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I did something yesterday that had me concerned about going to jail. My nephew and his girlfriend are staying with us, and they have a dog. The dog is a rescue animal and has a history of severe abuse, so the dog doesn’t do well in strange places or with people he doesn’t know.

When we left to get pizza, my nephew said the dog (Scooter) would do best in his truck. I thought about Scooter as we walked to the pizza place. I thought about Scooter as we were ordering. I thought about Scooter while we took the first and second bites of our pizza. “Let’s hurry up and get back to let Scooter out of the truck. In California, people don’t like to see animals in vehicles. In fact, I think it is a crime.”

We walked home, got Scooter out of the truck, took him for a walk, and then locked him in the guest room while my nephew and his girlfriend went to a concert. Scooter didn’t make a peep, but I thought maybe he would be happier with the door open. I opened the door, but Scooter didn’t come out. “Scooter, Scooter-booter! Wanna go for a walk? Do you wanna go for a walk? Walkie!”

Scooter came out of the bedroom and let me put on his leash. He was excited to walk down the hallway of our condo and ride in the elevator. He made it to the sidewalk and then he sat down. My nephew had told me that it hurts Scooter to pick him up unless you do it a certain way, so I was afraid to try. It took me ten minutes to get Scooter back upstairs.

When my husband got home, he went into the guest room where Scooter was hiding and tried to introduce himself. Scooter growled at him. But my husband and I took Scooter down again for an unsuccessful walk.

When my nephew got home from the concert at 11:30 we took Scooter for two more walks before bedtime. As I type this, Scooter is still sleeping in the spare room with my nephew. If I hear the slightest noise, I will let Scooter out and take him for a morning walk.

I had pets growing up, and I also had pets until the time I married my husband. But in the last eighteen years, there have been no animals in my life.

What I am surprised by is the level of care we all take in regards to Scooter. All four of us worry about his comfort, his safety, his health, and his psychological wellbeing.

I think it is right and good that we care so much about animals. I think all animals deserve care and concern. What I can’t understand is why that same care isn’t automatic when it comes to human beings?

Four people are looking out for the needs of a dog that is a guest in my home right now. I wish I could say I have cared as much, and with the same level of detail, for those I see around me every day sleeping in stairwells and under trees. I wish all of us had four people considering and attending to our needs. We could all use four people to help us get by. I’m going to try to be one of them to as many people as possible. Thanks, Scooter.