full name: CANDY DARLING - named after the transexual andy warhol factory superstar.
"candy was a girl from out on the island, in the back room she was everybody’s darling..." - lou reed-"walk on the wild side"
nickname: CANDERELLA - candy combined with cinderella or barberella
born: JANUARY 25,1982 ELLICOTT CITY, MARYLAND
died: APRIL 4,1997 BALTIMORE, MARYLAND age 15+ years (107 dog years)
breed: RHODESIAN RIDGEBACK aka lion hound
my good girl CANDY started life in a house that used to be a hotel that george washington slept in at some point in his travels on u.s.29, the runt of a litter of 8 that had been abandoned by their mother, who one day ran off after 3 weeks of not taking well to being a mother. i was living at the time with my girlfriend janie, and a friend of hers called one day saying her mother's dog had abandoned its litter and she couldn't take care of 8 puppies by herself and was freaking out and "would we like a puppy that had to be hand-fed with an eyedropper and needed constant attention?" janie already had an albino rabbit named EDGAR WINTER but we said "yeah sure we'll do it". i chose CANDY because even though she was the runt of the litter, she seemed more active, alert, and frankly, smarter than the rest. and she was the cutest, all caramel colored, with a perfect white spot on her chest. she looked like my favorite candy , goetze's caramel creams, made right here in baltimore since before i was born. and she had stunning black "eye make-up" in an egyptian motif, that reminded me of a photo of candy darling, the transexual.
we took her home and nurtured her, and she grew big and strong in no time. she would eat constantly if you let her, a feat she continued well into her later years. that dog could EAT, the sTinkier the better! one time it was the armpits out of janie’s angora sweater. one day when she was about 3 months old, she ate a bag of pot right out of janie’s purse! a quarter ounce of stinky high-grade marijuana, right out of the baggie. i couldn't believe my eyes, and i was very worried about her impending mental state, as well as janie’s. after about a half an hour she started whimpering and shaking. the dog, not janie. janie was mad as hell about the angora sweater already. i picked up CANDY and held her tight to my chest and she stopped. my dog and i were stoned together. it seemed like holding her to my chest was the only thing that was keeping the both of us from totally freaking out; this pattern would continue on for the rest of our lives. janie suggested that we needed to think of an activity that would be pleasant for all of us, so we decided we would all go to burger king. i put on my leather jacket with CANDY buttoned up inside, we climbed inside my '68 pontiac tempest, and we were off. her first car ride !!! i explained the situation to the cashier at burger king when he remarked that we couldn't have a dog in the restaurant, but he gave us our whoppers and we ate them in the car, then cruised around some more. eventually CANDY came down form her little space voyage, and she never went anywhere NEAR marijuana again.
when CANDY was a little more than a year old she got herself knocked up. she was in heat, and every time you would open the front door there would be every male dog in the neighborhood ready to run in. one day CANDY ran out and bolted down the street, followed by every male dog in the neighborhood. she came back the next day, and about a month later we noticed she was pregnant. she had 6 puppies, 3 males that looked like the neighborhood german shepard, and 3 females that looked just like her. we had no trouble getting rid of them. motherhood went well for CANDY and she came out of the experience with sharpened senses and great instincts, and very protective of me and our "space". shortly afterwards, i got rid of janie too. she wanted to take custody of CANDY and there was no way i was going to let that happen. in retaliation, she took all of CANDY's baby photos. i have a couple shots of her with me and janie at the beach, but that's about it.
CANDY and i got a groovy new bachelor pad in takoma park, maryland at the northern tip of washington, dc, and i got a new girlfriend too, sarah, who was known not only for her cuteness, but also her great punk-rock haircuts and dye jobs. CANDY loved sarah and the feeling was mutual. this began another life-long pattern of CANDY picking my girlfriends for me. CANDY was a chick-magnet anyway, and the perfect conversation starter. but if she didn't like someone i always took it as a bad sign. she really had great instincts, and very sensitive. and like all rhodesian ridgebacks, who were bred to hunt lions in africa, CANDY HATED CATS. except for VELCRO, a little black runt that my friend mark found that everyone thought was a kitten, but it never got any bigger. VELCRO had huge paws and claws that would stick to anything. mark also had a samoyed huskie named MAX, and had invented the sport of "dog-boarding". he hitched a harness to MAX and he would pull mark all over town. that's what huskies do. i started dog-boarding with CANDY, and while mark and i would rip up and down the streets and parking lots, poor ol' darryl had to propel himself. even though he was the best skateboarder in town, he couldn't compete with dog power.
