Monday, March 12, 2012

Ode to Scout

I looked at his grave and, with tears in my eyes, I voiced these words:
 "You were worth it, old friend, 
and a thousand times over.”
― Wilson RawlsWhere the Red Fern Grows

Warning:  Get a cup of coffee ~ this is a long one!!!!!

A piece of our heart and our family passed away on Saturday...completely unexpected and with no will forever be a mystery.  Our beloved Scout, Sara's sidekick is gone. At three o'clock on Saturday afternoon, she was fetching balls and bringing them back to Elizabeth, as happy as she could be and at five o'clock, Gary found her laying in her favorite spot looking like she was peacefully sleeping, except that she was not.  The only explanation we can surmise is a massive heart attack...there was no blood, no foam at the mouth, no marks on her, no bites.....nothing to give us a clue.  The only comfort we have in this is that apparently she did not suffer.  As for Sara, it was her first and only dog....and and unfortunately, in death, it is those that are left behind that bear the burden of sadness.

Sara had just painted this fabulous painting of Scout....I love it and have commissioned her to paint all of our dogs!  She has finished Libby ~ it is awesome too.  The other two dogs will have to wait as Sara was selected to represent her school for the literary rally in art, and is currently working on that project.

 My blog is about documenting the adventures of life.....the good and the bad....fortunately, we seem to have a lot more good then bad. Memories fade fast and while my heart is heavy and I am aching with sadness for not only Scout but my sweet Sara, who is handling this in her own stoic way, I want to document Scout's short but wonderful life and her addition to our family.

After having Maisy and Libby, I was sold on Golden Retrievers!  I tried my hardest to talk Sara into getting one for "her" dog...but she would have none of it.  She has always known exactly what she wants and won't "settle" for less!  Sometimes she will go without if she can't find exactly what she wants.  She wanted a black lab.  Our compromise was an English or Irish Lab as their temperaments are much calmer then those of their American counterparts.  After much searching on the Internet and newspapers, we found a breeder in Mississippi that looked promising.

We never wanted to buy a dog from a "puppy mill" so were pleasantly surprised to find that this breeder was very upscale, lived on a big piece of property in the country and took great care of his dogs.  At this time, he only had one litter of dogs and the father of the litter was the grand champion of the National Irish Field Trial of 2010.  It was perfect...Sara found her dog!

And she was excited!!!

Ironically, it was right about this of year ~ everything was in full bloom,
 so we have some beautiful photos!  

Maisy and Libby were thrilled to have another playmate and were so gentle with her...they let her pull and tug and jump all over them.  The only time they growled was when she came close to their food and Scout quickly learned to wait until they were finished eating before she would go near the food! To this day, Scout would wait for them to eat before she would start!

 Friends came over to see the newest member of the we are trying to get a group photo!
Look at Ellen's face ~ she wants Libby!

Ellen made sure Libby wasn't left out! 

Scout fit right she had always been there! 

She played hard and like all puppies ~ when she was tired she would drop down and sleep hard! 

The only bad thing about a puppy is that they grow out of puppyness so FAST! Before we knew it she was a gangly pup...we took her to see my ninety-five year old grandmother - GranMona - who LOVES animals.  True to her breed, Scout was a calm, gentle soul 
and was happy when she was never far from Sara's side. 

 GranMona knew just where to scratch her! Most American labs are hyper until they are about two...but not Scout. She was the sweetest, calmest dog and forever changed my mind about labs. 

Boy, did she love a bone! In fact, I just did a post about bringing home a bone, and she was so excited that she just held it her mouth for about forty-five minutes before she started in on it.  She just sat there, holding it in her mouth - cute as a button. You can click on the link here! "Scout and her bone!"

Scout was one of those dogs you couldn't help but nuzzle with...she was just sweet.  You just wanted to eat her up she was so snuggable and she loved every minute of it.

She was a "people" dog....more so than any of our other three dogs.  If we went walking, she would hang back and walk with Sara and if Sara wasn't there, she would stay with whomever was around, while the other dogs would forge ahead.

See what I mean!  Everyone loved to nuzzle with Scout!  Amy Jane has a lab and on this trip, she and Scout bonded and made a special little friendship....I hate to break the news to A.J.....

This is pretty much how I envision Scout right now..always watching out for her Sara. 

