Hi From Hollywood!

Leissl Sending Regards from 'Hollywood'March 29, 2008 – Leissl was smashing at rehearsal today.

We got there, and being I always get lost, I did. But it’s never my fault. It’s the fact that the street names in south Florida are too logical. That, or the directions are bad. This time it was the latter. Being I was sent a link to a map, I clicked on “get directions” on said map to find out how to get to rehearsal. Well, the directions did get me to the correct off-ramp, but from there, hahahahaha! Thank God I know I have the curse of lost directions, or something like that, and I (unlike most men) asked directions from the first person who was humming tunes to a song in English as she was pushing her baby in stroller.

She told me directions, and they were long. And I understood each one. Then when I drove off to follow them, the only thing I remembered was, “Publix” and “under the overpass.” (Since maturing over 4 decades, my short term memory has waned slightly. I make due, though.) I didn’t know where Publix was, so I just went back to where I came from and started turning. There are a lot of one-way streets in Miami, so that helped me find Publix. Ended up, though, that I still couldn’t find the park, so I lead-footed the brakes and Leissl waited in the car while I had my first frustrating experience trying to get directions.

I said something and the man I spoke to said, “No speak English.” He did point into the gas station. Thank God, You gave us fingers. They really are used a lot, among other ways, to bridge the communication gap.

Inside, I found a man who really was good at explaining how to get from the gas station to the park. It was something like left, left, left and right, and the park’s on the left. So I did that, and the park was there. Hallelujia!

There was no group activity going on, though, and that’s when I thought, “This IS a hoax!” I am so pessimistic. I had to drive down the road till the park was behind us, and I drove back one more time, and saw a van, that was probably there at first, but I was too busy trying to prove my pessimistic point. I asked the man in the van if he were there for the dogs. He said, “Yes,” or something affirmative.

So Leissl and I made another u-turn, and parked behind him. Then I got out to find the ladies’ room, and so did the woman with the man in the van. Those two folks were the leader of the pack. They were the pack pickers! Though I didn’t know that until Nanci and I were walking to the rest rooms and she saw the woman with a Weimerainer and said, “Boo!” I said, “Do you know that dog?” And she said, “Only from the picture.”

So we walked up to everyone else that had assembled by the building – wow! They were really early birds. And I found the restroom while Nanci chatted with the rest of the group.
Nanci among Handlers
Then she joined me, and I was washing my hands, and it was very funny. Her phone rang, while in a stall, and she answered it. She told the person she was in a building and continued chatting. Now that’s smart!

Afterwards, I went back to get Leissl from the truck, which was parked under a shade tree. As we were unpacking, we saw two women with collies from our obedience club. Susan and Lil.

Susan and Lil

Then Leissl and I went into the area where all the people and dogs were gathered. How did I get to be late? It’s in my genes. I swear.

Well, we got started by going in circles. Have you ever been to drill class? It’s a big thing here in South Florida. In Southern California, I never went in circles. 🙂 And we didn’t have drill classes there. We had practice night where you’d be put through a run-through in an official impromptu ring. Then you would practice whatever you needed to practice outside the run-through ring.

So Phil, the man from the talent group, ran us through a drill class.


Not everyone was experienced at this. But we just kept on keeping on. Then they said to stop, and Phil went over to talk to the Marley trainers, who had been watching us move, about turns, downs, sits, stays, fasts, slows, all that. We were in the sun. Nanci was very good about trying to get the dogs cool and shaded in between working. It was warm in the sun, and sun was just about everywhere the trees weren’t.

When they came back to the group, Leissl and I were instructed to move from our spot and switch with the Weim. We were then next to the Aussie in the group.

Aussie, Abby, with handler

If anybody knows me, they know, Aussies are right up there and just under Dobies in my personal hierarchy of dog breeds I love. Life is good. But it gets better.

The Aussie and we were joined by the Marley. He was put in between us, and then the fun began. We had to keep our dogs quiet and settled while the trainer/actor put the Marley through his bad-self paces. They rebel roused together – tugging and swinging – and were just having fun being Marley cohorts while the rest of us were being duds.

A Marley and Trainer, Ray Beal

Being duds is hard work, too. (That means you’re obedient. Eegads, count Raven out of Dudsville for now, but Leissl rules.)

Watch me sweat!

After that change in line-up, Leissl and Aussie, Abby, were told to keep a space in between because the Marley and handler would be coming in and out. There were three Marleys there on Saturday. Each was beautiful, and they practiced their special skills in and out of the perpetual spot Abby and Leissl left opened for them until the trainers felt confident that all was well.
Mathilde DeCagny and Ray Beal, picture taken by Nikki Spirakis
This is Mathilde DeCagny and her assistant Trainer, Ray Beal. Mathilde trained the ever-popular Frazier dog, Eddie. I still have an autographed picture of Eddie from way back in the 90’s when I wrote to the TV show for one. His real name was Moose, and that’s how he signed his picture. Well, along with his paw print.

Love, Leissl

By rehearsal end, we were tired and ready to call it a day.

Helen & Leissl

About Helen

I'm a Southern California living in South Florida. I've been here for 10 years as of October 1, 2007. No matter where I live, I'm a dog lover, and my breed is the Dobermann Pinscher of the Working Group. I am also fond of the Australian Shepherd of the Herding Group. My life revolves around my dogs, which is something those family members of mine don't understand. So I'm an island in that respect, but have built friendships with those who are doggie lovers and respect the canine as much as I do. Some do rescue, some train in, compete in, and judge AKC trials. The common thread is our dogs are family.
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