How Punk Rock Saved This Puppys Penis

The year in feel-good music stories

The amps were never turned on again. Kids sluiced off the streets—nobody wanted to come home with the cops when they'd told their parents they were going to a school dance. The show was done for, but Chewie still had a chance—a pocketful of chance.

"Did we make it?" Kevin asked. I silently handed him the night's take: ones, 5s, crisp 20s still pungent with mom's perfume and more—almost-empty tubes of lipstick, leaky pens, a middle school ID card from Santa Fe Springs. They'd given all they could, those punk kids, trusting that, somehow, it would save Chewie's pee-pee. I blinked back tears.

In the front seat of my car, we sorted by denomination by the fragile, ethereal glow cast by the dome light. "I've got about a hundred," said Kevin, still counting. "I got 50," I said. We found a quarter roll—10 bucks. We found a wad of sticky nickels. We counted 79 pennies.

We had around $200.

We needed $1,000.

We didn't make it. And somewhere, a dog howled.

But Chewie got his surgery anyway, thanks to Kevin's mom. And then his bladder exploded, necessitating further emergency surgery and another $1,000. Kevin's mom paid for that, too, but I still feel—in my heart—that Kevin, myself, and all those bands and kids made a difference: 10 percent of a difference, maybe more.

Sure, we barely covered the sales tax, or maybe a round of expensive drinks at some plush veterinarian bar, but what was important was that a bunch of outcast kids whom everybody laughed at pulled together for one special night to make the world a better place . . . with $1,800 of help from someone's parents. You think punk's dead? Maybe. But I know a certain dog penis that would disagree with you.

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