This Active Poodle Has Pull, Goes to Movies, Weddings, Disneyland


Landmark is a white standard poodle who is welcome at movie theaters, plays, concerts and museums.

He always draws an admiring crowd when he is strutting his stuff at shopping malls like Topanga Plaza and Northridge Fashion Center.

He rides as a passenger on airplanes, boards the rides at Disneyland, has visited Epcot Center and the Kennedy Space Center, both near Orlando, Fla.


He has his own tuxedo that he wears on formal occasions like some weddings.

But a pampered poodle he’s not.

Landmark is a working dog.

He’s an 8 1/2-year-old graduate of the Canine Companions for Independence facility, whose Southwest regional training center is in Rancho Santa Fe.

Landmark assists Sandy Oseas of West Hills, who uses a wheelchair because of neurological problems following a broken back 18 years ago.

He has been her friend and companion for seven years, loved not only by Oseas, but her husband, Allan, an area service manager for Bell & Howell, and their now-adult children.

The dog, whom she considers family, came free to Oseas after she paid the $125 for registration with the organization and the dog’s supplies, including his backpack.

But Landmark’s training, like that of all the animals from the organization, cost about $10,000.

All the money for training is paid by gifts from individuals. The organization receives no federal funding.


Oseas spends much of her time speaking to groups in Southern California about the organization and its work.

Landmark pulls Oseas’ non-electric wheelchair around places like the market. “I do not have a car with equipment for an electric chair, so his ability to do that is a great help to me,” she says.

The dog and woman are a good match. Both are energetic, sociable and active.

The Oseas family goes camping, traveling, to movies, plays and museums.

So does Landmark who, Oseas says, loves it all.

He also accompanies her on her daily rounds. She is active in the Jewish Federation, B’nai B’rith and Marriage Encounter. She serves on the boards of many organizations and is a member of speakers’ bureaus for others.

While she is busy taking care of her business, Landmark is busy taking care of her.

In the past--when the Oseas youngsters were growing up--Landmark was sort of an honorary room-father/mother at Haynes Street School in Woodland Hills. He also went to El Camino High School when the Oseas children attended there.

“When I first heard I was getting a poodle instead of a retriever or a Labrador, I was hesitant. A poodle seemed so unlikely.

“Now I can’t imagine life without him,” Oseas says.

John Ledwon Really Smokes Those (4,000 or So) Pipes

John Ledwon is a soft-spoken bachelor, a music teacher with a big, noisy hobby.

It’s playing the 30-ton, theatrical pipe organ that takes up a goodly portion of his 6,000-square-foot Victorian home in Agoura’s Medea Valley.


He can really smoke those pipes.

Ledwon put much of the instrument together himself during the past several years, except for the newly bought, finely carved console that is the focal point of his living room.

In addition to the console, which has four keyboards and about 900 controls, there are two other rooms, each with a 30-foot ceiling, which were built specifically to house the organ’s 4,000 pipes.

He is a graduate of Canoga Park High School and UCLA with a degree in music.

He became a teacher and works at Westlake High School and Colina Intermediate School in Thousand Oaks.

One of his pleasures is overseeing the Westlake High School’s play productions. This year, as always, the cast party was held at the Ledwon home.

The kids get a kick out of seeing the instrument that they’ve heard about from other students, according to Ledwon, who can be coaxed into playing show tunes if anyone wants to sing along.

He says he also plays the organ--which he estimates would cost between $500,000 and $750,000 to duplicate--afternoons, evenings and weekends for his own pleasure.


He says he has yet to hear a complaint from neighbors, including one who lives only about 100 feet away.

But his lilac-point Siamese, Scheherazade, is another matter.

“I don’t think she’s a musical connoisseur,” Ledwon says.

When he sits down to play, she disappears.

Don’t Get Mad or Give Up, Just Get to the Fund-Raiser

Encino’s Gerri Farnell is not saying that throwing parties is the cure for the fear of cancer.

What she is saying is that if you have cancer, or have had it, fight that fear any way you can.

“When I was told I had breast cancer seven years ago, I figured, well, that’s it for me, then. My mother died of breast cancer. I’m a goner. I had a mastectomy and I was kind of thinking that was all there was for me,” Farnell says. “I was going to give up.”

Instead, she had lunch with a friend of a friend at R.J.’s in Beverly Hills. Sandy Cohen is the founder of a group called the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary. Over lunch, Cohen told Farnell about the research and treatment the institute did at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. Farnell was impressed.

Farnell is now one of 600 women who raise about $350,000 annually for the institute through the auxiliary. She is in charge of what she calls all the fun get-togethers that the group throws.


The next event is a luncheon at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Hotel Bel Air at which psychologist Barbara De Angelis will be the speaker.

Farnell says she knows that not everyone who has cancer or is getting over cancer can come to the luncheon or join her organization. She says she does hope that they will join some organization--one that’s meaningful to them.

“It helps to have a support group, and it helps to know you’re in the fight,” she says.


“Oh, she thinks I’m being mean-spirited because of my new bumper sticker. It says, ‘My kid beat up your honor student.’ I thought it was pretty funny. She wants a divorce.”

Dad at Balboa Park to another dad near the soccer fields.