Scooter’s Birthday

Scooter turns nine today.

Scooter 9

He was not what I wanted. I’m not a toy dog person. I like my dogs mid-sized, active, smart, and focused. Working dogs. I was looking for a corgi mix. Maybe a terrier. A smallish dog that would keep Lily busy. Lily has always been a difficult dog to live with. She’s all of those things that I described above, but also an alarmist and very serious about staying alert. Her job is to keep the animals in the backyard safe. Unfortunately, the biggest threat to the chickens and goats are loose dogs in the neighborhood, so Lily became reactive and she didn’t have any doggy friends. One known dog companion in the house was what she needed.

I brought Scooter home. He was 10 weeks old and not even four pounds. It took awhile to train Lily that Scooter was not a chipmunk.

It took awhile for me to realize that this puppy wasn’t going to be as large as his mother (20 pounds) but would top off at under 11, and that there was no terrier or working dog in him. But, the Rolling Stones had it right: You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find that you get what you need.

Everyone needed Scooter.

The dogs that my sons grew up with had always been my dogs. They weren’t cuddlers. Scooter immediately filled in the job position that called for sitting on the couch, curled up next to a child.

Lily worried all day. Scooter filled in the job position of creating fun distraction. Soon, the dogs were doing the zoomies together (watch this video.) Afterwards, Lily was satisfied and relaxed.

Scooter got as attached to Lily as she was to him. When I took her on hikes and left him at home, he howled. Now that Lily has a cruciate tear, we no longer go on hard treks that Scooter can’t keep up with, and so they are always together. No more howling.

I needed a dog to go through the KPA course with. Lily couldn’t do it because of her reactivity and because she was already clicker trained. The job fell to Scooter, who I affectionately call the “dog of little brain.” Several times we had to go to a training facility, where there were scary smells and sounds and strange dogs. He was miserable traveling without Lily, but he did what he had to. In order to graduate, I had to teach him a 10-part behavior chain. Here we are practicing. (The final chain is more precise. For example, we finessed it so that he touched the ruler with his right paw.) Thanks to Scooter, I passed.

Lily is still the alert dog, and Scooter is the master of naps. Lily knows that Scooter sometimes needs the entire bed. That’s okay. That’s what best friends do.

Scooter big bed

Happy Birthday, Scooter!


  1. Who could not want a Scooter. Very Happy Birthday.. The video’s are priceless, ‘ if you let me gnaw your leg I will give you a massage ‘, what a Howl ‘, and the training props are Scooter sized, brilliant blog well done…:)

  2. Happy Birthday Scooter! That last photo is adorable. Two very different dogs doing their own thing companionably together.

    Also loved all the videos (even though I watched them several times before) and was amused that goats wag their tails when happy just the same as dogs do.

  3. I love these stories about your animals….dogs will forever be my favorite animal:)

  4. Aaawww! I love a good doggie friendship! Happy birthday to Scooter. :-)

  5. Good job Scooter bringing such warmth and happiness to your people and sister dog for 9 years! Not to forget all of us cyber friends…:)

  6. Happy Birthday Scooter. We recently took in an American Fox Hound mix that showed up at our door obviously abandoned. I discovered quickly that hounds were really not my favorite but slowly Sadie worked her way into my heart and into the heart of our husky that is also a rescue. Through the years the husky (Yuki) had become withdrawn and refused to play with her brothers who are two Golden Retrievers. Sadie broke her down slowly and now they are the best of buddies. This little dog that showed up on our doorstep has changed Yuki’s life and the dynamics in our house for the better.

  7. I love that Lily holds her paw up repeatedly, just out of Scooter’s sharp little teefies. Say what you will, but Scooter is a black belt napper. We all need to excel at something, right?

  8. When you have a watch dog like Lily, you can sleep soundly. Scooter gets it. Happy Birthday, cutie.