Last Friday afternoon, I drove down to Laurel to collect the newest member of the Ferguson family, Shug Ferguson, a Scottish terrier puppy.
There is nothing more adorable than a Scottie puppy, with one ear alert while the other still flops jauntily over an eye. Scotties have the most expressive black eyes, and with a slight tilt of the head, they look as if they are in a constant state of contemplation.
As a senior in college, my sister Deana bought me a Scottie puppy to keep me company in my new apartment. His name was Duncan, and he came with a ball. The ball was his security blanket, and he was obsessed with making us “throw the ball.” (You have to say that with a Scottish burr. You just did, didn’t you?) He eventually collected quite the variety of balls, squeaky hamburgers and pork chops, and a stuffed Abu, the monkey from the Disney movie “Aladdin,” which he pulled all the stuffing out of but slept with until the day he died.
When I went home to Southaven from Oxford, Duncan meticulously packed his toys in my bag for the trip. He rode shotgun, often perched on the arm rest to look out the front window while trying to get me to “throw the ball” as we were driving.
Duncan was about the smartest dog I’d ever been around. He was potty-trained in a couple of weeks, never needed a leash, and loved watching television. When we went swimming in my parents’ pool, Duncan would follow along with us on the patio until he finally decided to jump in and rescue us from the water, although none of us ever needed rescuing. He just loved the water would stretch out on the top step of the pool or hop onto a pool float – completely content in the sunshine.
Duncan was my constant companion. He was my college roommate, shared my first home, kept me company when I was sick or upset, and was just about the best friend a girl could have.
When he was diagnosed with cancer at age 12, I was devastated, and we fought against the disease with chemotherapy for nearly a year before discovering nothing more could be done. He passed away two months after I moved to Montgomery County.
When he died, I drove Duncan to Southaven to my parents’ house, and we buried him near the creek bed in the back yard. My parents’ yard was probably Duncan’s favorite place in the world, and I know he was thrilled to be exactly where he wanted to be.
When my son Dean began asking for a puppy of his own, I put a lot of thought into what type of dog to get and where I would get it. So I decided to get him his own Duncan, hoping he would love a Scottie as much as I had.
Well, it was love at first sight for Dean and Shug. Since she arrived at our house Friday night, the two have been inseparable. He totes her like a stuffed bear, and when she isn’t in his arms, she is on his heels. He even gave her a ride on his big wheel, and she laid in his lap as if he were taking her for a ride in the country instead of spinning in circles around the patio.
Now that Shug has settled into her new life, her personality is emerging. She is quite sassy and bossy, and she loves to torment our 16-year-old Chihuahua, Don Juan, who has absolutely no desire to play with her. He has tried ignoring her, but she is not having that. She climbs right into his bed with him, and when he gets up and tries to get away from her, she chases him around the kitchen – barking her shrill yaps and growling.
Even my husband Keith has a soft place for Shug, and I think the affection is mutual. He even bought her a rhinestone collar while at the store recently. Yeah, I think he’s pretty taken.
I know Shug will never replace my beloved Duncan, but just watching her brings back so many memories of that sweet boy.
Someone said having a dog is like receiving a standing ovation every time you walk in the door. That is so true! It is also true that I most often greet the dogs before the humans in the room. Well, you know how dog people are.
I’m sure Dean and Shug will provide me much fodder for future columns, and I look forward to their many adventures.