Rolex Riley is a white standard poodle. Handsome pooch. This month, though, he has shed his traditional look for something a bit more hip; after all, this is South Beach and even a dog can make a fashion statement without fear of rejection. So his ears are blue, his tail green, his back a squiggle of both.
Whoa. Before the animal-rights activists get all twisted into a new rage, it's only vegetable coloring. Perfectly safe for human consumption and animal hair, says Bess Serbin, the young woman who bought an established grooming shop in Miami Beach three months ago.
Ms. Serbin says the idea came from a childhood memory of pink poodles strutting the streets of New York. It took the longest time to convince her that pink wasn't a color poodle pups were born, but now at age 24, with education as a veterinary technician and medical assistant, she knows pink poodles definitely come from a bottle.
"Putting South Beach and dyeing together, I think, is a great idea," says Ms. Serbin. "It has caught on here."
At Ms. Serbin's shop, Barbara's Grooming, a dye job costs a little less than humans usually pay at the beauty salon. Depending upon how much color and the complexity (stripes are hardest, Serbin says), the cost runs from $30 to $45.
People have asked that their white and light tan dogs be dyed to match a favorite sports team. Some people want their pets dyed for special holidays.
"It's a lark, it's fun, as long as it doesn't hurt the dog," says Frances Sabag, who takes care of Caesar for her daughter. "He gets a kick out of all the attention."
This summer, Caesar was multicolored and people who saw him out walking ooh-ed and ahh-ed over his look, Ms. Sabag says.
Rolex Riley's owner, Linda Adelman, says she's going to have him colored red and green before Christmas so he can accompany her as she sells her Christmas cards on the streets of South Beach.
"He'll be an attention-getter."