As far as retrievers go, she was an excellent retriever....and LOVED to retrieve the dummy.  She would do it as long as you had the energy to throw, and would always bring it back without fail.

She would bring the dummy back and hold it until you took it from her. 

Here we are in North Carolina....when the girls went to camp for their annual five week long summer camp, we scheduled a vacation in a cabin not too far from the camp.  We brought some of the "six-pack" (Sara and Elizabeth's best friends) and checked the girls out of camp for a few days.

 Sara begged us to bring Scout....and of course, we caved in and complied! This was Sara'sfirst time to go to five week camp and she was worried about being gone that long from Scout.  Now, I wish I had taken a picture of my car as we drove to North Carolina!  We had three adults - one of my best friends, Debra, Gary and myself ~ Ellen, Rachael, Laura and Reagan along with luggage and gear for a week and Scout! It was quite comical...we were literally sitting on luggage under our feet, and there wasn't a square inch of room in the Suburban.

 Scout was in doggy heaven, as we let her sit in the back seat with the girls...they gave her massages and played with her for about the whole ten hour drive up there.  At only five months old, she was that good of a pup!

Here is Gary, throwing the dummy for her and she is retrieving funny thing about Scout was that she intensely disliked most men.  She would growl and snarl at any man that she didn't know and even some that did...she could even tell the difference between a boy and a girl! I found that amazing.  She never bit or snapped at anyone, but it was unnerving.

But Gary, he was her pal!

We had just arrived to our place in North Caroliana but not gone to get Elizabeth and Sara yet;  here is Scout - off on a boating adventure.  Maybe she didn't like men because she was always nothing but around girls!

How cute is that? 

Scout loved "her" place to stay.  At home it was her crate or bed, but because of our tight packing circumstances, we weren't able to bring her amenities, so she made do with a towel! She was so good and never got off that towel unless we called her.  The cool thing about that dog was all she wanted to do was the right thing....once she figured out what the right thing was, it was done.

The next day, we picked our girls up at camp and here is Scout, racing 
after her excited to see her.  

 Sara was occupied with showing her friends around ...

 but Scout always kept her in her sights! No leash needed...she wasn't
 going anywhere far from Sara!

Back at the cabin - Scout joined the girls on all the boating, hiking and water adventures! Sara was our boat driver and Scout her co-pilot!

She even went in the waterfall with Sara!

I had to throw that scenery shot in....this place was gorgeous.

Another really neat thing about Scout was how nimble she a little mountain goat.  She could easily maneuver over logs, up and down steep, rocky, mountain sides ~ graceful as a gazelle she was.

Three days later, it was time for our girls to check back into their camp.  They were eager to get back and Sara's only regret was leaving her Scout!  Trust me, I didn't 
get that kind of "Good bye" hug!  

We stayed several more days and enjoyed all that North Carolina had to offer 
and Scout was just "one of the girls"!

This is a pot of ivy growing outside of Gran-E and Charlie's pool...and oddly, it was Scout's favorite place to sit.  It put her as close as she could get to the activity when she wasn't allowed in the pool area! The pool deck is about two feet off the ground so she could sit in the pot
 and keep her eye on Sara! 

Another favorite activity of Scouts was accompanying us to get snowballs!

And for some strange reason, she loved to sit like this at our outdoor table.  I would look out onto the deck and she would just be sitting there like "OK, when is dinner going to be served?" 
None of the other dogs do that.

 And then Maisy had puppies and Cajun was born!
After much debate, we decided to keep one of the puppies.

 A pile of puppies!

Is that not the cutest sight you have seen....eight balls of fluff running and tumbling straight for you! It was a lot of work but worth it! 

Like everything else, Scout took the pups in stride and accepted them
into the family

Gary worked with her a lot  - we are a big, duck hunting family and our dogs 
need to be able to retrieve ducks! 

She was getting pretty good at it...but with only a year of real hunting under her belt, she still had some work ahead of her. 

 Another one of my favorite photos!

A fun thing to watch Scout do was jump into the river. She would coil up like a spring...

and pounce like a panther..propelling herself ten feet into the water! 

This has nothing to do with Scout but when I was going back through all 20,000 of my pictures, I just thought it was so cute, I had to put it in! 

Scout was tiny for a lab...most English and Irish labs are.  Therefore, she was the one that always got crammed in with one of the other dogs...but she never seemed to mind! 

