Has Anyone Ever Told You?

My beautiful therapy dogs
Happy Halloween!!

If I had a dollar for every time someone has told me that I look like my dogs, I could cover their grooming bills, which are higher than mine. Speaking of grooming, you wouldn’t believe how often I’ve been accused of copying their hairstyle. For the record, I had it first.

Charley at the salon

Admit it. When you looked at the above photo you thought the same thing, except that Gus has slightly curlier hair, kind of what I looked like with bad perms in the eighties. Sorry Gus.

They’re cute so I don’t mind the comparison although they have a lot more facial hair than I do. Fortunately my daughters have been bribed to pluck out those few strays on my chin when I get too old to notice.

The first time it ever happened, my daughter Jennifer was working with a production company in a local park so I decided to drop by with Charley. As we were walking up, one of the women in the crew started laughing and said, “Oh my God, you know those people who look like their dogs!” Jennifer glanced up, and horrified, saw us approaching. Thinking quickly she said, “Look, here comes my mom…and her dog.” Despite the fact that she finds us totally embarrassing, she averted a social disaster.

Poofy white sweater
Poofy white sweater

A few years later, Charley and I were in the Hollywood Christmas Parade with the dog whisperer, Cesar Milan. When we went over to meet him, I could swear he almost started laughing but caught himself and commented, “That’s really something.” The fact that I was wearing a poofy, white sweater probably didn’t help. I really feel that one of the highlights of the evening, aside from walking behind Cesar’s car, was my fabulous “parade wave,” something I’d always wanted to do.

A few weeks later I happened to run into Cesar at a  restaurant. I saw him dining with his “people,” but figuring we were pals from the parade,  went over to say hello. As  I was about to reintroduce myself, he said, “You’re the one who looks like her dog,” but quickly added, “I mean that in the nicest way possible.”

Even better than the parade was the movie but I will save the excitement for my next post. I mean how often does your dog get you into a DreamWorks picture? How ‘s that for a cliff hanger?          

ELBEE I couldn’t take it any more. Just to let you know, Charley told me that her parade wave was killing him. Still, I’m sure it wasn’t as embarrassing as something I overheard. At the end of a bodybuilding routine Pack Leader blew kisses to the audience as she exited the stage. Please! I would also like to add that she should be a bit more enthusiastic about resembling us. At her age she’s lucky she doesn’t look like a Sharpei!





I’m a Dog Walker and a Street Walker

I’m a dog walker and a street walker. Before you get the wrong idea, remember I’m also a grandma. Just how much business do you think I’d get? Actually a few people have stopped their cars to ask if I was a professional and I just assumed they meant dog walker. To be honest, I was flattered because in my early days of taking the dogs out all I ever heard was, “who’s walking whom?”

It reminds me of when I first took Charley to dog class.

CHARLEY Excuse me I need to interject. Pack Leader is going to share the story of how she was so proud of teaching me a perfect down stay that she nearly took a bow in class. Let me tell you how it really went. The stay is so basic I figured it out on my own. While I was lying there completely bored, the trainer pointed out that Ellen had never had another dog do longer than a ten second stay.

If Charley is done, I’d like to get back to dog walking. There is an article in the Pet Partners (therapy dog training) manual that says go for a walk alone and then go for a walk with a dog to see who talks to you. When I was alone, all I met were a few homeless people asking for money.

With the Doods, it was a whole different story. Everyone stopped to chat. Thanks to them, I’m now on a first name basis with mail carriers, trash collectors and DWP workers. We’ve walked on so many streets that lots of people know us but no one is really sure where we come from.

We’ve made acquaintances on each of our routes, some who’ve been kind enough to invite us to stop by if we ever needed anything. It’s almost like a cocktail party, minus the drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

I will admit we’ve had some unusual encounters. For instance, there was the man in the red plaid shirt with the diamond earring who looked like a smaller version of Santa. He stopped in his tracks when the dogs and I approached and said, “that is a gorgeous picture, you and those f…ing dogs!” His words not mine. Hey, I don’t make this stuff up.

A woman with two small children asked if we did birthday parties. I’ll admit,  I am that obnoxious person that has her dogs show off their tricks when we run into someone with kids (whether they want to see them or not) so she really wasn’t out of line. Another mom offered me a tip when my dogs performed. My own children are mortified that I do this on public streets.

As for the homeless people (okay, I’m judging), we have a totally different relationship now. They often smile or say “hi” but never ask for money. There is one particular man whom we’ve often seen at a nearby shopping center. A few weeks ago the Doods and I were walking in an area several miles away when who should we see but the same man. He looked at us in surprise and asked, “What are you doing all the way over here?”