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):
- 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”
- 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”
- For another wheelchair bound young man who couldn’t speak but who made a kiss when Elbee licked his hand
- 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
- For the boy with severe OCD who couldn’t stop washing his hands but who summoned up the courage to pet Charley
- 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
- 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
- For the anxious family members in the waiting room who light up when they see the dogs
- For the woman who had been catatonic for several days but who smiled and petted Charley when he nuzzled her
- For all of the people on campus who smile, wave and call out “hi” to Charley and Elbee