This was Christmas...I remember looking out and there was Scout; ever patient,  not getting out of her bed but hoping beyond hope that we would invite her in to be with us....and you know we did! I just snapped a pic first because I thought she looked so cute sitting there ~ so alert and obedient.

Tormented by Cajun, she never snapped or growled or harmed little Cajun in any way....they became the best of friends.

Most of the time, this is how we traveled, I will always have this image in my mind's eye.  
She broke the sea of gold. 

There are very few photos of them all sitting and looking in the same direction! Very few!

This is more like it...I have thousand of these.

Never far from Sara's side, here she is relaxing in the sun while Sara reads her book

Another photo I threw in for cuteness sake! 

This one too!!!!!

Scout and Cajun - why do puppies have to grow up?

So now we had four dogs...see at that look on Cajun's face - pure mischief!
And, Maisy's - pure resignation!

Why do little girls have to grow up???? But they all do and here they all are ~ all grown up and looking quite beautiful.  This was our Christmas card photo this year! Now, can I tell you what a photographic feat it was to get three girls and four dogs to all look good at the same time?????

Here Scout is getting ready for yet another river adventure! 

Nope, she didn't like Gary ~ not one little bit!

 Now, there were only a few things that I can remember that Scout did and got in trouble for......
one thing - she was like Old Yeller in the fact that she was an "egg sucking dog!"  One day, she got in the house when I wasn't there and had a party with the fresh eggs that I leave out on the table.  She must have gotten them one by one and carried them to different parts of the house as she devoured them, because I found bits of egg shell in very odd spots for weeks to come! Her only other bad habit was sock eating.  That dog loved socks, and if she could get a hold of a sock, she would bite a hole in the toe every time.  Needless to say, we all wore and still do wear,  a lot of socks with holes in the toe!

She was calm with all animals - cats


To the point of ridiculousness!

And she loved my beach that I got from Gary for Mother's Day!

It quickly became a favorite place of hers - I think she secretly thought Gary gave it to her!

But her most favorite place in the whole, wide world was right here when she was tired.  We would open the door and she would bolt inside and literally, before you could blink your eye, she was in her "box" as we called it. If we were ready to put her up, all we ever had to say was "Scout, get in your box", and it was done, period. 

One thing that Scout had an uncanny sense about was knowing  not to go into the water when our friend Mr. Alligator would come visit.  She would sit right there, watch ~  and never take her eyes off of him.  We would have to call the other dogs out of the water, and make sure they did not go back in, but not Scout...she somehow knew better. 

Scout also had a special place in Gran-E's heart, and Gran-E had already staked a claim on a puppy if and when we bred Scout.  She would hang out with Mattie, Gran-E and Charlie and was very happy to ride around with them in the golf cart, feed the fish or just do whatever!

I love this photo - it is what they often look like when we go walking.

Just another photo of our little Scout

Here the girls are  - presenting me my birthday present in the pouring down rain ~ and there Scout is...ever near Sara!

Another photo I had to put in for its cuteness  ~ and because it is so rare for me to be in a photo! Although this made me sad, it was kind of fun to go back through all my photos...I found so many great ones that I had forgotten about. 

When Scout saw an egret (large white storkish looking bird common in Louisiana), she would take off at top speed running all over the fields, chasing it until it was out of sight.  I bet that dog could run thirty miles an hour...maybe forty and that is no exaggeration.

One of my personal favorite photos of her.

One day, it was about ~ oh 100 degrees Fahrenheit (not exaggerating here either!) and I was taking some cool pictures of stuff in our barn loft.  I was standing on a ladder, contorted in very weird positions with rivers of sweat running off of me while I was determined to get the shot I was going for.  I looked down, and there was Scout....just sitting there watching me with the most quizzical look on her face thinking "if only I could talk, I would call the loony bin and commit my owner right now!"

Another favorite sport of Scout's was fishing - yes, fishing! She would stand for hours just watching the fish dart about the sides of the river or the pond...I never saw her try to catch one but she was most entertained by them! 

Yep, she really doesn't like Gary.....

When Sara came home from camp....

Scout was one excited dog and Sara was one excited girl! 

Here is Sara modeling a dress she just made - her side kick in tow! 

You would often find Scout just hanging out in the river...this is another favorite photo of mine.

 Something about taking a walk with our dogs just makes it so much more will be very strange to get used to no black amongst the gold.

