On Sunday afternoon, Blair and Anton Igudesman stood outside the Grit N Glory tattoo parlor and clothing boutique on the Lower East Side bundled against the cold as they awaited the arrival of the newest member of their family.
An American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals van approached and parked outside the tattoo parlor. A few moments later, a beige, three-legged dog with a mix of Labrador in his genes bounded from the door despite being held back by his leash. The dog sniffed the sidewalk, the planter, the trees.
“There he is!” Blair Igudesman said. “There’s Wiggly!”
The couple, who lives on the Upper East side, were at the fourth annual “Tats ‘N’ Tails” event, hosted by Grit N Glory and the ASPCA, to adopt Wiggly, whom they saw on the nonprofit’s website a few days before. Three other dogs and nearly a dozen cats were also available for adoption, and animal lovers could buy $100 flash tattoos — pre-drawn tattoo sketches — of cats with KISS-esque face paint and a terrier on a slice of pizza along with selected apparel. All proceeds go to the ASPCA.
Events such as this are about outreach and less about the pressure to adopt, according to Eileen Hanavan, the ASPCA’s manager of mobile adoption events. She said most adoptions happen a few days after an event.
But she still considers Sunday’s event a success — at least for Wiggly.
Once a stray, Wiggly ended up in a city dog shelter with a broken back leg and was transferred to the ASPCA adoption center on East 92nd Street on the Upper East Side. His back right leg was unsalvageable and amputated just a couple weeks ago, according to Igudesman. Despite the amputation, Wiggly played with people passing by, collecting scratches and pats as his new owners finalized his adoption paperwork.
Originally from San Francisco, the Igudesmans know what it means to have a pet who requires additional medical attention. Their 14-year-old Shar Pei died in October shortly after they adopted her. That didn’t discourage them from trying again.
What attracted them to Wiggly was his age. They believe that because Wiggly is only six months old, he will learn to live with his disability. They plan to rename him Bailey, after the Irish liqueur because “he is kind of that color,” said Igudesman.
“Beside the basic puppy stuff, we are mostly nervous about taking him up and down the stairs,” said Anton Igudesman. Their Upper East Side apartment is a fifth-floor walk-up.
“I don’t want to hold him the wrong way and have him yelp,” his wife said.
They plan to buy pet insurance within the next few days and find a neighborhood vet.
“We like helping animals throughout their lives,” said Blair Igudesman.
“We saw him online and he is just so cute,” said Anton Igudesman. “In his ASPCA photo, he is holding a teddy bear in his mouth.”
“We hung out with him for about 20 minutes yesterday,” said Anton Igudesman.
“No, it was more like 40 minutes,” his wife said.
“Enough to know he was sweet,” Anton Igudesman said.
As soon as the paperwork was finished, Wiggly’s orange “Adopt Me” vest came off, and his leash was handed off to Anton Igudesman. It was the first adoption of the day, and before heading home, Megan Massacre, a celebrity tattoo artist seen on TV shows like NY Ink and co-founder of Grit N Glory, came out of the shop from tattooing for a quick photo op with Wiggly and the Igudesmans. The new family headed to East Houston Street to call an Uber as the ASPCA crowd applauded.
Inside the shop, the list to get a flash tattoo was completely filled up just an hour after the event started.
Stephanie Orellana came to Grit N Glory because she saw the event advertised on Instagram. With no plans to adopt, she had about a three-hour wait before she was able to get her bunny tattoo.
“I have four dogs, four cats and a frog,” Orellana said. “So, no, not here to adopt, but there are a lot of cool tattoos to choose from from renowned artists.”
There were six tattoo artists working the event at any given time, according to Emily Conley, co-founder and creative director of Grit N Glory. The shop is able to accommodate nearly 60 people before reaching capacity. Last year’s event, she said, raised nearly $7,000 for the ASPCA.
“A lot of the people come for the tattoos,” said Hanavan. “But it just goes to show you the level of interest people of all backgrounds share a common interest for helping animals.”