So, ever since I wrote my original Simon post, I’ve been meaning to write one about Scout. But since my blog is pretty much stagnant, I obviously haven’t gotten around to it. Then yesterday something happened that inspired me to just do it already. (I’m pretty sure everyone who might be reading this already knows, but Simon passed away in July and we adopted Dexter in September. There is no way in heck I’m prepared to write about all that, not now, probably not ever. Moving on…) I was walking Scout and Dexter before work. It was a lovely morning and we were greeting all the neighbors who were out and about doing yard work. Scout, who has always had a propensity for attacking vacuum cleaners, darted over to an active lawn mower and tried to attack it! She was barking ferociously and putting her face down near it. The man pushing it was no longer a friendly, waving neighbor but a startled, fairly panicked dude. I yanked Scout by her leash and had to drag her, barking all the way, down the street. (I really, truly hope this is not a sign of senility… the old girl is pushing 15.) And I started thinking… I really need to give Scout her due. This dog fears no one (except the vet). She has a tenacity and ferocity I can achieve only a shadow of, even on my fiercest days. She is amazingly resilient. She makes no excuses.
How did Steve and I come to own such an awesome little dog? I’ll tell you.
Once upon a time, two young and dumb kids named Shannon and Steve got married. Steve was applying to grad school at the time and they thought it would be fun to go somewhere different for the few years he’d be in school. He applied all over the country – Pacific Northwest, Colorado, Florida, etc. They ended up in Albuquerque. Shannon agreed to move that far away from her family on one condition – that she be able to get a dog. They pulled into Albuquerque with the U-Haul on a Monday. They were at the animal shelter Tuesday evening. They were looking for a smallish dog, and one that was already full grown. The first room of the shelter was full of puppies and huge dogs – all of whom were adorable and lovely, but not quite right. The first kennel in the second room had a little black dog named Inky, aged 2. Inky and a poodle were the only smallish, full grown dogs there that day. Steve ix-nayed the poodle. Shannon asked to meet Inky. A volunteer led them to a “socialization area” – a small, fenced-in patch of concrete, really. What, you were expecting grass? Please. In Albuquerque you don’t bust your butt to grow grass just to have dogs pee on it. Anyway, Shannon sat against the fence, with her knees drawn up in front of her. Inky did a sniff around the perimeter and then immediately set up camp under Shannon’s legs. It was love at first sight. She was flea and tick infested, but she was a thing of beauty. Adoption application was made, approved, and Inky (immediately re-christened Scout, as in the tough little girl from To Kill A Mockingbird) was picked up two days later. The End.
So that’s how we got our little girl. Our Good Girl Scout. Our Scoutasaurus Rex. Our Scoutacaster. Our Scout About Town. Our Miss Scout. Our Scooty-Scout. Our Scout Eleanor Amelia.
After we first got her, we used to walk a certain route that took us past a house that had a tall, wooden fence around the yard. There was one slat missing. If the dog who lived there was in the yard, he would push his snout through the opening and he and Scout would bark and gnash their teeth viciously through the fence. They couldn’t actually reach each other, don’t worry. Stopping at that fence became Scout’s favorite part of the walk. She would pull at the leash very excitedly as we approached and she would hop up all expectantly, and if the big dog wasn’t there, she would walk away huffing and puffing and whining… pretty much spoiling for a fight. We never did meet that dog… we never even saw more than his snout. I have no idea what kind of dog he was. But he was big. And loud. And scary. And she never.backed.down. I am fairly certain she wouldn’t have even if there weren’t a fence to protect her. Proof? We were at a dog park a month or so ago and a HUGE dog, easily 5 times her size, kept hovering over her and trying to start a fight, growling and pawing at her. Did she back down? No. What did she do? Turn and snap at him and bark her irritated little yip. She is 14 years old. That’s like… 80-something in dog years. And she still stands her ground and makes her voice heard. Always. I know I have often said we could all learn something from Simon, but I think many of us could learn from Scout too. Stand up for yourself. Don’t be intimidated. You are strong and you are powerful, regardless of your age, your size, your health. She had surgery last month and within hours was back to her old ways. No time to waste feeling sorry for yourself.
Now, I’m not saying all these qualities are always a good thing. She has gotten into fights with dogs we are friends with, and she is not one to drop a grudge. Once you’re on her pooper scooper list, you’re on it for good. Once she sets her sights on an enemy… be it a squirrel or a cat or another dog, she will not rest. She’s a terrier, she can’t help it, I guess. There’s nothing to do but remove her from the situation and let her calm down.
The world needs souls like that, I think. It needs people (or dogs) who work tirelessly toward their goals, who won’t be intimidated, who are true to themselves, who will fight for what’s right, who will stand up for others. The more I think about it like that, the more I realize Scout and Simon really were each other’s Yin and Yang. They balanced each other out in an amazing way. For almost 12 years we had the best of both worlds… we had the endlessly accepting, loving, tolerant Simon and we had the fiery, tenacious, brave little Scout. Truly a beautiful thing.