|Scooby and I in a raft outside our barn in 2008|
In March of 2002 I adopted Scooby from the Tri-Lakes Humane Society in Saranac Lake. I met him there a few weeks earlier and we spent some time getting to know each other in the visiting room and on the streets of Saranac Lake as we walked around town. I picked him out of a room full of dogs because as the rest barked and fussed, Scoobs lay peacefully with his front legs crossed, one over the other. He was at the humane society for the first year of his life. He left for a year and a half to live with a young family. The technicians at the humane society knew and loved Scoobs. During my visits with Scoobs, cats strolled by as he sat leaning on my leg, the way he always did with folks he trusted. They let me take him to meet my landlord at the time in Lake Placid. My landlord agreed he was a nice boy and allowed me to follow through with the adoption.
I was three days shy of twenty seven the day I picked up Scooby. He was a birthday present to myself. The humane society warned me that he didn't like riding in cars. I remember looking at him in the rear view mirror as I drove home, thinking how he cute he was. He was more than two years old and had endearing puppy-dog eyes. I wanted to show him off so I brought him to the health food store in Saranac Lake where I worked. As we walked down the ramp into the store, Scoobs silently bit a customer. I left the store and called the humane society from my car to tell them what had happened - Scoobs had bit someone. They were surprised to hear the news and told me I could bring him back but they wouldn't adopt Scoobs out again. I continued home and looked back often.
Scoobs bit several folks throughout his long life. A person walking around Mirror Lake, a jogger at John Brown's Farm, the owner of the guide house/our former boss, the handyman who wanted to fix something and then wanted to shoot him, another guide who came to the guide house with news of a fellow river guide's death, our river photographer's banjo hand, our friend's Drew's hand, my cousin's leg, his co-owner/dad almost thirty times as he pulled out quill by porcupine quill from his face, and a few other unfortunate folks felt his wrath. One day I bumped into a woman while walking Scoobs around Mirror Lake. She said, "YOU'RE A SAINT". Did she know Scoobs? I met his former owner pushing a toddler in a stroller as Scoobs and I walked between the Olympic Center and Cunningham's Ski Barn in Lake Placid. She recognized him and said she was nervous about having him around her young children.
I tapped into local trainers regarding Scoob's behavior. One felt because he was an adult dog with a behavior occurring without warning, he was not trainable. The old "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" type deal. One never knew what Scooby would do. Another offered some insight after watching Scoobs hide behind me when he met him. He concluded Scoobs had been abused somewhere along the way and was scared of certain people. He seemed to be particularly afraid of men. All the bites happened to men. Well except he bit me about six months ago as I yelled at him angrily for eating another bath towel or bed sheet. Scoobs eventually began biting his dad when he cared for him, clipping his toenails or brushing his coat. I was about to introduce him to a muzzle so we could care for him in his elder days. We knew his days were numbered for other age-related problems had crept in.
My advice to anyone who wants to adopt a dog, look at the characteristics of the breed, rather than the way the dog looks or how sweet he/she seems. I was naive and it came back to bite me for nearly twelve years. Scoobs was an adorable dalmation-lab mix. If he wasn't so faithful, he wouldn't have lasted so long in our household. He never bit another animal or anyone who sued us or got seriously injured. We kept Scoobs under close watch - kept him safe from others and others safe from him. Scoobs was hard to love but he was part of our family. We were committed to him. As it turns out he loved riding in the car. He did not enjoy riding white water in a raft. Though he did on occasion when we took the clan in by raft for an over night along the Hudson River. In the raft he'd climb to the highest, most internal point and lick the splashes off his coat.
Many years passed. Scoob's favorite pastimes were eating anything he could get his jaws on and running like a puppy from our back yard to the house several times a day. These were the times in his life when he felt free. 11/11/14, this Veterans Day, Scooby turned fourteen. The following day his back legs gave way for good as he ran free in our back yard one last time. He let out a shrill cry. Nate gently tried to pick him up. Scoobs bit him one last time. Eventually we said our goodbyes and with the vet's help, we were all set free.
|The Black and White Boy Club - Scooby, Rondeau and Herman - lost it's founding member and president this week.|