“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
~ Groucho Marx
With great pleasure, I introduce Scooter Alender.
After Winston passed away, I knew pretty much right away that we’d be getting a new dog. There’s just something about having a dog around the house; it didn’t feel like home without one. We had a trip planned in mid-February, but I planned to start looking as soon as we got home.
There’s a fantastic “store” near my house called Lucky Puppy Rescue and Retail. It’s run by a rescue organization that saves dogs from kill shelters and adopts them out. While they wait to meet their forever families, they live in the store with the other dogs. It’s a fabulous way to find a dog, because the staff gets to see them interact with strangers, children, other dogs, etc. They learn about their quirks and habits and are able to give adoptive families an idea of what they might expect (well, some of what they might expect).
I was champing at the bit to look for a dog. I even checked the website while I was away to see if there were any eligible puppies freshly arrived. At that point, because of the baby, we thought we’d definitely be getting a puppy. I longed for the steady solidness of an adult dog, but my daughter’s safety is obviously worth the trouble of going through the travails of puppyhood.
On returning home, I went to Lucky Puppy on my first day back with the aim of introducing myself and letting them know I’d be stalking their new arrivals for the puppy of our dreams. I must have said, “I’d actually prefer an adult dog, but with the baby we need to be positive we’re getting a good fit,” and the woman said, “Have we got a dog for you!” And they brought out this little brown dog (whose photo I’d noticed when I was on vacation) and let us hang out in a pen with him. He’s about three years old, but he stayed up front with the puppies rather than in the back with the more rambunctious older dogs. He was a bit distracted that day, but he was very gentle. At one point I picked him up and then realized I’d been playing with his paws (a big deal for dogs) and he didn’t mind in the least.
The next day, the husb came to meet him, we went for a very calm walk, and that was when we decided that Scooter would be part of our family.
He is the sweetest and mellowest dog in the world. He’s timid and submissive but not shy or fearful. He’s settling into the house and sleeps on the bed and cruises the floor under the high chair for dropped food (though he has more discerning taste than Winston–he’ll eat the meat and cheese she drops but not the yogurt bites or puffs)… which is awesome because the saddest part of having no dog was cleaning delicious bits off the floor knowing that Winston would have loved them. We go for several long walks a day, because he has yet to understand that pottying in the yard would be completely and totally GREAT with us. But that’s a good thing because, hey, who couldn’t use more walks?
I don’t know that I necessarily believe that everything happens for a reason. But I do believe that you can take the things that happen and give them meaning by striving to accept them with grace and look for joy in your new situation, however awful it may seem in the moment. We will never stop missing Winston, but his passing allowed Scooter to have a home and family who love and cherish him.
It’s going to take a little time for him to feel totally at ease here with us. In the meantime, we’re trying as hard as we can to let him know how loved and wanted he is. I have a fuzzy writing partner again. The dog-shaped hole in my heart has been filled. Dog is my co-pilot, and I couldn’t be more grateful.