We Salute The Frontline Workers

This pandemic has been rough on all of us but we can’t imagine the toll it’s taken on our frontline workers! No matter if you work in the medical field, the food industry, or many of the other service industries (just to name a few) we salute you!

5 Ways To Say Thank You To A Front Line Essential Worker!

Here’s a few ways to say thank you.

  1. If you have a friend or a neighbor who is a front line essential worker then consider just walking up to them and say “Thank You” for your service.
  2. A lawn sign. It doesn’t have to be a fancy store bought lawn sign. It can be a home made sign on a bed sheet, some construction paper, or even some plywood. The important thing is you do your best and you make it the best you can with love.
  3. A gift card. You don’t have to spend any money but if you choose to you could buy a gift card from a gas station, a coffee shop or so many other places. We suggest a gas card because in these days where so many of us are saving money working from home, the essential workers are still driving to work. Unless they drive an electric card they are still putting gas in their cars. If your friends do drive an electric car (and good for them) then a coffee shop card will be very appropriate!
  4. A tasty beverage! We all have our favorite beverages. For some it’s a nice peaty bottle of scotch and for others it’s a diet coke. There’s nothing wrong with leaving something at the door with a small note that says Thank You!
  5. Baked Goods! Have you joined the ranks of the pandemic sourdough bakers? If so there’s nothing like dropping off a freshly baked loaf of your very own sourdough bread at a friend who is an essential front line worker’s home! Dropping off a loaf says “I care and I’m so glad that you care about others!”

No matter what you do, I believe it all starts with a thank you!

Happy 2018!

It’s about to be  the New Year 2018 in Glendale, California and we have some thoughts we’d like to share with you.

We all like to celebrate the new year. It seems like it’s a commendation of surviving and maybe thriving the challenges that we faced for the last 360 days together. It’s a chance to get together with friends, meet new ones and reflect on the upcoming year. It never really meant much to me as a kid but as I become an old fart I realize it’s important to look back and forward in the same breath. We need to look back to see what we’ve overcome, what we celebrated and to look forward to see what we can do better, to remember what we have and the success of what’s already been accomplished. I think above all a new year brings hope. Let’s keep hope alive and find the good. Let’s find the good, let’s dwell on the good and then let’s do good in 2018!

Be Responsible

That brings ups to the the idea of let’s also be responsible. Let’s be kind to those who need it and even to those who don’t.

Let’s not drink and drive.

Let’s put the phones down when we are at any type of table that’s not classified as a desk and let’s take the time to look each other in the eye and say, “You matter.” From Glendale, California to Buffalo, New York let’s be happy this year. Let’s fight for what’s right. Let’s be gracious to those that we disagree with and loving to those that we do. Let’s remember that all politics is local. Let’s make sure that we all vote this year. Let’s offer our opinions to others but let’s actively listen to those that we disagree with. It’s pointless to not try to consider the other person’s perspective if we wish them to consider ours.

Non Profits

Let’s donate more to some Non Profits. In Glendale the Verdugo Woodlands Dads Club is a great place but there are others. Find a non profit you believe that does good and be generous. You might wish that someone was generous to you one day. Generosity never goes out of style.


I think that it’s important to remember to be kind to yourself. I personally like to take a moment to reflect on the idea to give yourself a break! The holidays are tough. Let’s not make them any more difficult than they need to be.


Be kind to artists. It doesn’t matter if you are considered to be a Master Artist like Farzad Kohan, or editorial photographer like Steve O’Bryan you should find an artist and hire them, buy their work or do something kind. This includes musicians as well. Live music is good for the soul. Recently we featured an article on The Replicas Music because they played the Dads’ Club here in Glendale. The Replicas Music website is a great place to find a wide range of musicians to hire in Glendale or for that matter anywhere near Los Angeles.

Have yourself a very merry New Year and come back!


