Along Came Mr. Bone

Having told Mandy’s story last week, it’s only fair to move on to the next chapter.

Several months after losing Mandy, our two sons came home from WSU for Thanksgiving. One of them, Bill J., came bearing not exactly gifts, but rather, a tiny rescued puppy he had named Bone. He was a scrawny, mite of a thing, and he really was bony.

We had just put new carpeting in the mobile home our sons were sharing while going to school, and I knew that, if housebreaking that puppy was left up to them, the new carpet was doomed. So I offered to keep the puppy between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so he’d be housebroken by the time he went back to Pullman.

While I was carrying him up and down the stairs, I could hold him in one hand, and by the time Christmas vacation was over, he was ready to make the return trip. The boys and Bony left for Pullman on Sunday and were back in Bellevue by Thursday. It turns out Bony had bonded with our Goldens, Nikki and Tess, to say nothing of Grandma. In Pullman he had cried and refused to eat, so back he came.

After Mandy, there was no way I could say we didn’t take in dogs in need, so Bony stayed—for the next eleven years.

The problem with Pound Puppies is this: They don’t come with papers, and they are usually of indeterminate origin. Back home in Bellevue, Bony began to grow—like a weed. Carrying him one handed was no longer an option.

I can’t remember the name of our vet back then because we always called him Dr. Eighty Bucks. No matter how many dogs you showed up with—one, two, or more—that was the bill — $80.00.

When Bone was about six months old, I took him to see the vet and asked Dr. Eighty Bucks what kind of dog he was.

“A black and tan canardly,” the vet replied. I’d never heard of that kind of breed, but it sounded exotic.

“What kind of dog is that?” I asked.

“Well,” the vet said, “you can hardly tell what kind of dog he is, but I think he’s half German shepherd and half Irish Wolfhound.”

Bone had the wiry hair, the facial features, and the long legs of an Irish Wolfhound, but the soft undercoat of a German shepherd. Years later, while grocery shopping, I spotted a dog parked outside the store on a leash. He was the opposite of Bony in that he was built like a German shepherd but with the coat of a Wolfie. I went back into the store, tracked down his owner and asked, “Where did you get that dog?”

“The pound in Pullman, Washington,” was the reply.

Several months later, while home for lunch, Bill threw a tennis ball from the kitchen into the living room. Bony raced after it, slamming into a brass and glass table and knocking loose a tooth in the process.

We went straight down to see Dr. Eighty Bucks. He told us that a root canal was in order, but he didn’t actually do them, so he referred us to another vet who did.

When we retrieved Bony after the root canal procedure, the dental vet was furious. “This is a vicious dog,” he told us. “You need to put him down immediately.” Turns out the vet had tried to do a root canal without having Bone properly anesthetized.

Back we went to Dr. Eighty Bucks. “This dog was taken away from his mother when he was too young,” he explained. “As a result, he’s unsure of himself, and nervous dogs can be dangerous dogs. He needs to go to a six-week boot camp at the Academy for Canine Behavior and learn how to be a dog.”

That’s what happened, and they turned Bony into a perfect gentleman of a dog. Years later when a visiting three year-old put her two little pointy fingers up his nose, he never said a word.

His favorite toy was an upside-down aluminum bowl which he would chase around the driveway, pouncing on it and sending it flying like a hockey puck.

When two new red-dog golden puppies appeared on the scene, they were identical as far as humans were concerned, but Bony knew the difference. Daphne could do no wrong as far as he was concerned and could chew on his tail or ears with total impunity. If Aggie tried the same stunts, Bone immediately turned into Mr. Growly Bear.

Eventually he appeared in Hour of the Hunter as Davy Ladd’s broccoli-eating canine pal and trusted companion. His name is Oho, in the book, and oho is Tohono O’odham for bone.

Now you’re beginning to see how my mind works. Next up will be Bella, the Book Tour Dog. Stay tuned.

28 thoughts on “Along Came Mr. Bone

  1. Your “adoption” of Bony in to your family sounds speciously like Keishie came into ours. Our daughter Cathie has just finished her finals at OU and was headed home for Christmas break. She heard a squeak under her front tire and lo and behold there was a black six week puppy! We kept her, got her potty trained, shots etc and back they went to Norman. Two days later they were back. It didn’t go well in the apartment. She cried all the time, forgot her potty training and you can imagine how it went. She joined our menagerie and stayed until she crossed over the Rainbow Bridge 12 years later.

  2. My father used to tell a story of a car that was a “Rolls Canardly”. It rolls down hill and can hardly make it up the next hill. Thank you for the fond remembrance. I’m enjoying learning where some of your characters, both human and animal, have originated. Keep writing; I love your books.

  3. Dr. Eighty Bucks calling Bone “a black and tan canardly”, in that you could hardly tell what type of dog he was, reminded me of another funny ‘handle’ I experienced several years ago in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. A very popular ice cream shop make their own ice creams in a paper cone shape where you peeled off a paper covering and put into a regular ice cream cone. The somewhat impatient owner finally grew tired of waiting for his many customers to select which flavor they wanted, so he invented “Lemme See Ice Cream”. Of course, when he’d ask customers what their flavor choice was and they’d reply, “Oh, let me see…,”, imagine which flavor they got?

