Photos by Susan Nieman and provided by Don Gold

Hollywood Pet Star

Don and Maxine Gold (but especially Don) are proud of – and smitten with – their Puli, Cricket, who is a Hungarian sheepdog. And, they have good reason to be.

Cricket is ranked #1 Herding PULI in the United States on both sheep and ducks. She has numerous titles in all breed-herding competitions. Cricket is a member of the West Tennessee Therapy Dogs, which Don, Joanne Fusco and Anne Weiss began with their three dogs years ago. The organization is now 70 teams strong. As a Certified Therapy Dog, Cricket visits inter-city schools, churches, the library, St. Jude, Le Bonheur, Shrine School, and a camp for kids who have lost a parent in the military.

Her number one job, says Don, “is that Cricket is on staff at Shelby County Juvenile Court. She was sworn in by Judge Dan Michael, who made her promise she would never carry a weapon or fix a ticket.” She has VIP parking with the judges and her own security badge.

“Cricket was one-and-a-half-years-old when she came to live with us after being returned to the breeder three times,” said Don. “Patty Ansbach offered her to us on a trial basis five and a half years ago.”

And she hasn’t left his side yet. Not only does Don groom her himself, but she’s never even been kenneled. “Wherever we go is by car,” said Don. “She loves to ride, and we sometimes we forget she is there.”

Cricket and Don have taken herding lessons since the first day she arrived. “A wonderful friend and trainer Nancy Obermark at Outrun Farm in Olive Branch has been teaching me since 1994,” he said. “Then I train Cricket to read their minds and herd her stock in all-breed competition at the advanced level.”

Don says, “Cricket is always humble and kind, and her only downside is that she is so friendly she can’t hold her licker.”

Cricket’s registered name is Legacy for Prydaon. Her best friend, Pickel, lives down the street with Linda Bourgeois. “I will call Linda, and she will let Pickle out,” said Don. “When I give Cricket her release word, she will charge like lightning to play with Pickel through an iron gate.”

Favorite Doc

Cricket sees Dr. William Hezel at Hickory Hill Animal Hospital

Favorite Treat

As a puppy, she never was given a toy. She is titled in Herding, Obedience, and a Certified Therapy dog and works for the low-fat Mother Hubbard tiny treats, the size of small acorns.

Favorite Shopping

Don frequents Hollywood Feed’s Germantown and Poplar location but has been a customer for many years, first at their Midtown location. Cricket prefers the Taste of the Wild Salmon dog food plus lots of goodies.