The Replicas Music Interview

Recently Urban Toot was at the Dads’ Club here in Glendale, California and we saw The Replicas Music, Variety band perform at a very private and very VIP birthday party. The band was just crazy good and we got to know them a little and thought that it would be a hoot to interview them here on Urban Toot. 

I sat down with Veronica Puleo, the Executive Director for The Replicas Music so I could get to know her a little bit better. Veronica’s a lot of fun and her passion for music and performing comes out in spades. She’s one of those people who are sorta like Dwayne Johnson who makes you feel like you have been best friends since kindergarten. She’s pretty kick ass!

Here’s how the interview with The Replicas Music got started.

So tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and what it is that you do for The Replicas Music.

Veronica: I’m an artist. I started dancing at the age two, began singing at age 7, picked up the guitar at 19, moved to LA to act, be a photographer, and singer songwriter.  Is your head spinning yet?  I love art and working with artists.  What I do for TRM is provide the very best live music entertainment for special events such as weddings, corporate parties, and  private soirees.  I find incredible musicians to play classical, jazz, and all genres of music. My partner I customize and design specific soundtracks for each client to fit the scene of their event.

So you Perform and you are the Artistic Director. What’s that like? It’s gotta be crazy!

Veronica: Crazy is an understatement, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wear so many hats and get to be a chameleon. That is my wheelhouse and my comfort zone.  I can sell to my clients, get the contract signed, book musicians and fill the calendar, and learn a bunch of music for the next gig.  I won’t lie, it can get challenging at times, but I always welcome it.

I understand that you perform with one of the variety bands. Tell us about that variety band, the people in it and how are they different than your two other variety bands? 

Veronica: I feel like one of the luckiest singers in the world. The musicians that grace our stage are some of the most disciplined, professional, super talented individuals … and they happen to have the best sense of humor and they are like family. That is the variety band I get to sing with.  Matt Hornbeck, one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet and his guitar chops are insane.  Hire him to be your session cat!  Speaking of session players, our Music Director, Michael Holowatch is not only a sick drummer, but he also owns Mud Dog Drum Studio (sessions, lessons, and production). Todd Honeycutt, our lead male vocalist toured with Sir Elton John and sings on so many movie soundtracks such as Planet of the Apes!  

I can go on and on about TRM Variety Band.  This is the band that started our agency in 2011.  We literally cover everything but death metal!

We have so many more talented folks in our arsenal that make up our other big ensembles:  

Uptown Social Club – Pop / Top 40 / Motown / 80s – Malynda Hale, Cheyenne Jolene, Aaron Schumacher … these vocalists will knock your socks off. Google them!  Seriously they are so accomplished it blows my mind.


Boulevard West –  Funk / Soul / RnB – T.j. Wilkins was on The Voice, The horn section in that band:  JP Floyd on Trombone tours with Chance the Rapper, Cameron Johnson on Trumpet tours with Robin Thicke

Boulevard West –  Funk / Soul / RnB – T.j. Wilkins was on The Voice, Jamila Ford backing vocalist for Seal, Christopher Johnson – a gifted trombonist, has performed with musicians such as Clark Terry, Wycliffe Gordon, Aloe Blacc, Jasmine Sullivan, Jamie Foxx, Mary Mary, Ledisi, Tevin Cambell, Yolonda Adams, Rachelle Ferrell, Jennifer Holiday, Monica, Tamia, Stephanie Mills and Stevie Wonder to name a few.

From looking at your website, The Replicas Music I see that you represent a lot of other musical acts/groups. Tell us about them.

Veronica: We’ve got it all from solo artists, duos, trios … all the way up to 13+ pc bands.  They can handle all styles of music.  Even our background ensembles can take classic rock hits like “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC and turn it into a Bossa Nova.  So fun!  We also represent the very best in Mariachi, Jazz, Classical, Latin Jazz, Bluegrass, New Orleans Brass Band.  

