Remember the special and lovely Scooter? She was made famous when she made the news in July of 2011 in a sad story about her former owner using her as a “weapon” to rob people. After he was arrested, Scooter was taken into custody by Multnomah County Animal Services until they could find a reputable animal organization with the resources to help rehabilitate Scooter into a breed ambassador. In the fall of 2011, they asked us at BAPBR to help Scooter and we were thrilled to become a part of Scooter’s journey.
While in foster care with one of BAPBR’s professional dog trainers, Merissa Micochero, Scooter began working on passing her Canine Good Citizenship certification, which she did with relative ease. It turns out, she was actually quite the softy all along and quite the student, as well!
In early March of 2012, Kris Beattie applied to adopt Scooter—after going through the interview and meet and greet process, and then passing her home check, Scooter became Scooter Beattie. One of Kris’s goals all along was to have a therapy certified dog who she could take on visits to help others—and this was her intention for Scooter. This past September, Kris wrote to let us know that they passed their therapy dog certification tests! Kris said, “She’s come a long way in a year… She is such a sweet dog, and we all love her dearly” The BAPBR crew cheered!
As luck would have it, it would take a few months’ time before Kris and Scooter would get an assignment. When Scooter passed her certification and became an official therapy dog, she received a “predictable” certificate, apparently what almost every new dog/handler gets, which lets them go into predictable environments, like hospitals. Kris applied for a local hospital assignment and then patiently waited—in the meantime, in early November, Scooter’s kerchief, ID tag, and accoutrements had arrived. At last, in mid-November, their application was accepted by the hospital—but it was just in time for the Thanksgiving holidays so there was a little bit more waiting involved.
At last, in early December, it was time! Kris and Scooter were off to the hospital to bring a little bit of happiness to the patients and staff there. Kris reports “Scooter is a big hit with the staff and the security people. We visit in the same-day surgery waiting area, also in the cancer center radiation therapy center. There are always at least a few people to see. Some don’t give any indication of interest, so we just pass by, but others smile or speak, and we stop to visit. The hospital requires a ‘shot’ of hand sanitizer before and after patting, which often starts a discussion on cleanliness of pets. Scooter’s unusual color gets a lot of comment, much more so than her breed, but many people tell me about wonderful pitties they have known. She has a fairly short attention span with most people, so when she gets restless, we move on. Most of the folks are waiting for friends or family, and are not patients themselves, and they seem to enjoy the interaction.”
After all the anticipation, Scooter’s jury is still out on whether or not therapy’in is her thing. Kris says, “I’m not sure how Scooter will do in the long run. She loves her family, is happy to be pleasant to strangers, but is not really interested in them. We’ll see how next month’s visits go, and if she is still rather bored by it all, she may ‘retire’.”
Regardless of the final verdict, it’s been another positive demonstration of Scooter’s extraordinary temperament and ability to be that breed ambassador we all knew was inside her. And Kris is such a considerate and kind mom to Scooter—to let her choose what she wants to do in the end. “I hope she gets more excited about it, but she is still a sweetie, no matter how it goes,” says Kris. We couldn’t agree more!