By Joy and Brian Pape

Welcome Charlie…

CHARLIE AND VIVIANA. Photo courtesy of Anastasia Kim.

On a lovely summer Sunday evening, Brian and I visited one of our favorite places, the Leroy Street Dog Park in the Hudson River Park. There we were drawn to a woman sitting on a bench, lovingly holding a baby. We followed our lead and sat down with Anastasia and her baby, Viviana. Their Goldendoodle Charlie was coming to and fro checking it out. We thought it would be a good Welcome to the Village for you to read about and remind you that dreams do come true…

Anastasia and Jason Kim’s dreams have long been to build their lives in New York. Their dreams were fulfilled April 1, 2019, when they moved here from Lincoln Park, Illinois. They did not yet have a pet or a child, but they were thinking about it and found an apartment in SoHo.

Anastasia now owns The Hair Painters Studio on the Lower East Side. She is a third-generation hair colorist. Her husband, Jason Kim, is a film director, screen writer and video editor.

What did you do your first year here before the pandemic hit?

We had to come to NY to sign our lease in person just days before we moved here in March 2019.
While here during our ‘day trip’, I visited a salon on Sullivan Street to see if I could rent a chair. The stylist there told me that studio was closing but he was considering renting a chair at Serenity Salon on West Broadway. He said to go check it out and we could go 50/50 and share the station. The rest is history, so days before moving to NY, I already had a place to work. I believe it was fate. For the first year, I worked at Serenity and Jason was freelancing.

How did the pandemic affect you and your husband?

Jason at the time was fully freelance when he got an editorial position at BBDO on the exact day of the shutdown. When the company was up and running remotely, he started his job. Salons were closed until the beginning of July, but after three months of lockdown, we were back in business. I wanted to have my own space where I could have a more intimate setting and freedom to run my own operation. My studio was signed for in November 2020 with a soft opening in April 2021.

How about planning to have a dog and a baby?

We had talked about getting a dog for a long time, so it was just fun timing. I did online research for a dog from a private family with children. I figured this would be a good way to know the dog was good with kids, a family dog with little to no shedding. On March 20, 2022, I decided to surprise Jason for his birthday. On the road trip, I arranged to visit the family in Binghamton (NY). Their 10-year-old daughter rolled the puppy out from around the corner in her little cart and yelled “surprise!” The next thing you know, Jason is a dog dad!

As for a baby, we thought, let’s get a dog, be responsible for that and if that goes well, the next step would be a baby. It did and we now have Viviana.
Why did you choose Charlie over the other pups in the litter?

He was the blondie and the cutest. We aimed for 30-35 pounds; he is now 43, so a bit bigger than anticipated, but love him so much.

Why the name Charlie? What does the name mean to you?

Initially, I thought Scooter would be cute, but Jason said it was too hard to say, so Jason just then rattled off Charlie! (Sir Charles Kim). Viviana was born 14 months after getting Charlie, April of 2023.

How did that go?

To my surprise, not so good at first! He didn’t understand being #2 and looked so depressed and ripped up her little hat. Now he is her protector. She’s getting older and more aware and likes to look at and pet him.

What’s Charlie’s favorite thing to do in the Village?

He definitely would live at Leroy Dog Park if he could.

Does Charlie have a favorite restaurant in the Village?

Pizza, pizza, pizza, he just loves pizza crust.

What do you love most about Charlie?

His loving and joyful personality and he loves his sister Viviana.

As soon as we wrote this, we walked over to Leroy Dog Park. There we saw a dog who looked like Charlie and a man playing ball with him. We said, “Could that be Jason and Charlie?” Yes it was! Call it fate or whatever…we know we have come together for a reason.

Meet Snoopy, a Senior Dog with Special Needs

SNOOPY AND ROMEO. Photos courtesy of owner, Kim.

Most dogs are so excited to go to the Leroy Dog Park, they pull their owners to get in. We were surprised to see a slow walking dog with a sore on his head in no rush to get in the gate.

His mother Kim told us, “His name is Snoopy. He’s old and not well but he’s doing well now. I like to adopt pets who are seniors with special needs. Snoopy was on hospice when I adopted him. He has dementia and walks in circles.” That’s exactly what he was doing the whole time we visited. She then went on to tell us she has two other senior dogs she has adopted (rescued), and one foster who are all seniors with special needs.

“I heard that having a cat is good for people who have dementia, so I figured, if cats are good for people, they may be good for Snoopy too. So, I got a cat for Snoopy.” She sent us some pictures of Snoopy and Romeo the cat.