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Candy Spelling Headshot

Send in the Hounds... Preferably With Their Checkbooks

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It's no secret that our parks in Los Angeles are in financial trouble; so, as a member of the Los Angeles Parks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) established to get private money to fund projects at our parks, I attended a meeting this week with our staff and a potential donor about giving us a donation for a local park.

I went prepared to sell with all my talking points -- about how much the private-public partnerships can help our public institutions, how far the money would go, how many people would see the corporate identification and all of our corporate and foundation speak.

It was the first time I took my dog to a Parks Foundation meeting, but our meeting was at the Laurel Canyon Dog Park on Mullholland Drive. It was my first visit there (and Madison's, too), and we had such a fun afternoon.

We met Gertrude the basset hound, a couple of mixes named Henry, Wilbur, another mix with one blue eye, Dayzee, the little grey dog my Madison liked best, and many others, from Amos to Zeus. We also met a lot of people who were so happy they had a place to take their dogs to run, socialize and enjoy the outdoors. I asked about one sad-looking dog and found out he belonged to a woman's ex-boyfriend, and the dog was sad because he couldn't go home with his master's former girlfriend's dogs. I saw a dog walker who spent a good ten minutes loading his charges into his truck, each one waiting patiently as the older and smaller ones were lifted into place.

The potential donor said "yes" to our proposal, and we're going to have a new area for the dogs and their guardians to enjoy the park. After experiencing the park, it would be difficult to say no to helping.

Our Parks Foundation supervisor posted a sign at the entrance to the park saying that L.A.'s Parks need help. It was gratifying to see how many wrote down the phone number and website. They can donate benches in their dogs' names, water fountains, trees, shelters for shade, gardens, or even have the park named for them.

So can you. Check us out at laparksfoundation.org, and support a park. Madison and I thank you in advance.