Submitted by Scott Delucchi
Droopy, unflappable, and even-tempered to a point where he could have doubled for Eeyore; that was Cooper. During my bachelor years, friends joked about my four-legged “wing” man. Still, I attracted my wife all on my own. She quickly accepted and loved us as a package deal, and Cooper fell for her with me. As the old saying goes, a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. My wife, the former chef, nabbed us both quickly. Cooper came to work with me daily for 10 years, earning his “shelter spokesdog” title. We attended black tie affairs, city council meetings and 11 consecutive Mutt Strutts. We made countless community presentations and hospital visits to cheer up patients, and even appeared on the Sharon Osbourne Show. As a friend told me after Cooper passed in ‘08, we had “one sweet ride” together!
Scott Delucchi is the Sr. Vice President, Community Relations with the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (www.PHS-SPCA.org).
Submitted by Whitney Wilde
Riding shotgun in my ‘63 VW camper was Rocket J Dogg, aka Rocky. The seat would rock back and he rode it like he was surfing the highway! The quintessential hippie dog went absolutely everywhere with me (unleashed) starting at six-weeks-old. A Golden Retriever-Shepherd mix, his ears never stood up but flopped over, looking like burnt fortune cookies. For 8 short years, through college, cancer, chemo, marriage, divorce, traveling, beaches, rivers, jobs… Rocky was by my side and knew what I was thinking or feeling before I did. He taught me about empathy, acceptance, friendship, and enjoying every moment.
Rocky woke me up to let him out early every morning. One evening, some friends, and I walked with him to a nearby ice cream store. One of the employees said, “There’s the neighborhood dog! Every morning we make ice cream, and he shows up at 6 a.m. for a sample.”
Whitney Wilde is pack leader for Woofers & Walkers (www.woofersandwalkers.com), a collective of responsible dog owners in Santa Cruz.
Submitted by Donna Reynolds
I didn’t know I’d fall so hard for such a sassy princess 13 years ago, but the dog that broke the mold for me is decidedly bold, bawdy, brave and sometimes downright naughty. She can be a clown or a drama queen, and she’s always ready for fun. I guess you could say she’s got a whole lotta soul packed into one little body. That description could match any number of dogs out there, but in my dream dog, it comes along with a big fat head and a smile that goes on for days. She’s my Sally: My pit bull, my best excuse for laughing out loud several times a day.
Donna Reynolds is the director of BADRAP (www.badrap.org), a SF Bay Area education/advocacy group that focuses on issues that affect pit bulls.
Submitted by Cathy Chen-Rennie
Vaastu is the perfect pooch for me because, initiated by his journey, I took classes in canine water therapy and had the inspiration to open The Rex Center! He is stoic when it comes to pain, as we learned when it took us a few months to figure out that his hind leg bone was essentially dissolving. He’s now a vocal (what Sheltie isn’t?), sheep/goat-herding, bouncing, fun-loving, sweet boy. He loves to do “doggercise” (dancing) and has a big grin on his face whenever we practice, perform, or just walk in the park.
Cathy Chen-Rennie is owner and head swim coach at The Rex Center in Pacifica (www.rexcenter.com).
Submitted by Dr. Gary Richter
Often mistaken for an Ewok, Elliott was the kind of dog that liked everyone. He was an added bonus that “came with” my wife when we started dating. A veteran of numerous road trips, he eventually wore a bow tie at our wedding. Years later, when my wife was in bed for four months following a car accident, Elliott never wanted to leave her side. He spent many hours at the hospital and in-patient rehab. He was the source of instant smiles for nurses and patients wherever he went. Once she was home, he would not leave my wife’s side until she was on her feet again. The “little man” was an emotional rock for both of us during very trying times. We will always owe him a debt of gratitude.
Submitted by Bonnie Brown-Cali
My dream dog would have to be my nightmare. Early in my training career, I rescued Orion, a German Shorthair mix. Within weeks the real dog emerged. He scaled the dog run, broke our fence by throwing his body against it, and opened the neighbor’s door. They awoke to the sight of a brown tail floating by their bed. He barked incessantly when crated and demanded my attention when loose. He was exhausting.
Clearly he needed a job. Orion and I certified with two search and rescue teams. It was a challenge, but Orion taught me more than I taught him: how to read him, when to respond, how to motivate, when to be calm. His antics did not stop with age. At 15 he taught my kennel assistant that he should sleep on the bed with him. Orion lived to be 17.
Orion, you taught me to understand the countless dogs labeled as problems. You were the best nightmare I ever had.
Bonnie Brown-Cali, Master Trainer, is the owner of Dog Dynamics, Inc. (www.dogdynamics.org) and a field representative for Paws with a Cause (www.pausewithacause.org), which trains service dogs for the disabled.
Submitted by Dr. Jenny Taylor
When people walk into Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center the first thing they often say is, “Where’s Molly?” Molly, a Jack Russell Terrier, is a little fur person who for 15 years has been my soulmate, best friend, and co-healer, helping me ease the pain and suffering of sick animals and their humans in our clinic. I first saw Molly December 15, 1995 when I assisted in her birth while caring for her canine mother Bailey during my first year as a practicing veterinarian. As I watched her little body emerge, I had no idea how this special being would magically enhance my life and the lives of my clients, friends, family, and patients at Creature Comfort.
Molly works with Dr. Jenny Taylor at Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center in Oakland.