*Angela the German
not mind hamming it up for the
camera, but there's nothing
humorous about her regular job,
protecting her owners' jewelry
canines know their patience in front
of the camera will be rewarded with
two hot meals a day. Here Angela
is posed as " Whistler's Mother."
adjusts a wig on
Alexis to photograph her as Snow
White. Bradley says she can get
her canines to do just about anything
for the camera as she poses them
for children's books and greeting
Dogs Find Time To Mug For The Camera
German Shepherd Can Put On The Dog For The Camera
German Shepherds can put on the dog for the camera
by Jon Hahn, Seattle PI Columnist
Gabrielle Bradley's German shepherds don't have Marlene Dietrich's
great legs, but they have her incredible stage presence, and
also Col. Klink's ironic sense of humor. Which makes them absolutely
boffo dog-photo subjects, much like famous photographer William
Wegman and his Weimaraners.
Enter, stage left, the Bradley troupe of fun-loving German shepherds,
as featured in a new series of children's books and an amusing
set of greeting cards.
"These kids are big hams, and they're also spoiled brats," said
Bradley. "I can get them to do just about anything." Well, almost.
"When we first set up for photos to illustrate 'Hansel and Gretel,'
I made a false-front house covered with dog biscuits instead
of ginger bread. And I had a very hard time getting them to
leave that house alone!"
Show biz being what it is, her shepherds aren't about to quit
their day job guarding and protecting Monroe Jewelers, the Bradley
family business. In fact,some of the dogs are actually owned
by the jewelry shop and some are owned by Bradley and husband,
"Originally, after we moved here from L.A. to get away from
the crime, we had some 'foo-foo' dogs - you know, Afghans and
sheep dogs," Bradley said. "But then, about 12 years ago, a
lady down the road from our home was robbed at gunpoint in broad
The very next day, I called my father in Germany and said I
wanted a German-trained shepherd. They're much sturdier, and
more disciplined. They're not bred simply for looks." That statement
failed to hurt the feelings of either Alex or Angela, her current
6- and 7-year-old stars, who were relaxing behind one of the
jewelry store counters.
After all, they do look positively stunning in costumes and
classic poses. In their own way, they're sort of canine Arnold
Schwarzeneggers. Trained for strength and street smarts, they
strayed into show biz. But these dogs haven't forgotten, let
alone bitten the hand that feeds them. Neither would you, if
you got two squares each day "That's two hot meals each day,"said
Bradley. "Breakfast is usually scrambled eggs, oatmeal, macaroni
and vitamins. Supper might be rice and veggies and tuna or chicken."
And decent lodging at the Bradley's rural home several miles
from town, where the family penchant for collecting animals
also has deposited resident roosters, goats, pygmy sheep, cats,
a donkey and you-name-it.
Most of the shepherds are German-born and certainly trained
to German standards and performance. Bradley's first shepherd
died of an infection contracted during tracking trials in fields
fertilized with human sewage.
She once again phoned her father in Germany and got Sancho and
Ondra, the parents of some of her current dogs. Along the way,
Bradley has trained with some noted police canine-unit experts
so that she, in turn, can help train shepherds for police work.
"One of Sancho and Ondra's pups, a dog named Lex, now works
with the Portland Police Department," she said proudly. Bradley
also helped train a German shepherd for the Redmond police,
"partly because I know how to speak German, and that's the language
The German German shepherds must show courage during field trials,
but they cannot be certified if they react without provocation
or command. They also must not flinch at the sound of a gunshot
and must display even temperament. All the dogs Bradley has
trained, including those she owned over the past dozen years,
are bilingual. Some are trained for police or guard work, but
hers are also trained for protection, mostly to protect her
and Peter. But they've all learned how to wear costumes and
hold still for photo sessions at the Bradley home.
"The first photo thing was actually a special card I wanted
to do for my father," Bradley said. "Then I did one of the kids
( that's what she calls the dogs because her and Peter's sons
are now adults) dressed in DARE T-shirts.
Then we got a little more daring. That's when we tried 'Whistler's
Mother' with Angela. I can get her to do anything!" For photos
to illustrate children's books, she had to borrow some animals.
"On 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' I borrowed Rottweiler
pups and I had trouble with one Rottie that tried to eat the
bunny rabbit!" she said. Bradley and her shepherds also have
illustrated a "Mother Goose Revisited" anthology, "Three Little
Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf," in which Rottweiler puppies again
play the innocents to one of her German shepherd, as well as
about 100 individual greeting cards.
In another classic she illustrated, "The Bremen Town Musicians,"
Bradley recruited Chico, a miniature donkey, and posed one of
her dogs atop the donkey, then Kipper, her cat, atop the dog,
and then Ricky, her rooster, at the very top. A casual reader
might assume it was all done by computer graphics, but the animal
balancing act was done by a very patient Bradley at her Monroe
"And of course, the donkey was a perfect little ass during the
whole photo shoot. We've since adopted him." Well, there you
have it: another fairy-tale ending. Except at Monroe Jewelers,
the dogs have air-conditioning, those two hot meals, daily exercise
and all the perks. So they probably live happier ever after.
Bradley's dog photo greeting cards are about $2.50 each, and
the photo illustrated children's books retail about $29.95.
They are carried at local Pet Pros stores and , of course, at
John Hahn is a staff columnist who writes three times a week
in the P-I
*Angela the German shepherd may not mind hamming it up for the
camera, but there's nothing humorous about her regular job,
protecting her owners' jewelry business.
*Gabrielle Bradley's well-trained canines know their patience
in front of the camera will be rewarded with two hot meals a
day. Here Angela is posed as " Whistler's Mother."
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.