We saw you play at the VW Dads’ Club. Is that a normal type of venue that The Replicas Music plays? 

Veronica: All venues and events are game!  We love down home backyard parties … and in this same breath I can say that my musicians love to get dolled up and play the most posh venues in SoCal.  Our usual spots are private estates, Malibu Rocky Oaks, The Beverly Wilshire, The Montage Beverly Hills, The Ebell of LA, Sunstone Villa in Santa Ynez, Hummingbird Ranch, Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara Historical Museum, Santa Monica Beach Club, Jonathan Beach Club, Jonathan Club DTLA, The Millennium Biltmore, The Four Seasons Biltmore, The Four Seasons Westlake Village, The Four Seasons Beverly Hills, City Club DTLA, Los Angeles Athletic Club … and for good measure, you can catch the TRM Variety Band monthly at the Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas.

Okay I get it, the VW Dads Club is not your normal type of venue, but how was it to perform there? 

The Replicas Music performing at The VW Dads' Club

Veronica: We loved performing at VW Dads Club and would love to be there more!  We met so many awesome people.  There is a true sense of community and genuine good vibes all around in Glendale.  Steve and Patti from Smack Smog made our killer website, rebranded us completely, designed the perfect logo and help us with marketing. We recently bought a house with the help of our most awesome Glendale Real Estate Agent, Jake at Diggs.  Skyline Home Loans hooked us up with our loan.  

So what is a normal gig for The Replicas Music and all its acts? (In town, out of town, wedding, corporate etc)

Veronica: All kinds of events, but mainly Corporate, Weddings, and Fundraisers.  We will travel anywhere.  We recently did a gig at The Phoenician in Scottsdale AZ for AT Kearney. But for the most part we stick around SoCal from Santa Ynez down to San Diego.

Do you have any tips for someone wanting to hire some live entertainment? 

Veronica: Hire real musicians!  Hire musicians who live, eat, breath, and sleep music. Stay away from track bands if music really does matter to you.  What is a ‘track band’?  Well, that’s a band that uses pre recorded tracks to thicken up their sound. Sometimes you’ll see a band and hear horns and backing vocals, but there are no horns on stage and no backing vocals.  Sometime you will see a 4 piece band and they will sound like a 15pc.  They may even be ‘miming’ and not even playing their instruments.  We simply don’t believe in that. #NoTracks … Real musicians don’t need tracks.  

It sounds like you’re crazy busy! What do you do to keep sane?

Veronica: Yoga, play with my dogs, go salsa dancing

It sounds like you have your hands full! If our readers wanted to hear you live when is your next public gig?

Veronica: October 20th at Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas.

Authors Note:
For the sake of full transparency I should mention that The Replicas Music is a client of Smack Smog here in Glendale, California, which is the internet marketing & branding team that takes care of the technical things on Urban Toot. If that bothers you for some reason you should feel free to leave this website right now and never come back. Our feelings won’t be hurt because we aren’t here to trick you or exploit you in any way. With that said, The Replicas Music Agency is a pretty kick ass group of rogue musicians who play weddings, corporate events and VIP birthday parties. You should contact them and book one of their ensembles for your next event!



gusd app graphic

The GUSD App serves you Top Stories about what’s happening at all the schools in the Activity Stream, you can receive notifications (although at this point the notifications are almost nonexistent for most people. I’m sure that this will pick up over time as the App gains more ground.  You can see other items on the second page such as:
  • Calendar
  • News
  • Tip Line – Kinda cool. It’s a small form that the user can fill out and enter tips. I think it would be good to have some sort of explanation of what tips they hope to receive but it is a form of communication with the district so it’s a good thing. The  Tip Line has Categories that if you take the time to explore will help you to send out information about
    • Bullying
    • Drugs
    • Feedback (whatever that means)
    • Fighting
    • Kudos
    • Maintenance
    • Medical
    • Personal Crisis
    • Safety Risk
    • Suggestions
    • Technology
    • Threat
    • Vandalism
    • Weapons

I think it’s pretty cool that you can either provide your name and contact information or remain anonymous as well as provide the location.

