BLANCO, screenplay by Alan Nafzger
Without human help, the most vulnerable domestic animal is the Italian Greyhound. They are the smallest sight hounds. They are totally unable to survive on the “street”. If you pay attention, you can find a stray dog of almost any breed or mix, but you will never find an Italian Greyhound that has managed to survive for long, lost and alone.
FILM REFERENCE: Incredible Journey (1963) meets Heist (2001).
STORY BACKGROUND: I am a professor of political science at a small college in Texas. I raise and exhibit champion Italian Greyhounds. I recently had an interesting incidence with a dog I had sent to Georgia. The male dog named Blanco, could not adjust. In his new home he ran away, bit people and that is only part of it. The woman who adopted him tried her very best to make him feel welcome but he never acclimated to his new home. It was totally my fault. He was here in my home too long and it would have been a different story if he had left here as a puppy. He was returned to me safely and I’m very grateful. I’m sending a tiny 9-week-old puppy to a wonderful lady in Georgia ASAP. But, I was driving back from the airport and Blanco’s entire ordeal gave me an idea for a film.
CHARACTER: Blanco (white) was born a huge puppy. He is white but has a black patch over one eye. There was a great-grand-dam who was unusually large. I bought her without actually seeing the parents, which is not wise. But she was one of my first IGs. I bought a nice show quality male and this is where Blanco’s story begins. He apparently inherited the size of this great-grand-dam but the conformation of the show dogs behind him. He has a very nice sister, very show quality. Blanco is 15 lbs where the sister is 8 lbs.
When Blanco was a puppy he would spend most of the day running and playing with Luna, his half sister. They were about as close as two dogs can get – crate mates and play partners. Something about Luna (black) – she is the most athletic female I’ve ever had. She was just as athletic as Blanco and she provided a healthy competition. They had the best time I’ve every seen two dogs have. In the end, Blanco grows up to be a world class runner. Born to lure course. Emotionally, however, he just can’t live anywhere else but the home were was he was born.
PLOT SUMMERY: Blanco is born and because of the breeder’s divorce and job change, isn’t sold. Blanco’s breeder has 10 or 12 dogs. He home is full of dog show pictures. Blanco is white and that was out of fashion at the time. The breeder tells everyone he is large, that is fairly obvious and he is never chosen. The breeder doesn’t lower the price or just give him away. He sticks around for too long and develops a separation anxiety. Perhaps it isn’t an anxiety around the breeder but for his pace of IGs. The only negative about his pack situation is the watering bowl. It is large and the other dogs frequently take a bath in it. They also pee on and in it.
The breeder takes him to a lure-coursing event. There is a local lure coursing once a month in the afternoon at a city park. And of course Blanco loves it and does well. The breeder hopes to give him away to a sight hound enthusiast, but everyone already has enough or too many dogs. Blanco is a great little runner but unlucky and just can’t find a home. The lure coursing club members take a business card from the breeder and promise to call if they can find him a home. Of course the cards are thrown into boxes with towels and leashes and dog food and forgotten.
In any case at a year of age, he goes to live with Lesley in Georgia. She has him neutered. During the surgery Blanco almost dies, too much anesthesia. He is resuscitated and comes home with an Elizabethan collar, which he promptly slips out of. He tears out his stitches and of course there is a pool of blood. Lesley, of course, nurses him back to health.
Blanco runs away, he scales the chain length fence in Lesley’s back yard and is gone for several days. There is hope one day when she finds him sleeping in her garage. And in the end, she must use a live trap baited with food and a towel sent from the breeder. The breeder took a towel from Luna’s bed and mails it to Lesley in GA, hoping the scent will draw him back. Blanco is captured. Blanco is walked on a leash but won’t go to the bathroom on the end of the lead. He is very much a creature of habit and this has never been his practice. It causes a huge problem, because if she lets him out in the back yard, he might run away again. He will not come when called. Because he will not come inside when called, he is rained on and snowed on. He is a very grumpy and arrogant little dog. He becomes destructive, chewing on furniture, tearing up magazines, etc.
Lesley does everything and Blanco resists. Her house looks like a luxury pet hotel (resort) – ting doggie swimming pool, expensive plush beds in every room. He lives like a king – gentle talk, gourmet food, a nice bed and many many dog toys – but he is still such a brat. Blanco begins to feel that a toilet to drink out of it a luxury.
He wants to be feed and he wants to sleep on the bed, but otherwise he wants to brood in self-pity all day. He will sleep on the bed but if Lesley tries to touch him he bristles. If Lesley persists he gets up of the bed, takes his favorite toy and leaves.
Well, GA doesn’t work for Blanco. Lesley has expectations; she has owned sigh hounds before. The Italian Greyhound is famously known for their affection and Blanco is not measuring up. Lesley with great reluctance returns Blanco on a plane to the breeder. The airline will not allow him to travel with his leash or his toy. Lesley puts them in the mail to the breeder. Blanco goes on a plane to be returned.
Just before Blanco is about to be home, he is stolen. Well, no on in their right mind would steal Blanco (he is such a drama queen) and if they did they would return him promptly. But there is a heist at the airport. A shipment of gold is on a palate at the airport and a gang invades the cargo building and loads the palate into a truck and they are off. Guess whose crate is on top of the palate? The breeder is knocked over the head when he asks the gun toting gang to leave the dog. Blanco is now in the clutches of a criminal gang.
