The above date marks when we rescued Godfrey from the Los Angeles pound. He was almost a year old at that time. If you have never been to a pound it is a particularly heart wrenching journey. There are dozens of cats and dogs waiting.
The opening of our act was missing something. So after a long conversation with Doug Malloy we decided an animal production was the best possible solution. Anything less would not have the same impact. So on the morning of February 10, 1997 I suddenly announced to Bobbi that we were going to the pound to get a dog.
Nick and Nora had Asta. Now we would too.
After treading through two other animal rescue facilities with our friend Al we arrived at the Los Angeles pound. The day was ending and Bobbi had already broken down crying twice.
At the end of a row of cages filled with excited barking dogs there was Godfrey being quiet. Remember, we were shopping for a production dog and not a pet. Unfortunately, Godfrey was a black dog. A white dog would be seen much more easily from stage. In another cage there was a small white dog but he seemed to be ignoring us.
So we walked back to Godfrey's cage. As we approached it struck both of us that he was not barking.
He put his little paws up on the gate and we knew.
Doghouse to Townhouse
We were not allowed to have a pet in our apartment. We realized soon after that we were going to have to move. We had been living in our apartment for eight years and we were very comfortable and had no intention of moving.
Meanwhile we snuck Godfrey in and out of our apartment in a Sherpa bag, a specially designed traveling bag for pets. He loved it. We would say "walkies" and he would leap into the bag. This went on for approximately nine months. Then we moved into our newly purchased townhome. A purchase motivated by Godfrey.
Later we sold that home making a nice profit. We both gratefully acknowleged Godfrey and for months dubbed him "money dog".
Over the years Godfrey became so much more than a production item. He went everywhere with us and was a great traveler. He went quietly into his bag and never stirred or barked. Cruise ships, conventions, night clubs, hotels and airplanes were his temporary homes.
And when we settled into our bed at night he was there. He would start out on Bobbi's pillow then move into the middle, then move down the bed and sleep in between Bobbi's legs.
So much of our life was shaped and motivated by this little black dog. In later years it became perfectly clear to us that he was a gift from GOD.
Once I greeted Bobbi at the door ala Steve Martin in THE JERK. I was completely nude holding Godfrey over my privates. Bobbi laughed very hard but I am sure Godfrey was thinking "put me down you idiot!"
On The Extreme Gong Show
You would never know from his quiet demeanor but a devil dog lurked inside Godfrey. The only bait which drew it to the surface was a real meat bone.
We often played this game:
We would give him a meat bone and then pretend we were going to take it away. Then this normally sweet and loving dog would turn and growl and snarl showing his teeth. The look in his eyes was as if he was going to rip your throat out. It was the funniest game because it was so opposite of his personality. It was one of the few times he acted like a dog. When he finished he would instantly snap back and become his old loving self and usually walk over and lick you. He liked the game too.
Backstage New Years Eve 1999
In our act we magically produced Godfrey and then I set him down onto the stage. He walked a few feet then shook his entire body like he was wet. It was very cute and never failed to get a reaction.
Originally we produced Godfrey in a cage. I never liked this and devised a new method to produce him without the cage. But I always had to hand him off to Bobbi or a stage hand. One night I decided to just set him down and see what would happen. I set him down and he shook it off as usual then trotted off stage. After our set we scoured the area and finally discovered him in his bed under our dressing room table. From that day the tradition continued and after our show we always found him comfortably settled in his bed.
Remarkably we never trained him to do this.
Occasionally I picked up Bobbi from work at DALT's restaurant. I would arrive early and walk Godfrey around the block. Next to the restaurant there was a lush lawn he enjoyed while we waited. Soon Bobbi emerged and walked to our nearby car. Godfrey invariably leapt on top of Bobbi as she attempted to settle into her seat. It was very inconvenient. So I began with "stay" commands but they were usually ignored. Godfrey got so excited when he saw Bobbi he could not contain his enthusiasm. But I continued with my commands. One night Bobbi climbed into her seat and realized that Godfrey was not in sight. For a brief moment we both panicked. Where was he? Then we looked at the top of the small hill near the lawn. He was waiting. And I had not given him any commands. I looked at him and said "okay, come on" and he bounded down the hill and onto Bobbi's lap. This behavior pattern continued often without a verbal command. Amazing.