Other Cool Things

Other cool things is the Parent Connect where you can see attendance and assignments. I just wish all the teachers would use the Parent Connect and not just a couple.


Another good feature is the directory for each school. That’s pretty obvious so I won’t go into detail.

The other features you’ll have to check out for yourself. There is the Center Track pay for EELP which looks like it just takes your to a regular webpage inside the app. The writing is tiny on a phone and so I think I would personally hate using it it but that’s just my opinion but check it out for yourself and try it out.

The Construction Update didn’t load so i don’t know what’s going on there and the Elementary Lunch Menu began another download of a PDF which I don’t think is a good idea. It’s going to need to download often, it’s going to be a resource memory hog that will use up your phone storage. I’m not sure why they don’t just port it into HTML 5 and be done with it. Oh and as much as I like the School Superintendent (I really do, he seems like a good guy) I don’t understand why he has is own section in the App. If it’s going to have some important information then at least tell us what sort of information it will have.

Anyway, decide for yourself if you think it’s a useful app. I think it is. I’m grateful that we have it.

Here are the directions from the GUSD website about how to get the Glendale Unified School District App on your phone.

Instructions on how to get the App on your phone!

  • Download the New GUSD App!

    • Stream school and district news
    • Receive instant notifications
    • Check student information
    • Submit online tips

    Downloading the app is easy!

    1. Visit the App Store or Google Play
    2. Search for “Glendale USD”
    3. Download the app
    4. Select the schools you want to follow

Adobes of Glendale: The Verdugo Heritage


A really great video that describes the history of the Adobes of Glendale, CA. This really wonderfully produced video discusses the history of the Catalina Adobe and the Casa Adobe De San Rafel. I’m really impressed by the depth and complete research that is presented here. They talk about the very early days from the 1500’s to the 1900’s.  Everything from who lived here to how the Adobe Blocks were made.

How do preschools handle discipline?

Discipline is an important topic when working with children yet it can be a topic that is minimized or under spoken of by parents when looking for a preschool.

Here are the two methods of discipline in a preschool:

1. time out or

2. conflict resolution

There was an old school theory which still exists with the method being time out. Just search and you can find many schools and parents using this as a way to remove the child from the conflict. While I believe it has its place in the home, in a school setting it can be make a child feel shame for being singled out in a public setting. Conflict resolution suggests that children are educated about the value of communication that is respectful and kind, while expressing feelings of being hurt by someone’s actions. Conflict resolution requires that teachers are trained to help children by modeling communication that is calm and well spoken, where teachers can also interact with children by teaching them how to articulate their feelings.

There are six steps to conflict resolution with preschoolers:

1: approach the children in conflict calmly and stop the conflict

2: acknowledge everyone’s feelings

3: gather information about what happened

4: restate the problem

5: ask for ideas from everyone for a solution and help choose a solution

6: be there for follow and to give support

When you are in a preschool setting ask the teachers how they handle conflict with the children. it is a question that is often overlooked yet one that becomes important as it will effect your child and set the stage for their ability to be social in a school setting.


 Debbie has been an early childhood educator for the past twenty years as a preschool teacher, director and parent educator. She is a member of the National Association of Early Childhood Educators, Pasadena City College’s Advisory Board and a local preschool directors networking group. Debbie is the owner and Director of La Canada Preschool. Her vision is to provide the best environment for children to experience discovery and their sense of wonder at this magical moment in human development.


Smart Meter Redux

I’ve been reading and thinking about this whole smart meter thing that has been going on here in Glendale. To be honest I’m not sure what to think.

You see, for years Glendale got by pretty well with having regular old meters on the houses and every other month or so Glendale Water and Power would send someone out to read and record the meter. GWP would send me a bill, I’d pay it and that was that.

