Garden & Gun

Sensitive Subject

In April 2019, I headed thirty miles out of New Orleans to LaPlace, Louisiana, driving along thickets of cypress to a squat veterinary hospital and the closest internal medicine specialist I could find. I dropped off Scout, my three-year-old pit-hound, for an ultrasound, and drove to a coffee shop to wait. As I ate a kolache the size of my forearm, I calculated whether this vet visit would finally overdraw my checking account.

We were here—Scout and I—after more than six months of mysterious medical emergencies that I referred to, in polite company, as “penis problems.” When prompted to elaborate, I usually told nonmedical professionals that this involved instances of incontinence and…unsheathing…in an otherwise healthy dog. It had been almost a year since I became Scout’s primary owner, and much of that period was marked by urgent

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