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What Has Four Legs & Rhymes With Happy?

I recently made a brief mention of the fact that I have a dog, and a reader from Ontario, Canada asked me if I could dedicate a bit more time to talking about this guy, right here:

Far be it for me to deny such a request, especially considering that Scrappy, up there, is one of the greatest joys of my life. Even if I hadn’t been prompted to do so by someone, I would have written this post eventually on my own. This blog post is dedicated to Scrappy, his story, and how deeply important his presence has been for my recovery.

Being a rescue dog may give you the impression that Scrappy’s life was bad before we found each other, but that isn’t really the case. Scrappy’s previous guardian, a sweet, lovely lady named Luz, cared greatly for Scrappy and the rest of his canine family. She was just overwhelmed trying to raise the pups on her own. Scrappy and the other pups were very well cared for, healthy and happy. When she notified the Animal Control department in the town where I, at the time, served as a Police Dispatcher, she did so only because she realized that she couldn’t sustain the amount of effort she had been, and that the quality of life for the dogs she so loved would soon begin to suffer as a result.

Scrappy & his kinfolk

Scrappy was one of several dogs ‘rescued’ from their home by the Animal Control department. Some of the others includes his little sister, Cheddar, who was adopted by one of the detectives I worked with, and Reggiano, Scrappy’s little brother, who was taken in by the same detective’s father, who worked as a court officer in our town. I had a little competition to get Scrappy for myself; one of the PD’s K-9 officers was very taken with the little guy. However, due to something that happened a few weeks before my introduction to little Scrappy, I wound up getting ‘dibs.’

A little less than a month before I first met the little fella, I received a phone call while dispatching from one of the Animal Control officers. She was in severe distress, experiencing sharp, constant chest pain and shooting jolts of agony in her left upper-arm that coincided with her elevated heartrate. She was in a very anxious, panicked state; she was alone at home and afraid for her life, which was completely understandable. Doing all that I could to keep her calm and make her focus on taking whatever life-saving actions she could, I simultaneously dispatched a police officer and an ambulance to her home. She later revealed that she was, indeed, having a minor heart attack and she believed that my voice on the phone and my quick reaction to her emergency may have saved her life.

I believe that her act of gratitude may have helped save mine. A very good friend of mine recently shared something with me, and I feel like it is appropriate to share with you. The impressions we most significantly leave, we will probably never know about.

I received another phone call from her again a few weeks later. I asked how she was feeling, relieved that she was making a full and fast recovery. She asked me if I was going to be at work for much longer, because she had something for me and would be by in a little while. I told her she didn’t have to get me anything; I was just doing my job. She disagreed, and said she would see me, soon.

This guy, here, is what she brought me. This picture was taken by her, and it was the first time I held my new best little furry friend, Scrappy.

Convincing my wife to let me get a dog was no easy task. She loved dogs, but she was nervous about the added responsibility and very hesitant to even consider it. I convinced her to come with me to visit Scrappy at the animal shelter before we committed to anything. When we walked into the shelter, we were allowed to take Scrappy and his father, a floppy-eared, curly-furred terrier mix who had also been turned over to Animal Control, for a short walk on the grounds surrounding the shelter. My wife was being very careful not to betray how smitten she was with Scrappy, but Scrappy had no hangups about showing my wife exactly how he felt about her. He was in love with us, and even if my wife didn't want to admit it because of her lingering doubts about whether we would be good puppy parents, we were both heads over heels for Scrappy.

Dapper Scrappy!

The next day, as my wife worked away in her home office, I enlisted the help of my sister to go pick up the new member of the family. He took to my sister immediately, and they have a very strong bond that has lasted since that day. She held him in her arms as we drove him to his new forever home. My wife welcomed him with tears in her eyes, confident that she had made the right decision. He was home, and he knew it, too. We were more complete with him.

When I came home on the night of my birthday to reveal to my wife that I was suicidal, Scrappy lay down between the two of us as we talked. He didn't make a fuss. He just found some common ground between us and put himself there, right within petting range of both of us whenever we needed to reach out for his comfort. I was home for months after that day, and each day he was there for me, snuggling as I slept, fetching my wife when he knew I was very low so that she could comfort me, looking up at me with those soulful eyes and reminding me that no matter how awful I felt about myself, my Scrappy loved me unconditionally.

He loves to run and has playtime every day with his neighborhood puppy pals. He loves toys and soft blankets. He loves bacon and cheese (and lets be honest, who doesn't?)

But mostly... he loves my wife and me with all his adorable, precious little heart.

It's mutual.

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