Then I heard that GWP was going to install this so-called “Smart Meter” on my house and that the smart meter would record my usage and automatically report this back to GWP Headquarters. It didn’t seem like such a big deal. Automation seems like progress.  And hey, who’s against progress?  Certainly not me.  Or am I?

Then I heard that some people were against the smart meters for a number of reasons. From what I understood some of the people felt like the “Big Brother” of Government was watching them. I heard others just felt like they should have the right to say what goes on their property and yet others have said that the radio waves are making them sick.  When I learned about all this I thought: Hooey! You guys must be a bunch of problem causing weirdoes. This is progress people! Get on board or get left behind!

However, now that I’ve taken some time to think about it, I think I was wrong. First of all it is our private property and we should be allowed to have some say in what gets put on it. Sure, anyone can make the case that we don’t have to have electricity and that if we don’t like it then have the power and water turned off and be done with it.  That sounds a lot like when I was a kid and those bratty kids would say well it’s my ball and if you don’t want to play by my rules then I’m not going to play and you can’t play with my ball!  Seems sort of childish doesn’t it?  In today’s society in Glendale it seems like a real necessity to have power and electricity. I am no expert about this but how many choices do I have for water and power?  It’s not like a cable company that I can choose from or a telephone company. It’s pretty close to a monopoly except that my tax dollars support Glendale Water and Power.  If my tax dollars (which I’m obligated by law to pay) support GWP then it’s ridiculous to say that I have a real choice.

Also, I got thinking. People are claiming that they are getting sick from the radio waves from smart meters. Again, I thought: You bunch of whacko’s! What are you talking about? You must just be slackers and con men looking for a pay off! But then I thought some more about it. What if it’s true? What if people really are getting sick from the smart meters? As a community, do we care so very little about our friends and neighbors getting sick and being ill? Why do we just assume that they are being fraudulent?  Shouldn’t we investigate this more?  Are there long-term health problems that we just aren’t seeing? I really don’t know but I do think it’s worthy of our consideration and possibly our action.  Isn’t it just as easy to take the smart meters off the peoples’ homes in return for our neighbors’ good health?

To be honest I don’t know if living under power lines will make you sick but I’ll never volunteer to live under one. If I’m not willing to live under power lines even though it hasn’t been categorically proven unsafe, am I crazy to avoid it? Don’t people claim that living under power lines make them sick? Doesn’t this lend true to the same argument about Smart Meters? Maybe?

What really started me getting upset about all this is Glendale Water and Power saying that its customers can “Opt Out” for a fee. From what I understand that proposed fee is about $56 a month. That’s quite a bit! I have some problems with this ‘Opt Out” policy.

First of all, I was never given the opportunity to “Opt In” and now I have to pay to “Opt Out”?  I’m no lawyer but that seems wrong. I mean I never asked for a Smart Meter. I was never asked if I wanted one. A smart meter was just installed without anyone coming and asking me if it was okay.  So now if I don’t want it I have to opt out? I have to opt out and pay a pretty hefty monthly fee. This just seems wrong.

Second, $56 a month! Since I get billed every 2 months does that means that it costs GWP $112 to have someone drive across town and read my meter. Personally I find that if I plan my day I can make it from any point in Glendale to another in about 20 minutes but to be generous lets say 29. It takes about 30 seconds to read my traditional meter.

It seems to me that even if the meter readers aren’t planning their routes very well that they are paid $224 an hour!? That would be crazy enough but if you figure that there are people all over the city of Glendale who don’t want Smart Meters, then the meter readers can cover even more ground. If that’s true, GWP really has some bigger problems then Smart Meters.

Why is PG&E only charging $10 a month for meter reading? Why do we even have to pay at all? I think that the fact that those smart meters were bought and paid for with money from my taxes, should give me a say about how they are used and if they should be used on my property.  If my tax dollars paid for them, then I have to pay to have them removed and I have to pay monthly — it seems like I’m being triple billed! That just doesn’t seem right.

