Photo by Amy Sussman
Photo by Amy Sussman

I recognized Mervin The Chihuahua from a mile away, not only because I’d written about him before, but because that tiny little tongue — barely bigger than a pea — is unmistakable.

It was 7:00 PM and the “Pet Carpet” was in full swing at the Crosby Street Hotel, where famous pets like Mervin and Wally The Welsh Corgi enjoyed treats, a ton of camera time, and free swag. As did the humans.

Before the special pre-screening of The Secret Life Of Pets, PetSmart — who teamed up with NBC Universal for the event — happily offered me clothes, toys, and collars to donate to my favorite local animal rescues and shelters. Meanwhile, the humans in attendance happily collected treats of their own before heading into the screening, from a candy bar (and a regular bar) and a table teeming with popcorn and soft pretzels.

Helaina & Mervin
Helaina & Mervin

The movie — which “vocally” stars Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Albert Brooks, Ellie Kemper, and Jenny Slate — was every bit as adorable as you’d expect, especially with an audience full of dogs letting out the occasional bark and/or shaking out their fur.

July 8 is the official release date of The Secret Life Of Pets, but adorable pet merch is already on shelves at PetSmarts everywhere.