The One that (Almost) Got Away

Years ago, I went on a leadership retreat. It was a short trip, just one overnight stay and two days worth of lectures. We were assigned random roommates, with people we had never met before and so, needless to say, bringing the Scotties along on this adventure wasn't an option.

Lectures lasted until after 10 p.m. on that first night. We got a short break around 8:30 p.m., at which time I switched on my phone and stepped outside to find reception. There was a message from Scottie Dad, letting me know that my darling little Heather had darted out of the apartment when he opened the door as he was coming home from work around 6 p.m. We had only had her five months at this point and up until then, we hadn't had a single problem. I wondered why she waited until I was away to try anything and what had happened to make her want to run away.

The story, as Scottie Dad recalls it, starts when he was fumbling for his keys to let himself into the old apartment. He dropped them on the floor and had to try again. His theory is that the noise the keys hitting the ground made might have startled her if she was sitting close to the door. What happens next, happened so fast I am eternally grateful Scottie Dad was a soccer player throughout college, as I am certain I never would have been able to catch her myself. He opens the door and there she goes, running out into the hallway. He sees Mr. K, too, who actually stayed put and retreated further into the apart when he realized something wasn't right. Scottie Dad dropped his stuff on the floor and ran after Heather, who was running so fast, she managed to plow into the door at the end of the hall and open it, setting her free to the world.

And so she ran, down three flights of stairs with Scottie Dad on her trail...just barely. Once on the ground, she took off again - this time into the parking lot. As you might expect, it's after 6 p.m., a time when most people are coming home from work, leaving Scottie Dad to stand in the middle of the road and signal the cars to stop so Heather wouldn't get hurt and so he could safely chase after her. He says that she got pretty close to the fence and, if she had gone through that, there is a very good chance we wouldn't have Heather with us today.

Lucky for us, this story has a happy ending but it didn't come without a cost. You see, when Scottie Dad finally caught up to Heather, he had no choice but to grab her by the collar, which startled her even more and caused her to turn around and snap at him. Up until this point, I had sworn I brought Heather into my life for Scottie Dad as they both were so easy going and happy, not to mention they clearly shared a special bond since they hit it off the moment they met. From that day forward, Heather and Scottie Dad's relationship has never been the same. She began bowing submissively when she saw him coming and in time, this evolved into submissive urination.

As you can imagine, this has been very stressful and frustrating for Scottie Dad, who feels he did nothing but do his best to get her safe at home again. Every day, he calls her over, says hello and sings her silly little songs that used to make her dance (seriously). It's taken a while but we've gotten their relationship restored to the point where Heather dances again when he calls her over, shaking her behind so fast Scottie Dad has nicknamed her Shakira. Sometimes, instead of being completely happy and playful, Heather pees while she's dancing with Scottie Dad, leaving him with a mess to clean up and leaving me with a very unhappy Scottie Dad...


  1. Thank you for sharing this story! I am very sorry to hear about Heather's changed relationship with Scottie Dad, but I can certainly relate to it. I'm the proud mama of @AbbyMcScottie, and she too has fear/subsmissive issues with her dad (and all men, in fact). Because we adopted her from the vet's office she had been going to her whole life, we were able to learn that her previous owner's husband did not like her. She was treated for collar injuries to her neck (she still has scars from this), which we can only imagine meant she spent hours tied up outside (or worse). So, it is understandable that she quickly warmed up to me and has been my little black shadow ever since we adopted her 2 years ago. It is very sad for my husband as most dogs love him, but we get little glimmers of hope every now and again. Last Christmas, she gave us the best gift and jumped up to sit with her dad in his chair without coaxing from me or treats. And she has done that a couple of times since then. I keep hoping that she will forget that bad man and learn that her new dad would never, ever hurt her. It breaks my heart because she is such a sweetie and a joy that keeps us laughing on a daily basis with her Scottie antics.

  2. And they say Scotties have long memories. I am dealing with the nervous/fear issues my Scottie has when he meets strangers! He turns all aggressive. A far cry from the very mild and sweet Scottie Boy he usually is. Somehow though we got him as a pup and have been socialising him ( he goes to parks/dogruns/cafes more than his Westie sister) but he is still nervous around strangers( esp those w/o dogs)! I attribute it to the experiences he encountered before I adopted him. Whatever it is,, never give up on Ms H!

  3. We had our mild mannered rescue for about 6 mos when he took off after my husband while he was using the "weedeater". Scottie charged him and bite him on the back of the leg leaving a large wound. When my husband yelled Scottie became even more frightened and actually bite me when I went to pick him up.
    We will never know how badly he was abused before we got him but one year later he s a different dog.( And he actually now sleeps on my husbands pillow.) With time I'm sure Scottie Dad will rebuild Heathers trust. Good luck and thank goodness for the tolerate husbands we've been blessed with.