Now what about progress?  Don’t we need to have everyone on Smart Meters to be on the Smart Grid?  Doesn’t the Smart Grid help us conserve energy and lower gas prices? My answer is: I don’t know. I have it on good authority that Glendale doesn’t need to be on Smart Meters to be on the Smart Grid.

So I have to ask. If you are like me and your bill has substantially gone up; if you have any of the concerns about being forced to install Smart Meters and were never asked; if you are concerned that maybe, just maybe, Smart Meters make people sick.  Then I encourage you to ask: Why do we have them?

We didn’t ask for them. We were told that they were good for us. They were forced upon us. I have to ask. Isn’t Glendale Water and Power part of our local government? Isn’t this the United States where the government is supposed to be FOR THE PEOPLE, by The PEOPLE?

I certainly didn’t want GWP to spend a reported 70 million tax dollars for this. I especially didn’t want GWP to spend my tax dollars and then to make my utility bill go up. How many years will it be before the city of Glendale recoups its 70 million dollars? What has happened to the people who were employed as meter readers? In this lousy economy have we put more people out of work?

When will our local government stop acting like it’s a entity that doesn’t have to be concerned about the people of Glendale and start acting on what the people of Glendale want?







Fergie and Walter

I am very excited to write about something amazing that is going on right in our Verdugo Woodlands neighborhood! Did you know that there is a little guide dog in training that lives on Woodland Avenue and attends Verdugo Woodlands Elementary? It’s true. Sheila Abranian has been a 3rd grade teacher at Verdugo Woodlands for the past 17 years and she began raising and training guide dogs 2 ½ years ago. I recently spoke to Sheila at length about guide dogs in training and would love to share with you what I learned.

What is Guide Dogs of America? Guide Dogs of America is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to provide guide dogs and instruction in their use, free of charge, to blind and visually-impaired men and women from the United States and Canada so that they may continue to pursue their goals with increased mobility and independence,” www.guidedogsofamerica.org. The organization was established in 1948 and the closest location is in Sylmar, California. Guide Dogs has three main programs: a breeding program, a puppy raising program and a guide dog program. Sheila became a puppy raiser in 2009. The puppies are placed in foster homes when they are about 8 weeks old. It is a bonus if the foster family has children and/or other pets. Guide Dogs pays for all veterinary bills while in the foster homes, but the family pays for the food, treats, toys and other supplies. It is the role of the puppy raiser to socialize the puppy as much as possible, which often means lots of outings. “A well socialized puppy will have fewer adjustments to make when it comes in for formal guide dog training,” according to Guide Dogs of America. Then the puppy returns to Guide Dogs for formal guide dog training at about 18 months old. The formal training last about 6 months and then, if the dog qualifies, he is paired with a blind or visually-impaired person.

Sheila fell in love with Labradors when she first met one through a friend. She owned two Labs and when they passed away she decided to become a guide dog puppy raiser. She got the idea from a bumper sticker that read “Raise a guide dog and make a difference”. Sheila wanted to volunteer and she is passionate about dogs, so Guide Dogs of America was a perfect fit. She submitted an application and 9 months later took home a little, 7-week-old yellow Lab named Fergie. She explained that Guide Dogs asks for an application and does a home visit to ensure that the potential puppy raiser is fit for the job. They want to make sure that the puppy raiser will be able to train the puppy, can spend a lot of time with it (including taking the puppy to work) and can commit to monthly training sessions at the Guide Dog campus.

Guide Dogs is in favor of the puppy raiser having other pets in the home. It is good to have birds, cats and other dogs so that the puppy is exposed to other animals and will not be distracted by them later in life when they are working dogs. Sheila’s adult daughter co-raises the puppies with Sheila and Guide Dogs encourages such partnerships in the training process.