  4. Absolutely fascinating and beautiful! Looking forward to the next installment.

  5. Love your animal stories! Am trying to keep our 3.4+ acres from development so our wild critters won’t lose their habitat and the trees won’t become toothpicks or firewood (or t.p.). Over our 30 years of marriage we have rescued over 20 animals and loved every minute of it. Now if we can just keep our wild ones and their trees….

  6. Always looked forward to seeing Bella on your book tours.

    We had what we think was an Irish Wolfhound/Airedale Terrier mix at one time–he could rest his chin on the kitchen table.

  7. The two dogs that I have now came from shelters and I got them on purpose. But most of my dogs find me somehow. I have gotten dogs at a gas station, in front of a grocery store, several at the school where I taught and other places. I heard that canardly line a long time ago and have used it for years. Tho last week I was asked the breed of my newest and said that she came from a long line of yellow dogs. Right now I have two dogs, three cats and three horses. Those are my last horses but the number of dogs can change at any time.

  8. Thank you for sharing your dog stories. My husband and I just love dogs and we also have many dog stories. Some of our dogs came from shelters, one we bought, and the one we have now is a rescue dog. I think our dog has the same problem your bony has or had, taken away from mom to early. He is seven now, and he is the most loving love we have had.
    Love your blogs.

  9. Fascinating story and background. I am currently re-reading Hour Of The Hunter, so this was perfect timing! Thanks!

  10. I love your dog stories and I love your dogs names … especially the pairs.

    Barbara Walters wrote a book called “How to Talk With Practically Anybody About Practically Anything.” One of her suggestions was dogs and another was names.

    We had Shid tzu dogs … always pairs. Our first were Chun-Mae and Chun-Lei, after two of my favorite students. The next ones were Charlie Chan and Connie Chung.
    It always brought a chuckle in the veterinarian’s waiting room when the doctor would announce “Charlie Chan and Connie Chung.”

    Keep on writing about your dogs. Keep on writing, period. You make Fridays special.

  11. You make everything worth reading!! ??. Love the history of Bony and Dr Eighty bucks!

  12. Oh, Judy, I love this whole story. I can see all of it happening just as you described. Isn’t it amazing how a critter like a dog can get into our hearts and rule ournlives?!

  13. I love your books and stories! Please NEVER retire!! I keep re-reading them. They are like visiting family! THANK YOU!

  14. Yesterday I finished Collateral Damage (it took a very long time for the library to get to my name on the reserved list). I think it’s my favorite of your books! Of course I have said that about others you wrote. My plan was to re-read it at a more leisurely pace before returning it to the library – this happens with your books, I whip through the first time and the second time savor the writing more slowly. HOWEVER I accidentally returned it to the library this AM; I was kicking myself but see that 37 people still have it on hold so I guess I can wait til demand slows down, if that ever happens!

    Thank you for Collateral Damages and all my other J.A. Jance favorites!


  15. I disagree that pound dogs are problematic. The only dog I ever had that proved so problematic that he had to be put down (he’d wake up from a nap in your lap and bite you!) was pedigreed. He’d been bred baldy, with a crazy sire back in his history. Bob Glass

  16. Bony certainly knew which home, and which Grandma, he wanted!
    I am so glad your family honored his wishes- I’d love to see a picture of him-
    Dr. Eighty Bucks sounds like a great Vet- The Vet he referred you to for Root
    Canal? How did that guy get through Veterinary School?!
    I have no medical training whatsoever, but I have enough common sense to know that anesthesia is a good idea for root canal, whether for dogs or humans-
    We don’t have a financial title for the Vets we take our rabbits to- However, we did start calling Lester, a rescue rabbit, “The Three Thousand Dollar Bunny,” following
    his surgery for stasis, a very serious problem, as bunnies cannot throw up something stuck inside- I love your stories about the four-legged family members-

  17. Love your dog stories! I could picture him chasing that bowl and flipping it! Glad they live on in your books

  18. Thanks! Love this behind the scene glimpse you share in this fur kid memory. Wish we could find a doctor eighty bucks these days.

  19. Love your dog stories. I have also read all of your Temperance Breannan stories. We basically adopted a dog from a person who was giving the dog up. He was getting too big for her and into too much trouble. My husband was looking for a lab. However what he got was a yellow lab part husky. We luckily have a large back yard. It has been 3 years now and we take him to the vet 1 a year for his shots. He does love the kennel where I board him when we travel. They have no trouble walking him. He now does alot of groaning when he wants something or he will grunt like an old man. Almost like a pout or come on from a teenager when not getting his way.

    • Sherrie, do you mean the Bones series written by Kathy Reichs?

  20. Ah, thanks for the explanation at the end of your blog about Bony appearing in Hour of the Hunter as Oho. I am getting ready to read the book and the dedication at the front of the book says, “To Bill, who brought us the Bone…” Now I understand
    who “the Bone” is. Gracias.

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