Pooch Power

Last summer our dog, Bailey died.

bailey McSchmaillie.jpg


Our home was dark. It lost its electricity. The power of unconditional love, gone: no wagging tail, no leaps, no licks. Even the light in Cheryl’s eye dimmed.

Other family crises overshadowed our loss for a year so we couldn’t think of getting another pet. But now we needed renewable energy, a dog.

Our Long Beach condo was pet-friendly when we moved in but became no pets later. Graciously, our board grandfathered us in.

Bailey, our terrier mix, was a rescue weighing only 16lbs. See “A Wagging Tail” below.

This time we wanted an even smaller pooch, for transport ease.

We filed applications at dog rescues. Upon learning we were seniors, one site told Cheryl, “You’re not getting a puppy.” The policy sounded reasonable, the tone didn’t.

Finally, two weeks ago, through Yorkie911rescue, we met potential adoptees at a Pet Smart store in North Babylon. If you’re open to a calling, bringing stray, neglected or abused dogs to meet dog lovers, ain’t a bad choice. The Yorkies, Chihuahuas, and mixes of all kinds, were a corral of romping fur. Kids filled the air with “oohs,” “aahs” and giggles. Adults had no frowns.

I love dogs, always had a dog in my life. But there are some among us who connect with dogs as if of the same soul. They can’t even read about the abuse of animals without themselves feeling abused. Cheryl is one so afflicted…or blessed.

Cheryl sat in the corral with me waiting to connect with a pooch. One, a chihuahua, Rhet Butler, kept coming to her to be pet, she happily obliged.

But we spotted a little black ball of fuzz squishing itself into a corner. The pooch was so dark, its eyes disappeared in shadow.

Upon approach, it ran to the opposite side, trying to burrow through that corner, rump first. We were told the “Shih Tzu Yorkie mix”, about four or five years old, was a breeder rescue. Caged, birthing countless litters, she had no social skills, had never been walked…knew no love.

Cheryl fell in love.

We could take her that day.

We were ready.

She was too.


Scout Cheryl's arms.jpg

The Rescue had her examined, spayed and vaccinated, but we were told to take her to our vet for a checkup. We did, and she was fine. Our vet saw the breed, Brussels-griffon in her. Compare this photo of a Brussels/Yorkie, with our adoptee photos. Your thoughts?


A Brussels-griffon-Yorkie-mix from internet. Photo, Linwood American

Whatever her mix, she was our fix.

On the way home, we attempted her first walk. She didn’t care for it, took a few steps, then stopped.

Scout walk.jpg

We considered many names for a black dog, velvet, midnight, among them. We decided on Cheryl’s first suggestion, “Scout.” We both love “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

Since she was “four or five years old,” we counted six months, April, she’d be five. I looked up Harper Lee’s birthday. It just happened to be…April 28th. So that’s Scout’s birthday.

At our condo apartment, the eight-pound bundle of black fear wedged herself behind the pillow in her pet crate. Attempts to coax her out were futile. But from our hand, she’d take a morsel.

We bought another crate and now had one near our bed, on Cheryl’s side, the other in our living room.

The first night in her bedroom crate she started to bark until Cheryl laid on the floor in front of her. Scout quieted but only stayed quiet if Cheryl stayed on the floor.

Cheryl stayed on the floor.

Every night.

Night after night.

Cheryl Scout in bedroom.jpg

We finally put a pet carrier atop the bedroom crate; Scout was now on eye level with Cheryl, in bed. We now all sleep soundly, more or less. But at least we all have a bed for the night.

Scout would only exit her daycrate for the trail of food that led to her food and water. Any approach brought a dart to the crate.

We placed a plastic 4’x4′  enclosure in front of her daycrate, a wee-wee-pad patio. She quickly became “patio” trained.

When Cheryl held Scout while watching TV, she began to come back for more. She has soft, fine fur but underneath, she trembled. Her years as a captive “production asset” showed: her muscles were flaccid, she couldn’t jump to the couch.

If I just looked at Scout she’d scurry to the crate, but she grew even closer to Cheryl. Very close. If Cheryl walked to another room, Scout followed. She was like an atom’s electron orbiting its nucleus. And she still had Cheryl at her crate at night.

Was she too attached to Cheryl? Was I jealous? Of Cheryl? Of Scout?


