Scout joined the Twin Oaks Team as its first employee arriving early one June.
He was born to Cocker Spaniel parents of excellent breeding, near Fayetteville, North Carolina on Ground Hog Day. At the age of just 8 weeks, he was taken from his mother and given as a birthday present to a young girl on April Fool's Day. She selected him from the litter as his hair stood straight up on the top of his head, and she had found that to be very special. The young girl gave him the name "Patches" for his pattern of cream and blond patches.
He was a big hit for a while, but was soon relegated to a fenced backyard where attention was "patchy" at best. He soon developed a reputation as an escape artist. Left alone and with no mate, he would find weak spots in the fence and soon learned how to dig his way out to find companionship! Frequent nighttime outings earned him a reputation as Top Dog among the area's most attractive female dogs.
He enjoyed these periodic nocturnal escapes and rendezvous' so much he continued them well into middle age. He never knew how important his skill and experience at escape would be. As he grew older, his little girl grew into a woman who found her mate among the mobile military. So "Patches" was left behind to the young woman's parents who took him reluctantly to their new home in Raleigh, N.C. Not wanting to spend the money to fence in a small portion of the backyard of their expensive new home, "Patches" was put on a chain to prevent him from continuing his nightly jaunts. Left on the chain, a large plastic doghouse near an automatic feeder became his only domain for the next 2 years.
He spent his days and much of his nights pulling at the extreme limits of the chain. He tried to dig his way out. He wore a deep path at the end of the chain trying continually with all of his strength to search for a true companion of any kind.
After two years of pulling and tugging with all of his might, literally wearing out his hips, and with years of hair growth without a trim, the hot North Carolina summer just became to much to bear. He decided that if pulling would not set him free, maybe twisting would. He then began to cause the chain to wear. His new plan was turning around repeatedly in the same direction until the chain became severely twisted. Now even his neglectful keepers would have to unchain him at least for a few minutes to untwist the chain. These brief moments of freedom only invigorated his determination and the twisting continued without end.
Finally early one June morning just after his keepers were off to work, the chain gave way! He was free at last! After a few quick spins of joy, he headed straight into the wind. It was the direction of a kennel of young dogs not 400 yards up wind! His persistence had finally been rewarded!
Now it was up to his nose. Time and age had left him nearly blind and almost completely deaf. He followed his nose, crossing a busy two-lane highway and finding the kennel. He still remembered his digging skills and had a "nose" for any weak spot in a fence, so it wasn't long before he found his first companions in over two years. It was truly a morning to remember! The kennel bred wolf dogs, half wolf and half dog, so it was a WILD TIME to say the least!
The kennel's owner returned home for lunch and as he ate his meal he thought his four legged friends seemed different sounding. After lunch he proceeded to visit the pens. The boys were on edge, whining and pacing in their pen. The surprise came when he found a hairy and very worn out Cocker Spaniel sound a sleep amongst the girls who sat quietly admiring their new friend!
Quickly the kennel owner grabbed "Patches" and tossed him out of the pen! While he checked his dogs, "Patches" was off to look for a late lunch in an instant. He picked up his own scent and headed home to the automatic feeder. He knew he had time to fill up before taking off on another adventure long before the usual 6:00 P.M. arrival of his keepers.
The trip would mean again blindly crossing the busy road, but he would not be afraid. His instincts and determination always rewarded him. As luck would have it, just as he started to cross the road, a motorist stopped traffic and got out to help. Noticing he was blind and probably deaf she took him back to the side of the road. Before she could get back in her van and leave, determination had "Patches" back in the road. The helpful motorist and the old dog repeated this shuffle two or three more times and traffic backed up for a block, as it slowly passed the woman and the old, blind dog.
Soon Stan Morse, Twin Oaks' President and his wife, Candace found themselves behind the woman's van. Wanting to help, Candace jumped out and tried to help. But, nothing would stop this dog from following his scent to his food, and that path went right down the middle of the road. It seemed to Candace that the only thing to do was to pick him up, put him in the car and go find his owner. The woman motorist had a rescued female Greyhound in her van and "Patches" thought she smelled good! So, it was up to Candace to load him into our back seat.
At first Stan could not believe what was happening. This sweaty, stinky dog had gone two years without a trim or a bath! Candace said let's just take him home until we find his owner. Stan asked what if we couldn't find his owner. Well then we will just have to take him to the pound she said. Though happily married many years, she just discovered that Stan would never take an animal to the pound! But he would search high and low to find his owner.
Quickly an ad was put in the paper, he was listed on two local lost animal web sites and a digital color picture was taken for a poster and flyer. Within 36 hours the lost dog was off to the Beauty Parlor for a trim and a bath. While that was happening the posters went up. They were displayed up and down the road were he had been found. Flyers were put in every mailbox for a mile. Surely someone must have loved this old dog, though he dragged 18" of very worn chain and his collar had no tags.
When picked up from the groomer, he was invigorated and hardly recognizable! A large tumor was obvious under his tail and the degree of neglect became apparent. The next day he was off to see the Vet. He got good reports on his heart and overall condition, but another tumor meant he would need to be fixed as well. But it could all wait. Some medication for his eyes was started to help take the red out at least.
Days grew into weeks and no one claimed the lost dog, though more posters and flyers were put out. Some people called trying to help, but, still no luck. On July 23, nearly 6 weeks later, with no one claiming him, it was time to have the Vet fix him up and remove his tumors. Vaccinations and tests were in order as well. After a quick recovery it was time to find a name for the new family member.
The two cats that shared his new home were not at all pleased. They had been in charge for years and found pushing around a blind old dog very easy. Missing at Twin Oaks was a guard dog, so he was hired on as soon as he recovered from his operations. While he could not see anyone coming very well and could only hear loud noises, he quickly learned to compensate with a "nose" that could smell any person within 100 yards.
It wasn't long before it was clear that he could also smell the difference between a Great Candidate and a not so good candidate. That's how he earned his new name "Scout". (Short for Talent Scout!) He did such a great job as a guard dog and checking out candidates, that it was not long before he was promoted to VP/Recruiting.
With his continued help with advertising, "Scout" was again promoted this time to VP/Marketing where his first action was to name himself as the Twin Oaks Official Mascot.
A hard worker, who gets along with everyone, he has helped the company grow. Scout even won over his two cat associates, Butch and Bubba, both make excellent paper weights. They share their space and at times even their food with Scout who can be seen working night and day to scout out just the right person for just the right job.
Now Scout helps candidates to build their careers. He is happily free of his chains working in an air-conditioned office with plenty of companionship.
In February just as Scout was getting a little trim and bath, Stan happened upon the now young woman that had been "Patches" little girl not so many years ago. After a tearful reunion she viewed photos taken as he looked when he arrived at Twin Oaks. Scout did not recognize her after nearly three years so she decided her "Patches", our "Scout", was better off working here at Twin Oaks than living on a chain at her parents' home.
agreed and now works happily ever after.