A Letter to Scout the Dog:
Happy one year anniversary, little pup! I can't believe we've had you for one year.
I remember when we went to the shelter the first time. We went to look at a different dog, a senior Australian cattle dog named Susanna. She was old and not that cute, and I felt bad for her, like no one would adopt her. We visited with Susanna but didn't click. (Sorry, Susanna.) As we were walking down the long line of kennels, glancing left and right into the cages, I stopped in my tracks in front of one particular cage. A sweet, copper-colored dog with the saddest, most soulful eyes was staring up at me. His ears were pinned back. He wasn't jumping or barking or whining. Just sitting there, defeated. I turned to Matt. "Let's visit with this one!" Of course, that dog was you.
We found a volunteer and she led us into the visitation room, and they brought you in. Your name was Major at the time. Do you remember that? Major. Such a funny name. You sat in the corner the whole time. You didn't move, you didn't interact with us. The volunteer told us that they didn't know much about you, but your were surrendered by your owner. You were timid and so scared. The volunteer told us that you'd never be a cuddly dog, and probably not the most playful pup. Of course, we wanted a dog that we could play with, but there was something about you. I looked at Matt and said "he's the one. Can we take him home?"
I had to come back later by myself to sign the papers and take you home. I led you out to my car. It took me so long to get you into that front seat, because you were so scared and I was afraid of pushing you because I didn't know you yet. I wasn't sure if you'd bite me or what you'd do.
We got home and #lifewithscoutthedog began. And oh, what a year it's been. You bring us so much joy, sweet Scout. I love your snores and your "drunk run" as we call it, when you're chasing a ball. I love the way you sit in the window for HOURS, just watching the world go by. I love your grumpy old man face. I love your million nicknames--Bucks, Bucko Magoo, Scouty McCreary, Scouty dog. You make me laugh every day. I just can't imagine our life without you in it.
Sure, there's so many things we can't do because of you. We can't up and go to Chicago for an impromptu day trip without thinking through a plan for you ahead of time. Our comforter is usually dirty because of your muddy paws. We spend an hour vacuuming your dog hair off the couch each week. We spend money on your fancy food, your obedience classes, your silly toys. People who aren't dog people won't understand. But we understand.
You taught me so much in one short year. You teach me to slow down and savor simplicity--a nap in the sunshine, the breeze on my face. You teach me about loyalty and unconditional love. But most of all, you have taught me that love and patience can overcome anything. You were so timid and terrified of everything when we adopted you. You didn't trust us and had so many scars leftover from whatever your life was before us. But we didn't give up on you and now I know, 100%, that you will never give up on us.
We love you, Scout the Dog. You make our family whole. I can't wait for many more Christmases, walks in the snow, Saturday morning snuggles, introducing you to future kids and loving you as you get old. Happy "birthday" (gotcha day? adoption day?) -- we love you!