SURPRISE—YOURSELF! PRINCE CHARMING MEETS SCRUGGS
(17th installment, Scruggs and Samantha, by Mary de la Pena)
Leaving the Rottweiler’s care, we approached the cage 83 where Scruggs was housed. I called to the dog. “Scruggs,” I said. “Come here, Scruggs.”
As if on cue the dog put on a full display of his acrobatic talents. He spun and leaped and wagged. Then he thrust his whiskered nose through the wire mesh of the cage door, taking a swipe at my outstretched fingers.
“This is Scruggs,” I said, not looking at my husband.
“Named already?” he asked.
“He told me his name,” I answered.
The advantage to having been married to the same person for so long was I didn’t need to explain. Somewhere in the decades of marriage my husband had accepted my idiosyncrasies and no longer made comment on them. Instead, he bent to look at the happy dog wagging his tail at him.
“M. J.,” he said, “that is one ugly dog.”
I again looked more closely at the dog. Yes, I could see the dirty, golden fur; I could see his ribs and hip bones; and I could see the wiry whiskers that stuck out all over his white-blazed face. But I could also see the smile in his eyes and the irrepressible grin on his face with the lolling tongue. I saw the prance in his step and the continuous wag of his tail. Whatever prior circumstances had led him to near starvation, his spirit was irrepressible. All I could see was joy.
“No, honey,” I said as I rubbed Scruggs’s nose, “he’s beautiful.”
My husband bent closer to look. He even stuck his fingers through the mesh and rubbed the dog’s nose, face, and then his neck. Just like he had done with me, Scruggs closed his eyes and sighed with deep contentment at the simple touch of affection.
It was enough. Scruggs closed the deal. My husband was sold.
“You’re right,” he said, “he is beautiful.”
Scruggs understood. He looked at my husband and laughed, then started his pirouettes of joy. Soon, both boys were laughing at each other.
The bond was formed.