Pet lovers are well and truly out of the closet — and spending lavishly on their beloved companions. Pups strapped into front carriers are becoming a common sight on Nassau Street, and if those new, specially-designed dog strollers haven’t hit Princeton’s main drag, it’s a good bet that they will soon be seen in the Pawtisserie, the town’s thriving pet bakery.

With one of our editors the proud new owner of an adorable baby beagle and another the door-person for a demanding pack of cats, we noticed that pets suddenly are everywhere. The Medical Center at Princeton has added pet CPR to its schedule of classes; the Bent Spoon is turning out all-natural ice cream for dogs, which is for sale at Pawtisserie, and Picky Paws, the Lambertville pet store, is holding BYOB, Bring Your Own Breed, mixers on Lambertville-New Hope Second Saturdays (the street and art festival held Second Saturdays).

We had been mulling a pet issue for some time, when Mark Sherman, a long-time Trenton Times photographer, called to say that, recently downsized from the paper, he had just opened a pets-and-their-people photography business. This call came soon after we had gotten an invitation to Picky Paws’ Halloween-themed pet masquerade on Saturday, October 14.

The time for a pet issue had come. Meanwhile, we had just received a well-crafted pitch for a story on the trend toward holistic medical care for animals from another U.S. 1 contributor, Jean Cervi. The barks and meows had become too loud to ignore. The dogs (and cats), slotted into the editorial calendar, were scheduled to have their day.

If dogs had been allowed to cavort at the outdoor sculpture park, Grounds for Sculpture last Sunday, October 8, they would have had a deliriously happy good time. Alas the park does not host pets. It did, however, host cavorting dancers, because Jamuna Desi’s Outlet Dance Project presented a showcase for emerging women choreographers from New Jersey, previewed in U.S. 1 by Anne Levin in our October 4 issue.

The concert drew more than twice the anticipated number, says Lynn DeClemente, the park’s event coordinator, who expected to sell 100 tickets for the dance concert, but more than 220 of the park’s 1,150 visitors for that day came specifically to see the dance.

They were wowed. They went from sculpture to sculpture to see innovative choreography ranging from “just for fun” dances to political commentary.

At Red Maple Alley, the site for the most exotic piece of the day, the afternoon sun shone through a narrow row of trees. Tanya Calamoneri’s dancers, dressed in Japanese Butoh style (draped in white with scarlet sleeve linings and with faces whitened) moved ever so slowly in and among the trees. Then, to the spirited beat of the Figgy Pudding band, they paraded up and down the tree corridor, followed by the awestruck crowd.

U.S. 1’s Residential Real Estate issue, originally set for this week, will be published next week instead. And our thanks go to William Vandegrift, Marie Rendine, Bob Innella, and T.J. Lee, who drove up and down Route 1 during rush hour to conduct this year’s traffic survey.

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