Banksy (and his Person, Jane)
Pug People, we're kind of fangirling with our interview today-- the incredible Jane of @bodiespanky and @blindbutnot and Banksy the Pug, an artist in his own right. Jane is the OG; most Pug People followed her life with Bodie and Spanky and cried for her when they crossed the Rainbow Bridge. It was so inspiring to talk to someone with such an incredible heart for rescue pugs and we think you'll fall in love with her the same way we did-- especially with that glorious British accent, OMP.
PP: Jane! We’re so excited to hear your story of pug love.
Jane: I’m sure everyone you speak to says the same, but I truly am the crazy pug lady.
PP: We're ready. Spill the tea.
Jane: I remember when we first got Bodie, we put a silly little pumpkin hat on him for Halloween and my stepkids were like, “we’re not going to be that family, are we?”
PP: If only they knew, right? So, how did it all start for you, this fervent pugmania that we share?
Jane: Bodie was my first pug, but I’d always loved pugs. When I met my husband Chris, I lived in New York City and whenever he came to visit we’d play ‘Spot the Pug’ around Manhattan. There was a lady who lived near me that had five, so whichever one of would see her first, that person won the game.
PP: We’ve decided that the true marker of a Pug Person is pre-pug paraphernalia. Did you have any pug stuff before you actually had a pug?
Jane: I had this little stuffed pug that used to go everywhere with me. I’m embarrassed to tell you that, but it did. It was even there on our wedding day.
PP: Was it the ring bearer?
Jane: Okay, it wasn’t actually in the wedding ceremony, just in the room. And that little pug was so loved and hugged, its brown eyes became blue from wear. So, when we saw Spanky on Pug Rescue Florida with his blue eyes from cataracts, we thought he looked just like our stuffed pug. It was one of the reasons that Spanky’s picture jumped out at us.
PP: Oh, that is the sweetest! Was Bodie rescued too?
Jane: Yes, all three of them, actually. Bodie passed away in February and I didn’t even know if we would get another pug, to be honest, because Bodie was my heart. But the house was just so empty I couldn’t stand it.
PP: We remember seeing all the goodbye posts for Bodie. We cried and we didn’t even know him.
Jane: It was brutal. They just worm their way into your heart and it’s all over.
PP: And then feisty Banksy came along to help with healing. Tell us a little bit about his personality as compared to Bodie and Spanky.
Jane: Well, Bodie’s nickname was Sid Vicious, because he hated other dogs. But he loved people. Banksy is the opposite, he loves other dogs but doesn’t like people very much.
Jane: Bodie was a more typical pug, really laid-back; you could turn him upside down and he’d be fine. Banksy is extremely feisty. We don’t know what the dislike of people thing is; out on walks, he wants to kill everyone. We’re working with a trainer on it. I don’t think he was socialized in his old home, he lived with one person and went potty on their lanai. I don’t know if he ever went out on walks and saw other people.
PP: And did you name him Banksy primarily because of the artist?
Jane: My husband was born in Bristol where Banksy is from, but also the name is the perfect cross between Bodie and Spanky.
PP: So perfect. Now this is probably a ridiculous question because you started ‘Blind But Not’, but have you continued to be a pug paraphernalia person?
Jane: Oh, gosh. I’ll give you a tour. Every wall in our house has pug art on it. Chris is a photographer, so we have a lot of photographs he’s taken.
(The Pug Sisters, Jane, and Jane’s computer go on a tour of the home, with so many gorgeous photos of the three pugs and beautiful pug art.)
Jane: We’ll skip through the dining room because there’s no pug art in there—
PP: You just passed one on the wall!
Jane: Oh, did I? Whatever, there’s pug art in the dining room, then.
PP: These are all incredible. Now we know you’re a classy pug paraphernalia person.
Jane: Well, I’m not showing you any of the non-classy stuff.
PP: Got it.
Jane: Shall we go into the bathroom? There’s pug art in there, too.
PP: We must.
(The bathroom pug art is equally as classy, FYI.)
PP: We didn’t see a sewing room for your Blind But Not creations.
Jane: I don’t have one, actually. I’m not very sophisticated, I do everything in the breakfast nook and put it away every night.
PP: We are impressed by the level of organization this would take. Can you tell us how Blind But Not got started?
Jane: We felt so blessed to have these two amazing little creatures, Bodie and Spanky, so I just wanted to give back to Pug Rescue Florida, make them a little bit of money. I didn’t know how to knit when I started, so I watched a YouTube video and taught myself. And even though I’ve made thousands of scarves, I’m still not very good. I can do a few variations on a basic stitch, but not much else.
PP: We get it. We’re both knitters, but we stick to pretty rudimentary stuff. I (Shari) recently started a pattern to make a pug toy, but the needles are so small and I’m so slow, I’ll have to give it to my future grandchildren. Jane, do you recall what drew you to pugs in the very beginning?
Jane: It wasn’t that I fell in love with a famous pug or anything, I just remember thinking that they were the comedians of the dog world.
Jane: And wherever Chris and I were in the world, any country, we would chase pugs and scoop them up in our arms. I’m sure people thought we were nuts.
PP: Not Pug People, though.
Jane: Not us. I have pictures of Chris holding pugs that I literally have no memory of.
PP: We do, too! That’s what comes from pug hunting. And how did you get integrated into the Pug People community?
Jane: When we first had Bodie, we did the PugChat hashtag group on Twitter. That's how I met HamiltonPug, who started the “Pugs Take…” thing. We did “Pugs Take New York”, “Pugs Take D.C.”, “Pugs Take Philly”—
PP: We are so sad we missed out on this!
Jane: It was incredible. We did a massive gathering in Nashville outside the Parthenon, where we literally could have been in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most pugs wearing togas. We rode around Nashville with the pugs, being pulled by tractors. The Pugdashians were there, everyone was there.
PP: OMP! We are in the presence of pug royalty!
Jane: It was so much fun and, to your point, we’re all friends for life, us Pug People.
PP: Pug People are very special. The sense of humor, the quirkiness, the willingness to laugh at ourselves. Oh, and appreciation of beauty.
Jane: That, specifically.
PP: Jane, we only have one more question for you—do you have a True Pug Confession?
Jane: Oh, my God.
PP: We realize that your whole life is pretty much a True Pug Confession.
Jane: Yes. Literally everything I do is weird to people who don’t love pugs.