Sunday, June 1, 2008


ScoutWhile I was out in Washington, I accidentally uncovered a secret Nan had been planning for my upcoming 50th birthday: a golden retriever puppy.

At first I was uncertain. The timing seemed wrong, coming just two months after our dog Charlie's premature death from cancer. There is still not an hour that goes by during the day that I don't think about him. A hinged frame containing one of his last photos and a paw print impression sits on my desk next to my computer display. I glance at it often, sometimes thinking to myself, "Good boy."

Would it be disrespectful to his memory to bring a new dog into our lives so soon after his departure? I grappled with that question for several days before concluding that Charlie would probably just want us to be happy. So we are going to invest the love we will always have for him in a new puppy, pouring into him all that we have learned from raising Charlie.

Scout with his brothersYesterday we were in American Fork, Utah to look at golden retriever puppies that Nan found through the website. The owners of both the father, Titus, and the mother, Annie, were on hand at Annie's people's home to show us the litter of four males and five females. They were born on April 28, so they are just five weeks old. At that age, they look and act very much alike, but they all exhibit the great looks, sturdy bodies and friendly dispositions of their parents. Nan and I agreed to choose a male, but it was a tough choice. We talked with the owners and played with the puppies and their parents for almost an hour before picking one of the darker, more outgoing pups and putting a small black collar around his neck. This will reserve him for us until we can return in two weeks to take him home.

Smaller than a football!We puzzled over a good name for the puppy, with Nan telling me repeatedly, "He's going to be your dog. You should pick his name." I had it narrowed down to "Yogi" or "Scout," and Scout won out. It has a nice ring to it, and it is associated with two well-known characters, Tonto's horse and the young narrator from To Kill a Mockingbird, one of my favorite books. It also brings to mind an image of Charlie wearing a bandana and looking like a "dog scout." I think the name will suit our new puppy just fine. Welcome to the world, young Scout!

No comments: