by Tom Gogola
It’s otherwise quiet this Friday afternoon as the neighborhood wolf howls its baleful howl up the block and there’s finally that moment where you can exhale and think a minute. Think about that big dogfight up here on the Big Mesa in wild and off-leash Bolinas. The big dogfight where you jumped in to try and keep your little guy from getting his head ripped off by a dog at least ten times his size and weight.
Scary stuff. And it only strikes a humor chord in the after-action report, once the bullet has been dodged more or less officially and you are counting the could-have-been-a-lot-worse blessings.
Oh, it was big news in tiny Bolinas, and you should have seen it. The male in my pair of Mexican hairless dogs, Telly Boy, got himself into a serious scrap the other night with one of the neighbors’ dogs.
It was quite a battle: A hairless and exotic nine-pound juggernaut of Joe Pesci fury versus a humongous and hairy behemoth with murder and menace in his eyes.
I’d like to say I was proud of my little guy for standing up to the big dog, but this is not time for that. It is rather a time for reflection. What can the dog teach the human when he is so tough that he would rather die than back down?
When the dust settled, Telly had a ruptured muscle in his ribcage, and these last few days have been a stressful whirlwind of vets, x-rays, vets bills, more x-rays and consults and the prospect of even more vets bills—and that awful question that any pet owner faces about their love for their animal versus their love for not having to pay a $5,000 surgical bill.
So, for a few days this week it was wait and see, wait and see, wait and see. The vet wrapped Telly up in a compression gauze with the news that it might come to surgery if the hole didn’t close up.
Dogs are quick healers, if you give them the chance. On Tuesday, I could sit and watch the air escape Telly’s lungs and puff his skin out—easy to see since he’s a hairless. By Thursday, the vet said the latest x-ray looked excellent—and I’ve locked him down a few days just to make sure there’s no decompensation.
Funny thing, just as I was going over this posting, I heard this crazy howling come from the crate. What’s up Telly Boy?
He’s not crying out in pain but in that dog anguish that says, “Let me run free, man!” Gonna be a little while, little brother, and don’t start thinking that you’re one of them wolves in the meantime.
Our regular walk takes us right by the house of the howling wolf. I’ve only seen the animal once, and it is a beautiful animal indeed, but he does let loose with his howl a few times a day and, if it’s at night, sometimes the coyotes chime in with that Theremin spook-yap of theirs.
The story goes that there used to be two wolves up on the Big Mesa, but one broke loose a couple years ago and tried to kill a calf at the nearby cattle ranch. Mama cow took umbrage and killed the wolf.
Which is to say: This is no place for wimpy animals, and Telly Boy is not a wimpy animal.
But he is a small animal, who, like his attacker, is romping around town fully intact, with a pair of outsized, swinging balls.
Telly Boy is not “broken,” and I have not “fixed” him, at least not yet. There is always this question about men, their dogs, and their dogs’ balls. There’s that man-dog reluctance to go in there and “fix” something that isn’t broken. If you don’t have the nuts yourself, you can’t possibly understand this dynamic and reluctance. And I know I’m not the first guy to have nut-snip reservations.
The neighbor’s been on the fence, too, but says the lesson for him is: Time to get the big dog’s nuts removed.