Tuesday, April 24, 2007

so long, little scouters

Greg and I left for a get-away in the San Juan islands on Monday. We've never done anything quite like this before: no kids, no speaking/teaching enagements, no obligations . . .
. . .and no Scout!

I begged Greg to let me bring her, but he was adamant.

"We are celebrating our 30th anniversary. I want this to be a romantic, relaxing vacation, not a crazy road trip with our psycho dog!"
He prevailed, so we dropped Scout off at the Nature's Acres kennel before we left town. I'm not sure who was more traumatized--me or my dog.

(If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you've probably picked up on the fact that our 18-month-old Sheltie is "special." She seems almost autistic at times. The older Scout gets, the more life seems to stress her out. Because we love Scout, we've learned to adapt to her neurotic behavior and have tried to make our home a safe place for her.

But how do you explain to a stranger that sneezing, or laughing--or any number of innocuous household noises--can send Scout over the edge? The bouncing of the neighbor boy's basketball instantly transforms Scout from a docile pet into a wild thing. She'll run in frantic cirles, growling and panting, for as long as she can hear the sound. Last week, we actually moved a premarital mentoring appointment from our house to the church because we didn't want our half-crazed dog to terrify the young couple!)

I felt like I was packing for a baby as I got Scout's stuff together. I took her bed, favorite toys, treats—and her doggie drugs. As I signed her in at the front desk, I tried to explain to Heather, the dog-handler, that Scout had a few “quirks.”

“Oh, we’re all dog people here,” she assured me, smugly. “Scout will be fine.”

“Um, she gets stressed easily,” I said. “Noises really bother her . . .”

“Oh, the barking will die down after you leave,” Heather cut in, treating me like an over-protective parent.

“It's not just the barking,” I continued. “All kinds of noises, from sneezing to laughing . . . to cracking hard-boiled eggs will make her crazy, too.”

Heather looked at me like I needed the puppy tranquilizer. She pretended to jot my instructions down on Scout’s chart, but was probably writing "Beware neurotic owner."

Paperwork finished, we followed Heather to the doggie den that would be Scout's home for the next week. The loud chorus of barks, growls and yips that greeted us sent Scout into instant panic mode. Heather watched with dismay as Scout began her wild-eyed trot around my legs.

“Maybe we should give her those drugs you brought now,” muttered Heather after several failed attempts to get Scout to simmer down. She glanced into the prescription bottle I’d handled and looked up at me in alarm:
“Is this all the medication you brought?”

It’s going to be a long week . . . for both Scout and Heather.

(In case you are worried about my pooch, I called the kennel yesterday and was assured that Scout was just fine.
“He calmed down as soon as we let him out for play time with the other dogs,” another employee assured me. “He’s doing just fine today.”
“Glad to hear she’s OK,” I replied, pretty sure I could hear Scout barking in the background. But I took that as a good sign. Maybe she’s stopped circling and joined the pack . . .)


Jennifer said...

Happy anniversary! Enjoy your time together and don't worry about Scout...it sounds like all is well! :)

mumstheword said...

Yeah! You figured out how to leave comments!!!!

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