It was April 2020, a month and a half into lockdown. I got up and started to get ready for my day, teaching virtually. It had its pros and cons. I loved to be able to teach in my pj bottoms, have extra breaks throughout the day, and start late and end early! It was great. I also got to bond more with my dog, Yuki. She is a little white Maltese mix that I found abandoned 5 years before. As we stretched and got out of bed, I thought we would take a longer walk that day. I remember thinking that I needed more steps than the day before. We had breakfast, and then I got her harness and leash as she jumped around in excitement, ready for her daily walk. I fastened her pink harness around her little potbelly and placed new poop bags in my fanny back and headed out.
If there is one thing Yuki loves more than sleep, it’s her walks. She gets so excited and hops and jumps while barking a sing-song melody. We started off on our walk and I thought about what lesson I would teach that day. I taught at a special needs school and was the science, social studies, and ELA teacher for grades 5-8. It was a small school, that’s why I had to teach so many subjects and grade levels. I decided on reviewing plot mountain as I watched Yuki sniff around and do her happy dance.
This house we were living at the time, was my mom’s. She lives in a quiet neighborhood filled with many cul-de-sacs. Our daily routine was a 30-minute walk up and around the neighborhood hitting most of the cul-de-sacs. It was early morning, but the Texas sun was already blaring at full temperature. Yuki continued her little dance and we rounded one of the first cul-de-sacs. It was then that I noticed a dog, curled up in a tight circle, leaning against a fire hydrant. It was black and tan with patches of white. From where I stood, it looked like an older male dog. My heart tightened; I couldn’t just leave him there. I told him from across the way, that I would be back. I knew I had to go put Yuki inside the house because she is a jealous sassy 13-pound ball of fluff. She was rather upset at me as I rushed her back down the street without letting her sniff everything she wanted to. I rushed her inside as calmly as I could and went to grab some kibble and a dog bowl of water.
I hopped in my car and went down the street. At that moment, another lady had already stopped near the dog as well. She asked if it was mine and I stated that he wasn’t but that I wanted to help him. She offered to help me get him in my car. As we approached, I realized that it wasn’t an old dog and wasn’t a male. The white patches that I saw from far away was bare flesh with specks of blood. It wasn’t old at all, just a very large pup. She was black and tan with patches of fur missing. She was a little apprehensive about us. Still curled in a ball next to the fire hydrant. I grabbed a bit of kibble and placed it in front of her. She was hungry for sure, as she quickly gobbled it up, still in a protective stance. I opened my passenger door as she stood completely up. She didn’t run off at all, just stared at me and the other lady. I placed my hand in front of her cute black snout and she gave a good sniff and a wet lick. I was able to pet her but afraid of hurting her raw, exposed flesh. To me, it looked like she had been attacked by another dog. It looked like bite marks around the exposed area. The other lady said now would be the time to quickly snatch her and put her in the car. In one quick grab she grabbed her from her belly and with no retaliation from her, she put her in my passenger seat. She asked if I could keep her updated and I told her I would.
Being a “sticking to my budget” teacher, it hit me at that moment. “This is going to be some money, huh?” I asked aloud as my passenger stared at me with painful eyes. “Well, that’s what my credit card is for!” I yelled.
Before we took off, I searched ‘Full-Service Animal Hospitals Near Me”, I knew of a couple but they were a bit far from my mom’s house. A hospital about 13 minutes away came up on the search. I did my best to sooth her with my voice and my reassurance that everything would be fine. But all she would do is stare at me with those big brown eyes and whimper. I could tell she was in pain, but I knew she would soon get the help she needed. I drove slowly with my emergency blinkers on, singing to her on the drive to the hospital. I pulled into the empty parking lot and realized as I parked, that in the rush of the moment, I did not bring a leash. I told my new friend that I would be back, and I got down and ran into the doors towards the front desk.
I get to the desk and a young girl greets me with the biggest smile. I tell her what happened and that I have a stray in my car that seems to have bites all around her. I explain that I do not have a leash. She gives me one and tells me that if I need help bringing her down to let them know. It didn’t occur to me that I might need help, she looked pretty big, and I am barley 5 feet tall. But I knew I could manage.
I head back into the parking lot and go to the passenger side door. She was in the same spot as I had left her, didn’t even move a bit. I open the door with caution and place the leash around her neck. She didn’t have a collar, so they gave me those thin nylon leashes in which you make a loop first and then place it around their head. She hopped out with ease and followed closely behind me. I went back to the front desk and they handed me the paperwork, told me to fill it out and we would be seen in about 15 minutes.
