Saturday, September 3, 2016

Pawprints on my Heart

The day we arrived in England, our hosts took us for a walk around the largest of 5 or 6 lakes on their extensive property.
The lake from their back deck
Their house dogs came with us: Milo, Millie, Scooter, Willie, and Meg.
Milo and Millie feeling hopeful
Meg

While the people chatted, the dogs raced ahead scouting for rabbits. I lagged far behind taking photographs.

I was kneeling to get a low angle on the scene ahead, when suddenly Scooter came bounding back and threw himself into my arms.
Scooter
The experience was less rewarding than it might have been, as Scooter had only just finished rolling in fox poop--which I can now tell you from personal experience smells just as bad as you'd expect.. It also  has staying power. Scooter and I both smelled like fox poop for several days.

The next morning, as I was lounging in a chair outside the kitchen, Scooter came bounding up and leaped into my lap.
He was often on my lap
The experience was less rewarding than it might have been, as Scooter had only just emerged from a cooling dip in the lake, and he now smelled of wet-dog-who-has recently-rolled-in-fox-poop --besides being dripping wet..
Scooter after a dip
Scooter quickly trained both Rob and me to hit tennis balls for him. He never got tired, and if he got hot, he simply made a quick detour into the lake before returning with the ball,
A game he never tired of
I get up early.  Every morning I'd go down to the kitchen, where the dogs are confined at night, and make myself a cup of tea. Then I'd go into the sun room and sit on the couch to drink it. Scooter would always come with me, plop onto the couch beside me, and lay his head in my lap while I drank my tea.
I was beginning not to care that he still smelled faintly of fox poop.

It is almost impossible not to fall in love with an animal who tells you at every opportunity that you are the most wonderful person he's ever met.

And Scooter did.

He waited patiently for Rob & me to return from our day trips, even refusing to leave with the other dogs when Clare took them out for walks. He wriggled from head to toe the minute we entered the room.

Usually we'd get the tennis racket out and one of us would hit balls for him. If we sat down instead, he'd get a ball and push it in between our bottoms & the chair back.

Scooter loves balls just as much as Caitlin does, but unlike Caitlin, he's not pushy about it. When I stopped hitting his ball, he'd trot happily back to the house beside me and cuddle instead. No shrill bark or laser-like stare to intimidate me into doing his bidding. No imperious paw slapped down onto my book or computer if I wasn't paying attention to him.

Scooter is a comfortable dog, the sort who would sit by the fire with you while you read & sipped brandy, and never ask for anything more than to be close beside you..

Unlike Caitlin (also known as  "psycho-dog" at the dog park), who is frenetic demanding, always busy, and wants your full attention NOW!

Clare rescued Scooter about 4 years ago from a family who basically never paid him any attention. Now he gets several walks a day. He can roam unfettered across 140 acres of farmland that has rabbits to chase, a lake to swim in, and fox poop if he feels like rolling.

But Clare says he's not really happy. He doesn't want to be one of a pack. He wants to be an only dog. Apparently he wants to be OUR dog. And she'd let us have him if we asked.
I couldn't help but love him
We are totally smitten with him, and we'd love to have him. He has left his paw prints on our hearts.

But we can't give him what he needs, although he doesn't know that.

We didn't take him back with us.

It feels like a betrayal.