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Mon, 2016-10-10 15:03 -- scott

The Dog with the Golden Tooth

A Boy and His Dog
My childhood dog was a golden retriever named Red.  He was the kind of dog every kid dreams of having; fun, friendly, loyal.  Red saw me through the ups and downs of high school; I loved that dog. Red loved to hunt ducks and pheasants with my dad.  One morning in particular my dad was hunting pheasants with Red.  My dad suspected there were some pheasants in a certain bush and Red just couldn’t catch the scent.  So my dad decided to throw a rock into the bush to see if he could get the birds moving.  Well, Red saw the rock in the air and he thought my dad was playing the retrieve game.  So Red chased the rock, jumped in the air and caught the rock in his mouth—breaking off one of his major teeth. 

The silver (or rather golden) lining in the story is my dad is a dentist and he decided to fix Red’s tooth.  He called his favorite dental lab and asked them to prepare a golden crown to the exact specifications of Red’s original tooth.  The gold tooth arrived and my dad brought Red into his dental office and put him asleep for the surgery.  He implanted the golden tooth and Red became perhaps the only dog in the world to sport a golden tooth in his grill.  

This whole rock-to-gold scenario happened after I had grown and left the house.  I got to see the golden tooth when I came home to visit.  Red grew old and lived out his “golden years” enjoying the good life on my parent’s two-acre home in Meridian.  I was married and attending school in Utah when Red passed away; a very sad day for my dad who also loved Red.  My dad buried Red in the back yard in 2000.

What became of the tooth?
Fast forward a decade.  My parents moved to a new home and I was well on my way to having a family of my own with three kids.  One evening we were visiting my parents and I was telling my oldest son about my dog Red and his golden tooth.  “Cool story dad.  Where is the golden tooth now?”  Good question.  I asked my dad what ever became of the golden tooth and he told us that when he buried Red he didn’t even think about the tooth.  When we asked how much gold was in the tooth my dad replied there was around 1-2 ounces.  Back in the 90’s this was a couple hundred dollars.  Today gold is worth over $1300 per ounce. 

My oldest son, an eight-year-old boy at the time, was fascinated with the prospect of buried treasure.  “Dad, let’s go dig the tooth up right now.”  I told my son that the property where Red was buried didn’t belong to us anymore.  We then thought of all kinds of ideas—everything from sneaking into the backyard at night to knocking on the door and asking to dig up the dog.  I didn’t want to become a dog grave robber and I was a bit embarrassed to knock on a stranger’s door. 

Dad, we could buy a mansion with the tooth
So for the next six years the tooth became the topic of stories and legend.  Every so often one of my kids would talk about what they would do with the money from the golden tooth.  “Dad, we could go on a trip to Disneyland if you go get the tooth.”  “Dad, we could buy a mansion with the gold tooth.” (my youngest didn’t quite understand how much a mansion costs).  Every time we were a little short on money the kids would start talking about going to get the golden tooth.

A week ago my oldest son (now 14) started working on me every day to go and get the tooth.  He has been wanting a new mountain bike and he figured if he helped me dig, then I would share some of the profits with him.  After being asked 3 or 4 times a day when we were going to go and get the tooth I finally said, ok fine.  Let’s go knock on the owner’s door right now (thinking my son would be too embarrassed to come with me).  “OK, I’ll get my shoes.”  He had called my bluff and 10 minutes later we were on our way over to my old house.

Knock knock knock.  “Hi my name is Scott.  Umm, I grew up in this house and this may sound kind of weird…but my dad buried my childhood dog in the backyard with a family heirloom and I was wondering if you might be willing to allow myself and my kids to dig it up.”

To make a long story short the home owner said yes.  I came back the next day with shovels and we dug up the tooth.  The experience was quite exciting as we became archeologists for an evening.

If you don't ask, the answer is no
At LeapFox we focus a lot on learning.  What did you learn today, what did you learn this month.  Well, my lesson for October is this: If you don’t ask, the answer is no. 

  • No, you can't dig up the tooth. 
  • No, you can't have the promotion. 
  • No I won't marry you.   

If you do ask, the answer might be no.  But it also might be yes

  • Sure, you can dig up the tooth. 
  • Yes, we have been waiting for somebody who really wanted a leadership position. 
  • Yes, I will marry you.

If you are waiting to ask somebody something, don't wait around another day; do it now because the answer just could be yes.

Scott Galloway
Program Director
LeapFox Learning

Here is a short video I made about digging up the tooth.