Today Dave made the difficult decision to end Scout’s suffering and put her down. My mom and I went with him – and as awful as it was – we feel fortunate to have been able to say goodbye. It had been almost two months after her initial diagnosis – at which time we were told we’d be lucky if we had another two months with her – and she stopped eating and drinking water. It was clear that she wouldn’t simply go to sleep quietly and we had to step in. (Related: I cried in front of my new bosses for the first time today so I can mark that New Job Milestone as “done.”) Dave, in his infinite optimism, bought the “big bag” of dog food during his last shopping trip, despite my mom’s gentle encouragement to go for the small one. That little detail alone is enough to send me into full-blown hysterics.
My parents found Scout in the Fall of 1998 while taking Gabi for a walk around a Pet Rescue Fair. Her story was heartbreaking: she was abandoned in the back of some guy’s pick-up truck, wrapped in a newspaper. Unable to keep her, he turned her over to a rescue center, assured that she would not be euthanized. Months later my parents met her and took her home after falling in love with her on the spot. She was named for the little girl in To Kill a Mockingbird.
She was, to be blunt, a bit of a shit as a puppy. I believe we referred to her as a “nightmare” and the “most rotten puppy EVER” on more than one occasion. Furniture, the garden, and various household items were regularly chewed up and destroyed. But just as we thought that Satan in dog form had descended upon our family, she turned it around and showed her sweet side. Always energetic, she started to mellow a bit and we were able to enjoy her.
My grandma was a huge animal lover, and for some reason (seriously – she was a brat, but oh how we loved her) took to “Puppy” and helped her embrace her less-spazztic side. When Grandma was dying we brought Scout and Gabi to say goodbye; Scout jumped into the bed with her and was more gentle and loving than I’ve ever seen her.
As much as Gabi was my mom’s baby, Scout was Dave’s best pal, his “Sunshine Puppy,” and his playmate. While I miss her and can’t imagine the house without her, I know it’s exponentially more heartbreaking for him. I am so very proud of him for the way he has cared for her not only during this illness but for over the last 12 years. We were lucky to have her, and she was lucky to have us.