Last month, Scout was diagnosed with cancer, and we made the choice to end her life peacefully, in the gazebo with our veterinarian. This is the eulogy I wrote for her that day, and it took me some time to post it.
Scout was a shy puppy at Jim’s Pet World in Addison, Illinois when I first met her. She probably had kennel cough, but I took her timid, but relaxed acceptance of me as a good sign. Sarah, Molly’s sister, had pressured me into visiting Jim’s Pet World because she had been there a week prior and Molly had seen this little white labradoodle and had fallen in love. I actually called Sarah while I was in the parking lot, about to leave without her.
“I looked at all the dogs and saw her. I don’t see what the big deal is.”
“Did you go in the private booth with her and pet her?”
“Well, you have to do that. Go back in there.”
I sat her next to me and just held her paw, and I finally felt with her what Molly had.
I took her back to my parent’s house in Elmhurst to introduce Scout to the family. At the time, I had a big white van with separate captain’s chair, and I had to lean over to still hold her hand. (I thought it would comfort the little pup). She instantly became the granddogger, and became accustomed to certain amount of spoiling, treats, and cooked eggs for breakfast. On the way home to the city on 290, I continued to lean over and hold her paw. If I didn’t she would paw at the air, waiting for someone to hold it.
Scout was a good dog who knew how to make you succumb to her every whim. At Lake Park Avenue, she learned to have a voice and territory over what she wanted and who she wanted to visit or walk by our busy street. She’d perch up on the back of the couch like a cat and monitor the neighborhood out the big front window. She’d bark at every ne’er do well or geriatric from the local senior home. You might get a low grumble if you were on the other side of the street and were somebody suspicious, like a little girl.
Scout was an energetic puppy for about the first eight years of her life. She loved to get into trouble with food on the counter, jumping on visitors, and chewing and eating toys, baby socks, diapers, wood, pipe cleaners, plastic bottles, rocks, baby socks, flip flops, baby socks, and more recently, bottles of Vitamin D, a pan of brownies, Kolaches, cookies, unprotected plates of bagels, eggs, and pizza.
No matter the offense, Scout felt remorse, would cower, and her punishment was to be put in our vestibule, between the doors. For a time, she was put there so much after work, that she would be just be waiting to be put there, knowing her guilt. It didn’t really work as punishment, as Scout did what she wanted when she wanted. Her personality attracted many spoilers, whether it was Nonna Lynnie, Nonnie Linda, her soul sister, Grandma Martha, her cousin, Grace, or even the random person, like a neighborhood child who volunteered to walk her. Scout was a loving and popular centerpiece to our family.
She’s never been too excited to make permanent friends among other dogs. She likes to find other dogs, run around for a bit, and then wander off, especially at our house on Hoyne. She loved to explore the neighborhood in Beverly a bit more than we liked, though thankfully we always had people looking out for her. She really only tolerated other dogs, like our neighbors’ Haley or even our new dog, Captain Coconut. I think other dogs around continually remind her of her own canine nature, whereas she would prefer to be viewed as just another human, sitting in a chair, which also may have been your chair, but you got up for a few seconds, so she could only assume you were done with that chair.
You taught me how to care for another living being.
You taught me the joy of cuddling and petting your paws, face, and underbelly.
You tested my patience and showed me that love requires this no matter the offense.
You taught me the security of companionship and how friendship is sometimes just being around for each other.
You taught me it is good to be spoiled and life is for living, not for obeying simple basic precepts like “Don’t eat baby socks.”
You taught me that a relationship requires compromise, work, unconditional love, and to speak up for what you want, when you want it.
You taught me all of this without saying word.
I’ll forever be in your debt for your lessons, your love, and the love you showed my children.
I don’t know what life will be without you in it, and I barely care to remember my life before your were in it.
Rest easy now, for you have lived a good life and showed love with so many. As many chairs or desserts as you have stolen, you stole all of our hearts first and we’ll love you forever because of all of it.
We, Muchows, acknowledge the loss of one of our tribe. Our family member is gone and we’ll be sad, but we’ll be much better for having known and loved her.