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StrangeSights: Miguel and Ruby offer a helping hand (and paw); Diana’s “black sheep” jumper headed for auction; and, a club for pets…

Brazil - Sao Paulo - Miguel and Ruby

DAVID ADAMS provides a round-up of some stories on the odder side of life…

Brazil - Sao Paulo - Miguel and Ruby

Miguel Pereira de Souza and his dog Ruby ride around Brazil’s sprawling metropolis Sao Paulo on a motorbike, handing out free dog food to less fortunate pooches. PICTURE: Screenshot via Reuters TV

• Miguel Pereira de Souza and his dog Ruby zoom through Brazil’s sprawling metropolis Sao Paulo on a motor-bike on a mission: hand out free dog food to less fortunate pooches. The two have become social media sensations, chronicling their efforts delivering food to dogs-in-need for over 150,000 followers on TikTok. The now inseparable pair met when Souza, 51, found an injured and homeless Ruby under his car in the South American city nine years ago. An emotional Souza vividly remembers the day he found Ruby, and how soon after he devoted his free time to looking after hungry street dogs like Ruby once was. “I said from today every time I see a dog going hungry, I will donate a portion of food,” Souza said, wiping away tears. Once Souza posted videos and pictures on social media of his food deliveries and the street dogs, donations started to flood in. “I had more than 700 kilograms of dog food in my living room,” said Souza, who has Ruby’s name tattooed on his forearm. “We have already donated more than five tonnes of food.” Souza set up a small initiative three years ago called the Ruby Fofa (Cute Ruby) delivery service, which sells dog food and treats to locals in Sao Paulo and uses the profits to buy food for street dogs. Ruby has her own helmet and backpack for the duo’s motor-bike rides. Souza, who earns his living delivering fast-food by bike, says he has never forced her to ride. “She always jumps on the bike’s seat. She always wants to go! So I take her on every delivery,” Souza said.  Sao Paulo resident Raja Vidya, who uses the Ruby Fofa service, says that many people abandoned their dogs after the COVID-19 pandemic. “This help from Miguel – donating food, water, time and encouraging others to donate – I think is very cool,” she said. “I am very proud to be part of this, because when we buy at Ruby’s shop, we are encouraging, we are helping people to donate more and more.” – LEONARDO BENASSATTO, Sao Paulo, Brazil/Reuters TV


A 'black sheep' jumper worn by the Britain's late Diana, Princess of Wales, is displayed at Sotheby's, in London, Britain, on 17th July, 2023.

A ‘black sheep’ jumper worn by the Britain’s late Diana, Princess of Wales, is displayed at Sotheby’s, in London, Britain, on 17th July, 2023. The jumper, which is to go up for auction, was worn by Diana on several occasions, and was recently rediscovered in a box in the attic of the manufacturers along with correspondence from Diana’s private secretary. PICTURE: Reuters/Rachel Adams

• A jumper worn by Britain’s late Princess Diana and depicting a black sheep is headed for auction later this summer with a price estimate of up to $US80,000. Designed by knitwear label Warm & Wonderful, the sweater, which will headline Sotheby’s Fashion Icons from 31st August to 14th September online sale, was rediscovered in an attic earlier this year by one of the brand’s founders. Diana first wore the red jumper, which depicts a lone black sheep among rows of white sheep, to watch then Prince Charles play in a polo game in June 1981, a month before they were married, sparking speculation over its potential significance. After it was damaged on the wrist, her private secretary Oliver Everett wrote to Warm & Wonderful co-founder Joanna Osborne asking if it could be repaired and the jumper was sent back. A few months later, Diana received a replacement, which she was photographed wearing in 1983.  Osborne found the original in a box in her attic in March. “If you’re Princess Diana, certainly you have access to lots of pieces of apparel you could choose to wear,” Cynthia Houlton, global head of fashion at Sotheby’s, told Reuters at a press preview in London on Monday. “And the fact that she wanted a replacement and then again two years later wore…the replacement sweater, I think speaks really volumes from her how much this sweater meant to her.” The jumper, which is being sold with Everett’s two letters to Osborne, has a price estimate of $US50,000-$US80,000. Earlier this year, Sotheby’s sold a purple, velvet, strapless evening gown worn by Diana, designed by couturier Victor Edelstein for his autumn 1989 collection, for just over $US600,000, five times its pre-auction estimate. The jumper and letters are on display at Sotheby’s London until Wednesday. They will go on show in New York in September. – MARIE-LOUISE GUMUCHIAN, London, UK/Reuters


Hengheng’s friends could tell he was enjoying his birthday party in the pricey, health-conscious restaurant in downtown Shanghai by the way he licked his food off the plate. A one-year-old Border Collie sitting in a buggy and wearing a cupcake hat, Hengheng was the only one at the table enjoying the carefully prepared, elaborately plated food which at the Cat and Dog Club is for pets only.  “If my dog is happy then I am happy. My dog is just like my child,” said Tiffany Wang, Hengheng’s owner, one of six people celebrating the birthday by clapping and taking pictures of the dog and his paw-shaped cake.  “I can see from his reaction and the way he was eating everything so fast that he was actually really happy.” China’s pet economy was worth 493.6 billion yuan ($US69 billion) last year, a 25 per cent increase on the previous year, according to data from research firm iiMedia Research. It is expected to reach 811.4 billion yuan by 2025. Part of this growth is attributed to smaller family sizes in China – the country recorded its lowest birth rate on record last year.  A growing number of people are also living alone, with state media publishing data last year showing China has 125 million one-person households, increasing the importance of animal companions.  The Cat and Dog Club, which opened in 2021 to cater to a growing army of pet lovers, serves an extensive menu to its animal customers with an average meal costing around 90 yuan ($US12.52). “We don’t put any sugar, oil, additives and it’s very fresh to meet our standards,” said manager Ma Tao. “It’s also fine for people to eat, but it doesn’t have a lot of flavour.” – CASEY HALL, Shanghai, China/Reuters



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