As I filled out the paperwork, I came to the ‘name’ portion. I thought, “Am I going to keep her? Foster her?” I had already been thinking about going to a shelter and adopting another dog. See, during this time I was in the process of starting to repair my credit and save so that by the end of the year, I could start looking at townhomes and purchase the following year. And yes, I would gladly max out my credit card to save a dog. All the thoughts of buying a townhome, using my credit card, and already thinking about getting another dog were swimming through my head as I stared at the ‘name’ box and then at the strays’ sad eyes. I told her, “You look like a Jean Louis Finch, but for short, we’ll call you Scout.” And filled out her name as just that, Jean Louis Finch AKA, Scout. I went to turn in the paperwork and sat back down and waited for her name to be called.
I had realized that work would be in 30 minutes! All the commotion of the morning and the coaxing her in the car, the short drive that took longer due to my paranoia and now the visit, I forgot about work. I then grabbed my phone to text my leader to explain that I would not be logging on today when I saw the notification of my bank app. ‘A deposit of 1,200 has been added to your account’ the notification said. I was so confused because it was not payday. I then logon and saw that it was the first stimulus check. There was a sigh of relief that escaped me as I realized that I would not have to use my savings or swipe my credit card, vet bills can get high, especially at the hospital. I looked at the newest addition to my family and thought it was meant to be.
“Scout?” a guy in a smock calls out from behind the counter. I get up and gently pull her behind me. We follow him through the door that led to a long hallway. He pointed to the scale on the left-hand side and asked me to weigh her. I try to avoid her raw skin and carry her on to the scale, she was pretty heavy. “45 pounds.” he says aloud. 45 pounds but still looks like a puppy? Maybe she isn’t a puppy, maybe she is full grown, I thought to myself. We follow him into the room, and I explain the morning events to him. He makes some notes and starts checking Scout.
“Hmmm, these don’t look like dog bites to me, it looks like she has mange. It is probably her biting the fur off, not another dog.” He went on to explain what mange is and that it is incredibly itchy and one kind can be contagious. He then let me know that the vet would be in to do the checkup and he would be back later to do all that the vet recommends. I thank him and he says bye to Scout as her tail starts to wag. It was the first wag since I found her.
A few minutes later the vet walks in. She is around my age but with long blond hair and a country accent. She talks about all the tests she recommends and the vaccines. She then does her body check up and determines that Scout is a Hound-Mix around 6 months old. I ask around how big her breed can get and she said that since she is mix that it is hard to tell completely but with her age and her guess, she would say she can get up to 75-90 pounds, or at least double her weight. Wow, I have never had a dog that big before. But she is my baby now so there is nothing I can do about how large she will get. The vet leaves and they run all the tests and give her vaccines. After about an hour of waiting for results she comes back saying that the only thing that seems wrong with Scout is that she has hook worms and mange (not the contiguous one, phew). I get medicine for both, and I am told to be carful with the shampoo, to not get it in her eyes. We are then sent away and asked to come back in a few weeks for a follow-up and boosters. After a $490 bill and a bag full of medicine, we head home, and I dread seeing Yuki’s reaction.
As we walk into the house Yuki is immediately on high alert. She is bothered and annoyed with the fact that I brought home another dog. I tell her, “Girl, I found your butt in the street too, you have to understand.” And of course, she didn’t. Angel, my mom’s dog, was even worse. In those following days and weeks, the tension seemed to cease and both Angel and Yuki got the picture that Scout was there to stay.
Slowly, Scout began to heal and come out of her shell. That May, I got her spayed. That summer, she was a crazy nut. She was a puppy after all, and she destroyed my mom’s backyard. I promised I would fix it when we left, and we did. My mom loved her though, she loved seeing her chase her bubbles and play in the grass.
I got a house with a large backyard that December, and we moved out the following January. Yuki got used to having a little sister and Scout loves Yuki to death. In the mornings, she wakes up and just stares at her lovingly. I think she remembers her from that first day we found her. If it wasn’t for our daily afternoon walks that turned to daily morning walks because of covid, we would have never found Scout. The vet that first saw Scout said that she believes she was dumped, that many animals are dumped when they are sick because people don’t want to spend their money on them. I believe it too because Scout was potty trained when I found her, and she knew what a crate was. It’s sad that she was dumped but I am thankful, because now she is my daughter, she is loved and cared for every day. She is happy and healthy, enjoying the park, big backyard, and cuddling with her big sister. If it wasn't for Scout, I would be living in a smaller place, a townhome without a yard and a higher HOA. But because of her, I decided I had to save more so that she could have her backyard. It took a while for Yuki to accept her but now she accepts her fully into our pack. They play and bark together and Scout loves to howl at firetrucks and neighbors. She is a healthy 85 pounds and loves to chase squirrels in her sleep. Scout, you will never be left again.
About the Creator
Teacher, traveler, fur baby mom, reader, and writer. I enjoy writing historical fiction stories, fiction, poetry, true crime, and nonfiction.
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