it was about this time that CANDY got hit by a car. we were on our way out for a walk when CANDY slipped her choker to chase a CAT and ran into the street where a school bus had stopped and was letting off children. a man in a blue '67 plymouth fury stationwagon sped around the school bus and hit her broadside and kept right on going, tossing her to the other side of the road where all the children were. everyone stopped traffic and i ran to my car and got out a blanket and i carried her stretcher-style with help from a passer-by. we put her in the back seat and i sped off to the nearest animal hospital. i didn't have any money with me and the first guy said no way, but he could put her to sleep for a dollar. i stormed out of there and took off full speed down university blvd. towards the only other place i knew of, COLLEGE PARK ANIMAL HOSPITAL, where DR. SUSAN KING took her in immediately and performed all the life-saving surgeries she needed. among other things, 3 of her 4 legs were shattered, and she had to have metal pins and rods inserted to hold her together. i had to carry her everywhere for months until she was strong enough to walk again. eventually she bounced back stronger than ever, but didn't do well with cold, damp weather. i never liked it either. vet visits freaked her out for the rest of her life. hospital visits freak me out. in 2009 i had a bad motorcycle accident and i ended up with a lot of metal inside me holding my right leg and foot together. CANDY inspires me every day to go for a walk and take the long way home whenever possible.
a bunch of girlfriends eventually came and went, but CANDY stayed faithfully by my side. eventually i had a very cute girlfriend named mary owens, and she stayed by my side longer than any of the others. by this time, i was the lead singer of a dc punk-rock band called THE PLATINUM SLUGS, a gang of crazed lunitics that caused mayhem and good times wherever they went. mary and i rented a cape cod style bungalow in hyattsville maryland with her sister jean, who was the keyboard player for the slugs, who at this point were more like a pack of wolves . skateboard legend and drummer for the platinum slugs darryl moved in too, as did the slugs rhythm guitarist brian, when his wife kicked him out yet again. a bunch of other musicians and artists eventually filtered in until we had a peak of 12. CANDY was "the slughouse dog" and met many a famous and obscure rock-n-roller in her life. the house was catty-corner to the playground of the local elementary school, and CANDY quickly became known as the dog that would run through the halls whenever someone left the door open, and the dog who stole their big red kickballs every time she got the chance. rhodesian ridgebacks always take advantage of that chance. life was good...
eventually, mary and i moved to my hometown of baltimore. her sister jean followed soon after, and jean found a chihuahua puppy in the corner garbage can one day. SALLY FROM THE ALLEY would go on to become CANDY's best friend ever. eventually, mary left me and CANDY stayed faithfully by my side. i decided that i could no longer stand living in baltimore and wanted to move to nyc, where i was already gigging constantly with jennifer blowdryer and my surf-rock combo renamed "the con-airs" as her back-up band. there wasn't much work in baltimore at the time and i took a job in the hamptons with my friend nick. we worked together refinishing the woodwork in a 26-room mansion that once belonged to the aries poet william wordsworth, and currently belonged to "baby jane" holzer, who was one of those andy warhol factory superstars. i gave some money to my friend dick hertz, who is now a transexual named robyn, to feed and take care of CANDY until i could finish the job and get back to pick her up.
about a month later jennifer started getting calls from my friends back home saying that my dog was running the streets of my west baltimore neighborhood looking for the master who had abandoned her. no one had bothered to take her in and i raced back to baltimore to find her. eventually, i saw a cute girl about a block away taking off her jacket and tying it around CANDY's neck. I FOUND HER ! "hey, thats MY dog" i yelled, and ran up to the girl who identified herself as jenna. she looked familiar, and we soon discovered our friend in common was local writer and performance artist mary knott. we had heard all about each other already through mary, the town gossip, and we were soon on our way to hang out in the park, when jennas boyfriend came screeching to a stop in front of us and hollered "get the f**k in this car NOW". that wouldn't be the last i would see of jenna....
