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Scout is my first baby. Scout is a beagle. I got her when I moved into my very first apartment–I was starting graduate school and I’d always wanted a dog. I grew up in a house with no backyard and a mother who steadfastly insisted that she would be the one who’d end up caring for the puppy we wanted for Christmas, and, “if I wanted to take care of something, I’d have another child.” I can’t blame her.
So when I was finally out on my own, I found myself a hound dog. Scout is a 13-inch beagle (did you know there are two sizes of beagles? There are! Scout is the smaller one) and she quickly became my first baby. We’ve been through so much together, all these years. She’s a sensitive, intuitive dog, and always knows when I’m upset. She’ll come and nudge her head against my hand insistently until I pet her. She’s been featured in many a Christmas card. In fact, she appeared in our wedding.
After moving to Southern California in 2004, Train Guy and I decided that we’d like another dog as a friend to Scout. We adopted our guy Digory through a rescue organization called Beagles and Buddies. Digory is a 15-inch beagle (the other size) and is Scout’s polar opposite. But they love each other, even though Scout won’t admit it.
I’ll confess–one of my bigger fears in having a baby was these stories I heard about how the baby has an animal allergy and the family had to get rid of their family dog. I really don’t know how I could let go of Scout and Digory. I mean, we’d do what we had to do, but it would be really hard. It’s been a huge relief that Mouse has no doggie allergies.
In fact, the doggies are pretty much the center of his entire world. It’s the biggest case of unearned love ever. As soon as Mouse became aware of the doggies, he’s been fascinated by them. The mere sight of them makes him laugh. We’d place Digory’s food bowl in front of the Pack n Play and Mouse would laugh and laugh while Digory ate. He loves his doggies. LOVES.
Unfortunately, he’s very, shall we say, enthusiastic about his love. His idea of petting is rather forceful, and the tail is just irresistible. Scout, being an elderly dog, has much more tolerance for Mouse’s enthusiasm, while Digory is still a little freaked out. They’re learning, though.
The main thing that Digory has learned recently is that the baby is a source of food. We had always joked that Mouse would have the cleanest face on the block, and it’s proven to be true so far. Things were going well feeding Mouse in the high chair up until he realized that he could throw food over the side and Digory would go nuts for it, or hold down some food in his hand and Digory would jump up to get it. It got to the point where Mouse’s entire mealtime was spent feeding the dog in one way or another, so much to both of their dismays, Digory was banished behind the baby gate for meals.
“Dada” was Mouse’s first word. No, it didn’t mean Daddy. Dada means Doggie. Mouse constantly points to the dogs when they walk by. “Dada!” he says, as Digory makes a break for the couch. “Dada!” as Scout lumbers over to one of a thousand dog beds in the house. “Dada!” he says, pointing at a picture of a dog on our t-shirts. “Dada!” at the dog on the tag of a dog bed at Costco. “Dada!” at a dog picture on a menu at a local restaurant. “Dada!” at the park. “Dada!” at his stuffed Snoopy. One time Train Guy was wearing a Cal t-shirt with a picture of the Cal bear logo. “Dada!” insisted Mouse. “No, that’s a bear. Bear.” “Dada!” “No, bear.” “DADA!!!!!” all right, all right, it’s a Dada.
It won’t be long before Digory will be ready to curl up on Mouse’s bed for the night. Our time with Scout is slowly coming to an end. She’s elderly and won’t be with us indefinitely, but Digory is as healthy as a horse, and at age 6 he’s going to be sticking around forever. He and Mouse are well on their way to being best friends. I can’t wait. Every boy needs a hound.
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