The primary job of a puppy raiser is to take the puppy to as many places as possible in order to expose them to the world that they will eventually be working in. Sheila brought her puppy in training to work with her as a teacher. Little Fergie puppy was very popular on the campus of Verdugo Woodlands Elementary as she grew and continued in her training. Fergie continued to grow and train but when she started her final testing they discovered a non-life threatening respiratory issue that did not allow her to become a guide dog. Guide dogs are working dogs and need to be in top physical health. When this happens they call it a “career change”. Now Fergie resides with Sheila as her pet.

Sheila still had the strong desire to help blind people and so she applied for another puppy and took a 7-week-old, black Lab named Walter home in January of 2011. Sheila has the full support of the school and district to bring Walter to her work at Verdugo Woodlands Elementary. He goes to work with her about 3 days a week. He is often seen in the computer lab, classrooms, the playground and the hallways of the school. He is a very popular “student”. He is also seen at many of the school events such as awards banquets, the fundraising gala, assemblies, etc. Sheila sent home letters to all of her students’ parents to ask for permission and possible allergies prior to bringing Walter to school. She said that all of the permission slips were returned the next day! Everyone seems to love having Walter on campus. He has a dog crate in her classroom but is so well-behaved that he is often seen lying under the table in the back of the class. Sheila has the children read to Walter and now that he is older they are allowed to pet him after class. People, myself included, often ask if they can pet a guide puppy in training. Sheila explained that it is O.K. to pet the puppy if they are sitting nicely but if the puppy gets too excited and jumps around they have to be taught to be calm. I think that Sheila is setting an amazing example for her students. She is teaching them the importance of volunteering and eventually giving up a pet that you love dearly in order to help a visually-impaired person.

In addition to attending school with Sheila, Walter goes on regular outings in the Glendale area. He enjoys going to coffee, the movies, restaurants, grocery stores, on public buses and has even flown on airplanes. He recently traveled to Washington D.C. and back. When Sheila was called to report for jury duty this year, Walter went too. All of the people in court fell in love with the puppy in training! I was interested to learn that the laws pertaining to guide dogs and puppies in training differs by state. In California, guide puppies in training do not have to be allowed in all public places like guide dogs. In order to qualify for needing a guide dog you need to be legally blind, so this also includes people who have some vision left or are partially blind.

Sheila reported that all places allow them access once they see the “guide puppy in training” jacket on Walter. Walter has many friends all over town. Sheila has been overwhelmed by how positively people react to the puppies in training. Sheila said that the Trader Joes in Montrose is especially fond of Walter, and he is offered a latte at his local coffee shop (of course he declines). Who can resist an adorable black Lab puppy with a yellow “guide puppy in training” jacket?

Walter is allowed to be a regular Lab puppy once his training jacket is off at home. He loves to play fetch, play with his sister, Fergie, and jump around the house. He knows that he is no longer in training once that jacket comes off and knowing that distiction will make a great working dog someday. Guide dogs need to relax, have fun and play when they are not working and helping their owner. Sheila feels that Walter has the qualities that make a great guide dog. He seems to want to have a job and purpose, Sheila said, and seems happiest is doing something.

Not only does Walter have friends all over town but he also has a Facebook page that he shares with his dog sister, Fergie. On Facebook they currently have over 297 followers or “friends”. Sheila established a Facebook page for Fergie in order to connect with other guide puppy raisers and it grew from there. Walter and Fergie post about their outings, photos, and comments. It must be tough to type with paws!

Sheila is often asked, “how can you give up your dog?” She explained, “I am raising my dog for a friend that I haven’t met yet”. She feels that this statement puts everything into perspective. That “friend” could easily be a family member, friend or someone else that you would want to help. On a recent trip with Walter, Sheila was stopped by a sight-impaired stranger who thanked her for all that she is doing to help blind people. She bonded with this lady and spoke for 30 minutes about the amazing difference working dogs make in the lives of blind individuals. Sheila spoke about attending the guide puppy graduation where the puppy raiser gets to meet the new, owner of the puppy. She said that she is filled with joy to see how well the puppy responds to all of the consistent training and in turn changes a life by helping a blind person. Sheila hopes that Walter will be a part of his graduating class and although she knows that she will shed tears of sadness in saying goodbye, she will also shed tears of happiness for the person that really needs Walter.

