Briggs’ ACL and the Long Overdue Revelation

Briggs tore his ACL and I’m officially blaming it on the compacted NBA season. I wonder how many of y’all got that joke. The NBA part. Not the Briggs / ACL part. Because that, unfortunately, is no joke. Miss J (who helps with Luke) said it was a point-in-time injury, or so she gathered by the yelp she heard as he reached the top of the stairs he’d crested hundreds if not thousands of times before. The vet said it probably “just went.” Like Derrick Rose’s.

The whole deal has really thrown me for a loop. It’s pointless to try and explain why — in fact, I’m not 100% certain I understand, myself. Or, actually, maybe I do understand, and I’m just ashamed.

A friend emailed and asked: What happens when your dog tears his ACL?

What happens, I answered, is you’ll shell out three bingos and your dog’ll go under the knife.

OH. And your four-year-old boys’ll wanna go to the vet with you, only the trip’ll turn into a dark one when they see Daddy’s eyes gloss over with an emotion they can’t quite place when he hears the news he’d predicted. And they’ll do their best not to cry, but they’ll get a bit misty.

And you will, too, because when you get down on the cold, tile floor to hug your dog one last time before he’s taken back to be prepped for surgery, he’ll lick your face like he’s not done since he was a puppy, as if to say Despite the fact that a wife and five kids have pushed me from the fore of your consciousness, you’ve never once, not even for an instant, been pushed from the fore of mine, which’ll make you flash back to the time when you decided to become a newcomer to the hometown you thought you’d left for good, a super-fucking broken newcomer in the complicated aftermath of the death of your dad, compounded still by having intentionally blown up a lucrative white-collar career because of a nebulous and difficult-to-articulate set of ideals, armed only with a pile of cash you’d worked hard to attain and some pipe dream about becoming a writer, whatever the hell that meant, and how, during that time, a little brown puppy with a fuzzy crinkle on the bridge of his chocolate-colored nose somehow made everything okay, which’ll make you wonder how in the world it is that you could have ever taken a creature capable of such healing, capable of such steadfast and unconditional love for granted while random images pop into your mind, like the way he rode shotgun and poked his head out the sunroof and looked at the dam as you drove through the gap, or how he curled right beside you as you lay in your tent beneath the canopy of stars that shone dimly through your rainfly, basking you in a soft light that lulled you to sleep on one of the countless nights that littered the era in which camping with your dog wasn’t something that required permission.

You’ll come home from the episode downtrodden and tired, and you’ll wonder if you’re visibly upset as your four-year-old daughter runs outside to meet you before you’ve even gotten to the five large flagstones which bridge your driveway to the side door, and you’ll stand on the first of those stones and feel the warmth emanating from the sun-drenched rock, and the sensation’ll comfort you until you notice the tears streaming down your little girl’s face which’ll prompt you to open the arms she instinctively seeks, and you’ll listen helplessly once she’s jumped safely into them as she tells you in her sob-stuttered voice that all she wants is for Briggsie to come home, this, from the girl who seemingly thinks his name is Move Briggs as often as she’s bellyached about his well-intended shadowing, which’ll prompt you to ask her if she knows what taking something for granted means, and she’ll say no, and you’ll think, Well, hell, how could she if I don’t even know what it means, though you won’t say that as instead you’ll explain that it’s what you’ve all been doing to Briggs, at which point your two other triplets and your ten-year-old daughter will sit down with you and the little girl in the keeping room, where Briggs would normally have been, and you’ll all discuss this business of taking things for granted and how your faithful brown hound deserves so much better and you’ll all vow to never do that to him again, and your baby’ll be there, too, agreeing with this group decision, or so you’ll gather by the squeak he makes with his plastic giraffe, the very noise that makes Briggs point his gray-whiskered chin straight to the heavens as he forces a comical howl out of the tiny O his pursed lips have unknowingly made, which is exactly when it dawns on you how interconnected it all is, making you wonder if you would have ever found your family, if the triplets and Luke would even be alive without the silent canine council of yesteryear which you seemingly discounted if not discarded entirely once all was well.

Briggs’ll be fine, but he’ll need to take it easy for a while. We can’t wait for him to come home, though. Because the next eight weeks? They’re gonna be all about him for once.

Just like old times, no?

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About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • BethLowe

    Here’s to Briggs’ recovery!  There’s nothing like the unconditional love of a dog….giving my sweetie a hug because , well just because!

    • John Cave Osborne

      thanks, Beth. and, yes, def give your sweetie a hug. always a good call…

  • Joan (SurprisedMom)

    I hope Briggs recovers quickly and as painlessly as possible. He will be getting so much love and attention from all of you that I’m sure he’ll forget his pain. You are a writer, but also a teacher and I have learned a lot from this post. I’m feeling a little teary eyed and now am going to hug my dog, George, and give him a treat. Wonderful post.

    • John Cave Osborne

      Joan, you know what I’ve always noticed about you? you “get” me. i can’t tell you how much i appreciate that thoughtful comment. nor can i tell you how much i appreciate that you take the time to read my words. 

  • muskrat

    I’m glad to see Briggs get spoiled for a bit.  I bet he’s felt neglected lately. 

    • John Cave Osborne

      If by “lately” you mean a half-decade, then, yes. yes, indeed. i just picked him up earlier today and he’s all doped out, wearing the cone of shame and relegated to a crate. still, though, it’s good to have him back…

  • Always Home and Uncool

    Enjoy carrying him out to do his business. I meant that for Caroline. Equal parenting, bro.
    Get well, Briggs. Murphy sends a lick.

    • John Cave Osborne

      funny how we’re a bit less egalitarian when it comes to dog-care.

  • The JackB

    Give Briggs a bone for me.

    • John Cave Osborne

      assuming that’s not some double entendre, i’d be happy to. thanks for the well wish.

  • Dsaraceno


    Made me hug my boy, Jerome.  He sends Briggs his best and suggests you get some Happy Hips Chicken Strips to soothe the pain.

    • John Cave Osborne

      happy hips chicken strips? sounds like some bad club you might take a broker to. thanks, bro. it was great going back and forth w/ Bri. she’s a special young lady to be sure. 

  • beta dad

    I hope your pooch is doing all right.  And the rest of the brood too.

    • John Cave Osborne

      thanks, buddy.

  • Miss A

    Damn how did I miss this post? Amazing writing for your friend, I am nothing but tears right now…

    • John Cave Osborne

      i like me some miss A, y’all. it’s just that simple. xo

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