Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Short Project With Long Term Consequences

This is my newest project.

Photo from Bonaparte's Retreat

Scooter is somewhere around 10 to 12 years old, a bit older than he looks in this photo. He came to me through Bonaparte's Retreat, created by singer-songwriter and musician Emmylou Harris. I've never dealt with a rescue group with a representative as knowledgeable, caring and supportive as Kate. She is totally dedicated to the welfare of their animals and to finding them the best homes possible.

Scooter is at least part coon dog, if not full blooded, is pretty gray around the muzzle, has some arthritis, lacks many of his teeth and needs help getting on my bed. He also sheds enough hair within a couple of hours to weave a rug.

He has a very strong prey instinct, so we avoid cats, rabbits, squirrels and small dogs when we go out for walks on the apartment grounds. Apparently, he doesn't just go after them for the thrill of the chase either. Of course there has to be a cat that happens to enjoy sitting outside the sliding glass doors to the patio - taunting Scooter to come and get him. Dumb cat. Even dumber owners.

Other than that, Scooter is one mellow dog and a bundle of sweetness. He obviously had some good training in his past life because he is exceptionally well behaved - except when he sees that damn cat. He doesn't chew, get in the garbage or pee on the carpet, all good reasons for adopting an older dog. He rarely barks, except when he sees a cat on the other side of the glass door, and so far I haven't heard one single howl. He doesn't have separation anxiety when I go out, at least I don't think so, but he likes to be close - very close - when I'm home.

My apartment manager is responsible for all this, so I have her to thank for this new family member. The guy loves to be loved and I love to give it to him.

On the 23rd, it will have been a year since Lucky had to be put to sleep. Not a day has passed that I haven't missed him - his spirit, his mischievousness, his sense of humor, his gentleness, his intelligence, his very presence. Every time I look for a jacket or pair of jeans that don't have holes in the pockets from when he went after the treats, I think of him. Whenever I get out a ball of yarn that has been chewed and is all tangled up, I think of him. On the rare occasions when I vacuum, I remember how he'd bark and snap at it the entire time.

No, I will never forget Lucky but the mourning period has to come to an end and now I have Scooter. When you think about it, having dogs is not unlike having kids - they're all very different but you love each one just as much as the other.

November 23, 2010


  1. So sorry for your loss of Lucky but it looks like Scooter will be an excellent companion for you -- and that's a really good thing!

  2. Leslie: It was 2 years on Nov 17th since I put my Hayley down. I still miss her. I think we'll always hold "special" pets in our hearts forever, like your Lucky and my Hayley.

    I'm so glad you found Scooter! He sounds like such a great dog/companion. The rescue shelters are fantastic. The people who run them are simply awesome. You can tell they truly care for the animals and would do anything for them. If I had more room, I'd have more dogs. I'd rescue at least a half dozen...probably more. But they need space to run and my property just isn't that big.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Lucky!

  3. I am so grateful that Scooter is with you. He seemed at home the minute we walked in the door. You, Leslie, were definitely worth waiting for!

  4. I recently lost a dog as well. You have my sympathies.

    I replaced my dog with a cat that will not speak to me. I see it from a distance once or twice per week, when it doesn't realize I am looking.

  5. @Kay: Scooter and I seem to have a lot in common: graying hair, fewer teeth and arthritis.

    @Pam: I'd give my all to have a lot of land and the funds to take in unwanted animals. I've always found rescues make the best pets. It's lake they know you've saved them and they are forever grateful. This is even more true when they've been abused or neglected.

    @Kate: Thank you but I think I'm the lucky one. He really is a sweet, sweet dog. And thank you so much for making the transition so easy.

    @John: I like cats and have had a bunch of them. They're very perceptive and can tell when humans don't really like them very much. ;)

  6. The cat is wild and will not let humans near it. It is a stray I rescued (or imprisoned). I am still trying to figure out what I did. It doesn't seem to want out, so I am not sure.

  7. @john: Oh my. Feral cats are a bit of a challenge. Here are a couple of links that might be helpful - one from the ASPCA and the other from the Humane Society.

  8. That's terrific and sounds like just what you needed. Enjoy.

    Got a female Golden Retriever (the wife’s idea…). Dumb but very gentle.
    We already had a small elderly cat who got used to her pretty quick and now dominates her.

  9. @Magpie: I've often had cats and dogs together but it wouldn't work with this guy. Golden Retriever's are super sweet.

  10. Bless you for giving Scooter a loving home. Older dogs don't fare well at finding new homes, I'm told, so he's an especially lucky fellow.

    You're so right about each having a distinctive personality. I can tell you that's equally true of cats. Both cats and dogs, in my lifelong experience, are far more intelligent and perceptive than most people realize.

  11. Myste, the cat will come to you when it's ready. I'll tell you how this works.

    One of our cats, Roscoe, is an exceptionally good-natured and friendly manx. He gets along nicely with all the four- and two-legged members of our family. We have a nice easychair he likes to curl up on, usually at night. More than once when I was trying to do something and Roscoe was getting under foot, I would put him on the chair and settle him down. But as good natured as he is, he nearly always makes it a point to hop down when I put him there.

    It's not that Roscoe suddenly dislikes the easychair, not that he might not like to lie down on it. The problem is that I'm taking liberties. He has his pride and independence, and doesn't want to be put somewhere as if he's just an inanimate object. So, he asserts his independence, often going right back to where he was getting under foot.

    If you're consistently kind to the cat you've found while respecting his pride and independence, he'll eventually come to you. A little soft, friendly talk and light petting with a couple of fingers will be plenty. Don't try to pick him up or hold him. As he gets comfortable being close and finds he can trust you, he'll start to open up and come closer more often.

    Just remember, it has to be on his terms and whatever timetable works for him.

  12. Think of a cat as a kind of 4-sided octopus.

  13. Sorry, got that backwards (must still be hung over). Think of an Octopus as a kind of 4-sided cat.