We’re six months into
owning being owned by a dog. And although my Instagram became overrun with dog pictures and I eventually gave Scarlet her own Instagram account, I haven’t yet told her story. Or what I know of her story.
Getting a dog was inevitable. I knew from early on in life I would become a crazy dog lady. While my friends developed crushes on boys, I focused on the real prize: puppies. Let’s be honest here. Dogs are magical. They love unconditionally. They’re always there for you. They are funny and happy and wise beyond their animal bodies.
Dogs get me in ways most humans don’t. I get dogs and feel more comfortable around them than humans. (Doubt I’m the only one.) And although I love dogs—just about any dog, really—when it came to picking out my own dog, I had requirements. Requirements like, the dog must be small enough that I can lift and carry it. The dog should be older—a year or two or more. It should be a breed or mix that’s not too high energy.
All these details, I felt, would give us a dog that fit our lifestyle. I was right (I usually am), but there’s little to prepare you for actually rescuing a dog. Because? This is Scarlet’s story.
She had a date to die.
I met her for the first time a little more than a week after she was supposed to be euthanized. Ruff Start Rescue had pulled her out of the situation—she had been a rescue through them before. It’s not really clear to me why her humans gave her up, nor why they couldn’t return her to the rescue.
I think the foster mentioned that they’d said she was a “terrible” dog, but honestly? There aren’t bad dogs, just bad humans.
Her first year is a mystery.
The records we received from Ruff Start Rescue have her arriving in an Alabama shelter on August 6, 2014. Her birthday is listed as August 6, 2013. That’s it.
I honestly have no idea how she survived in Alabama, because she gets so overheated so quickly I bring water with us on long walks. Or maybe I’m just an overly concerned dog parent.
She has epic puppy dreams.
To date, I have witnessed:
- Tail wagging
- Her hackles rising
Her wagging her tail in her sleep brought me to tears the first time I saw it.
Her silence is loud.
And not because she’s getting in trouble, either. When she wants something, she doesn’t whine or beg. She will sit and stare at you until you notice her. Occasionally, she’ll nose you or lie down next to you and wait. Then it’s up to you to go through a number of questions until you arrive at what she wants.
“Do you want to go outside?”
“Are you hungry?”
“Do you want a treat?”
“Do you want to go for a walk?”
It’s almost always the last one.
Her method speaks (barks?) louder than anything else.
She is incredibly mellow.
Our local vet, upon examining her for the first time, said, “I like her inner peace.”
It’s something that many comment on. For good reason. It’s unusual, in the best of ways. Her “excited” is usually a bit of “talking” and much tail wagging—possibly even a little jumping, but not enough to actually jump ON you.
The only time she gets massively excited is when you return to the house, like it’s her way of rewarding you for coming back to her.
She has the tiniest bark.
And it is adorable. It’s hard to be mad or annoyed. Look at that hair!
She loves rolling in towels and rearranging rugs.
Or, you know, stealing towels. She primarily rearranges rugs (or steals towels) in new places. The picture above? I was trying something new with her food, and she was less than impressed.
Once we let our three-year-old niece name her, Scarlet learned her name within a few days. (She was formerly Bree.)
Since we’ve gotten her, she’s learned how to shake, high-five, play dead, and roll over. She also knows that “oops” means food has been dropped on the floor, and she responds to timers and alarms going off because it means a) human food or b) walks (respectively).
She remembers. And there’s something remarkable and humbling about it.
She has all kinds of quirks.
Besides the stealing of towels, she sleeps with her tongue out.
She does this in cars.
She has odd positions she enjoys lying in.
She knows what “hunting bunnies” means.
She hunts flies.
In a short time, she’s become a vital part of our life.
And we wouldn’t have it any other way.