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Lola is a showgirl and UCP Central California's new mascot

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Lola, UCPCC's adorable new mascot.

Did you know that United Cerebral Palsy Central California has a new mascot? If not, then it’s time you met Lola, a golden retriever puppy – and some might say diva extraordinaire.

Lola: Is this where I get to talk? You just woke me up from a nap and I’m ready for your attention to be on me!

As you can tell, Lola definitely lives up to the showgirl name.

Lola: Oh, you went there already? Wow. Because, sure, I’ve never heard that reference to Barry Manilow before. And in case you didn’t know, what I just did there is called sarcasm. I would spell it out for you, but I’m a puppy and I don’t know how to spell yet.

OK, I guess we should get to the part where we talk about you, huh, Lola?

Lola: Oh no! By all means! Take your time getting to the good stuff.

Well, I’ll just say that Lola is the latest addition to the Arts and Technology Center at UCPCC. The three-month-old puppy belongs to Kelly Cunningham, UCPCC’s director of adult programs.

Lola: That’s Mom you’re talking about! I also call her my “momager.”

I sat down with Lola and Kelly recently for a Q&A to learn more about this precocious pup. Let’s just say that Lola had lots to say about her role as UCPCC mascot.

Question: How did you find Lola?

Kelly Cunningham: She was a gift from my family. When COVID-19 hit, it was not long after that our older dog, Luna, passed away. (Luna was a fixture at the Arts and Technology Center). And because the center was closed down, the students never had a chance to say goodbye.

It was really hard on our students. Sometimes, the first thing students would ask when we were talking with them on the phone or by computer was, “How’s Luna? Where’s Luna?” After lying to them for six months, we had to start telling them. We knew her replacement was gonna have to be pretty special.

Kelly Cunningham and cuddly Lola.

Question: So, Lola, how are you liking it at UCPCC so far?

Lola: What’s not to love?! There are so many students who can’t wait to pet me – no surprise there – and give me “loves.” It’s my fluffy fur – the students just love to get their fingers in the fur. You know what they say: It’s a curse and a blessing being this adorable.

About that …. Is there such a thing as too adorable?

Lola: Is that really a question? I mean, look at me. That’s not a real question. Or you need to be better at this. Next question.

How did you come up with the name Lola?

Lola: I was given a choice of names. My grandmother was leaning toward Penny. Mom was leaning toward Fluffy. I told both of them that if they name me either Penny or Fluffy, they could kiss their favorite shoes goodbye because I’d shred them to pieces. So, Lola it was.

When you’re not entertaining the students and staff at UCPCC, what else do you like to do, Lola?

Lola: I love, love, LOVE to chew – shoes, phone books, table legs. You name it, and I’ll chew it!

I am a world-class fetcher. I’d like to make it an Olympic sport, if I find the time when I’m not napping, or chewing, or, of course, being adorable. Mom likes to throw a tennis ball for me when she’s checking the students in each morning. Secretly I think she hopes it will “wear me out,” but the joke’s on her – because I also LOVE naps!

Because I nap, then I’m able to keep Mom awake at night so we can discuss my favorite subject: me. I know she loves our midnight chats. Mom loves to tell me, “It’s a good thing God made you cute because you’re a stinker.”

Also, I think you could call me adventurous. I am not afraid to go anywhere with anybody. In fact, the other day I was asked to lead a team of sled dogs in Alaska. But I had to pass because it was dinner time.

Speaking of dinner, Pupperonis or Beggin’ Strips?

Neither. I like a steak, medium to medium rare, mashed red potatoes with truffle butter, steamed asparagus and a small glass of house red.

How are you getting along with UCPCC’s “unofficial” mascot, a neighborhood cat named Echo?

Lola: It is a fact universally known that cats smell like cheese. But who doesn’t love cheese?! Smoked cheese, brie, a nice gouda … I’ve gotten off track.

Echo and I are really finding our way. I go out and visit her when it’s time for me to do my business, if you know what I mean. I sniff her and she swats my nose. I’m pretty sure that means we’re soulmates, right?

Echo is always telling me she will let me know when we’re friends. So I’ve got that to look forward to!

Lola is Gone-With-the-Wind fabulous!

Are you a movie buff, Lola? Of these films, which is your favorite? “Old Yeller,” “Benji” or “Turner and Hooch”?

None of them. My favorite movie is “The Wolf of Wall Street.” I mean … color me shocked when there was not a wolf in the movie. Not one. But dang it if Mr. Martin Scorsese doesn’t know how to shock and awe, am I right?

It’s almost Christmas. What do you want from Santa Paws this year?

In no particular order: A puppy stroller is a must-have; a year’s supply of Starbucks gift cards, so I may keep myself stocked in Puppachinos; and a shopping spree at the flagship Gucci store in San Francisco.

We are so excited to welcome Lola to the UCPCC family. We are collecting recyclables again that we use to help pay for Lola’s food and treats. If you are interested in having us pick up your recyclables, please contact UCPCC at (559) 221-8272.

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