Am I Blue?

Some posts just seem to write themselves and even come with photos! If you’ve seen Gus on Facebook lately, you may have noticed that his ears and tail are blue. Marsha, his wonderful and creative groomer, went to a dog expo last weekend and got inspired.

ELBEE I feel a little guilty which doesn’t happen very often. I was eavesdropping, which does happen very often, and heard Marsha telling Pack Leader how she’d love to try some doggie hair dyes on Gus. I should have warned the little guy but I was just so relieved that I wasn’t going to be her first victim.

I thought it sounded like a great idea. We agreed that she should go with a more conservative approach and use the temporary color even though the permanent colors were fabulous.

When I came to pick him up, Gus looked adorable. He was so cute with the touches of blue but I admit he seemed a bit embarrassed.

ELBEE Of course he was embarrassed. What self-respecting dog wouldn’t be? And don’t forget we’ve worn hats and sunglasses.

The next morning when I arrived at UCLA with Gus, he was like a pint sized celebrity. I lost count of how many people wanted to take his picture. The kids in the neuropsych units where he visits were so excited when they saw him. Some of the teens with their own multi-colored hair could really relate.

GUS  I’m not usually a complainer but I felt ridiculous. I’m supposed to be blonde, not blue. I tried sitting outside the emergency room hoping someone would help me, but nothing. All I kept thinking was, “Just don’t let me run into any dogs I know.”

Then it happened. There was Tommy the Bichon, my buddy, my wingman. We were even on the Channel 7 news together. He was so shocked, at first he couldn’t even look at me. Still, after we sat in the lobby together, chatting with each other and having a bunch of people pet us, I started to feel better.

By the time we headed down to valet parking, I was actually feeling pretty good. I thought that maybe the blue made me look handsome and adventurous. But as we were waiting for the car,  a woman came running up and shouted, “OMG! It’s a fluff monster.” 

I thought it couldn’t get any worse but the next day a granddaughter was over and said that I looked like a blueberry! Are you kidding? I look like a fruit? Charley and Elbee warned me that I might need therapy but I’m not even three yet!















Hearts and Doodles

In last Monday’s post I mentioned that this week I would be writing about the Doods’ purpose. Then Valentines Day came along and I had a change of “heart.”

THE DOODS Is it just us or do Pack Leader’s jokes keep getting lamer. If we knew how, we’d do the eye roll.

A few months ago, UCLA did photo shoots with the dogs in the People Animal Connection for valentine cards. On the holiday, the dogs (and their people) distributed them to patients and staff.

THE DOODS Don’t get us wrong. We appreciate the thought behind it and the fact that they wanted to feature us and our canine colleagues, but do you see these? We’re therapy dogs, not clowns. 

And as if those weren’t bad enough, take a look at this one. Someone is turning into a stage mother. At least we have  proof that she put us into these ridiculous get ups. I wonder if we should contact the lawyer daughter to see if we can sue her for something like embarrassment.


Speaking of daughters, Nicole, the middle one and our favorite, got Pack Leader back on track. She told P.L. that she should be writing about our wonderful hearts.



Okay, enough already. I give up. Let me tell you briefly about the beautiful heart of each Dood.

Charley, the senior Dood, has an intuitive heart. He has always had the gift of being able to sense who needs him the most. He will then gently push himself against them. No one who has experienced the Charley “lean” ever forgets it. It’s like a magical hug.

Elbee is a bit of a show off with the heart of a joker. His antics seem designed to draw attention. His gift is to make everyone laugh and forget their difficult surroundings. If he doesn’t get the crowd reaction he’s going for, he’ll flop into someone’s lap.

Gus, at barely three years old, has a heart of pure sweetness. At work, he cuddles with people and seems to know just when to give someone a soft lick on the cheek. When we adopted him, we were told he was a Teddy Bear Doodle. With his cute dog smile, he truly is like a little, lovable stuffed animal.

My parents, who passed away when I was quite young, had a special way to sign every card and note to each other. At the very end, they would write A.K.A.A.S. My mother even had a charm on her bracelet with those letters.

They stood for “a kiss and a smile.” As I thought about those words on Valentines Day, it suddenly dawned on me that in a certain way they so poignantly summed up the Doods and all of their loving interactions.




A Grandma’s Purpose

In my usual spirit of honesty, I admit that I went to see A Dog’s Purpose. Yes, I knew that there was a lot of negative publicity about the film. A video had surfaced that showed some questionable training techniques with a German Shepherd. And yes, the Jewish guilt was killing me.

