First Person: A Family's Best Friend to the End
A Patch reader remembers Scooter, a dog whose life began and ended in Kensington.
By Bill Trott
In a few weeks, when the weather turns warm, the squirrels will be running around our Kensington back yard with impunity. Scooter won’t be there to chase them away.
After almost 11 years of diligent work to keep that back yard squirrel-free, Scooter had to be put to sleep on Feb. 25 due to kidney failure. We knew it would be rough; we just didn’t know how rough.
Popular lore in our household has it that my daughter’s first complete sentence was, “Can we get a dog?” and her second was, “Can we, can we, please?” She lobbied hard for 10 years and we finally relented and got Scooter – half Schnauzer, half poodle and all sweetheart – primarily because we had read that Schnoodles don’t shed.
He quickly became the fifth member of our family and the running joke was that he was my favorite child.
Scooter was a little dog with a big dog attitude, a people-pleaser with an appreciation of the little things in life. If you asked him if he wanted to take a walk, he would react as if he’d won the lottery.
When he passed away, my daughter, son, wife and I each made a list of our favorite memories of him and the things that made Scooter Scooter.
My daughter recalled a couple of instances involving other animals he encountered in his fenced-in territory – a fight with a raccoon late one night and the way he sat next to an injured rabbit without bothering it. She also liked the manic way he ran around the house after a bath and how he would bark jealously whenever someone was getting a hug and he wasn’t involved.
My son came to appreciate the neighborhood walks they took together and will never forget how Scooter would sit in his lap on the morning drive to school. And, of course, there was “how much he loved all of us more than anything – except maybe food.”
Scooter showed extra devotion to my wife and she recalled how he would follow her around the house, even into the bathroom, and keep her company as she worked in her home office. She also noted the jaunty, slightly angled gait he had on walks.
For me, I’ll always remember how Scooter would nudge me to let me know that petting time wasn’t quite over and the variety of growls and barks he had for other dogs who dared walk past our house. Sometimes I would see him sitting perfectly still in the backyard for several minutes at a time, looking as if he were in deep contemplation (what could he be thinking about, I would wonder). Most of all, I’ll always remember how he never lost his inherent puppy-ness.
I’ve now reached a point where I can talk about (but apparently not write about) Scooter without choking up. I mentioned to a friend that I was afraid I was acting as if I were the first person ever to have lost a pet.
“Well, you’re the first one to lose Scooter,” she said.
Have favorite memories of a pet? Post them in comments.
Note: Bill Trott is the husband of a Patch senior regional editor.