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How The Laughing Dog Story Bus became The Laughing Dog Story Bus:

11 years ago, I “won” a bright yellow, hand spray painted 1972 VW Westfalia on Ebay, which was a planned surprise gift to my partner for his 50th. It was my first time on Ebay, and I was tickled that it was now mine. My plan was to repair it, doll it up, and gift it to him on his birthday. As that process unfolded, I learned why I’d won; VW enthusiasts know a ‘72 wasn’t a good year for VW...In any case, I forged ahead, named her Prudence, changed her color to her current aqua blue, and she became a part of our family. She has never broken down, despite her given classic California license plate number, 515FXR (fixer ;0). 

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Three years ago, she disappeared  in Long Beach on a garage-gone-under crossfire, and we thought we’d lost her. In the meantime, I had also just left a job in academia, and was resuscitating my pet portrait business, Laughing Dog Art Studio (, to help support the family. My focus on the stories of the pets and their humans is what drives the work, and became an explicit focus for my clients.

It was then that my dearest sister-from-another-mister, Lisa came to me and suggested we build something with Prudence to help business. The Laughing Dog Story Bus was born.

Now, you might see Prudence drifting down the Pacific Coast Highway or nearby Los Angeles, popping up in various places. We park, we hang out, we probably loiter, and we invite folks to slow down, listen, collaborate, and share stories, histories, and voices.



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Cindy Short

Is an artist and educator working at the intersections of community formation and art. She engages with collaborative projects, public performance and traditional art practices as strategies toward community engagement. Cindy currently lives in the hills of Malibu with her two teenage boys, her partner,  two dogs, and a great love for taco and soup-making.


Lisa Spear

Holds a deep wealth of experience in the local community as a mother of three,  active local school parent, and family ties to the valuable Malibu Adamson/Rindge history. Lisa also has an insatiable interest in photography and documenting,  and an astute and intuitive understanding of the people, places, and stories that connect us all.

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