Broken Arrow

Dennis Rodman’s claim this week to have “broken his arrow” three times offers a perfect opportunity to tell one of Bosco’s more colorful stories.

A couple months after I got Bosco (Fall, 2001), he was close to outgrowing his first dog bed. So I went to PetsMart after work one evening and got him a bigger one. When I put it down in the living room for him, he immediately went over to it, gave it a good sniff and laid down on it. I was happy, because a few days earlier, he had taken to chewing the armrest on my recliner, and I didn’t want that to become a problem. My morning routine had been extended with spraying bitter apple on couch and recliner armrests before heading down the street to work.

I was happy he liked his new bed, because he’d be comfortable, of course, but mostly because he might take less interest in my furniture. I left him lying on his new bed and went into the kitchen to make a shake. Yeah, I was protein shake guy back then. I heard him jostling around in the living room as I finished mixing and pouring my shake. As I came back into the living room, I wasn’t ready for what he was doing or what was about to happen.

Bosco had propped up this thick, round dog bed onto its side, mounted it, and was vigorously trying to impregnate it. I thought to myself, “Wasn’t this the primary purpose of neutering him? So he wouldn’t try to screw every object, animate or not?”

I set down my shake on the tray table next to my recliner, and walked over, chuckling at his little spectacle. He was quite focussed on the task at hand, and didn’t even look at me. It took a little bit of effort to seperate him from bed. And when I did, he stood there with his back arched for a couple seconds, then fell over on his side. That’s when I noticed the problem. The lipstick hadn’t just popped up, but was clear out of the case. It looked like one end of a femur, painted a deep red, and it just dangled from his motionless body as if attached by chewing gum.

Back before most of you had even heard of the Internet, I had access to Internet newsgroups in college. There were two postings I came across in those days that indelibly marked and damaged my developing brain. One of them was a description of how English bulldogs are bred. Punchline: they can’t breed without human assistance, and breeders have to be extremely careful with the male, because with how they have to hold the dogs, the male can literally break his penis. There is a real bone in there that keeps things on the straight and not-so-narrow.

So I was looking at Bosco, still arched, but fallen over on his backside, with something that looked like half a femur dangling from the general area of where his dooleewhicker usually is, wondering how that thing is going to fit back where it belongs, and hoping he didn’t already, or won’t soon, break it. I reached to pet the top of his head, to tell him it was going to be OK. He looked at me but didn’t move his body.

My neighbors across the street were an old Jewish couple from New York, via Scottsdale, Arizona. They were dear friends. Before I got Bosco, they had a retired racing greyhound boy. When they had to put him down, I went with them. When I applied to adopt Bosco, they went to the shelter and told the staff how much I deserved to get him. And when I had to go to work during the day, they’d come over to my house and walk him or get him and bring them to theirs. I picked up the phone and called Shirley. She said to bring him down to the garage… he probably needed to go to animal urgent care. I carefully picked Bosco up below his arms and around his chest, with the bottom of his body hanging below. His back relaxed from its arch, and I carried him down the stairs to the garage.

As we reached the bottom of the stairs, Shirley opened the door and looked in horror, “You have to get him to the vet. That looks very bad,” she exclaimed in her raspy voice that sounded like Dr. Ruth Westheimer chewing out a bagel vendor for skimping on the lox. I carried him to the door of my new Mustang GT, opened it and slid the driver seat forward with my left hand, and carefully set him on his doggy blanket in the back seat. We went everywhere in the car together, so he was well behaved and never scratched the leather seats. Irv asked if I needed him to come with us. And I did. At that point, I didn’t know if I might lose my puppy to a tragic bed humping accident. We drove the 8 miles on Mission Viejo city streets in about 11 minutes and arrived at animal urgent care. This was next door to the the shelter from where I adopted Bosco, and would be his final destination 14-1/2 years later.

I picked him up with the blanket underneath and carried him as he had been laying in the car from the parking lot to the entrance. We were met immediately by a veterinarian who asked what was wrong. I gathered myself and told the vet about Bosco’s problem and my concern that the was no way for it to retract. The vet carefully lifted his left leg to reveal that everything was back to normal. As I told him the story, he put on a glove and gave Bosco a basic examination down there to ensure that he hadn’t hurt himself. The vet, Irv, and I were enjoying a good laugh over the whole situation when…

In walks a guy carrying a large labradoodle with a dangling penis. I pointed at it and said to the vet, “It was just like that.” The vet had the guy set his dog down on a bench on his side to cool down, explained to all of us that he might see 1 or 2 of these a year, and we all enjoyed a great laugh together at the coincidence. Must have been something in the water that night.

-Brad Hutchings

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