

“My boyfriend’s dad is a cardiologist and he recommended homemade soup for Miles. Like sick humans, chicken soup can aid animals’ health too,” said Chan, president and founder of dogpeople, Inc.

It would turn out that the chicken soup stimulated Miles’ appetite with the extra electrolytes and nutrients in his system. Now Chan has created a collection of soup recipes that are low in fat, low in calories and lift dogs’ spirits – sick or healthy.

Peggy Koons, who owns a flower shop nearby, received an invitation and decided to bring her six-year-old Vaca, a Chihuahua breed. Vaca enjoyed herself and left with some treats, Koons said.

The three-hour event took place on the back patio of J Lounge, which is equipped with a fire pit, private cabanas and a full bar. Fresh grilled tapas were served.

Pussy ‘ Pooch, a retailer downtown, joins traditional boutique amenities with exclusive modern luxuries. The retailer features a one-of-a-kind Pawbar, a buffet of pet proportions where they can walk right to the nutritious raw-food meals and more. All treats at the event are available at their locations.

The Bark Avenue Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to ending the pet overpopulation through spaying and neutering, humane education and community outreach.