You've got to hand it to Gregory Pike, aka Dog-Cat-Rat Man, the nomadic animal trainer who, since arriving in San Francisco last summer, has assumed a place in the city's pantheon of beloved street performers. No matter what trouble comes his way — rain, wind, fog, a narcotics arrest — Pike always seems to hoist himself back into the saddle. Pike's act — it is not so much an act as a way of life; he has trained a rat to stand on top of a cat standing on top of a dog, and wanders the streets with this stacked trio — has made him a star on YouTube and a money pit for the tourists cruising Fisherman's Wharf and Union Square.
Now he's taken the art of busking digital, with a Web site featuring videos of his animals in action. Among the site's features is a function for donating online, with a credit card. (Pike accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.) How convenient — no need to walk downstairs and throw some cash in the hat anymore.
So far, Pike says, the site has attracted some interest, though it's not exactly raking in the bucks yet. He hopes that interest will snowball, and has started printing business cards that direct his admirers to the site. “I just went through a thousand of them in four days,” he said.