Sara made this Instagram photo for her Iphone background

Another one of Scout's "alligator watching" positions

 My Iphone background photo

Photos from one of our walks

Could there have been Gazelle in her???

Had to throw this photo of Socks in for it's cuteness too.....;)

Scout and Doc had a running battle!  They did not like each other at all...if Doc could have run Scout down and trampled her, I do believe he would have.  

In fact, here it is in action ~ That black blur you see is Scout running at lightning speed!

But you see, Scout would start it!  She would stand and bark and growl until

Doc had enough! But Scout was always too quick and nimble for Doc to catch her! So the battle just went on and on.....

Another walk

This Christmas.....

One last weird fact about Scout ~ she had the same birthday as Maisy!
And even weirder, they both have the same birthday as Elizabeth!

I think I was the reason Scout was an egg sucking dog....everytime we went to the chicken pen ~

I must confess that I couldn't help but give that adorable little face a fresh egg!  

So, now that you know all about Scout, you can see why a piece of our heart is gone and can never be replaced...Scout ~ your short but sweet life was loved by all of us and you will be greatly missed. 
May your journey onward lead you to... 

 green pastures

flowing rivers

sandy beaches

and one day, may our paths cross again.........
Scout: Feb, 2010 ~ March 10th, 2012


  1. So sorry about your loss. Such a young age for a dog!! I'm amazed how our furry friends become a member of the family so quickly!! Take care.

  2. I am so sorry about Scout. She very much reminds me of my lab/border collie cross, Chase. Wise beyond her years. It's awful to lose a pet at any age, but a young dog is especially sad. Sara's heart must be breaking. My best wishes for healing.

  3. That was a beautiful post to a member of your family that I know will be sadly missed. Gee, I was crying and I didn't even know the dog! I get it, really I do. I love the story about her being an egg sucking dog! I am not letting the dogs around here know that as I don't want them to get any ideas. Take care of yourself!

  4. I am so sorry to hear about your sweet Scout. She was so young. We become so attached to our little friends that when they have to leave us they do take a part of our heart with them. I so enjoyed reading about your sweet baby.
    I know with time hearts are healed and memories give us a sweet respite. Hugs to all of you. Bonnie

  5. It's tough to lose a pet....we get so attached to them. I remember when I had to put my favorite horse to sleep. I held the reins while the vet administered the injection. We did it in my very own pasture where he had lived for many years. I cried like a baby......

  6. So sorry for your loss but what a lovely tribute to a much loved pet. Thank you for your lovely comment over at mine, it means a lot to know that people like reading my blog xxx

  7. What a wonderful tribute to an amazing dog. Scout was truly a blessing. Hugs to you and your family! (And nice to meet you. Your photos are beautiful. :))

  8. I've found your blog today. This post brought tears to my eyes. When my children were young we had a rough collie (like Lassie) and he was our constant companion. So many people underestimate the love and joy a dog can bring to a family. I so miss having a dog - my husband is disabled and I can't walk very far. We are not 'small dog' people, retriever size would be our choice of dog.
    Thank you for such a lovely insight into your life with Scout
    Kay (in UK)

    1. Thank you and thanks to all the wonderful comments from my sweet readers....I really appreciate every one of them. Just reading through that long post was an accomplishment in itself for my readers! But, I am glad I wrote it while it was on my mind....Scout deserved that much and I want to remember all the "little" things about her when I am old and gray (wait, I am already getting gray!). I wish you could figure out how to bring a dog back into your life...especially for your disabled husband ~ maybe a small dog could be the answer? We have never had a small dog but I would check it out. English labs (what Scout was) are small and calm too, you might check that breed out too..good luck ~ I believe everyone needs a dog in their life!

  9. My heart goes out to you and your sweet Sara...I know all too well how much it hurts to lose a wonderful part of the family! We lost our Tyson, a 12 year old Boxer 2 years ago, and it was one of the saddest times in out house! I still have his dog tags on my key chain so that I can always have him near me.

  10. What a beautiful tribute to Scout and I have to say what a gorgeous dog she was. I have only just stumbled across your blog and I have tears in my eyes as I have read about Scout. Just last week we had to have our beloved "Billy Boy" put to sleep. He was a black Lab x Cocker Spaniel. Truly one of the most loyal dogs I have ever owned.
    I hope you are all coping okay and may Scout RIP and run free in the rivers over Rainbow Bridge.


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