Our landlord was a smooth talking Louisiana man who always wore a suit with a bow tie and drove a big white Caddie that resembled a 25 foot boat more than a car. I'm not sure how it really got around corners. He was a nice man and regretted to inform us that since we had indeed broken the rules, we would have to leave.
We found a place up Magazine Street a bit, a little closer to All Natural, the health food store we used to go to, and to the levee around Audubon park. I would ride my bike up the Camp street cobble stones and Grumble would follow along. If I went to the A&P, he would wait outside. If I went to the park, he would run along side my bike. Only if I went to the French Quarter would I sometimes put him on a leash, but I rarely brought him there so he was rarely on a leash.
One day, when I was out on my run with him, I saw a man on a second floor balcony carrying a dog out of the corner of my eye. As I got closer I could hear he was yelling something. Then I noticed there was a dumpster below the corner of the balcony.
"Hey! What are you doing with that dog?!" I yelled.
"I'm gonna throw 'er in the dumpster!"
"Stop!" I yelled. "I'll take her!"
I ran up the stairs with Grumble following along behind and met the man face to face. He was a fowl looking man, drunken and unshaven. I could see there were children in the apartment through the cracked doorway, dirty and blonde still in their underwear.
Now I was not in some bad neighborhood. I was running off St. Charles Avenue where all the nice restaurants and mansions are and the huge oak trees line the streetcar tracks.
The man didn't have a leash so he went inside and got me a necktie. The dog was terrified. He threw a bag of dog food at me. The children's eyes looked low at me and I wished I could take them too.
The last thing I needed was a dog, however, much less any stray children. How could anyone even think to throw a dog off a balcony into a dumpster? How was this dog raised? Who could be so cruel to an innocent animal? I wondered if the children were even in school and what they were doing there.
It was difficult getting the lean, black, female dog back to my apartment with the necktie always coming loose as she would resist and then try to run forward quickly. The tie was made of a slippery material and I had a good seven or eight blocks to walk with her, the dog food and Grumble.
Finally, I got her home. I could not believe what had just happened. Now what was I going to do with this dog?
Well, first thing's first - so I gave her a bath. 'Tomorrow I'll bring her to the vet,' I thought. I made her a little bed and gave her skinny self some food and went on about the rest of my day crossing my fingers nothing else out of the ordinary would happen.
To be continued.....
by Michelle LeBlanc
I have a long history of rescuing dogs. Although I didn't rescue my first dog technically. My dad did. I really wanted a dog and one day when I came home from school there was Max. I was about 10 and Max was a cute, smart schnauzer that dad had gotten from the pound. That's what they used to call it back then. Max became the family dog and I couldn't have been happier.
Fast forward to 1992 and I'm in the French Quarter talking to a bartender friend of mine at one of those kinda inside outside bars on Bourbon Street - which was like Cheers, everybody knows your name kind of thing - and Banjo rolls up in his big three wheel bike. See, he was a local street entertainer and kept his balloons and stuffed toys in the basket in the back. He saw us standing there and asked if we could just keep an eye on his stuff while he ran in the bar across the street.
So sure, of course, we said and he ran off. The next thing I knew the stuffed toys in his basket were wriggling around. Now I know I hadn't had that many drinks yet. Did my bartender friend rufi me or throw a handful of hallucinogens in my beer? And where did Banjo go anyway?
I took a closer look and the toys were intermingled with puppies! I picked one up and my friend swooned so I passed it over and picked up another one. This was love at first sight if I ever knew it. Banjo came back and I asked if I could bring this little guy home. He kind of hemmed and hawed being a street hustler he probably wondered if he should ask me for any dough. After a long stare, he said, "okay," and let me have him.
I put the little fellow in my canvas back pack and rode my bike home to Philips Street just past Jackson and just outside the Garden District. We lived in a four flat full of shotgun apartments. My neighbors were really nice and we had a cat that we had gotten out of a box some Russian circus people put out. Her name was Paw Paw the Dancing Bear, Bear for short. We had a friend staying with us at the time too, he picked up a dog on the road also named Kaya.
Well, the little puppy squirmed and grunted and grumbled the whole way home. My friend in Illinois had a dog named Grunt... So, I went with Grumble. Now we had the three of us, two dogs and one cat living in our humble little second floor shotgun apartment.... Too bad our landlord had said, "No dogs allowed!"
To be continued....