Venting and Bragging

IMAG0071Before I start bragging about the work that the Doods accomplish, I need to vent about something totally unrelated.  Skip this part if you’re not interested in hearing me complain.

I went to lift weights last night since I’m vying to be the strongest grandma on the block. It’s not quite Ms. Venice Beach (yes, I was Ms. Venice Beach) but it’s a goal. Personally, I think my daughters should be thrilled that I’m now obsessed with the dogs and not my biceps. For years I was the carpool/ bodybuilder mom with the fake tan and way too much spandex. In my defense, I apologized to the kids for that decade. But hey, it was the 80’s. Everyone wore spandex. I did compete again in the 90’s but we’ll discuss that some other time.

Back to last night. There was a middle aged man working out. During his exercises he screamed and grunted even more than anyone I’d ever heard at a hard core muscle gym. I didn’t make that much noise when I was in labor! He kept refilling his water bottle from the small cooler, flooding the floor. Then he walked by me and burped. The burp was followed by some sort of hanging stretch where his loose shorts slid down and revealed more of a butt crack than I ever hoped to see. It was the stuff of nightmares. There, I feel better. Now back to the Doods.

Recently the people at UCLA asked if we wanted to do a short piece about why we volunteer with PAC (the People Animal Connection). I jumped all over that. I could write about my dogs and someone might actually read it. I decided to copy David Letterman and go with a top ten list. Interestingly, my late brother Stan, whose dogs seemed to train themselves, had a Lab named Dave. He’d heard that Letterman had a dog named Stan so it seemed like a fair trade.

CHANGE OF MOOD ALERT: Here are the top ten reasons I volunteer with the Doods (not necessarily in order):

  1. For the teenage patient who jumped out of her hospital bed when my dog walked into her room, and yelled, “this is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me”
  2. For the sad young man in the wheelchair who smiled when he saw my dog, prompting his mom to say she’d “seen a miracle”
  3. For another wheelchair bound young man who couldn’t speak but who made a kiss when Elbee licked his hand
  4. For the patient who recovered from a coma and said that the only thing he remembered was the presence of the dogs in his bed
  5. For the boy with severe OCD who couldn’t stop washing his hands but who summoned up the courage to pet Charley
  6. For the woman in tears who asked if she could have a moment with the dog before she went back into her mother’s room
  7. For the woman walking down the street whose husband had passed away 3 years ago, but who wanted to thank me for the dog visits when he was at UCLA
  8. For the anxious family members in the waiting room who light up when they see the dogs
  9. For the woman who had been catatonic for several days but who smiled and petted Charley when he nuzzled her
  10. For all of the people on campus who smile, wave and call out “hi” to Charley and Elbee





Meet the Doods

The Three Doods
The Three Doods

I was going to introduce the Doods but they let me know with a lot of eye rolling, barking, pawing, and a bit of humping, that they could do a much better job. So despite my reservations, here are my three creative canines. First up is Charley, the handsome guy on the left. Wait, before he starts, I have a confession. When my daughters were little, I used to tell them that when no one was around, the dogs would talk to me. They said they didn’t believe me, actually I think they used the word “crazy,” but I know they tried to catch me. If and when they read this post, it will only confirm their suspicions.


CHARLEY As the senior doodle, the largest, and the calmest, I am often referred to as a gentle giant. I am the “bark” of reason in this pack, and the one who makes Ellen, or Pack Leader, as she calls herself, look good. As a puppy, I heard stories of her failed attempts to train other dogs, so I kind of figured it out on my own. People assumed that she had something to do with it and gave her all sorts of credit. What I’ve had to deal with! Fortunately I have the patience of a saint.

A therapy dog for over eight years, I have a gift for making people feel better. I hate to brag, (you know who does enough of that) but if you bring me into a group of people, I can sense the one who needs me the most and will go and lean on them. Working at UCLA Medical Center and at Providence Hospital, I’ve performed lots of little miracles. For instance, I was visiting a neuropsych unit (how’s that for a dog with vocabulary) when I walked over to nuzzle a woman who had been catatonic for several days. Much to the surprise of the therapists, but no surprise to me, she suddenly began to smile and pet me. It was a good day.

ELBEE I am Charley’s handsome half brother from a different mother. I was a bit shy as a puppy but have come into my own as a therapy dog. I just take a slightly different approach. Some  refer to me as the class clown but I like to think of myself as the life of the party. Charley may be the obedience king but I can do more tricks. Does Charley know how to shake his head yes or no when asked a question? Does he know how to pull a handkerchief out of Pack Leader’s pocket when she sneezes? Can he say his prayers? I don’t think so.

Not to be a negative Nellie, I do have a bone to pick. My name. Elbee? Are you kidding? When I was a baby, no one in the family could agree. Their choices ranged from Fido to Beelzebub. When we got to the vet for the first time, the receptionist asked for my name to put on the chart. When told I didn’t have one she said, “well, we can’t put blank, so we’ll put little brother.” P.L. jumped all over that and said, “perfect L.B.” Then she decided to spell it out, which in my opinion is ridiculous.

That reminds me. One day I overheard her talking about the sweetest Cocker Spaniel she’d had as a child. The dog’s name was Killer! What’s wrong with these people?                                                                   

GUS Finally, it’s my turn. I’m an adorable teddy bear doodle who was adopted into the pack last summer. I’m not quite a year and a half and I still chew up rolls of toilet paper but I’ve already done some visits to an adult health center with my big brothers. As for the toilet paper, I’m so over it but it seems to be expected of a puppy.

Like Elbee, I have an issue with my name. I was  originally called Cedric which I thought was pretty sophisticated and made me sound British. P.L. decided that it was not a good therapy dog name and changed it to Gus which was much more user friendly. Personally, I think it sounds like the captain of the bowling team. For all you keglers out there (and Charley thinks he has the vocabulary) I have nothing against bowling but with these dainty paws it’s just not my sport.