“The time was right for a dog. I had said we’d not get a new dog until I finished grad school and I graduated in May. My girls, 5 and 7, desperately wanted a dog but I made no illusions to their future contribution to raising one. We had a couple of false starts with rescuing until a friend and coworker of mine, Kathy, intervened. She went crazy one night finding dog after dog after dog online … I looked at one after the other- how did one decide? Most were in a shelter so how would I know that the dog wouldn’t bite my kids? I knew I could not bring a dog home only to have to give it back. That was not something we could endure.
The choice of Scout was really fate, if you believe in such things. I forwarded all pictures to my mom- she studied them carefully. As I spoke to her as I walked home from work and she mentioned that she thought ‘Sarah’ had good potential. I had forgotten about Sarah (aka Scout) but she was described as good with kids, easy going, and funny. At 35 lbs, she was enough of a dog for my husband. The value of Annette vetting the dogs in her own place should not be under-estimated.
I went straight to work on the application and was on the phone with Mary, Kathy’s close friend, by dinner. She described the perfect dog for us and I knew she was our dog. I said yes! …and then told my husband. This was not our usual style of decision making but there seemed no point in investigating further. Scout would be ‘home’ in a week. Later I found out mom got two of the online dog’s names mixed up and was thinking of another dog- that is the fate part. We met Scout in a Home Depot parking lot. We have never been early for anything but there we were with nervous energy. We had heard transport had been traumatic for her and she would need freshening up. She came out of the van nervous, relieved, and exhausted. She is beautiful dog and her sweetness was readily evident. She fell asleep my feet as we drove home.
The next 48 hours were rocky… all dogs now leave Mary’s and Annette’s care with a martingale collar (nearly impossible to slip) because of Scout’s arrival in New York. Scout suffered ‘substrate confusion’ meaning she would not go to the bathroom on NYC streets. We took her on a long buy doxycycline for humans walk to grass figuring time and grass would fix things. On the way home disaster struck in 3 seconds. She spooked at an umbrella I dropped by her head and she couldn’t get away from me quickly enough. She pulled and pulled until she slipped her collar. Her speed saved her as she dodged cars to make her way back to Central Park in the heart of a city like none she had ever seen- just as the rain started coming down hard. We looked and looked in the pouring rain calling out for a dog we thought may be deaf (it was just sensory shutdown after transport) who had 3 names in three weeks. We searched, I spent the night in Central Park, we hung posters. I saw her once at 4 am but she wasn’t coming to me. The raccoon family had no problem seeing what I had to offer.
What I had not wanted to happen had happened- I brought a dog into the girls life and she was gone after 36 hours. We all cried- Mary and Kathy included. The lesson for the girls that there were some things Moms and Dads could not fix. But Scout could- in the morning she followed a lady with a dog home, who fed her, and brought her to a vet on the other side of town. Thank heavens the dog without a collar (I was left holding that) was chipped. I had her home 16 hours later.
For the next two weeks we called her prison dog because we walked her on two leashes. My husband started running with his North American Brown dog (Mary’s breed) and their bond tightened. She was housebroken and crate trained. She is smart and very motivated by food. My 7 year old woke up on the first day of school crying about hating school and Scout licked her to laughter. Scout tolerated my 5 year old’s “love” comfortably and calmly. She started knowing us as her pack and checking to make sure we are all walking together. She posts herself at the door to wait for anyone of us to return.
She still has her gremlins – fear of men, the front desk of our building, any person on the street- but those go away in her safe four walls. Here she is goofy, impy, and playful. As Kathy said, after hosting her for 5 days, “Hurricane Scout….NICEST animal on Earth!” She is simply the perfect match for us.
Thanks Mary and Annette!”