Jack Blanchard Talks About All Their Dog Children
OUR DOG CHILDREN
Our first dog was Brubeck, when we lived in Miami, before we had any popular recordings. We named him for our favorite jazz pianist Dave Brubeck. He was a wonderful, intelligent, and faithful friend. Brubeck was killed by a car while we were doing a live radio broadcast. We got home and received the news and were devastated.
A few months later we got a basset hound puppy, Cecil. Cecil was impossible to train and bit everyone in the family. We took him when we moved to Key West. He was destructive, so when we went to work we had to close him in the bathroom, which he completely destroyed.
Cecil got something serious wrong with his throat and we took him to a vet, which we couldn’t really afford. The doctor said it was from howling all night every night when we were at work. We asked around for someone to take him, and it was the Mayor of Key West. A woman, maybe the Mayor’s wife or assistant picked him up and he went happily away without a look back at us. I don’t think Cecil ever knew who we were, or cared. And I don’t think the mayor got much sleep that night.
Then Misty came home with a whippet, a miniature greyhound named Prince. He was so little and skinny and shaky, he was pathetic. I think he had been abused. He was a sweetheart, and slept tightly between us. But he was so insecure that he marked his new territory all over our home and furnishings.
We had to go somewhere for a week or so and entrusted Prince with neighbors. A bad mistake. When we came back, he was hiding under their trailer, with burns from hot liquid all over him. Misty jumped out of the car, strode up to the place past dirty kids, garbage, and yard dogs, grabbed up Prince and we took off.
We loved him, but we knew a very nice young woman who was thrilled to take him from us, and would give him a good home. Sadly he got killed by a car while she was walking him across Duval Street on a leash. Poor little Prince’s story is like something out of Dickens.
The ABC Talent Agency then booked our trio throughout the Eastern US. In Montgomery, Alabama we got Wolf 1, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Blanchard. If a dog can be a genius, that would describe Wolf. He was a comedian, knew lots of tricks, and how to manipulate people… a puffy silver beauty, and everybody loved him. He would carry his leash to us when he wanted to go out.
My socks began to disappear. We found out Wolf was hoarding them under our bed. We tiptoed in and saw a sock being slowly drawn back under the bed. Very sneaky. Sometimes Wolf would get in a mood, wouldn’t come when called, so we found a strategy…. We would ring the doorbell and shout “Who is it?” He would come running and barking, to see who dared to come to his door. As smart as he was, it worked every time.
Wolf had some seizures which were frightening to see. He seemed exceptionally healthy, and we didn’t know he was also diabetic. We had to go on a brief tour and boarded him at the highest rated kennel in Orlando. We called from a rest area on the road to see how he was doing. The jerk on the phone simply said. “Oh, that dog? It died.” We were angry and in tears for days.
Later we got another toy poodle at a Winter Park pet store. He was let out of the cage, made a beeline for Misty, and seemed to run right up her, into her arms. Love at first sight. Wolf 2 was the opposite of Wolf 1 in personality. He was quite serious and tried to be the best person he could be at all times. He took care of Camille, our little Lhasa Apso. throughout her life. And especially when she got old and blind.
In Nashville, Wolf’s hind legs suddenly became crippled and he couldn’t walk. Half his body was numb from a spinal injury.
Misty and I carried him around on a pillow even when people were telling us to have him put down. We were pretty low on money at the time, but out of desperation I called Information from a telephone booth to try to find a doctor. I happened to get a very friendly operator on the line who loved animals, and she was sympathetic. She put me in touch with a surgeon who operated on Wolf and did not charge us a cent. A miracle.
Wolf 2 had to be catheterized regularly after surgery and Misty did it for several months… even between shows. He was struggling to walk, and one day Misty came in laughing and happy shouting. “He just peed on his own!” It was a big event to us. After that he always walked with a slight hind leg stiffness, but he could run perfectly. The hardest thing I have ever had to do was hold Wolf on the table while the doctor put him to sleep. He was looking into my eyes and trusting me. All these years later I still tear up when I think of it.
Wolf 2 and his little partner Camille were like brother and sister and lived with us for about sixteen years. They were our family. We love and miss all of our canine family, even Cecil.Jack Blanchard