My Friend Paco (2009 – 2011)

Paco was one of the biggest chihuahuas in Hollywood. I met him on the Universal lot last year. I was supposed to be coaching dialog but the production chief needed someone to walk Paco out in the canine exercise park between scenes and he asked me to do it. Paco took to me immediately, or at least to my ankles and feet.

After the shoot, Paco’s owner and agent Myra kept me on as dog-walker six days a week. Paco and I would head down to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and over a period of weeks, we made friends there with some of the other mutts and their masters out for a stroll. One time we went home with a woman named Naomi and her chihuahua Prissy and at the end of the day, Paco and I were doing the same thing with them, or to them, and in the same position!

I was on the scene when it all came to an end for poor Paco. I was sitting in a canvas chair off to the side with a pooper-scooper in one hand and a bag full of doggie treats in the other. Paco had worked with other dogs before, and with birds, monkies, and a skunk. But never with a tiger. And not just any tiger. This was Montecore.

It didn’t matter to Universal that Montecore had attached Roy Horn (of Siegfried and Roy fame) in Vegas. It didn’t matter that the tiger sank its teeth into Horn’s neck and dragged him off stage in front of a horrified audience at the Mirage. The tiger damaged an artery carrying oxygen to the magician’s brain and crushed his windpipe. The attack left Horn, 60, partially paralyzed, and ended one of the most successful shows in casino history. I loved the show, especially when I had been drinking, but I never trusted that damn Montecore, even back before the “accident.”

Was Montecore hungry at the time? No. Was he startled by a woman’s beehive hairdo? I don’t think so. Did it bother Montecore that Roy was so obviously gay? Well, maybe on that one. But mainly, I think Montecore was just being an asshole.

If everybody knows you, Universal wants you. Universal doesn’t care why.

You’ve probably read that the dog with DNA closest to that of a wolf is in fact the chihuahua. I can vouch for that finding. Paco was on edge that fateful day, perhaps because of a presentiment, perhaps because he’d spent the previous night with a whippet bitch and I never managed to find a cardboard box the right height for him to stand on. When he saw Montecore, he went right for him, yapping. Professional jealousy? Method acting? We’ll never know, because Montecore ate him on the spot.

One Response

  1. I think, buried in here, is a conclusion you’ve reached that in the great cat vs. dog debate, you’re a cat person.

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