Joanna was six when she announced that she wanted a dog.
“That’s a great idea,” the parents said. “We’ll go to the Humane Society and pick one out.” The daughter, responding as if we had been speaking Urdu, continued with her announcement: “I want a white Scottish terrier, and I’m going to name her Rose.”
So let it be written; so let it be done.
Thus began our long life’s journey in the company of smart, independent dogs. The Scotty, you see, has many admirable qualities: They are loyal to their family, bark only when necessary (usually to warn of the invasion of a UPS courier), and do not shed. Their less than admirable qualities include an unwillingness to respond to requests like “Dammit, Rose, it’s raining. Come here!”
Hoover was added as companion for Rose. He was all Scotty but was from the not-quite-up-to-breed standards set by the AKC. Rose passed on to the eternal sofa by the fire where people wouldn’t give her ridiculous commands, and Molly came in from the sidelines as Scotty #3. When Hoover went on to join Rose so she could continue to dominate him, we planned to get another Scotty.
Not to be. We made the mistake of stopping by an adoption event sponsored by Atlanta Pet Rescue, and George marketed his way into the family. George is not a Scotty. He is … well … maybe … OK, OK, so his mother slept around. There is Briard there (the ears mainly), and Chow (tongue and tail), and maybe some other breed that sheds a lot. Unfortunately, when God said “brains” George thought She said “stains” and told Her he didn’t want any. George, to put it kindly, has the IQ of an asteroid.
He is loveable and loyal to a fault. He is an excellent watchdog, a good friend, fastidious in his personal habits, polite, and runs into doors. He doesn’t snore, and he chases the hose on the deck while behind the closed windows of the breakfast room. He doesn’t play catch because he is wary of the ball, and he abhors getting his feet wet. Molly, now a grumpy old woman, ignores him.
Molly worries; George takes it as it comes. He doesn’t listen to talk radio, read the newspaper, care who will be the next mayor, or discuss the health-care debate. He has never been to a public hearing or written his Congressman. He does not protest any causes, will not sign petitions, thinks good of everyone until proven wrong, and doesn’t own an iPhone.
George cares about the sunshine on the deck, the activities of the two Westies next door, and whether or not his bowl has food in it. He enjoys the occasional paper towel and has his favorite chair. A ride in the car is nice and being scratched under the chin is a treat. He appreciates the occasional piece of Swiss cheese and knows there will always be someplace to take a nap.
Maybe George came into my life to teach me about priorities. What if there was a “Take Your Master To Work Day?” I’d like to give his routine a shot, and I bet Hallmark would make a fortune.