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....