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Publisher of the magazine New York Dog, John Ryan, tried to pitch a haute culture fashion magazine to the ritzy-ditzy eccentric (i.e., crazy, vain, and profligate) high society dog ownership. Many of Ryan's doomed employees said he personally was a disaster with the business sense of a tiny dog.

WinkyBut Ryan did have one hell of a cute chihuahua of his own. The photograph at right is of Winky, his one-eyed chi, at the 2005 launch party for his second magazine Hollywood Dog.

He'd been telling people he was about to launch Chicago and Miami versions of his dog magazines, and a BBC documentary Tails from America (2007) trumpeted what an amazing success the Irish enterpreneur was being in America -- aired precisely when his mini-empire was imploding.

He claimed first that a "poisoned dog food scare" somehow magically put an end to New York Dog, later changed that more plausibly to his advertisers weren't paying him as they should have and cash flow went kaput.

The reality was that he was spending money on a fun-ride among the rich and the mighty, merely pretending to be one of those sorts himself. He was not taking care of his piublishing company's most basic and soon emergency needs.

Workers at the company, themselves unpaid, said working with or for him had been a business nightmare. He had creditors pounding down the door, but would go out and buy some new computers that weren't needed, because that was more fun. And hobnobbing in high society simply ain't cheap.

So how did Ryan make it right as his publishing empire bit the dust? Didn't! Rather, he up and vanished, leaving poor Winky to fend for himself. The dog ended up in the custody of a New York animal rights organization.

If not for abandoning the dog I might've been willing to dismiss all the bad press he was getting as an "Oh, the poor guy" sort of thing, he had a big dream and created a big illusion, then the soap bubble popped. But no, there's something wrong with that dude.

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