Dog With Incredible Story Inspires Others

It’s a pretty safe bet you’ve never met a dog quite like Scooter.

Julie + Scooter

I’m writing this article about the most amazing dog, because of the obstacles in his life he’s overcome and the way he makes others reflect on their own life struggles. The greatest gift he brings to the world is the fact that he’s unaware he lives a challenged life. Let me introduce you to Scooter.

"The greatest gift he brings to the world is the fact that he's unaware he lives a challenged life."

At his birth, someone saw Scooter as a burden and discarded him on the side of the road. He was rescued from a ditch, barely clinging to life, extremely malnourished, and the only puppy in his litter who was still alive. Souris Valley Animal Shelter, in Minot, North Dakota, sought immediate medical treatment. There was little hope of survival due to the extent of his condition and the cost of his care. The veterinarians did everything they could and saved Scooter’s life, but he needed both of his back legs amputated.

Scooter and I crossed paths at the Souris Valley Animal Shelter while I was working as a Military Life Counselor in Minot. I noticed he was different from the other dogs. He was attentive to my presence and just had this personality about him I couldn’t ignore. I didn’t think he was adoptable because of his special needs but I also couldn’t get him out of my mind.

I visited the shelter a few more times and finally inquired about his eligibility for adoption. That’s the day Scooter became a fundamental part of my everyday life—and unbeknownst to me, a great inspiration to others. Scooter and I stayed in a hotel that night and he introduced us to everyone. He doesn’t understand that some people may not want to pet him. Although Scooter only has two legs, he dragged me to meet new people.

At first, I was apologetic and enrolled him in obedience school at Petco. He made vast improvements in his behavior, but he still pulled me to meet new people. Through these awkward introductions, I realized Scooter was impacting people’s lives. He consoled a grieving family that lost a loved one, a small-town kid from Oklahoma who was homesick, a lady who used a wheelchair, a man who felt limited, a woman who saw her life as a struggle. Scooter helped them see how blessed they really were.

The stories just continue. Scooter inspires people to share their lives because he offers companionship, makes them smile, and most importantly, he offers hope. Time and time again, people comment about reflecting on their own life’s challenges and overcoming obstacles when they meet Scooter.

Scooter is amazing because he’s extraordinary—but he’s also unusually ordinary. He knows when someone needs a friendly face and a story about overcoming life’s challenges. But at the same time, he also loves to be around people, outside playing with children and running with other dogs (he can outrun most people!), and he loves playing fetch. Scooter has been involved in a therapeutic process since birth and will soon become my co-worker as a therapy dog.

Each year, Petco Love invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Julie Mariott won Souris Valley Animal Shelter in North Dakota a 2017 Holiday Wishes award.