Stars’ Dogs Co-Star in Jersey Shore Spin-Off, and Snooki’s Got a Ring


Nearly every afternoon since filming commenced, a volunteer with the Liberty Humane Society has walked Namaste, a dog looking for a good home and an excuse to shed its “Adopt Me” vest and Snooki-like hairband. Together they walk up and down Mercer Street, the pup’s charms pitched to every passerby, photographer, police officer, and security guard, pausing on the block as long as possible with the hopes Snooki or JWoww will walk out the door, take notice and have mercy.

But while Snooki and JWoww have made several trips to K9dergarten Dog Day Care on Newark Ave. to drop off their four-legged roommates Bella and Joell, who have since become as much a part of the new spin-off as the Jersey Shore stars, the dogs have only been walked twice in what’s now the second week of filming.

Their first walk was to Fussy Friends, another Newark Avenue pet store, where JWoww shopped, camera crew in tow, spending much of the trip holding up pet toys in full view of the window, less for the dogs and more for the photographers standing across the street.

And this is the true benefit for any local business that signed an agreement with 495 Productions to have their shop, bar, gym, salon or restaurant included in Snooki and JWoww vs The World: The chance a snapshot of the show’s stars entering or exiting the establishment, its name in full view, finds its way into Us Weekly or the Daily Mail.

The owners of Fussy Friends appeared to figure this out for themselves, and while JWoww was filming inside, an employee stuck multiple signs emblazoned with the store’s name on the front door.

While the owners of K9dergarten haven’t taken such advantage, they’ve been benefiting from ten times as many paparazzi standing outside, as well as crowds of camera phone-clutching schoolkids and their parents on the sidewalk. On Wednesday the media response was so intense that photographers, having to stay ahead of filming as the stars returned to their car around the corner, while walking backward to take the necessary shots began falling back on themselves and on unassuming pedestrians as police aggressively urged them forward.

Not that every day is like this. One day earlier, the girls walked six blocks back and forth to K9dergarten, and a small contingent of the most dedicated photographers, who spent the past week camped outside 38 Mercer followed without incident. There were no paparazzi on motorized skateboards and bicycles as there were Wednesday, and everyone – the stars, crew, security, police and photographers – perfectly executed their roles.

Even when no one knew at the time where they were headed. The girls walked their dogs up Grove from Mercer to Columbus, down Columbus to Jersey, up Jersey to Newark, then along Newark to K9dergarten’s entrance. The loose script for the scene explained the circuitous walk.

As they walked their dogs they developed a craving for a bagel – presumably Wonder Bagels, though by then it was closed for the day – and when they saw the back windows of K9dergarten, their curiosity was piqued. Snooki and JWoww then circled the block, and decided to drop off their dogs for the day. In reality, they left them for two hours, then picked them up in JWoww’s newly gifted second BMW.

What made this particular shoot so appealing for the paparazzi, and what caused the police, security and production crew to form a barrier outside 38 Mercer Street, blocking any direct shots of the girls exiting the front door, wasn’t to stop them from snapping JWoww’s dogs, but Snooki’s new pet rock.

As she left the firehouse and turned the corner at Marco & Pepe, Snooki sported a diamond engagement ring. She wore the ring for less than a minute, however, slipping it off as the girls paused a half block into their walk and, as JWoww shielded her, she slipped it off. She hasn’t been seen wearing the ring since. (Although you would never know that from the breathless news reports which now had art to accompany their stories of engagement rumors. Our own photo of the ring found its way onto the New York Post’s Page Six, which made no mention of how fast it came off again.)

But less than a minute of wear is all the time it takes to sell a story. Even worse, as photos circulated, the dogs were already cut out of the picture. (The star has since revealed she is in fact pregnant and engaged to boyfriend Jionni LaValle.)

After the first few days of shooting, most of the Mercer Street regulars had come to see Namaste as just a prop for Liberty Humane’s pitch; but if Snooki demonstrated anything, there are worse ways to use a pet as a prop.

Photos by Adam Robb

Adam Robb

a frequent contributor to the Jersey Journal and NJ.com. He is a freelance writer living in Jersey City, whose work has appeared in publications including Philadelphia Weekly, Atlantic City Weekly, and Time Out New York. His own blog, The Life Vicarious, has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, and has been featured in The New York Times and on the New York Post‘s Page Six.