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A Favorite for Father’s Day: Bentley’s Balls

With all the chaos and divisiveness surrounding us, I wanted to find some common ground. And I wanted to do it with a laugh. If there is one post that gets a lot of attention from a lot of different people, it’s the one I wrote about a puppy’s balls. So, without further ado, I’m reposting a Farnival classic: Bentley’s Balls. Here’s hoping it makes you smile. Have a great week.

Like every southerner, Bentley’s manners are impeccable. He doesn’t beg for bacon, jump on the leather couch, or pee on the hardwood floors. I found him when he was six weeks old in the trunk of an oak tree on the Springfield Greenway. I don’t know how he ended up in such a strange place, but now he lives with a friend in Clarksville. Laura instilled the manners.

For the past week, he’s been at my house because Laura went to New Jersey for her grandparent’s memorial service. I’ve found homes for a lot of dogs, but Bentley’s the only one I’ve been lucky enough to puppy-sit a few months later. He’s thirty pounds, pale blond. Laura’s vet guesses he’s a pit-Lab mix.

We’ve walked thirty-four miles during the past week. He has potential. I’ve noticed some fear aggression, but if nipped in the bud, then it can be fixed with socialization, exercise, and discipline. He’s still young enough to mold.

I hear his translucent nails clicking down the hallway. His gait is easily distinguishable because it sounds clumsy and inconsistent. He hasn’t established a pattern yet. He bolts through my office door with the urgency of a bank robber, then suddenly halts.

I swivel around and face him. I bend my elbow, giving him the sign to sit. He sits properly, on his haunches, gangly front legs poker straight. His ears are cockeyed, one hangs in an upside down triangular shape and the other points to the side. It gives him an irresistible expression.

Besides his impeccable manners and crooked ears, Bentley’s balls are his best feature. There’s no other way to say it. As he sits in front of me, I have a perfect view. His gonads are downy and slightly pink. They don’t dangle but bulge with the size and firmness of grapes. I notice because I don’t often see a dog’s gonads. My mutts were all neutered young. And in another month, Bentley’s cute little balls will also be gone.

It strikes me: why can’t guys’ gonads be the same? We clone tomatoes and sheep, why can’t we clone a puppy’s balls? Instead, men walk around with deflated balloons covered by chicken-neck skin that sprouts pubic hair like weeds in a snubbed garden. It doesn’t seem fair.

Bentley’s watermelon pink tongue unravels from the side of his maw. His sharp, young teeth are vividly white. Everything about him is pink, white, and clean, even the inside of his cockeyed ears. He shakes his head and grins.

You’re silly, I say.

You’re sillier, he answers.

He lunges for his frayed tennis ball, which he left next to the bookshelf sometime yesterday, and plunks it at my feet.

I leave my work until later in the day. It’s hard to focus when a puppy wants to play. He bounds away, swishing his tail in joy. For a moment I watch. His balls barely jiggle.

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