Dog Day Afternoons

by Steed Dropout
Nov. 21, 2013
Berkeley. Ca


Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, Spuds Mackenzie–celebrity dogs from movies and advertising.

Red-Dog, Dude, Flash–celebrity dogs from Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue, awaiting their big scenes, but famous to those who love them and sometimes abuse them. As the rest of us stumble over them.

U.C. Berkeley students call South Side’s student ghetto, “Bear [Cal’s emblem] territory.”
The territory should be known as dog territory.

Street kids know each other’s dogs as the affluent know the names of their dogs’ frisk-pals from well-groomed suburban dog parks.

Red-Dog. Photo by Ted Friedman.


So when Flash was filched last week and this reporter and a bicycle cop went to People’s Park looking for him, People’s Park regulars said, “we know Flash;” but they had not seen him.

Flash, a tea-cup chihuahua, could fit in a cup. He is not much bigger than a sugar-lump.

The tiny canine may have been dog-napped, according to eyewitnesses, who barely saw him being snatched; it happened in a flash.

This sad saga was chronicled in Berkeley Times as a Thanksgiving parable, a tale of grief and separation on a day of plenty.

Flash, right. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Flash was all that it’s owner, a schizophrenic with a bad back, had to live for. He was treating the dog for ailments of the lungs, heart, stomach, and liver. To most observers, the dog merely seemed depressed. It spent its days curled up like a miniature pretzel on its owner’s tattered suitcase.

Sources outside Telegraph’s Caffe Mediterraneum, say that two women may have snatched the dog as an act of mercy. “He [the owner] would leave the dog unattended for hours while he hung out with his computer on the Med’s mezzanine,” a source said.


Red-Dog is a magnificent Pit bull, of reddish complexion, like his owner, a public drunk.
Witnesses have seen him body slam his dog.

Made in the shade.
Photo by Ted Friedman.

Red-Dog’s owner’s last bust was for hammering on a fellow resident of People’s park with a hammer. Before that, he was busted for trying to steal two 1.75 millimeter CVS vodkas in his pants. Before that, open container. Before that, other alcohol beefs; and so it goes.

Each time his owner was arrested, Red-Dog wound up in Berkeley’s animal shelter under threat of the death needle. One time, the dog got a citation of his own–for chasing down co eds, biting their ankles, and biting three others in the park.

Released from county jail, Red-Dog’s owner, backed, he said, by his church group and an attorney went to court to save the dog. RD’s owner was arrested yet again and Red-Dog wound up again in the shelter, facing certain death.

Before Flash. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Red-Dog has been rescued from the shelter twice by, Savvy, the owner’s side-kick. “I was lucky they released him to me. There was money involved,” Savvy told me.

Red-Dog spends his dog day afternoons frisking in the park with his dog-sidekick, Alex.

He has a wide, snarling boundary. Beware. This is not a petting pet.

Loyal friend. Photo by Ted Friedman.


Park folks called Dude’s death, last year, murder and the cop who shot him, a killer. The cop told me he “felt bad” about it. “No one likes to kill an animal,” the officer told me.

Dude, a Shepherd mix off-leash, lunged at the cop as his owner lay dead drunk nearby.
[see our story].

Witnesses, who arrived on the scene said, said the drunk awoke and yelled. “They shot my dog.”

Park regulars remember Dude, who has passed into People’s Park legend, as a martyr to the park and a victim of police brutality.

Near Telegraph. Photo by Ted Friedman.

My story about Flash will appear in an upcoming issue of Berkeley Times, as another South Side Tale(s). My story about Dude was featured last year in the Berkeley Daily Planet.

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