but that would be the last i would see of baltimore for a good while. i put CANDY in my '63 buick special along with some clothes, a guitar, and a handfull of daniel johnston tapes. i put all my records and personal recordings in jeans basement, left everything else behind, and headed back to new york, where CANDY and i would live in my car together until i finished that job in east hampton and got paid. nick rented me a room in his lower east side apartment and CANDY and i settled in there, but with a pocket full of money and a broken heart my drinking and drugging soon got the best of me. soon enough we were couch-surfing, and then sleeping in the subway tunnels. CANDY stayed faithfully by my side, until one day when we were out panhandling and i walked into a bodega to get some cigarettes and tied her up to the parking meter outside. when i left the store i walked right past her and continued walking around the lower east side in a drunken stupor for a couple hours before realizing that i didn't have my dog with me. i tried to retrace my steps for the next couple hours until I FOUND HER, still tied to the parking meter in front of the bodega. the crowd gathered around her told me she wouldn't let anyone near her, and scolded me for being such a horrible person. i decided for her own best welfare i should find someone else to take care of her. jennifer agreed; she lived in a bad neighborhood on 10th between aves. c & d and she was more than happy to have a dog like CANDY to walk around with. it was about this point in my life that i first met SCATTERBRAINS.
so eventually i sobered up, and got myself into a squat on east 13th street, where many of the abandoned apartment buildings were being squatted by artists, musicians, and political activists, or being taken over by drug dealers like in the movie "new jack city". CANDY soon moved in and did an excellent job protecting our "space". one day i ran into my friend steve and told him i was looking for work. he said he could get me a job where he worked at benny’s burritos at 6th and ave.a. when i showed up for my first day of work as a bicycle delivery boy, i saw the cutest girl i'd ever seen in my life behind the counter. i asked steve to introduce us and we hit it off immediately, and SCATTERBRAINS and i have remained close friends ever since. this would put the human date around mid-january 1992 because CANDY's 10th birthday happened soon afterwards. i threw her a big party at the thompkins square park dog run, with pound cake for everyone. afterwards we walked down to benny’s burritos and CANDY got to meet SCATTERBRAINS. they hit it off immediately. CANDY still had really great instincts. she was 10 years old now, older than most ridgebacks get to enjoy, and although she seemed to have lost her once robust body mass and her black muzzle had turned to grey, she was at the top of her game as far as being a dog was concerned. it was about this time that she invented her most insane antic ever - the back-dance! she would lie on her back with her legs in the air, tongue hanging out, and a maniacal look in her eyes, and wriggle around like an alligator - it was CRAZY looking! but every time i would go to snap a picture she would stop. she was very sensitive and intelligent and had a huge vocabulary, to the point where i had to spell words, and she figured out how to spell too! she loved new york city, with all its smells, crazy people, noises, and new places to walk around and leave your "graffiti ", as well as check out what the other dogs had to "say". she would always hide my work boots, but never my sneakers.
many girlfriends and a few bands later we ended up in an apartment in greenpoint brooklyn, right on the east river. fortunately the cute girl in the apartment right above me was amy, who i knew as a waitress from benny’s burritos. i was on the road a lot and needed someone to look in on CANDY and feed her while i was gone and she agreed to do it. that worked out well, but sometimes CANDY would get a little destructive if i was gone for more than a week, one time un- upholstering an entire red leather chair ! eventually my rent was going up and CANDY was slowing down, now approaching her 15th birthday. i was on the road constantly, had a girlfriend in chicago, and decided to leave nyc and stay in a room at mary knotts house in baltimore for a while. mary had a chihuahua named GRETAL, who would become CANDY's last close friend, as well as a full fledged member of a band, the dirt, mary and i would form with jenna, the girl that had found CANDY walking the streets of west baltimore and was ready to take her home until i showed up.
as spring rolled around, CANDY really started slowing down. her eyesight was gone, her hearing was bad, and her body was aching from the rods and pins that were put in her legs 13 years ago. many days she couldn't walk at all and had to be carried outside to do her business. i had to make that dreadful decision, and on april 4, 1997 i had her put to sleep at the local vets office. she was "buried at sea", her body tied up in a blanket and weighted down with rocks, i slipped her into the baltimore harbor in the middle of the night. there were some gigs coming up for me in the mid-west, so i packed a couple changes of clothes into my guitar case, put everything else in storage...
...and 3 days later i was on a greyhound bus bound for chicago to begin my new life WITHOUT THE BEST DOG IN THE WHOLE WORLD EVER - CANDY - faithfully by my side.
"to hear the platinum slugs and other music by mike bell"
platinum slugs video link
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