Rescued Shelter Dog Enjoying Second Act As Art Gallery Mascot

By Travis Greenwood

Four years ago he was abandoned at an Oklahoma shelter by an unscrupulous breeder. Today Bertram the Pomeranian is living his very best life at a chic Manhattan art gallery.

Unwinding the rags-to-riches turnaround starts with his human, Kathy Grayson. She's the owner of The Hole, a contemporary art gallery programmed around "emerging art and thematic group exhibitions".

Grayson was surfing Petfinder in 2013 when Bert's profile pulled her in like a tractor beam.

One flight to Tulsa and one 90-minute drive later, the adoption was official: "There was just something about the look in his eyes," she told The Dodo.

The newly minted pair returned to New York City the next day — just in time for the opening of a highly-anticipated exhibition. Hundreds would be attendance.

But the dog with the likeness of a teddy bear was as cool as a cucumber in his new environment.

"He ... [was] ... so calm and like … introspective," Grayson notes.

That was the segue to Bert's second act as The Hole's unofficial mascot.

While his extremely chill demeanor is on display at the gallery daily — admirers are said to routinely stop in with toys and treats — it has also carried the pampered Pom to all the hot spots on the art circuit:

"He's been to dozens of openings, scores of art fairs in NYC, Miami, L.A. and the Hamptons even. He's been to Canada and Seattle and D.C., to clubs, restaurants, bars, even the opera once! His motto is 'Happy to be included!'"

Around the gallery, Bert pitches in as needed: hanging paintings*, mixing oils*, and teasing new collections on social media*. "Nudge the left side of that piece up a bit, we need it level," he borked at a colleague on a recent visit.*

And all this culture has turned Bert into a performance artist himself.

According to Grayson, he'll share his tricks, which include dancing and kissing on command, but only if you meet his price: "If you are anywhere near him and I say kiss he will lick you. It's adorable but now there are no free kisses; he wants a treat for them!"

Like any good artist, Bert appears to know his value. Always leave them wanting more, AM I RIGHT?

* = Writer's flight of fancy, but hey, let's just roll with it, k?