Grief Is the Price We Pay For Love*

October 30, 2015

 “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
—Anatole France

I have sad news to share today.  We lost our little dog, Scout, last Saturday, and we are deep in sorrow. She was 16 ½ years old. I apologize to those of you I know personally if I haven’t shared this news with you directly. It’s because I haven’t been able to face talking about it with you—I cry every time I have to share the news. 

The past six months have been difficult. Scout was deaf; almost blind from cataracts; suffered from terrible nasal allergies that made her sneeze, wheeze and cough; and she had “doggy dementia.” She rarely made it through a night without getting up to relieve herself, and afterward she often wandered through the house, getting stuck behind toilets, doors, and pieces of furniture. She occasionally got lost in the backyard she patrolled for so many years and had to be rescued. She required medicating several times a day and became agitated if her routine was disturbed. At the same time, she ate well, bounced around the house a little every day, and there was life in her eyes. We knew her days were numbered and tried hard to make them comfortable and happy. She deserved it.

Scout's the one licking his face
Scout came home with us as an eight-week-old puppy after “choosing” Nick (we’d intended to bring home a different puppy from the litter, but she followed him around and he fell in love with her). The two of them were best buddies from day one. Once she was house trained, she slept in his bed with him at night. They dug holes together and swam in the pool, and she joined in any game in which he was participating. She knew several tricks, including sit, shake hands, roll over and play dead—dropping onto her side if you pointed your index finger at her and said, “Bang!”—though sometimes you had to “shoot” her several times. She caught and killed plenty of squirrels and snakes, including more than one coral snake. (In a way, we were surprised she didn’t meet an untimely end since she was a typical Jack Russell Terrier—a tough little dog with a big dog’s attitude.) She received Christmas presents and birthday parties, just like the member of the family she was. The last few years of her life, she finally slowed down and preferred snoozing in her own dog bed to sleeping with a human, and spent more of her daylight hours sleeping than playing.

We are each coping in our own ways. The guys are able to leave the house to go to work every day, while I struggle with looking for her and not seeing her, with cleaning up her nose prints on the window, washing her dog bed, and disposing of all her supplements and medications. Yesterday I thought I heard her sneeze in the next room and realized it was just my imagination. I know that life will eventually feel beautiful again and that Scout’s memory won’t hurt anymore. Right now, though, thinking of her is equal parts love and pain.

Scout was a happy dog through her whole life, and she brought countless hours of happiness to our family. We were lucky to have each other, and we’ll never, ever forget her.

*Queen Elizabeth II

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  1. Dear friend- my heart is with you- the road is not easy when we say goodbye to those we love. All I can say is it will get easier in the passing of time. Take comfort in the knowledge she was so loved in this life . Sending you a big hug.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear this, Kathy. Such a great loss- but as you said, it wouldn't have been a great loss without the love and memories that came before. I hope you find comfort in then.

  3. Oh Kathy, I'm so sorry. I know how much you loved Scout and how much you'll miss her. Soon you'll be able to take comfort in knowing she was well taken care of and a very lucky dog, but for now I know it just hurts. I'll be thinking of you.

  4. Dear Debbie, Leanne, and Cheryl--Thank your for taking the time to visit and to share your comforting words. It does really help to have people in my life who understand. I miss her so much, but I know the pain will eventually fade and I am so glad she was part of our lives.

  5. My dear Kathy I feel your pain. I too am a blogger and I just this past Saturday lost a 4 1/2 year old St. Bernard to cancer. I wrote a post to and about him also. It is so hard to lose a pet, especially one you have had for so long. I have cried more than I ever cried before. I don't normally leave my website or facebook listings on here, but someone on my facebook shared a wonderful poem called the "Rainbow Bridge". I had it framed. You would probably like it also. God bless you, prayers to you and your family. Here is the link to my page, scroll down to the personal post about when he passed on Saturday and it is in the comments. Hope it helps.

  6. AnnMarie--I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. They are such members of the family that it's excruciatingly painful to lose them. I've done a lot of crying in the past couple of weeks as well, but it is getting better. I appreciate your heartfelt comment, and hope that you are healing from your loss as well. I'll check out your post about Cleo.

  7. So sorry to learn of Scout's passing, Kathy. I hope the pain is already slowly easing its grip on you and your family. Scout was blessed with a happy and abundant life with people who loved her more than she could have asked for. You can take comfort in that. Take good care.

  8. Thank you, Michelle. The pain is easing with time, though we still miss her a lot (and probably will for quite a while).

    I wanted to let you know I've picked up a couple of books I saw on your sidebar--An Age of License, and Up With the Larks. I enjoyed An Age of License, and I haven't started "Larks" yet, but it looks like something I'll really enjoy.