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The Herald
/ DREW PERRINE
*Shepherds Ondra (left) and Alex
turn the tables, and the lens, as
owner and photographer Gabrielle
Bradley of Monroe, who usually photographs the dogs for greeting
cards


PHOTO HERE
*German shepherd Angela poses
as SnowWhite.


Guard Dogs Find Time To Mug For The Camera

These German Shepherd Can Put On The Dog For The Camera

Guard dogs find time to mug for the camera
by Linda Bryant, Herald Columnist

"The life of a working gal from Monroe:security guard by day, glamorous model on weekends. "Angela," I asked, gazing into deep chocolate brown eyes, "How do you cope; what is your motivation?" She turned slightly, so I could see her sensitive nose. "Liver treats and hot dogs," she confided.

Her brother Alex sauntered over to show off his profile. "Personality and poise run in the family. I have a brother in the Portland Police Department. He's a hero, you know."

An hour before, when I entered Monroe Jewelers a few doors from Safeway in a strip mall off U.S.2, I had no idea Angela, Alex and their mother, Ondra, were on the job. Gabrielle Bradley was with a customer, so I checked out her greeting card display: Angela as Marilyn; Alex as Santa; Angela, Ondra and Alexis (love those hats, girls) at a tea party; Alex and Sancho as the Blues Brothers, and dozens more.

It's a sideline, of course, Gabrielle and Peter Bradley's primary business is jewelry. He is a skilled jeweler and goldsmith, she handles sales. They've owned this store in Monroe since 1981. They had a jewelry store in Santa Monica, Calif., for several years before moving here to escape an escalating climate of violence and crime.

Monroe, a neighborly kind of place, seemed so safe, she said. That's why they were stunned when a neighbor's home was robbed at midday by thieves while a terrified woman and her baby hid from them in the bathroom shower. The robbery triggered the Bradley's decision to have guard dogs.

Sancho and Ondra were about a year old when Mrs. Bradley flew to Germany to visit her father and meet the purebred German shepherds he had selected for her. Back home in Monroe, Bradley and her dogs went through American Kennel Club obedience training and tracking classes. She also did advance work with former canine coordinator for the Las Vegas Police Department, Roy Stephenson of Arlington.

A litter of puppies came later. Some stayed home, others left home for families and careers of their own. Lex has worked on patrol with Portland police officer Bert Combs for 5 years. The duo also does public appearances on behalf of the police canine unit. Combs chose

Lex for his ability to socialize with people as well as track suspects, the officer said. "Working the road, he's captured 121 people and 90 percent of those were felony suspects," Combs told me. "He also saved my life, so I'm pretty partial to him." Lex, like all of Bradley's shepherds, was trained to use minimum force.

"They act fierce and intimidating, but they won't bite unless a suspect strikes or runs. "It's really nice if you've ever been a victim of crime to know you have someone to back you up," Bradley said. In her case, there are always three backups working security at the store when it is open.

The others are on guard duty at home. Early in the mornings, they go to a field by the river to exercise. "She is an incredible dog trainer, Redmond police officer Jennifer Baldwin said. "I've watched her work those dogs without being next to them, command them as a group to walk across the field, sit and stay. They behave perfectly."

Baldwin, who investigates child abuse cases, often carries copies of a photo Bradley shot of the dogs wearing DARE T-shirts. Bradley never sells this photo. She gives away hundreds to Baldwin and other police officers to give to children. Hundreds of different photos are sold, however, in Bradley's line of cards and books.

Like many good things, this sideline was created to fill an unmet need. Bradley couldn't find a birthday card she like for her father. So she made a birthday banner, added some colorful balloons and posed Alex in a bow tie and hat in the center. The photograph was affixed to a blank card of heavy white stock.

Bingo!

Alex was a really big hit here and in Germany. More cards followed. Then she tried books featuring her versions of classic children's stories illustrated with photographs of the dogs in costume. The books are expensive ($29.95), but each is hand-crafted. The cards are $2.50.

Bradley's studios in the house and in the barn contain a growing supply of costumes and props. Actual working time before the cameras is minimal for her stars. Stuffed dummies are costumed and placed in the stage set while she adjusts the camera and lights. Then, the dogs are dressed and take their position for the critical seconds when the camera clicks off several shots.

Pay and lavish praise are issued immediately after performance, and pay she must. "These are working dogs. They don't work for nothing. Not all dogs are suitable for this kind of work. They have to enjoy showing off. Alex is my No. 1 poser, he loves the camera," she explained.

As I was leaving, she gave a quiet command. Alex and Angela came over for an introduction. They were polite, but reserved. I got a few good quotes. I , in return, gave them star treatment: lavish praise and groveling respect.

Like Ken Griffey Jr., however, they were firm. "Put away the hot dog, lady, we're pros. We don't do autographs at work."

Herald columnist Linda Bryant writes about people, places and events that shape life in Snohomish County. Got any idea? Give her a call, (206)339-3460.



Our store, Monroe Jewelers, is located at 19569 Highway 2 in the Safeway Plaza in Monroe, Washington. For directions, please call us at 360.794.7393 or toll-free at 888.794.7394.



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