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  • The fast and the furless: Pansy and her greyhound Tina

Hounds of love

The fast and the furless: Pansy and her greyhound Tina

Drag Artist Pansy is busy raising money for her new club Chez Pansy, but still makes time for her aging greyhound Tina.

Photo: Makar Artemev

A legend of the Berlin drag scene, Pansy has been throwing parties, performing and building queer-centred spaces in the Hauptstadt for more than a decade now.

She’s one busy queen, having just reached the GoFundMe campaign goal for her newest venture: a cabaret supper club to be called Chez Pansy. But although she keeps a packed schedule, Pansy always makes time for cuddles at home with her beloved 15-year-old greyhound Tina and her cat Prince.

We stopped by Pansy’s current chez to chat about life as a pet parent.

How did you meet your sweet pup Tina?

I found her through an incredible rescue organisation called Ab aufs Sofa. They are a German family based in Ireland that rescue greyhounds from the racetrack and bring them to Germany to be adopted. A friend and I drove to Reutlingen and back one day in 2013 to pick her up.

Where did she get her name?

From Tina Turner, of course.

Photo: Makar Artemev

How would you describe her personality? Has it changed over 15 years?

She is incredibly sweet and loving, but also very reserved and standoffish. Kind of like me. It is very obvious that she is an old lady now. She doesn’t run anymore. She has more trouble with the stairs. She is at the end a greyhound’s life expectancy – but she’s still very frisky.

💄 Pansy: Berlin’s queen of drag takes on the Theater des Westens

What are her funniest habits?

When you rub inside her ear she groans like it is the most pleasurable feeling she has ever felt in her life. She playfully snaps at you when you stop petting her to let you know that you are not done. She shakes like a leaf at the slightest suggestion of a loud noise.

Does she get along well with other dogs?

Yes. She is the chillest creature you will ever meet. I have never heard her bark, honestly.

Photo: Makar Artemev

What was she like as a puppy?

I didn’t know her as a puppy. I got her when she was two and a half. Retired racing greyhounds come with some very specific needs, however. She had never seen another dog that didn’t look like a greyhound. She had never seen herself in a mirror. She had never climbed stairs or walked on different kinds of surfaces. She never played with toys and still doesn’t play with them. The first time I watched her run at full speed was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

The first time I watched her run at full speed was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

What are some of your best memories with Tina?

She hates fireworks so we often leave town during New Year’s. One Silvester, a friend who also had a greyhound and I took our dogs to a horse farm in Templin. It snowed the whole time and the dogs loved running around in it. We rode horses all week, ate a ton of food and slept as much as we wanted. It was really perfect.

What kind of puppy parent are you? Do you have a tough love approach or are you just a big softie?

I’ve only raised one other puppy before. She was a French bulldog named Janet. I crate-trained her and taught her very specific commands to follow me. I believe this is important when raising a dog because it teaches them how to interact with the world around them. I find ill-behaved dogs really frustrating, because it has very little to do with the dog and a whole lot to do with the handler.

This feature is of course called Hounds of Love, but we absolutely cannot leave out your sweet cat Prince! Do he and Tina get along?

Prince is obsessed with Tina; Tina tolerates Prince. When I brought Prince home as a kitten he started jumping all over the place and Tina looked at me with a face that said, “What have you done? Why have you brought this creature to disturb our peace?” But since then they have become the best of friends. They sleep together. Prince climbs all over her and makes biscuits regularly. He cries at the door when we go on a walk.

Photo: Makar Artemev

Congratulations on reaching your fundraising goal for Chez Pansy – you raised over €53,000. Can you tell us more about your plans for the space?

Thank you! Right now I can’t say much more except that we are moving along every day. The easiest way to stay up to date is by following me on Instagram @pansypresents as I am documenting the whole process there.

It must have been a stressful few months. Have your pets been a comfort?

I was actually babysitting a big black cat during this time who helped a lot. It was the first time Prince had met another cat that wasn’t one of his siblings. He became very territorial and protective, standing at my bedroom door and growling. It was quite cute to watch. Tina just ignored everyone, as she often does.

Photo: Makar Artemev

What’s next for you?

We will have a huge fundraiser at SO36 called LIP SYNC 5000 KING DIVA BATTLE COMPETITION SHOW! It is a lip sync showdown featuring eight of Berlin’s best drag performers fighting it out for the crown… or trophy, or medal or something, we haven’t figured it out yet.

It’s guaranteed to be the stupidest drag show you’ve ever seen.

  • LIP SYNC 5000, May 24, doors 22:00, tickets via so36.com