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Pamper your pooch at pet boutique

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Fresh Meadows resident Ellen Halligan has been a pet owner all her life, but it was not until recently that she decided to funnel her love of animals into a business venture.

Halligan has launched Dress the Dog, a company that specializes in clothing and accessories for canines. She offers harnesses, coats, hoodies, sweaters, vests, parkas, dresses and other accessories for man’s — and woman’s — best friend. She also knits wool and cotton sweaters in a variety of sizes for dogs.

“The dogs love these items,” Halligan said. “I love to see when a dog will try on one of the coats or sweaters and they’re loving it. They start wagging their tail.”

For Halligan, the new business is a dream come true for the woman who was surrounded by dogs while growing up in Jamaica. She moved to Fresh Meadows in 1980 and has since always had pets in her house and currently has a Dalmatian, Barry, and Otto, a long-haired Dachshund.

“I could never figure out what I wanted to do before this,” Halligan said. “I drove cabs, bred fish, but starting Dress the Dog has been the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.”

Halligan first found her inspiration to sell clothing and accessories for dogs several years ago at Cunningham Park in Fresh Meadows.

“I had taken Barry to the dog run, and a woman came over to talk to me about dogs,” Halligan said. “She said her brother manufactures dog clothes in China and had boxes of them in her basement, so I bought some from her and began to sell them.”

The Fresh Meadows resident frequently travels to various pet events to sell her merchandise. In a typical year she will go to New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia for the events known as Super Pet Expos.

“The expos are nice because people can really spend time looking at the harnesses and the dogs can try different things on,” Halligan said.

Halligan offers five type of harnesses she said do not put pressure on dogs’ necks.

“I specialize in helping people find the right control for their dog,” Halligan said. “You need to have control, and these don’t hurt them.”

Dress the Dog continues to grow and Halligan said she will soon launch her Web site dressthedog.com.

For more information about Dress the Dog, call 347-782-3746.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

Updated 5:44 pm, October 10, 2011
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