Tom and Scooter
(I wrote this story in 2005, the Tom in this story is my late brother H.T. Kauszler...he died in 2009 from the effects of agent orange. Scooter is still living, he lives with Tom's widow and two cats.)
Pets abound within trucking; dogs, cats, snakes, birds, ferrets and even a wolf and a tiger have been seen riding in trucks. All offer companionship in one way or another, if nothing else, another living creature in the truck to ease the loneliness of the road.
A driver named Tom, was a lonely solo driver. After much thought, he decided to find a puppy to ride with him in the truck both for company and for security. Tom found an odd little puppy who’s parents were an interesting combination…the puppy’s mother was a yellow Labrador and his father a dachshund! The puppy was named Scooter because he tried to run so fast on his little short legs he looked like he was ‘scooting’.
Scooter grew into an odd looking adult dog with a broad long body, short, stubby legs, a dachshund face, reddish yellow Labrador hair and weighed in at about 50 pounds. His eyes were warm though and Scooter loved Tom as much as Tom loved him. The two would stop in wide open places and Tom would laugh watching Scooter having a good time chasing squirrels and rabbits. The pair were inseparable.
When Tom was driving, Scooter would be in the jump seat, if Tom would put him up there, watching the world go by and barking at cattle and horses in the fields along the roads. If Tom didn’t put him in the seat, Scooter would lay on the floor to chew his toys or if he got tired, would unmake the bunk to take a nap under the covers. Scooter took his job of protecting the truck and Tom seriously, barking and growling if anyone even looked like they were going to get near the truck.
They went along the highways and byways of America happily for a couple of years until an October day about three years ago. Tom was under load to a big mill in Des Moines IA and wasn’t feeling too well. He put it down to the buffet meal he had eaten the night before at a truckstop and a case of truck stop revenge. While his trailer was being unloaded, he started feeling worse and decided when through he would lay down for a nap before going to get reloaded, he had time for a couple of hours nap.
Leaving the dock, Tom pulled over to the side out of the way and got out of the driver’s seat to go back to the sleeper, Scooter barked like he had to go out. Tom told him to wait and tried once again to go into the sleeper, Scooter blocked his way and again barked to go out. Tom was feeling worse but knew he had a responsibility to his friend so climbed down out of the truck and lifted Scooter to the ground. Scooter stayed right there by Tom.
Tom suddenly felt a sharp pain in his chest and hunkered down on his heels leaning against the drive tires clutching his chest and panting for breath. Scooter took action! Looking around and seeing a man walking across the parking lot, Scooter ran to him barking and whining. The man didn’t pay much attention at first, but Scooter didn’t give up, he kept barking at the man and took short runs towards the truck where Tom was.
The man, finally getting it that something was wrong, ran along behind Scooter to Tom. When Tom told him he thought he was having a heart attack, the man raced for help. Scooter stayed right there next to Tom guarding him and licking his face until help arrived.
Luckily, the mill had a first responder on staff who immediately called for an ambulance. Tom was rushed to a nearby hospital. A kind worker at the mill took Scooter home with him where Scooter kept whining and crying looking for his beloved friend.
Tom would of died that day if he would have went into the bunk to lay down, it was found that he had a 100% blockage in his heart. Hospitals don’t keep you very long even if you almost die and released Tom three days later to go home and recuperate. The kind person from the mill brought Scooter to the hospital for the ride home with Tom to Kansas City. It is unclear who was happier to see who, but Tom was unashamed about the tears in his eyes as he saw his lifesaver Scooter.
So now, about three years later, Tom is still driving and Scooter is still doing his normal thing, riding along in the truck beside his best friend, barking at things that catch his attention. To me and my family though, Scooter is a hero…you see, Tom is my brother and we bless the day that he found the odd looking puppy Scooter.