I thought Ms Scotty Bear wasn't enough name for
such an elegant dog but I couldn't think of
anything to add to it. A few weeks later we had
traveled to Coral Gables in south Miami, FL on
a sightseeing trip in the motor home. We stopped
to eat at an open air restaurant in Little Havana.
We ordered pizza.
Sarah wanted to save a piece of pizza for Ms Bear
and she asked me how to say dog in Spanish.
Remembering the Sanford and Son TV show, I smiled
to myself as I answered, "El Doggo" (that's what
Fred Sanford called dogs).
When the Cuban waitress returned to our table,
Sarah tried to indicate that she wanted to save
a piece of pizza for El Doggo in the Motor Home.
The waitress had a quizzical look on her face
which interpreted meant, "Say what?" Sarah tried
several times to get the waitress to understand
what she meant by, "pizza for El Doggo." Then Sarah
asked the waitress, "Isn't El Doggo the Spanish
word for dog?" The waitress replied, "You mean
Perro. Perro is Spanish for dog."
Sarah looked at me with daggers in her eyes. I
was struggling to stifle my mirth and I couldn't
speak for fear of bursting out laughing. "You
knew El Doggo wasn't Spanish for dog. Why did you
say that?" she demanded. I had no answer except to
plead innocence by way of Fred Sanford. "A TV
show isn't always the best authority on grammar,"
I replied between my snickers.
But that did it. I had the remainder of Ms Scotty
Bear's name. Immediately she became Ms Scotty
Bear El Doggo Dickens. Quite an elegant name for
an elegant dog.
From the beginning of our association (I learned
quickly that Ms Bear would not be owned, we were
associated) Ms Bear asserted her independence and
aloofness. We could work together but I must never
treat her like a common dog. She was pure bred,
royal and resourceful. She could make it on her
own as a free dog wandering whithersoever she
wished and she certainly didn't need our
benevolent care. Her independent manner was her
constant reminder to us that she tolerated us
so long as we remembered that she was a free dog.
She stayed with us as an accommodation to us and
not because we owned her and not because she
We spent the next few months getting used to each
other. Ms Bear didn't like to follow orders and we
didn't like her disregard of our attempts to do
things in her best interest. One of my first
mistakes came almost immediately after picking her
up at the Humane Shelter. We were riding in my
Chevy Suburban and every time we passed a cow or a
horse, she would run from window to window barking
and scratching on the windows like a wild dog.
Since she enjoyed this behavior I began pointing
out cows and saying "Cow, Scotty, cow."
For the remainder of her life anytime we were in a
vehicle she stood in the passenger seat looking
for "cows" which might be a four legged animal or
an eighteen wheeler chugging down the highway. Soon
after giving her that "cow" encouragement I realized
it was a big mistake. There would be no turning her
back from that frenzied barking and scratching
every time she saw something that fit her idea of
a "cow." I had coated my truck windows with a sun
screen material and every window in that old truck
still had Ms Bear's scratch marks when I sold it
fifteen years later.
We tried every trick we could think of to make
Ms Bear recognize us as her friends. She showed
very little friendliness toward us and she just
wanted us to leave her alone. "Don't bother me,"
was something she communicated very well.
After trying everything we could think of to make
her like us, we had just about given up when an
unfortunate thing happened. We had company over
for dinner one night and someone gave Ms Bear a
pork chop bone. She got it hung in her throat and
was well on her way to choking to death. Sarah
called the Veterinarian, and he agreed to meet
us at his office. With a friend driving my truck,
Sarah crying, and me holding the pitiful, choking
Scotty in my arms, we arrived at the Vet's office.
He removed the bone. Ms Bear became our dog that
night. Her attitude toward us drastically changed.
Never again did she have a small bone given to her.
We experimented with various foods and finally
found Alpo Beef Chunks in the can was what she
liked. So we always had a can of Alpo available.
If we ran out of Alpo Beef Chunks, someone went
to the store because it was unthinkable that
Ms Bear would not have her favorite food.
Ms Bear had several traits that took some
understanding on our part. There were times when
she would become completely and totally deaf. No
matter what we said or did, she wouldn't hear it.
Those times were when she was chasing or pointing
some animal. Her favorite pastime was chasing
rabbits, squirrels, and cats. When she was chasing
something, you might as well forget about getting
her attention. Her focus was on the creature she
had spotted. She never actually killed or harmed
anything. She would chase it until it climbed up
a tree or hid in a hole. Then she would sit for
literally hours watching that spot.
We had a rather large lot with a wooded area and
Old Hickory Lake behind us. There were plenty of
critters for Ms Bear to hunt. Before we found how
dedicated to hunting she was, it was mysterious
how she would disappear for hours and we would
worry about her. We thought that perhaps she was
visiting neighbors and maybe even playing in
someone's house every day. Then Sarah solved the
About one hundred feet from our house, a neighbor
had a large woodpile. Sarah happened to go out
near the fence that separated our properties and
there, behind the woodpile, sat Ms Bear. She was
motionless and staring intently at a small opening
between the logs. Later we found that a rabbit
lived there. Every day she would go around the
fence and take up her silent vigil, waiting for
that rabbit to come out.
There were a few times when she caught something;
a small rabbit or a disabled bird or a fish from the lake.
Her proudest moment was when she brought her catch home to me. She would find me and lay the critter in
my hand. Then we would release it back into the wild.