Not that the dog was stray — no, these are just some left-over tales of my dog, Brutus.
I’ve already written how he became my dog (accidentally) and how I killed him (on purpose —okay, I “put him to sleep” to use the comfortable euphemism). I’ve told you about our travels to Big Bend, California and the Texas Renaissance Festival, as well as his close brushes with death by rattlesnake and VW.
Along the way, Brutus generated plenty more stories, legends, and myths that I haven’t shared with you yet, so here’s a few stray tales of my dog.
“Your dog’s dripping blood.”
After Brutus and I went out to California (where he met the Pacific Ocean), we got back to Austin in time to catch a ride with some friends headed up to Denver. They accommodated us surprise traveling companions quite well, and the friends in Denver likewise had plenty enough room for the 3 of us humans and Brutus.
A day or two later as we were hanging out in our friends’ back yard, our host suddenly says, “Your dog’s dripping blood.” Startled, I looked over to see a trail of well-spaced bright red drips of blood on the patio and across the yard. I ran over to check him, and at first, I could not see where the blood was coming from. There were no obvious cuts.
And then I saw a bit of blood at the end of his foreskin and realized, cringing, he was dripping blood from his penis. Our friends directed us to a vet nearby and we were in the clinic within a half-hour, still mopping up blood drops while Brutus wondered why he was getting all this attention.
When the vet came in to examine him, she pulled on latex gloves before peeling back his foreskin gently but knowingly (I could swear I saw Brutus smile).”Uh-hunh,” she confirmed, “He’s nicked his prick somehow — see?” She pointed to a small spot oozing tiny droplets of blood, then released it, petting his head. “Does he like to drag his belly across the ground?” I nodded. “A lot of dogs too — chances are he did that somewhere like a parking lot where there are little bits of glass and…”
“That’s enough,” I interrupted. “I get the picture. What do we do?”
“Nothing,” she said, still petting his head (thus quickly becoming his second favorite person in the world). “The mucus membrane of his penis seals and heals remarkably quickly. He should be fine in about 20-30 minutes.”
“Your dog ate my chicken.”
We had moved back to the city after our country interlude out at Creedmoor. Once again, Jeff needed a roommate and I needed a place to stay. Jeff’s dog, Ace, was delighted to be reunited with Brutus, who easily resumed his role as dog of the house.
At the same time I moved in, so did a young co-worker of Jeff’s, Ray. When I’d only been there about a month, I got super-excited when I saw an ad for the Grateful Dead coming to town — no road trip required this time! I shouted out the news excitedly, knowing Jeff was a Deadhead as well.
Then Ray came in the back door looked totally deflated. “You dog ate my chicken.”
“Your dog just ate the chicken I was starting to grill,” he said again, sounding more startled and morose than annoyed.
“Where was it?” I asked curiously.
“I lit a fire in the hibachi on the porch and put the chicken on there and came inside for just a second…”
“Wait — you put a raw chicken on a hibachi? On the ground? On the patio?”” I asked incredulously. He nodded. “Ray, you might as well have given the chicken directly to the dog. I mean, You left that chicken at dog eye level and came inside? No wonder he ate your chicken!”
“Your cooler’s running away.”
As I’ve written before, Brutus loved to follow me anywhere and everywhere. After we’d travelled a bit, he got to the point of sticking very close to me and listening carefully — most of the time.
One time, we wondered down the hill to one of the many free concerts on Auditorium Shores, meeting up with some friends. Brutus generally love these outings, which allowed him a great chance to get out, make the rounds, see and be seen, or more importantly, sniff and be sniffed.
I’d brought down a little cooler full of beer for the afternoon and after I found my friends and settled in, I dug in for one. Watching Brutus relax and lie down, I decided to tie the leash to the handle of the cooler to keep hi close by while I stretched out to listen to the music.
A minute or two later, someone tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Your cooler’s running away.”
I looked around to see Brutus running away through the crowd, chasing something — more likely, some dog — cooler bouncing wildly behind him, causing people to duck and shield themselves as it smacked into folks as he ran.
Ah, as the t-shirt said: “Life is always intense with a bad dog.”
Except Brutus never really was a bad dog. Oh, he was feisty and scrappy and broke the rules and all of that. But that was just one side of him. When we were alone at home sometimes, he’d show me his sweet, sensitive side. I’d start playing the piano a bit and Brutus would begin to howl along, quietly at first, then louder.
At first, I thought maybe the sound was hurting his ears. But then I noticed he never tried to leave the room and in fact, often wondered into the room to harmonize with me. Mind you, he was a shy performer, and generally would not sing whenever strangers were around. But if we were alone, or with just a familiar roommate or friend around, he would start off quietly as usual, just under his breath, but slowly become quite loud — sometimes to the point of drowning out the piano.
I miss my musical partner.
I miss my dog, Brutus.