Guide Dogs of America desperately needs more puppy raisers like Sheila. If you are interested in becoming a puppy raiser, please contact Guide Dogs of America. The organization is 100% funded by donations only and they do not receive any state or federal funding. Please go to their website and you can hit the “make a donation” box and donate right there. Your donation will help them provide a guide dog to a blind individual free of charge. “Help make a difference in the life of a blind individual in the form of a loving, four-pawed partner today”, www.guidedogsofamerica.org.

We wish Walter the best of luck with his continued training and testing and we thank Sheila Abranian for her amazing sacrifice of time and love with these amazing puppies. Look for a black Lab named Walter (wearing a yellow jacket) as you are out and about in Glendale.


Maggie Mason, M.S.W.

Mother of two humans and two canines.  Author and therapist in “pre-mom life”.



Garbage in Montrose

Responsibility. It’s easy to point the finger. The City of Glendale should do a better job emptying the trash containers. Or maybe the local merchants like Froyo (many, many of the containers are from Froyo) should supply more trash containers or even better yet go outside and collect the trash. Or maybe, just maybe those of us who buy from Froyo (and the other merchants) could just walk a few more steps and throw our trash away like civilized human beings.

So yes the responsibility falls in a wide circle. It includes the merchants, the city, and yes even the customers. Let’s not forget that Glendale is a special place because we are a community, a community where everyone pulls together to make Glendale a special place.

Shopping New in Town Again

Yes I am, sort of new in town again. People in Glendale are great. I want to share with you a few of my shopping experiences.

A few days ago I needed a few items from Micheals. Now we all know that to be a good shopper at Micheals you need to cruise around the store and give things a quick once over. However, when my hubby is waiting in the car (and probably timing me) I make every effort to be quick.

So here I am, in Micheals, with a few items in the basket, looking for the end of the line. (I’m sure you know the long line, that thanks to good planning, moves quickly.) Yea Micheals.

I arrive near the end of the line when I realize that I must go around more merchandise to reach the end. The mother and daughter at the end of the line insist that I go ahead of them. I guess I look really old and tired. Yea for people that care.

With many thanks I got on line. Now the lady in front of me has some pencil erasers in her basket. I ask her how much they cost.

She told me they were only $1.00 for a pack of 40. I thought that was a good deal and asked if they were nearby. No, they were in the rear of the store. She then offered to go get them for me. I watched her basket and off she went.

Quickly from the back of the line she was now first, but no sign of her. I left her cart under the watchful care of the mother and daughter behind me. So there I was at the cashier, watching the cart (from a distance) along with the young lady who was behind me. In time for me to still buy the erasers, she suddenly appeared, and I got my erasers and she went right to another cashier. I conclude that good people shop in Micheals.

Now let me tell you I love to shop. (especially without my husband) My health doesn’t allow for much shopping times, but it’s still one of my favorite things to do. To be visiting here from out of town is great. My daughter in law is a good shopping partner. Yea for a great daughter-in- law.

To know Glendale is brimming with many helpful people is really special. The other day I was in CVS and a lady came up to me and gave me a coupon for $10.00 off that she was unable to use. My goodness. What a kind person. She was very generous to take her time to share.

Today at Target I was able to get a handicapped shopping cart because one lady had not only brought it back into the store, but cared enough to also plug it in. A special yea for Target because I can shop there without pain or bring by wheelchair.

You need to know that there are many kind and generous people living in your community. Let’s work on getting to be able to do acts of kindness wherever we are.

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