The first time I saw Bosco he was sitting calmly on a bench in front of the Oakland animal shelter with a volunteer next to him stroking his ears. Even though Bosco is a big black dog, he instantly reminded me of the stone lions in front of the New York Public Library: stoic and noble.
Unlike the lions, Bosco has a silly side, which he's only too happy to share. The first thing you notice about him is his big goofy smile. The second thing you notice are the ragged white scars on his back and flanks, old scars where hair will never grow. Bosco's former owner poured acid on him; a horrific "punishment" that dog fighters sometimes inflict on dogs, like Bosco, who refuse to fight.
But despite everything that Bosco has been through, including the indignity of having been dumped in the night drop box at the shelter just days earlier, he's a resilient dog whose whole being projects friendliness and hope. I have no doubt that if Bosco's old owner were to show up right now, the same man who tortured and then abandoned him, Bosco might just wag his tail and bark -- and the meaning of that bark would be:
I forgive you! I forgive you!