Call me a hypocrite but you can also call me a grandma who needed a family friendly film. My 12 year old grandson Ryan was sleeping over and my husband and I (he’s guilty too) had promised to take him to a movie. He wanted to see it and we thought it would be great because we could sit through it without falling asleep or pretending that we were entertained.

That picture above is not a photo of Ryan. His mother is the one we refer to as “Jennifer who hates Facebook.” That adorable little boy is Ryder, Danielle’s son. She and Nicole are the two daughters who actually like my blog. Well, there was that one incident when they were going to hire Jennifer to sue me for writing, “Top 12 Reasons that Dogs are Better than Children” (3/14/16) but we settled out of court. I got them gift certificates from Nordstrom.

Okay, I am a sucker for dog movies. It’s also true that I still haven’t recovered from Old Yeller. I saw it as a kid and ended up sobbing hysterically but someone assured me that a Dog’s Purpose had a happy ending. Hey, I’m the one who overdoses on Hallmark movies at Christmas. I like happy endings.

There is another part to my excuse. Call it a grandma’s purpose. A few years ago I told my two older grandchildren that my job was to spoil them. They’ve held me to it. One day they even asked if I wanted to take them to Target and spoil them. Do you really think I was going to say no to the movie? I refuse to discuss what we bought at the snack bar.

The movie is about a dog that keeps getting reincarnated as different breeds, fulfilling different roles. And I’m the one who’s crazy. The daughters all think I’ve lost it when I tell them that I “channel” the Doods in my writing.

I have to say, the movie really made me do a lot of thinking about the Doods and the work they accomplish.

THE DOODS Finally!



Each of the three seems to have his own unique style and sense of purpose. They are all so giving but in different ways. I’ll share more about that next week.

THE DOODS Seriously?

To end on a positive note, the Humane Society decided that proper procedure was followed in training the dogs for the movie. It was concluded that the video may have been edited. I’ll take it. It makes my guilty conscience feel a little less guilty.

Breaking news! After some negotiating, I got permission to include this photo of the other two wonderful grandchildren.





I’m a Dog Walker with a Stalker

Believe it or not, the Doods and I had a stalker. I was walking the three of them down Ventura Boulevard, a busy street in the San Fernando Valley, when someone pulled over in a large SUV. I wasn’t alarmed because people stop all the time to say a friendly hello, take a photo (not kidding), or just to inquire about the dogs. Well, there was one woman who wanted to buy them and asked me to name my price!

Elbee, Gus and Charley

THE DOODS We wish we could tell you that Pack Leader makes this stuff up, but she doesn’t. We find it a bit disturbing that it’s all true. We’re thinking of hiring a real dog walker.

Anyhow, this woman, who had a large, barking Briard sitting in the front seat, rolled down her window and asked if I was a dog walker. Assuming she was looking for a professional, I informed her that I was exercising my own pack. She said “okay,” waved and drove off, only to pull over again a half a block later.

This time she asked me a few random dog questions, including  why I didn’t  have a Briard, and drove off again. And you guessed it, she pulled over a few feet later but this time she parked and got out of the car.

THE DOODS At this point we were getting a little nervous, not to mention offended, especially with her huge dog still barking at us from the front seat. When we got a close look at her, though, we relaxed. She had a good ten years on Pack Leader (who, sorry, is no spring chicken). Not to mention that with her weightlifting, PL could definitely take her.

ELBEE Oh no, did we open the door for one of her bodybuilding pictures!

Sorry I couldn’t help myself. Old habits die hard.

THE DOODS Are we even sure that’s her?

As we chatted, the woman admitted that my reputation had preceded me. I wasn’t sure which reputation but thought it was a bit weird that she had known who I was all along. Then she handed me a business card which I assumed was hers. Wrong again. It was my husband’s! I later found out she had gone to his building and asked the security guard to get it for her.

THE DOODS Now you see why we were relieved that she was old and small?

Really disconcerted by the business card, I told her we had to get going and abruptly walked away. I was being a little rude but under the circumstances I’m sure the etiquette gurus would cut me some slack.

Fortunately I never saw her again but a few weeks later a strange thing happened at the local carwash. When I walked inside to pay, the cashier, who knew me and the Doods well, said “I have something really weird to tell you.” She then shared  that an older woman had stopped in a couple of times to ask her if she’d seen me and the dogs.

THE DOODS That’s it. We’re definitely hiring a professional walker and we’re keeping a lower profile on social media.