“There came a time when a scrap thrown in his direction usually bounced unseen off his head. Yet put a pork roast in the oven, and the guy still breathed as audibly as an obscene caller. The eyes and ears may have gone, but the nose was eternal. And the tail. The tail still wagged, albeit at half-staff. When it stops, I thought more than once, then we’ll know.”
Our sweet golden has cancer. It's taken me over a week to say those words out loud without crying. Truth is, I'm tearing up now. To know Scout, is to love him. He's won over even our most dog-adverse, fur-loathing friends with his lovable quirks and sweet disposition. There's not an ounce of guard dog in him. Rub his big belly and he'll give you the world...or at least all our household goods. He was the only pick left of the litter when Matt arrived at the breeder's—passed over by perfection-seeking buyers because of a single white paw marring his otherwise pure-golden coat. God bless that snowy paw.
Eleven years and a month. That's how long he's been ours. His vet choked up over the words "two to six months to live;" we openly wept. It's hard to remember life around here before Scout. Heartbreakingly harder to imagine it without him again one day all-too soon. Blood tests give us hope he'll be here closer to the six months than the two, and we've determined to make his last some of his best. Where walking him sometimes seemed a chore, now it feels like a privilege. Funny thing, perspective.
Over the years I've given Good Dog. Stay. to friends who've lost, or are near losing, their beloved pups. Giving books that lift always feels right. Now it's my turn. So I'm dusting off my copy that's been waiting on the shelf and once again losing myself in Anna Quindlen's beautiful tribute to her own Scout, named Beau. She's a kindred spirit, that Anna. Her healing words will begin mending this fellow dog-lover's broken heart. They'll give me strength so that when his medicine stops working and his tail stops wagging, I'll know too.