Appreciate any comments you may have
This is the story of Scout. Much of it is about his words, his wisdom. Strange you think? Perhaps. Or just maybe us humans underestimate the intellect of the other species that roam the earth and overestimate our own intelligence. Scout has wisdom, he is whimsical, he is opinionated, he is loving, he bites and most of all he is Scout. So, it is……….
We had just lost a beautiful little girl: Rat Terrier / Chihuahua mix. She was BEAUTIFUL in every way. She was old and to some degree frail and her lifetime of seizures were increasingly occurring. During those seizures as I held her in my arms, keeping her from hurting herself, her body raged in uncontrolled spasms, her mouth full of teeth chewed like a mechanical shredding machine. At those times I called her my little chainsaw. I had to be careful to not come in contact with those teeth during the seizures. I held her tight and talked with her. I cried. It was hard to watch a beautiful creature suffer. Awfully hard. I comforted her with soothing words of assurance. Sometimes the seizures lasted a long time and Lucy awakened from them dazed and confused, yet beautiful. We took her on long hikes, and she smelled the world and loved it. She never complained. She never refused our efforts to keep her moving. A few weeks before she passed, we were in the backyard playing and she was so full of energy and life. I had seen this before in humans and I knew it was her last hurrah. It was the final rally. She was a beautiful little puppy again making the best of the world around her. We did not discuss it; we are very much in tune with the world around us. We both knew what was going on. We knew she was telling us goodbye……….
In the end one last massive seizure took its toll. Her brain was now damaged beyond repair, and she could not sleep, she could no longer control her movements. She wandered in an endless circle 24/7 while Sheala did all she could to comfort her. We took her on one last walk. Sheala carried her by the shore of the James River. Finding a small patch of purple flowers, she laid Lucy down and let her take her last breaths of life in the outdoors she loved so much. The time was close for her to pass and none of us wanted that to be our reality. Yet it was paramount that she did not suffer anymore, and we relented to our desire not to let her go and to relieve her of her pain. We were broken. Utterly destroyed. Silence filled our world. A loss like no other. Our baby girl was gone……..
For weeks we wandered around the house that had been so full of life. Silent. Lost. We did not talk. For that time there was nothing to talk about. We followed our daily routine. We were living hollow.
So here is the crazy part. Sheala had gone to help a relative some distance away. Please understand that I am a person of action. So, I began to wander the internet just looking. Just looking …maybe, the excuse. Perhaps I had other intent hidden in my deep psyche. Perhaps Freud was at work, gnawing at that hollow spot left by the loss of Lucy in an effort to fill the void.
I wandered to a web page of Rat Terriers and there I found photos of a variety of spectacular pups. I was enthralled. Should I make contact? Why was I doing this? Was it a selfish act for me? To this day I still do not know, but I was there. I contacted the breeder, but I was still reluctant to move forward. Please understand I am a person of action, but I am also a person who reviews all possibilities, problems and benefits. What I am saying is that I take a long time to make a decision, based on wanting to make the most educated best guess possible.
The breeder and I had a few conversations and I learned more and more. I like to help those that are truly in need. Not lazy. Truly in need. Scout was in need. Out of the blue I am contacted by the breeder, and she tells me of a problem dog that needed to be rehomed or he might not survive. One of my nicknames for Scout is “11 pounds of pure hell” (Now 13 pounds). While it is not quite completely true. He can have that effect on some. Scout was a nine-and-a-half-hour drive away. I was told he was headed back to the breeder to see what they could do with him. He was scheduled in the next 48 hours to be shipped from the North Caroline border back to Texas. I think the owner really cared for him, but Scout can be over whelming and after four years of him I think he had worn out his welcome. So, knowing that in 48 hours he would be in Texas, and he would be further out of reach, I called the breeder as I threw what I would need into a suitcase. I told her I was leaving NOW. And I did just that. I drove the nine and a half hours thru the night and was there around noon the following day. The owner was protective of Scout. I think she did not want him to make a first bad impression by biting me. I understand that. I looked at Scout and he looked back, and in that instant, we came to an agreement. He would not bite me, and I would save him from a potentially bad outcome.
She held Scout quite secure, a muzzle close at hand. I asked to hold him, and she refused, very hesitant. We talked. It was a glorious day of blue skies, a warm breeze and surrounded by nature. I asked a few times to hold Scout and she remained hesitant and said she would, but she wanted to put the muzzle on him. I said no need, me and him had already made it known that he would not bite me, and I would be his friend. Finally, she relented and put him on my lap where he decided to settle in comfort. I think she was quite surprised. Please realize I am not a highly experienced dog person. In fact, while Sheala loves dogs, I had always called myself a dog liker. I wanted Sheala to have a great dog of her own. Did not quite work out that way. So, Scout laid there as the glorious sun rays cascaded down around us.
A couple of hours passed. I said I would take Scout. A good moment for all. Albeit, I think there had to be some feeling of loss in the owner. There was probably also a feeling of the world being good for all involved. They told me Scout could be a little wild in the car and to keep him in the crate for the trip. I put the crate on the back seat and loaded Scout in. He seemed willing and ready for his new life.
As we headed home, Scout was becoming more and more anxious very quickly. He was now hyperventilating, and I thought for sure he would pass out. We had only been in the car for about 20 minutes when I felt it necessary to pull over and deal with the situation. As I turned around to look at him, he looked so scared. So, upset. I said, “You don’t want to be in that prison anymore do you boy?”. I reached over to the crate door and opened it. He came out of the crate, moved to the passenger’s seat, laid down looking in my direction to make sure I was there. I said, ”No more prison for you Scout. PERIOD”
Now here is where the journey begins. Scout and I took to each other like fish to water. It was simply meant to be. As I closed the crate door forever something very strange happened. At just that moment the song “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon played on the radio. I looked at Scout and said, “I am going to play that song for you when we get home. That might have been OK if I had any musical skill set at all. But I didn’t. No training, no instrument, no nothing in music. Can’t tell you what the little black flags mean on the lined music paper. Nothing. But if you know me, if I make a promise, it is a done deal. That promise will be fulfilled. PERIOD. No if, ands or buts.
We arrived home and emptied the car and Scout seemed to fit right in. Sheala was still in Kentucky, but she expressed the opinion that it was good for Scout to bond with me and with all of her dog loving skills she would just befriend Scout when she came home. It did not quite work out that way.
The next day I borrowed a guitar and wondered at the age of 64 if could I actually do this. Since the only audience I had to play to was Scout, I thought I would be able to pull it off. I downloaded the chords. Watched you tube and began. It went way better than I expected. I was quite surprised. I actually played “Beautiful Boy” for Scout in an hour or so. As I sat there, I began to wander around the fret board and found bits and pieces of other songs I had known. This was pretty interesting. After a little while I looked over at Scout and said, “I think I can write a song about you!” I did. “Four Feet “ was born. The lyrics, the music, the timing, and the melody were very primitive, very basic, but it worked. Then I wrote another, then another, then another. I could not stop writing songs about Scout, about dogs. It was truly enjoyable. So, with Scout laying at my feet, I wrote and wrote and wrote. 134 complete songs now. Over 400 in the creation phase. Scout was there the entire time every night.
What was I to do with all of this songs stuff? I ran it by some people, and they said they thought it had merit. I said I will put it out on a website with and post of my dog songs and other songs. I am now 67 years old and am old school; so, ugh a new task. I can’t afford to hire a web designer. I’m not in it for the money. So my new task was to build a website and I did. It has the “Muddy Paws Club” Photo Gallery with many pics of Lucy and Scout and other friends. I started out slow posting my songs but that has gone full tilt......