They take him to an empty warehouse. They let him out of his crate and torment him a bit. One of the criminals wants to keep him as his own pet. He knows a handsome dog. But, when they try to catch him and place him in the crate again, they find that impossible. They split up the gold, abandon the truck and leave Blanco locked in an empty warehouse. There isn’t any food or water. No toys, no bed. No Luna. Blanco dream every night of running with his puppy-hood friend, Luna. He dreams of Lesley’s cooking and her soft bed. He dreams of lure coursing. He sits watching an empty toilet hoping water will appear.
The police come to the warehouse and haul off the get-away truck for evidence. The detective assigned to the case notices the shipping crate and take it as evidence too.
Blanco hides. He sees some nice tasty rats, but can’t muster the energy to catch them. Without food or water; Blanco is on the brink of death.
The detective gets the information off the crate and contacts the breeder for information and photos of the dog. The breeder provides several photos, but Lesley sends 100s. The police detective assumes the dog is with one of the criminals. Fliers are made and a APB is put out for the dog. The breeder and the detective are now both searching for the dog. There is a slew of people IG owners mostly out looking for Blanco. The police offer a huge reward for the dog in the hopes someone will bring them information on the criminals.
The compassionate criminal returns to the warehouse and rescue’s Blanco. He was told not to return to the warehouse as the police might find their way there. But the criminal wants the dog. He finds Blanco too weak to run away. The criminal nurses him back to health in an apartment, but just as Blanco and the criminal make progress, the criminal is killed. The gang leader is shrewd and sees one of the police “wanted” posters and is suspicious that one of his gang has the dog. Eventually he learns that the criminal has the dog in his apartment and of course that means that he disobeyed orders.
The compassionate criminal is killed and the Blanco is sold to a pit bull fighting operation. Blanco is held in a ghetto location for a week. They actually give him food and water… trying to build him up. Blanco hears the barking and biting and the cries for a week. Blanco has nightmares of him running from pit-bulls.
Meanwhile the detective finds the apartment of the compassionate criminal. He finds evidence of the dog being there.
Blanco is about to be killed by a pit bull in a small-enclosed space but he runs, dodges and dives under the pit bull. His speed saves his life. Finally, he jumps on the back of the pit-bull and springboards out of the fighting ring. In a yard of chained pit-bulls, Blanco zigs and zags though them on his way to escape. Then in the open, Blanco has a distinct advantage. Several pit-bulls are released, but no one can catch Blanco and he narrowly escapes between two fence posts.
Blanco has escaped death at the dog fighting property, but now he learns that he is chased by almost everyone the reward has every policeman and every bounty hunter looking. There are also well-intentioned people who think chasing him is a good idea and part of catching him. There are other IG owners looking. The breeder has Luna on a lead trying to find him.
The reward is high enough that are live traps in nearly every ally. They capture rattlesnakes, raccoons, possums and skunks. Blanco explores these traps basically after that have worked. When he sticks his nose through the cage, he is almost bitten by the rattlesnake and the raccoon. Blanco is sprayed by the skunk.
Blanco survives by hiding under the hedges at an elementary school. He is smuggled food by a few children. The school lunches are terrible so when the kids learn he is out there behind the hedges, they put food out. Of course they want to touch him. First one kid is crawling through the hedges and then ten. So, Blanco runs away.
Blanco is chased by a coyote early one Sunday morning. Blanco is beginning to tire and might be caught and eaten. The coyote only stops chasing him when church is released and people file out into the parking lot and streets.
Blanco wonders the city and walks past a police arrest. The leader of the criminal gang has been arrested and the gold has been recovered. It appears the police search for Blanco will now end. The detective even walks to a telephone pole and takes down the flier promising a reward.
Blanco narrowly misses being hit by a car. Kids on bicycles chase him.
Blanco is constantly using his nose trying to find his way home, but just as is seems he gets a whiff, someone or something begins chasing him.
Blanco continues to walk and happens to come across the lure coursing. He sits under an SUV and watches. The larger dogs run, Deer Hounds and the Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Blanco is afraid to join the chase. The medium dogs run – Greyhounds and Whippets. The Basenjis run. Still Blanco remains hidden. Finally, there is an announcement on the loud speaker, “Bring on the mini’s” Finally, to end the drama Blanco emerges and walk out onto the field, he isn’t noticed by the other owners as they are watching the dogs about to run.
The Italian Greyhounds are released and the chase is on. Blanco springs from his position and it a big surprise to the crowd. He isn’t entered in the completion but does what every sight hound does… he pursues a lure, completes the course with enthusiasm and without interruption.
Everyone stands up to watch. Several people dive into their boxes looking for the business card. One club member calls the breeder.
Blanco finishes the course but refuses to come to anyone. Blanco is about to run away again. In five minutes the breeder will arrive and Blanco might miss his change to be reunited with his breeder.
Finally, just before Blanco disappears from the park, one of the club-members shouts “run the course again”. So the lure operator does… Blanco runs the course again just as the breeder drive up to the park
The breeder is at the end of the course and there is a happy joyful reunion.
BLANCO ITALIAN GREYHOUND PHOTOS
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