We have a problem with nicknames. Or maybe it’s just me. Yeah, I can hear B agreeing now. It’s just me.
A few months ago, before we moved, I started calling Scout my Scouter Muffin. Don’t ask me why. Seeing it written makes it seem incredibly odd. But it stuck. And slowly, over the course of our packing and moving and unpacking and painting and everything else we’ve been up to, it got shortened, as all good nicknames do. It’s a real sign of affection when your nickname gets a nickname, isn’t it?
Muffin is now one of Scout’s official names, along with Scoutimus Maximus (also shortened to Maximus. We often refer to her in common conversation like this, as in, “Hey, have you seen the Maximus?”) and Scouters (plural, of course). Little Bit, one of my old favorites, has fallen to the side now, possibly because Scout is no longer our ‘little’ bit, but our ‘bigger’ bit at around 45 pounds.
The funny thing is that you know you’re using a nickname a lot, I mean really loving it, when your dog starts to respond to said nickname. The other day I said, “Let’s go downstairs, Muffin,” and down Scout went, ever obedient. She charges down with the gusto of a child racing off to a great adventure, bottom swaying back and forth, tail high, and then waits for me at the bottom. No, Mom doesn’t fly down these stairs the way her Muffin does. In fact, I have a bit of a love-hate affair with stairs. I fall down them, a lot. It’s a running joke with B, who just the other day when I fell up the stairs (I’m very talented), popped his head around the railing to ask if I was okay and then, when it was clear I was, laugh at me. (This is what husbands are for.) Scout stood at the top a few stairs above my head, ears perked, waiting for me. One day we might be the same speed. You know, when she’s around eight ;)
The Muffin is always my shadow now at this new house, and other than charging up and down the stairs, she has assigned herself the job of keeping our floors clean. The other night, she was intent on a spot she’d missed.
Too bad it was very hard to reach.
No matter what name I call her, though, Scout is always ready for what I have in store. She will help me dust and sweep (it takes great effort to sweep up the pile of hair and dirt, while holding Scout back with one elbow and the broom and dustpan in the other, before Scout eats it. I do try, but it is such a losing battle).
Zoey, complete with her own set of nicknames that she happily ignores, sits on the kitchen chair like a queen residing over her meddling subjects, tail flicking back and forth, watching us.
Give me another few months, and who knows what Scout will be called!