By Natalie Arroyo Camacho

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: The Valley’s iconic poodle on Hayvenhurst Avenue and Plummer Street is officially decked out for the holidays! Fido, as his humans call him, has finally transformed into Rudolph.

Brian and Sue Welch are the beautiful couple who have cared for the 12-foot ivy poodle in North Hills for more than three decades. I met the Welches in 2019, after knocking on their door to talk to them for this story.

They warmly invited me in and I sat at their dinner table, where there lay a shopping guide in which their grandchildren had circled the toys they wanted for Christmas. (Remember 2019, when we could still safely invite strangers into our homes?)

The Welches brought out a scrapbook of all the press, thank you notes, and photos they’ve received because of Fido. 

“Some people have even sent us money,” Brian said.

The scrapbook also contained a hand-written notice from the Los Angeles Department of Public Works dated April 24, 1987. It read:

“Remove all ivy that obstructs sidewalk & power pole & cables. Your illegally planted ivy is in violation of ordinance S3150, Sect. 62.168. Also remove any & all ivy encroaching on sidewalk & maintain it at all times.”

Thirty three years ago, the city of Los Angeles attempted to tear down our beloved Fido and was ultimately unsuccessful (thank goodness).

Brian Welch said that if the city could cite him and Sue, then the ivy canine was on city property, which meant it was the city’s responsibility to cut down Fido.

Since then, Fido has achieved landmark status in the Valley — one which has brought special joy around the holidays year after year. 

Brian jokes that the holidays are to Fido what moons are to werewolves.

“Every year around the holidays, Fido has an identity crisis,” Welch said. “He turns into a reindeer!”

Like most Valley kids, Fido comes from humble beginnings. He hasn’t always transformed into Rudolph, nor has he always looked like a dog. 

“When Sue and I first moved here, the ivy was already there and I was trimming it to keep it mostly tidy,” Brian recalled. “One day, she looked at it and said to me, ‘Huh, that hedge is starting to look like a dog.’ From then on, I started shaping Fido.”

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