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Laura Mola Headshot

Vicki Noodles Goes to Barneys

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My dog Vicki Noodles has cancer -- melanoma in her mouth. Not good news. We've all been there with a pet. Friends tell me how lucky she was to have found me. What a good life I've given her. She was homeless. I gave her a home, and chicken and rice for breakfast and dinner. She gave me back my life. A biter, she would go for someone's ankles before they knew what hit them. A friend stopped by because a baseball had landed in her eye. She was going to emergency. All of a sudden she screamed, a bloodcurdling horrific scream I assumed was some kind of seizure. No. Vicki Noodles had her ankle and wasn't letting go.

Vicki Noodles found me one morning after a dream in which I had a beautiful black Pekingese. Walking my one-eyed Peke, Brando, a rescue who toppled a woman 5'10", lo and behold, I thought I saw my black Peke. Granted it was early morning and I wasn't seeing too clearly but rational is not one of my strong suits. Brando lunged barking like a maniac and my dream dog took off running -- on three legs. Her leg or hip was injured. I picked Brando up, the luxury of having a ten pound dog, and ran after her alerting neighbors as only someone from the Bronx can.

Guys leaving a leather party -- I live in a lovely diverse neighborhood -- chaps on, butts hanging out, and totally hung over, caused one neighbor to drop his blanket and go home. Others stuck in there. Much as we tried, this dog was fast. We couldn't catch her. I went to the shelter where I got Brando thinking maybe my black Peke was there. I returned home to the telephone ringing. The dog was back.

Took 8-plus to catch her and most got bit. I took her to the all night vet and next morning to the hospital where they would fix that hip and really get her in shape. All the way there on the freeway she scratched, pushed, tried to get out of her cardboard box and was growling, sneering barking like an attack was imminent and every peek back the cardboard was giving way. I prayed I would make it to the hospital in one piece. Played music, sang, no luck. I called hospital personnel to take her upstairs.

She stayed in the hospital over a week. Cute, like the dog pulling the kid's pants down in that old tanning ad I think for Coppertone. Nonetheless I was sure I didn't want her. Brando was enough of a biter for me to handle but I had the ideal person, a woman producer who was working with me on a project. I had named her Vicki Noodles. Vicki for 'victorious,' Noodles for all these guys I was dating who called spaghetti pasta 'noodles.' I was a long way from the Bronx. Alas, the woman didn't materialize. I was stuck with this dog.

What was I going to do?

Well, I was going to get rid of that panic alarm hanging around my neck, open the windows, unlock the doors and live for a change. Hounded by a stalker, I was living in fear until this perfect watch girl found me. I was safe, protected. She was and is the perfect alarm system. Talk about a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately she was still an ankle biter. I use the term 'biter' specifically. As the expensive trainer insisted, dogs were either biters or not, not nippers, not a little rough, they bit or they didn't. Vicki Noodles bit. Not me but enough of my friends to actually call a trainer. He pronounced her perfect. The problem was with me. I needed training. Vicki Noodles gave it to me gratis. I loved her whether she bit or didn't, barked or didn't. Miraculously she was OK if someone, or some dog was in the house, the street was another thing. Imagine my amazement driving home and seeing two little three-year-olds walking Brando and Vicki Noodles in the street, no problem, both dogs behaving perfectly, little angels. Perhaps the problem was me. I took Vicki Noodles to Barneys. Everyone wanted to pet her. Freaked at first, I realized she was OK, wasn't going to bite anyone. She was the belle of the store, then the neighborhood. Well not really but I like to look at it like that. She now barks because she wants to be petted and neighbors marvel that they were so silly to think she wanted to bite them when all she wanted was affection. I don't correct them. After all I owe her, not the other way around. Once I felt safe, she did too.