This post is way overdue. In an attempt to blog more frequently, I think it is time to discuss my dog. If I was a columnist, I would probably write about my dog as much as John Grogan did with Marley. It isn't always easy to think of something to write about all of the time. To avoid becoming one of those "dog freaks" who obsesses over talking about their precious pooch, I have tried to stay away from the discussion of her in general. I know I mention from time to time that she exists, but that is the extent of it.
I got Scout when she was eight weeks old. I picked her out when she was four weeks. She is a golden retriever from Ohio. Her first year started in a "sorority house" in Wooster, Ohio, where I attended school. I was a senior. She became very popular on campus. Most students knew her. Some students knew her name, but not mine. It was fun. And it was very fun for Scout.
We moved to Boston before Scout's first birthday. She used to run with me in the mornings. Her first injury was a running injury when she stepped on some glass and had to have her paw bandaged.
I met my Boston boyfriend shortly after moving to Boston through Scout. She took to his dog at the park. We got together for a play date. (For the dogs, people).
On another note, I will tell you that since I have had Scout, I have never been in better shape. You know what they say about the statistics of dog owners. We are healthier.
Scout has eaten everything in sight, including the following items: (I am debating how inappropriate to get here)
-the tile floor
-a wood chair
-bags and bags of chocolate
-some forms of birth control
-a contact lens case
-most of the pockets out of my fleeces
-the treat pocket out of my Patagonia hiking bag
-all trash that is available to her
-lollipops with the sticks on
-any snacks in a Ziploc, including the Ziploc, itself
-a bag of flour
-a frozen, dead muskrat
-a frozen, dead rabbit
-a blue jay that couldn't fly away
-many, many, many dead deer
(Ok, enough of the dead animals - you get the hint).
this list could go on and on, but then I would never finish this blog.
Most people tell me that my golden retriever is the hungriest golden they have ever seen. Which could be true. A few years ago, she gained some weight and I put her on a diet of 1/2 green beans, 1/2 food. She slimmed down and then some. By the time we moved to Madison and her exercise level increased, the vet told me, "I rarely tell people this, but she needs to gain weight!" I doubled her food. Yesterday, at Scout's annual physical, she is overweight, once again. I cut back her food back to her old diet. Oh well.
Scout and I lived in Boston for two years. There was a park she and I really enjoyed there. In 2004, we moved to Cleveland for four years. I never found a good park for her there. But there were places to take her, no doubt. During that time, she developed a "Bel's palsy." One day, her face looked crooked. I was shaken up and I thought she had had a stroke. The vet took her immediately and said that they have seen this before. Ever since, she has a slight facial paralysis in the left side of her face. They told me it was probably viral. She was so beautiful. Such a stunning dog. She is still pretty. But it's not the same. It doesn't seem to bother her, though. It's sad for me to write this part.
In 2008, we moved to Madison. Scout was then seven. Shortly after we moved here, she was running through some backyards, where she liked to invade all of the composts and she broke her tooth on something. It cost me over $700.00 to have her diagnosed and have the tooth pulled. After she woke up from her surgery, she was the most tired I have ever seen her. The staff who worked on her just loved her. Every vet (all six!) has told me that she is such a sweet dog.
Scout had her annual physical yesterday. My vet evaluated her on a form. With her distemper, they added an "other" box and wrote "super sweet." I am proud that she is sweet, but she will never be the best behaved dog. She likes to eat way too much. She is now a senior. I have noticed some arthritis in her hind legs. She still goes to the park about four days a week. Sometimes, she just sits down and waits for someone to pet her. My park mates love her when it is cold because she is a "feet warmer." She has a slight heart murmur, a gray & crooked face and an "old lady" small wort on her face. Other than that, she is doing well. Oh yeah - she drinks a ton of water. It's so strange. She slurps quite loudly and drips all over the place. It drives my boyfriend (he is very clean) nuts.
I can't imagine life without my girl, Scout. I just try not to think about it. Ever. Because when that day comes, I will probably require lots of sympathy and a week off to grieve. But the vet tells me that it's a long time from now.
And if you are sad reading this, then don't see or read "Marley and Me." And if you are sad reading this, then you probably have a dog (or pet). Otherwise, it's hard to relate to this.
Scout has given me so much. I have a ton of friends I have met through our dog park trips. There is a great community of dog people here. I have become a real "outdoors woman" because of her.
She's a goofy dog. That is for sure. But, when it really comes down to it - it's just the two of us.