Striper, restaurateur Neil Stein’s beloved Boxer, arguably the most popular dog in Philadelphia, died over the weekend. He was 10-years-old and lived in Old City.
“He’s been an amazing part of my life,” Stein tearfully shared with us this afternoon. “He was the most lovable thing,” Stein recalls. For years, Striper was a fixture at Stein’s restaurant Rouge (205 S. 18th) which is owned by his daughter Maggie Wasserman and her husband Rob Wasserman and celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
Recently Striper had been suffering from severe arthritis and his paws were bleeding from dragging a hind leg. He was euthanized over the weekend at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, which also handled his burial. Striper’s health woes were related to his weight, a whopping 115 pounds. Stein says Striper who “never lost his appetite,” was partial to the Rouge cheeseburger.
Stein has been fielding calls of support from friends and family members, who all knew how much he loved the dog, who almost never left his side. When Stein spent 14 months in federal prison on tax evasion charges, a handful of Stein’s trusted friends cared for Striper. Striper came to Stein when he was seven-weeks-old from LaRae Derr, of Blue Star Farms Specialty Meat, who also raises Boxers on her Lancaster County farm. Stein said yesterday that photos of Striper were displayed outside of Rouge and that he planned to install a plaque there as well as possibly sponsor a bench in Rittenhouse Square in memory of his dog, whom he called “an icon.” He was named after Stein’s other baby, Striped Bass (15th & Walnut) which Stein co-founded and owned for years. It is now owned by Stephen Starr.
Photo: Jessica Griffin/Daily News