(left) and Alex
turn the tables, and the lens, as
owner and photographer Gabrielle
Bradley of Monroe, who usually photographs the dogs for greeting
Dogs Find Time To Mug For The Camera
German Shepherd Can Put On The Dog For The Camera
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
"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
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.
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.
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,"
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.