Last Friday evening after work, Mrs. RVFTLC and I did quite honestly the hardest thing that we have ever had to do in our lives.
We had to help our baby, Scout the Wonder Dog over the Rainbow Bridge. Yes, we had to finally let her go from her severe ailments at the age of 16 years.
It was not an easy decision.
She was diagnosed in April with a degenerative spine. She had not really been herself since Christmas. But Mrs. RVFTLC is the one that forced the issue by taking her to the vet. The vet even suggested that she could be put to sleep then. But we were about to embark on the Yellowstone Adventure. And while we resigned ourselves it would be her last trip with us, we wanted her to go. So the vet put her on steroids and pain killers.
They helped her make the trip and the baton of road trip travel was being passed from Scout to Cashew, the Little Guy.
But they just put her on borrowed time. And last weekend it became apparent. The only thing left to do was to decide when to do it.
Now I will not torture you with details of that experience.
I really want to share some highlights of Scout with you.
She came to us in August, 1997 as I got then my fiancee Scout as a birthday gift. Yeah, yeah, I know. One should not get an animal as a gift. But we did everything one is supposed to do when adopting a pet. And on a Saturday afternoon, Scout came home from the Pasadena Humane Society.
Scout was about 4 months old when we adopted her. Here is a photo of her from October of 1997.
And it took us quite a while for us to figure out, but she was a Border Collie-Terrier mix. What kind of Terrier? Who knows and who cares.
From that time on began a wonderful 16 year journey of love, some interesting things, and eventually having to say the final good bye.
Scout was a dog with personality.
When we first had her, we noticed that she did something kind of odd when people would come over.
She would bear her teeth.
Yet she was jumping on people very happy and kissing them silly.
Mrs. RVFTLC got it right.
Scout was smiling at people. Because she was really, really happy to see people.
Her routine when the door knocked was this. A lot of sneezing, smiling, jumping and kissing. And it did take a bit of coaxing for her to stop.
BTW, did I mention that she was 'socially promoted' in obedience school? Sorry, it is true. The problem was it was a group class and Scout as a puppy just wanted to play with the other dogs. But no matter for that was just part of her personality.
Being a Border Collie-Terrier mix, one thing is that Scout was very focused on any and everything.
She was in her early years always trying to escape. Whether it was right through the front door or trying to dig a hole or trying to find a soft-spot in the back yard wooden fence, she was trying. Sometimes, yeah, she got out and ran down the street. Of course she was always caught. I think that she just wanted some space to run around. A back yard was not enough for her.
As she got older, Mrs. RVFTLC taught her to play catch with a tennis ball. And once she learned, she did not want to stop. She would catch and bring it back and one of us would throw it. Again. Again. Again. And if we did not do so right away, she would let us know. She would get that ball in her mouth and do this head-snout butt and keep doing it until we acknowledged her. And once we discovered the Pasadena Off Leash dog park in 2006, she ran herself beyond ragged. It was kind of annoying. Yet now I miss it terribly.
In 2007, we discovered that Miss Scout, yes she was named after the character in To Kill A Mockingbird, could no longer stay at the vet when we went on any vacation. For you see, while she was kind of sort of OK there, she would not poop. Not one bit. She would eat, she would pee on her walk, but no poop.
We came home from a long weekend trip on a Monday, went to pick her up literally right from the airport. When we got to the vet, if she could Scout would have jumped into my arms. I took her outside as Mrs. RVFTLC was paying the bill when she could not even make it to the patch of grass in front of the vet's office. She pooped. And pooped. Little did I know as we went back in because Mrs. RVFTLC was taking a while is that the vet almost called us to ask if they could use medicine to make her poop. When I said how much she went, that was it. Even the receptionist knew she was too nervous to do all her business.
Because of that we decided that any vacation, long or short, she had to go with us.
Thus we took a road trip to Mr. Rushmore later that year. A couple of years later, we went on our epic cross-country road-trip. One year for our anniversary, we went to Northern California and the town of Eureka. A road-trip to New Mexico. And a lot of overnighters in between. She became a great road-trip buddy.
Of course she had the hate for cats. Would want to chase and eat them. Same with the squirrels. It is amazing that they really think they are going to catch 'em.
And she had some medical problems.
Her anal glands had to be surgically removed. She developed an autoimmune condition that affected her eyes to the point that she had little if any eye sight left at the end. Because her condition flared up after visits to the dog park, eventually she could not go any more. And she had a skin condition as well.
In the end, it was her spine and it just was degenerating quickly. It is what happens to many people as they age and obviously a dog too.
But she lived a wonderful long life. Depending on if you believe that every year is either five or seven in dog years, she lived to 80 or a 112 in dog years. I'm going to go with 112.
I will end with this photo of Miss Scout, the Wonder Dog as she just turned 16 years old this past April. Our little family misses you Miss Scout. Even Cashew, the Little Guy misses you!
FTR, this took three tries before I could write this post. It is very hard to write about a dog that you love in such a short space and time.