Sadness for Scout
Having a sick dog who has been diagnosed with aggressive cancer is heartbreaking. It’s like reading a beautiful story — and knowing the ending — already knowing that you aren’t going to like it and no matter how many times you put the book down or re-read it, it is still going to end the same.
Like any good pet owner when receiving this news, we considered the options but like most households we had the financial considerations, four kids, a mortgage and only one real source of income. Chemo therapy was unlikely to cure and it was way out of our budget. So we were living this story, that has no happy ending. But this was an ending that only few in our house would know of, I mean how could you tell the kids that there sick dog is not going to get better, you can’t kill their hope, and why would you want to, would it really soften the loss when it actually happened…
Despite discussing options with our vet and forming a treatment plan, nothing could be instigated until he had fully recovered from his previous surgeries and his biopsy had really hit him hard. We had contemplated whether our desire to have him in our lives had really been for our own wishes and not what was best for him. Either way we had a very loved pet who we were going to lose…. SO, MAKE MORE MEMORIES!!!
I had planned a beautiful little family outing where we would take Scout to the beach, he loved the beach, our children loved the beach, I loved the beach. So I googled. I found the best-off leash beach closest to home, still almost three hours drive but it would be fantastic… It was far from a kodak moment as it was lovely, it was also short lived, with my daughter and youngest son getting bitten by sea lice, and I forgot to pack into the car an entire bag of towels. It was in true line to our lifestyle absolute chaos and thinking back it was perfect.
Returning Home with four overtired children and one very exhausted lab. Scout, struggled to climb the three small stairs into our house that night and spent the following days hiding and resting under my son’s bed. At this point he was refusing food and barely drinking his water, his lump from his biopsy had tripled in size and he was no longer our happy golden boy..
Looking into his eyes all I could see was sadness and yet every time he saw me watching he would wag his tail. He certainly cared more for my and everyone else’s happiness more than he cared for himself. The following afternoon was going to be one of the hardest of my life… another trip to the vet. My darling husband came home from work early on this Tuesday for the vet visit. I had taken the dog to the vet multiple times over the last few weeks, but deep down I sensed this one would be different my husband knew it too.
After multiple discussions and the clear observations — Scout was going downhill fast, aggressive cancer was aggressively taking over my boy and our lives. I couldn’t stand to see my pet in pain any longer or more so I couldn’t handle him being in pain any longer.. The Vet asked ‘do you want to stay’ ? Initially my reaction was no way, I can’t be there, I don’t want to see that! But, I believe she truly cared for our dog — he did have this amazing ability to make you instantly adore him he was a beautiful dog, with a beautiful soul. The vet said I think it would be nice for him to have you with him she cared for him through his last procedures and I trusted her. So I stayed.
Outside under a tree, Scout rested his head on my knee. As I pat him and reassured him he was going to be ok, I relayed the love we had for him, how much our children adored him, some of the times he made us smile, some of the stupid things he had done, all the beautiful adventures we shared and that he was a true friend and a real part of our family. It’s truly a beautiful and emotional experience to say goodbye and to provide comfort to someone in their final moments. I was glad I was there for him after all the moments he had been there for me. As difficult as it was, I found solace in knowing he was no longer in pain and that he wouldn’t experience cancer at its fullest. It’s a blessing to be able to do this for someone you love afterall he wasn’t going to get better, why torture him or prolong that pain.
Sharing the news with our children was extremely difficult, and as soon as the words had left my husband’s mouth there was an instant outburst of tears and heartbreak.. it was so heart crushing that I also couldn’t contain my sadness — we certainly lost a piece of our family that day and though he will forever live in our hearts and memories it’s not the same as sharing our world with him. Considering my little people believe in Santa Clause, the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy… I was stunned at being interrogated later that night on the actual events and the disbelief of what actually happens and how does one get to heaven. How could they believe the magic of Christmas and yet question the loss of our dog…? it’s like they were trying to catch us out in a lie and I wish that were true and that he had gone to live at a farm in the country — but it wasn’t the case.
Days latter what I actually discovered or more so learnt was that my daughter didn’t really understand the concept of death, and why should she we had been fortunate enough to never really experience loss. You couldn’t have predicted this outcome or perhaps you could have and that I was masked by my own sadness and emotions that I didn’t consider the practicality of the situation. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go and pick Scout up from heaven and bring him home — so the heartbreak was bought to the surface all over again as I saw the ‘never’ finally being absorbed by Miss 5.
It’s been over a week since the loss of my golden boy, and it still hurts, his memories make me laugh and cry. He was my true friend, the one who was always there through the early morning baby feeds, the one who listened to the craziness of my life, with no judgement or smug replies. He was a best friend, a brother, he was a hero, the wingman to my toddler’s antics and escapes and he bought giggles and smiles to my baby. He was happy with the simplest things, a day out for a bike ride, the throw of the ball, a pat on the back, the rind of some bacon or laying out on the trampoline in the sunshine. He was a true protector and he saved us on numerous occasions from many stray cats and the postman.
Everyone thinks they have the best dog, but Scout, was truly the greatest dog and I hope that he truly loved us as much as we loved him !
Forever in our hearts,