The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout

The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout by Jill Abramson Read Free Book Online

Book: The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout by Jill Abramson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jill Abramson
the superb display of her retriever roots. Scout and Adam got along famously, and it warmed my heart to watch the two of them—these two beautiful puppies—cavort in the sand and the sea. By the end of Adam’s visit, I was pretty certain that Mariane would be dealing with a major episode of “Can we please get a dog” begging when she and Adam returned to Paris.
    The Monday after Mariane and Adam left, my vacation came to an end. That morning, as I dressed in my office clothes, I felt as if I were assuming another identity, much as I did when I went back to work after maternity leaves. While riding the Metro-North train from New Haven to New York, I began making the transition back to my life at the Times by reading the papers and catching up on e-mail.
    With the vacation behind me, I plunged back into my job and stayed in the city for two full weeks. This
was my first extended separation from Scout, and it was a little depressing to live a solitary life again. As a new puppy owner, I had made so many new friends, both dog and human, and over the summer I had become much calmer and happier. I missed the morning walks with the Breakfast Club, which felt like a much healthier way to start the day than rushing to my computer. Most of all, I missed Scout. Bill Keller, my boss and the paper’s executive editor, told me that he noticed a sudden rise in the number of dog stories being pitched for the front page. To curb the trend, he urged me to recuse myself from any discussion about a proposed dog story.
    Inevitably, I showed off my latest Scout photos to anyone who betrayed even a hint of interest. Over the years, my office had become a Buddy shrine; many of my friends and colleagues had deluged me with every kind of Westie item, from a needlepoint pillow to a white ceramic pen container. Michiko Kakutani, the Times ’s chief book critic, was particularly generous: not only had she given me dozens of pairs of socks emblazoned with Westies; she had also given me an antique desk lamp with a bronze terrier perched on its base. It was made in the 1940s, when Scottish terriers were the rage because of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s beloved dog, Fala.
    Even after Buddy died, people who didn’t know me
especially well kept sending me Westie gifts. Recently, I had tearfully opened a set of Westie coasters and then a white bar of soap in the shape of a Westie. So when I returned to my desk one day and found a package from the columnist Maureen Dowd, I worried that it, too, would contain more Buddy stuff. Instead, the box contained a ceramic plate with a golden retriever puppy painted on it. I displayed Maureen’s gift in a place of honor, and now all the white in my office could begin to turn golden.

    Chewing. It was a constant with Scout. Her needlelike baby teeth were being replaced by permanent, bigger ones and the teething was driving her nuts. At fifteen weeks, she had grown bored with our usual cache of rawhide bones and frozen towel bows and was now wild for shoes, preferably Cornelia’s fanciest ones. We were vigilant, we thought, but Scout managed to chew and flatten beyond recognition a pair of black satin sandals with sassy bows that our daughter had carelessly flung into the gated family room and kitchen area where Scout slept in her crate, ate her food, and happily chewed. But even sequestered and puppy-proofed, the space offered a thousand temptations,
from the cording on the couch upholstery to the wires of our computers. We lived in fear of puppy electrocution.
    Partly so we could keep an eye on her, we removed one of the cushions from our couch and encouraged Scout to curl up in the resulting gap. This gave her a cozy place to sit within snuggle distance of us, and it was low enough that she could easily hop on and off. Dogs generally love protected spaces, and the sunken “nest” on the couch quickly became her favorite place to hang out.
    One August evening, while we

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