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Mighty Scout - Georgia Trails Lead Dog
Georgia Trails

Mighty Scout, lead dog

Since the start of Georgia Trails back in 1998, Scout, a brown lab mix, had been an integral part of the "hiking team." Each week when Pam would sing "Who wants to go for a ride in the car," Scout would bounce towards the hutch (where we kept her harness) in a knowing anticipation of the good times to come on the trail. When we hadn't been on a trail in two or three days she would sit near the hutch, telling us she was waiting for those magic words.

On the trail Scout had made many friends. Hikers in the north Georgia mountains (by far her favorite place to go) greeted her warmly, occasionally by name. A pat on the head and the required, "She's a good dog," and Scout was ready to continue the hike, impatiently waiting as we greeted a old friend. She was always 10 paces in the lead, and sometimes a good deal more. On many occasions it would be Scout to the rescue finding the correct path -- trail markings gone and obscured by brush.

Trail leader
Through the years Scout's pace did not slow. On the trip to Fort Mountain this past August she once again took the lead, along the moderate Big Rock Nature Trail and Fort Mountain Loop.

Just a week before her death we climbed the trail at Amicalola Falls, Scout in the lead and Mom, Dad and Taylor somewhere behind. She blazed the path to lower overlook, where we turned around because the metal stairs were difficult on doggie feet. We hiked close to forty miles that August, but the last few days Scout began to act a little unusual. She seemed tired after chasing a squirrel, then could not climb a set of stairs.

The last Thursday of the month Pam and I came home and she couldn't lift her hind legs. We made a rush trip to see our vet, Dr. Barnwell at the Highway 92 Animal Hospital, who immediately x-rayed her back looking for a ruptured disk. There was none. He began treatment with a heavy dose of cortisone. We took her home, spending the evening and night with her on the living room floor. At 2:00am she seemed to rally, awake and alert, but she was still unable to walk.

We returned her to the vet on Friday, who kept her for observation. At the end of the day the cortisone had not helped her regain the ability to support herself. In the room Dr. Barnwell explained "It's always difficult in cases like this. There are really only three things that can cause a dog to lose the use of their legs so quickly; being hit by a car, a ruptured disc or something pressing against the spine." In Scout's case it was inoperable. We had to say good-bye.

Scout has been and always will be a part of Georgia Trails. Her picture remains on our Your Trail Hosts page, along with Taylor's, about whom we will someday be writing a similar piece. Are we saddened? Deeply. But we are also overjoyed for the time we got to spend with Scout. She made our lives richer merely by being a part of them.

Scout, trail leader

Pam and Randy Golden

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