This week, Heidi is just a little envious of Bruno, the very bad dog from Woodland Hills whose escapades were the subject ofWe got more comments on than on any other column to date. Everybody seems to have a bad dog tale to share.
And when our sister publication, the Echo Park Patch, also posted the column, Echo Park readers came out of the closet to confess that they too have, or have had, a bad dog in their lives (one Echo Park reader even suggested slipping Bruno a little Prozac).
When I was in high school back in Michigan, the junior class named a sweet, smart senior girl called Mary Lou "our brightest hope for tomorrow."
Aptly-named senior girl Randy was immediately tagged "our brightest hope for tonight." Who do you think got more attention?
In order to console our girl for not being bad enough, I took my good dog on a trippy (that’s what we call it when we get to go in the car, yay) to a neighborhood place with a badass name:, on Tujunga Boulevard. Just to set the mood, let’s call our visit to this frozen treat emporium on a 101-degree Valley Wednesday a “heat intervention.”
My husband and I had noticed the place one evening after an al fresco dinner with the dog at Caioti Pizza Cafe, across the street. And, since one can always count on Studio City Patch to be on top of the news, I looked it up and sure enough, our own , with notes on Suck It’s signature offering, the Sucksicle.
Young also mentioned something we had noticed even though the shop was closed: Glamorous framed photos of dogs along one wall. Clearly this was a canine-friendly emporium. I’d have to come back with Heidi to get a dog’s eye view of the new place.
Heidi is a regular on the other side of Tujunga – hanging out at , , and the , where Heidi was once served a tiny cone filled with sugar-free gelato (unfortunately Louie the Labrador, a very good but very hungry dog owned by our animal photographer friend Andy Sheng, snapped it up before Heidi even got close). We didn’t know much about Tujunga’s West Side. Could be tough turf. You know, the wrong side of the crosswalk, where badass dogs slink off to get their organic vegan gluten-free treats after dark.
Yo, dogs: There was a chance that this trippy could be one bad trip. At least, we hoped so. Defiantly, we crossed over.
Sure enough—gang activity! A mom and two little girls in pastel dresses loitered on the Suck It premises, coolly licking pink and orange Sucksicles. Regulars, they told me (a euphemism for “addicts” if I ever heard one). The store’s business card calls these kinds of low-lifes “suckateers.”
Inside the shop, one wall is boldly decorated with framed letters of disapproval including quotes like these: “I am saddened to you have named your shop with negative words that have negative connotations of things other than candy and ice pops. ” And in bad, bold marker: “We Strongly Object to Your Store Name.”
Owner Kaileigh Brielle, who does volunteer work for various dog rescue organizations, admits that she has engineered a few private adoptions for her foster dogs (there’s got to be something immoral about helping rescue dogs find good homes without official documentation). The dog photos on her wall, all of her various foster “children,” include one she couldn’t resist adopting herself, Amigo, a bad little Chihuahua if I ever saw one.
And one of the first suspicious things that happened was, owner Brielle offered Heidi an experimental “treat” – a tiny, bone-shaped, banana-and-apple Sucksicle, soon to be available to other visiting dogs as well. Yeah, right. The first one’s free …
After Heidi slurped down her frozen treat, getting my hand all sticky in the process—very bad—we also discovered that West Side Tujunga provides a whole range of questionable temptations to make a good dog go bad.
Right next door to Suck It, had placed just outside its door a doggie “gumball “machine, where all the dog has to do is hit the bone-shaped lever and an enticing shower of kibble falls out. On the other side is – shocking name – an upscale handmade shoe emporium, dogs allowed. Venturing inside, we found the well-dressed Karen Weingard and her petite pooch Gertie Gelman (see photo), slumming on Tujunga’s Sin Strip all the way from Beverly Hills. Despite her size, Ms. Gelman was more than willing to stand up to big dog Heidi, barking up a tiny storm.
At the end of our visit to the Studio City Badlands, I decided get myself a Sucksicle, just so I could be as bad as the newly street-smart – that is, boulevard-smart -- Heidi. My seductive flavor was “It’s Really That Good,” a tangerine and cream delight recommended by the dangerous suckateer mom-and-kids gang I had encountered before at the shop. I was really getting into high-risk behavior here: this is one of the few non-vegan flavors.
And yes, it really was that good. Heidi and I will definitely take a walk on Tujunga again—both sides. Bruno, suck on that.