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Friday, December 23, 2011


I could write a very long essay about my love affair with our family dog, Scooter. He came into our lives because my daughter was ill and a dog was a bribe that gave her hope. This cute, little fluffy white puppy was just what the doctor ordered. After nine months of being ill, my daughter turned the corner and started to recover within a month of Scooter’s addition to our family. The truth was that the removal of her severely inflamed appendix probably had a lot more to do with her improvement than the puff-ball of a dog we call Scooter. There are many Scooter tales, lure that we will tell for decades. This is the abbreviated version.
Scooter is a Labradoodle that has grown to a healthy 75 pounds. That is a lot of dog, though he doesn’t quite know that. He cuddles and plays like a miniature variety. Lately, he has regressed to behaviors that I thought we had trained out of him five years ago. However, when it comes to food, do you ever really convince a dog not to eat unguarded food from a coffee table? Or train him to pass on the chocolates out of Christmas stockings?
Well, Scooter’s list of transgressions is long, no one could argue otherwise. Yes, he ate my $459 sunglasses (I went for poly-carbonate and polarized for starters...) and a few 
Christmas light bulbs and opened the wrapped Christmas gifts. However, before I thoroughly cast dispersions on this dog that we have all grown to love, he has, with one action alone, redeemed himself. Here is how.
I am prone to sleepwalking. Yes, I am going to see a sleep specialist about it in January. In the meantime, I am making the best of it. Thus far, there are neatly folded loads of laundry, a dishwasher inexplicably emptied, garage doors opened, garbage bagged and taken outside. And these are the things I know about! I have walked into door, both open and closed, walls and tables; I have the bruises to prove it.
Two nights ago, I felt myself tipping over and just barely righted myself before falling over. I was decidedly disoriented as to which was up, what was down. Think of getting tossed in fifteen foot waves. I steadied myself and took in my surroundings. I was standing outside in boots and my pajamas, holding the dog’s leash. It was very dark, a thin streak of red illuminated the eastern sky. I noticed that there was no tension on the leash. Scooter! Had I taken Scooter out, and let him off leash? I called after him over and over. He didn’t come bounding toward me. I was on the verge of crying. As I turned to call his name in another direction, I tripped over something nearly on my feet. It was Scooter, guarding me. I laughed and petted him while saying over and over and over “Good dog!” Thus, before I lambast him due to his behavioral deviance, I must remember his good nature and protective instincts.
ultimately, when I needed him most, Scooter stayed right by my side.

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