Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Scout 2009-2016

I mentioned in my last Once Upon a Time review that my dog died on Sunday. Then I got to thinking that was quite the bomb to drop seemingly randomly like that. Plus, she deserves a greater mention than just a throwaway line in a ranty TV show review.

I was on my mission when Scout came into our family, so I missed the initial "adorable puppy phase" first few months of her life. Though, she certainly was still little and cute when I first met her. I don't remember her really being strange or standoffish with me. It was a weird that our family - who'd never had an indoor dog - suddenly owned this little yappy thing that would come crawl in bed with you if given the chance. But she just seemed to fit right in with our brand of chaos.

The time I spent the most with her was from the summer of 2010 until the spring of 2011. During that time, it seemed like our whole family was scattered to the four winds. I was still trying to figure out what to do with my post-mission life. If you've ever served and LDS mission, you know the transition to coming home can be a bit rough. My experience was certainly colored by the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. There were no jobs to be had in Delta and I didn't have any way to move anywhere else. Plus, this was when I started having a hard time sleeping. I would cry without warning or reason. I just felt terrible about everything and I didn't know why. This was when I found out that I had anxiety and would have to start taking medication to help me sleep at night.

I tell this part of the story because this was when I started to connect with Scout. Even though she had been mostly Alison's dog to this point (and that never really changed), she and I started to bond. I'm not one of those prissy egotistical brats who carries a chihuahua in her purse and lies about it being a "service therapy animal" (what a load of bullshit), but having Scout around certainly helped keep me calm when I needed it. She would come snuggle in bed with me most nights and it was comforting to have her there.

Even when she hogged the blankets.
In August of 2011, I got a job at West Desert High School and moved out to Callao with my parents. Since my mom and sisters were in Delta finishing up school and my dad was off doing business-y things, it was mostly just me and Scout out at the ranch. There were plenty of nights where we were the only two in the main house. And it sounds stupid (even at the time I knew it was dumb), but I felt safer having the little weenie dog there. I mean, I have no idea what she would have done had there been a serious emergency - but it was nice not being alone in that big house.

After I'd get home from work, we'd go check on stuff around the farm yard (we had farm hands hired to do some of the more serious farm work during the day). Scout would chase gophers and birds and cows - yes, that crazy little dog would chase cows. And she was good at it, too. Dad often said that if Scout was a bigger dog, she'd be the best cow herder that he'd ever had. She HATED being left back at the house when they were working cows, but nobody wanted to see her get stomped by a cow or a horse.

I moved to Salt Lake in 2011, but I often found time to go home and visit. Scout would ALWAYS be happy to see me come home. Or she just wanted someone new to come give her belly rubs and she'd already annoyed everyone else. It was hard to tell sometimes. In fact, I think she had the toughest time during the holidays when everyone came to visit. Not because we were noisy or that we bothered her. But because she didn't know who to crawl in bed with. I swear, I think she just rotated throughout each night - she'd come get in bed with me, then take off after twenty minutes to go sleep with someone else, then she'd be back later. I guess the winner was whoever's bed she was in when morning came. Even then, she'd be up and demanding you wake up as well.

Even on times when I got home super later, she would come racing downstairs to wake me up and be excited that I was home for a visit. That could also be that she knew I'd get up and let her outside - only to have to let her back in after a few minutes. But that was Scout. She always had her own agenda.

And then there were the grandkids. Holy crap - she was hilarious with them. Particularly Jaylee. I don't think Scout quite knew what to do with a new baby in the family. They ended up having their own brand of a loving feud going between them. But this is still my favorite picture of them both -

Oh and I CERTAINLY can't forget the infamous Pink Snuggie of Shame. We got it for her for Christmas one year because the dog on the box looked like her. Man, she did NOT like wearing that thing. At one point, I'm pretty sure she hid it behind the couch so we wouldn't put her in it anymore. It became known as the Snuggie of Shame and we'd make her wear it when she was being naughty -

In summer of 2014, I ended up having to go to the doctor's for a last-minute emergency because my anxiety was kicking back into super-scary-high-gear and making my life absolutely hell again. I took time off work, went back to Delta, and stayed at my parents' house there for a day or two. My mom was there, thankfully, but so was Scout. The day of my appointment, I basically just sat on the couch with Scout and she just wanted to snuggle and play with me. And I managed to ignore how crappy I felt and how awful my mind was tricking me into thinking everything was. For a day, it was just me and Scout being silly goofballs (which we both excel at). I have no idea if she even knew that anything was wrong or if she was just happy to have someone to poke at. But that was a terrible-day-made-better partly because of her.

That crazy dog survived all kinds of bizarre accidents. She tore the corner of her ear off. She got in fights with bigger dogs. She ran after cars and trucks. She chased cows and managed to never get stepped on (which, for a creature her size, would have been a disaster).

And what I have said over and over since Sunday afternoon was that it would be something as normal and natural as having puppies that would do her in. For all the crazy risks she took - it's almost a blessing that she died peacefully.

I could tell countless stories about this insane little creature, but I don't have that kind of time. But I can observe that owning a dog is one of the strangest things this life has to offer. As The Oatmeal put it in his comic "My Dog: The Paradox" -

Scout's life certainly was that. She was energetic, enthusiastic, fearless, and lovable. Even when she drove us crazy, she was part of the family and we loved her.

I'll let Baxter Black close with a tribute to all our canine friends who leave us before we're ready for them to go. It's quite fitting -

RIP, Scout. May there be cows for you to chase in heaven.

No comments:

Post a Comment