Jeff Fuld bought Elle - Wine Country Restaurant in January 2005 and closed it Sept. 12 with plans to reopen as Elle Wine Bistro at 2970 N. Campbell Ave. by the end of October.
Fuld, who previously owned Daniel's, takes part in Puttin' on the Dog and plans to continue to hold culinary events that benefit rescue groups. He and his girlfriend, Lori Riegel, foster greyhounds from Arizona Greyhound Rescue.
They also have two dogs. Hinley is a 21-year-old Schnauzer-terrier mix from Pima Animal Control whom Riegel adopted at PetSmart. "We just bonded instantly even though I wasn't looking for a dog," Riegel said.
Seven-year-old Maureen, who is leaning on Riegel above, is a so-called foster failure. "After a week of fostering Maureen, I said that nobody else can have her," recalls Riegel, who has a 13-year-old daughter.
The couple are fostering Dibby, a 4-year-old greyhound.
What do your dogs mean to you?
Riegel: "I just can't picture my life without them. They're my babies."
Fuld: "You get unmitigated love from a pet, which is a very refreshing scenario in the crazy lives we all lead."
What's the coolest thing your dog does?
Riegel: "Back in his day, (Hinley) used to change the channel on the TV all the time with the remote. He liked CNN. … Now he's deaf and blind."
On the bed or off the bed?
Fuld: "They are on any piece of furniture they can get on."
How did you get involved in animal rescue?
Fuld: "I grew up with a grandfather who was a veterinarian. I always had animals my entire life."
Do you cook for your dog?
Fuld: "Yes. Anything from eggs to shredded chicken in stock. They love it."
What's your best dog story?
Riegel: "It was Hinley and my first greyhound Bitsy. It's really scary when your greyhound gets out of the house, because they can run 45 miles an hour.
"One time I came home, and my dogsitter was standing outside the house crying hysterically. She said both dogs had gotten out of the house and she'd been looking for hours.
"A police officer pulls up. I walked up to the car to ask him if he had seen my dogs, and they were in the back seat. He had spent an hour chasing them. … They had tags on - He just put them in the car and drove to my house."
Fuld: "Maureen knows how to sit. Most greyhounds aren't capable of it. They're these weird dinosaur-looking animals."
Riegel: "She won third place (out of three) in the greyhound fest last year in the Best Pet Trick. They can't get their bodies in that position, or they can and don't want to.
"I said, 'Do you want a treat?' she sat right down. "All the greyhound people were like 'Wow.'
"You can hear this whole murmur in the crowd."
Fuld: "Maureen is very fond of fresh vegetables so I have to build all sorts of things to keep her out of the garden. She loves very unripe bell peppers."
Riegel: "I don't think it's bad. I think it's cute."
Riegel: "Hinley has a totally homemade food diet. He gets quinoa and free-range chicken. The greyhounds get some, too. It's just so much better for them."
Fuld: "We spoil them regularly, because that's what they're there for."
Do you vacation with your dogs?
Fuld: "I have not done much vacationing recently. We did a day trip up Mount Lemmon with Maureen."
What needs to happen to reduce the number of homeless animals?
Fuld: "Raising awareness to encourage more people to adopt. Somehow we need to do something as far as spaying and neutering to prevent the perpetual overfill at all the shelters.
"As for greyhounds, find ways to treat them better."