Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Boysie and Girlsie

Brooke Russell Astor always loved dogs, they were only source of company during her early years. Her favorite were, perhaps, her two beloved dachshunds, Boysie and Girlsie, which she had during the last years of her life. The twos dogs were her constant companions for years and were great sources of joy in her life.

Brooke Astor During Her Marriage To Vincent, Seated Next To Her Were Boysie And Girlsie

Brooke, who had gotten the dogs because she was lonely, adored them. They lived with her and Vincent until his death. At her Park Avenue duplex they slept at her feet. She never needed an alarm clock because Boysie woke her when it was time to get up. If she didn't get up, He would sit and bark at her.  

Brooke's Son, Tony Marshall, Visiting Her And Girlsie At Ferncliff, The Astor Estate On The Hudson River (courtesy of Tony Marshall Collection) 

When Brooke travelled to her other two homes, Holly Hill in Briarcliff Manor, NY and Cove End in Maine, the two dogs accompanied her, riding alongside her in limousine. She made it a point to walk her dogs herself at least once a day, when in New York around Central Park, when at Holly Hill around town, when at Cove End around the grounds. 

Brooke Astor Hiking With Her Dogs At Her Camp In Upper Maine, August Moon (courtesy of Alec Marshall Collection) 

At Holly Hill, Brooke's love of her dogs was evident. Her famous spiral staircase was adorned with several paintings of various types of dogs. When her estate was auctioned, every single one of the paintings was sold. Boysie and Girlsie both had portraits hanging up on the spiral wall, along with all of Brooke's other dogs. 

Brooke's Famous Spiral Staircase, Adorned With Several Paintings Of Dogs (courtesy of Tyler Hughes collection)

The dogs were with Mrs Astor up until her death. During the famous trial which accused Tony Marshall of Elder Abuse to his poor mother, it was found out that Tony had the two dogs locked up in the pantry so Mrs Astor could not see them until she gave him more money and refused to let her see them. He even threatened to have them put down. As you know, Annette de la Renta, David Rockefeller and Philip Marshall took action and eventually got Mrs Astor out of her Park Avenue duplex (which Tony had not let her leave) and back to Holly Hill, where she spent her remaining months alive. 

The Last Photograph of Brooke Russell Astor, Being Pushed Around The Grounds Of Holly Hill, Girlsie Joins Them (courtesy of Philip Marshall) 

Boysie and Girlsie were adopted by a friend of Mrs Astor, Iris Love, a Vermont breeder, where they live in the lap of luxury. "Girlsie is a total princess" says the breeder, who hung a picture of Mrs Astor up on the fireplace, where Girlsie naps in front of her former Mistress "while all the other dogs go in and out of the doggie door, she just stands their staring at you, waiting for you to open the door for her" she says. "Boysie is a complete busybody" she said "he wants to be in all the other dogs business". The two dogs, though they love their new life, "have missed Mrs Astor dearly" says Love. 

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