Scout near office 2 IMG_1015.jpg

One day, Cheryl

was at the gym,

I was at this blog.

I noticed an inkblot

on the floor

near the door.

She didn’t run.

I picked her up.

I sat on the couch.

She sat in my lap.

She didn’t resist.

We sat for an hour.

If it’s cold enough,

I am a campfire.

That’s cool.

Cheryl came in and smiled, “Now this is what I wanted to see!”


Scout now…scouts at will:

Scout at door 2IMG_1079.jpg

We took her for her second “walk”. It’s a walk in progress.

Scouts second walk 2.jpg

Scout's second walk.jpg

Life is better these days. Even the bad news from the TV has lost its power. After all, a dog is bad-news medicine. They’re the antidope to all the stupidity of the world.

Scout for blog arms.jpg

Scout’s still leery of movements, or even a stare. But yesterday, when Cheryl was gone for an hour, Scout waited in front of the door. When the door opened, Scout wagged and circled. She danced a whirling puppy jig.

Cheryl beamed, “I’m loved, I have a puppy.” I could feel her heart smile when she told me, “It was all the Christmas mornings I ever had, at once. I have a dog again.”

Scout bed.jpg

Yeah, our power is back!

Be well,


See A Wagging tail…:



10 replies »

  1. Hi Terry

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Were you a volunteer at the Petsmart adoption presentation? Or were you a potential adopter as we were. Anyway scout is coming along incrementally but positively.

    I’m considering posting short videos of her progress on Facebook.
    You can Friend me there if you’d like and see those progress videos. .

    Thanks again for your kind words and support.

    Be well,
    Lee Winters


  2. I remember that day at Petsmart. I am so happy to hear things are going well. Scout is very lucky to have you both, not everyone is as patient and understanding as you both are. It sounds like she is making great progress in a short amount of time. All she needed was love.❤️


  3. Marion,
    So glad you were able to check out my blog so quickly. And even more happy that it resonated with you. I thought it would.
    Thanks so much for the kind words.
    Be well,


  4. Thank you, Pat. Our pooch, Bailey didn’t care for other dogs being on HER street, either.
    Yes, definitely, dogs brighten lives. I recommend them, especially for those who feel a bit blue often.
    Be well,


  5. Lee,another great story.It never ceases to amaze me where you find the words.A nice looking dog.I have a cairn terrier who loves allk people but squirrels,other dogs just drive him nuts never stops barking until they are out of sight.Dogs(pets)seem to make life a little brighter.
    Stay well my friend


  6. Hi Heidi

    Thank you for your appreciation of my blog post. As I said in the post, doing what you do, putting stray, neglected or abused dogs in touch with dog lovers, “ain’t a bad choice,” in callings.

    The love you guys put together in your efforts continues to unfold long after your work is done.
    We are so glad there are people like you at Yorkie911rescue around to make this world just a little bit brighter.

    Scout is lighting up our lives and we will think of you often as she continues to shine.

    Keep up the fantastic work.

    Be well,
    Lee and Cheryl


  7. Hi Tara,
    Glad you got so much out of my blog post. Yes, your Molly must have been very special to you. I hope your appreciation of my post keeps good memories of Molly in mind.
    Thank you so much for your kind words.
    Be well,


  8. My eyes welled up with happy tears as I read this. Thank you for opening up your hearts and home to a shy, scared little girl. We, at Yorkie911 Rescue, live for these updates. It makes us remember why we do what we do. Heidi


  9. Hello Such a beautiful story..brought tears to my eyes. I too love dogs and continue to ache for my golden Molly who passed years ago. The sweetest animal ever born. I wish I could have another but unfortunately our Co-op doesn’t allow it. I will have to wait for my son and DIL to become dog parents so I can feel that exceptional and unconditional love and connection to is found between man and dog. In the meantime I enjoy hearing stories and seeing pics and videos of my daughters sweetie in Cali.who goes by many names Jozy,Jozy-girl,g-girl,ginnie.. A beautiful relationship you feel the love between them. Probably one of the best decisions my ex-husband and I made was to get a dog,especially one that was so kid friendly because we always had a steady stream of kids in our home and they all loved being greeted by the wagging tail. Her name was Molly..aka Molly-girl,sue-girl.She was a gift and was so loved . Tara Magee-Sommese

    Sent from my iPhone



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