Princess Peanut, Ken Clark and Scott Bates

Ken Clark (left) and Scott Bates relax at home with their cherished Princess Peanut.

Ken Clark and his husband, Scott Bates, have lived in Clark’s childhood home on Dolley Madison Road near Montpelier since March of 2017. Last December, they agreed to foster a year-old dog, part Chihuahua and part dachshund, for the Orange County Animal Shelter. Ten days later, they adopted her and thus fell into the category of a “foster fail.” Holding Princess Peanut on his lap, Bates joked, “We were happy to be failures in something.” Their prized companion’s happy new life is an obvious success story. The diminutive pooch arrived in their home “scared to death,” said Bates, who thinks she was abused before she was placed at the shelter. These days, she is much more at ease. She allows Clark to pet her on the head and cuddles unreservedly with Bates. “She gets really excited when she sees me, because I saved her,” Bates said. “It took her a long time even to get used to me.” The couple recently took the beautiful little dog with them on vacation to Chincoteague Island. With Clark at the wheel, Bates sat in the backseat and held a nervous Princess Peanut on his lap for much of the trip. Asked if he ever gets jealous, Clark nodded slowly. Will she ever be as affectionate with him as she is with Bates? “I know someday it’ll happen,” he said with a patient smile. 

Hilary Holladay covers education and politics for the Orange County Review. The author of five books, she is currently writing a biography of the poet Adrienne Rich.

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