January 2, 2014
TbT: Scout - Sweet Golden Boy
I think that Throwback Thursdays are the perfect opportunity to write about dogs I've known and loved through the years. Scout was our last family dog, chosen by my mom from the Santa Fe animal shelter after a trip to an Airedale "breeder" that turned out to be a puppy mill. A New Mexican mutt, probably part cattle dog, Scout was a smart, extraordinary boy.
For most of his life he got to run free on forty acres that he knew was his own, accompanying us on trail rides, chasing rabbits, and going for eventful trips to town. He visited Denver often with my mom, not altogether loving the city dog's life on a leash, but enjoying sleeping on the day bed and playing with his cousins. They made such a beautiful, tri-colored trio. He was never very fond of Freya and merely tolerated her, although I think she admired him like the cool guy in town, but he and Lasya had a special bond, having known each other since he was just a puppy. She was with him for the first few weeks and would let the ruddy butterball puppy take food right out of her mouth. They were inseparable when we'd visit Mancos for the holidays.
He got to take a road trip to Northern California after my mom finished the first round of chemo - they stayed in hotels all along the coast and Scout got his first look at the ocean. My dad, who initially thought it would be a hassle to vacation with a dog, said it was the best trip they ever took. I don't think I got many emails from my mother over the years that did not include a mention of her Scoutie, and their plans for the day.
Scout was special in so many ways, but he had an uncanny affinity for music. He loved to howl along with my dad's harmonica playing, and had very distinct preferences when it came to CDs. He could never resist harmonica, but he also enjoyed saxophone and muted trumpet. There were certain songs he would sing to that didn't fit any of his usual tastes, but he would sit down and throw his head back to harmonize whenever they came on: "Beautiful Blue Bird" by Neil Young, "Lucky" by Radiohead, and "Many Meetings" from Lord of the Rings when I would play it on piano. When he sang he would seem almost embarrassed, like he couldn't help himself, but would also look for your reaction when he was finished.
We lost Scout in 2012 to cancer about two years after losing my mother to the same. I don't know that my dad will get another dog, but he seems to enjoy Ruby when he visits and dog-sits for me. I considered calling Ruby "Finch" as an homage to Scout, since his name was from To Kill A Mockingbird, and I still think it's a fantastic name for perhaps another dog down the road.