Saying Goodbye to Scout

Touching short story remembering Scout, the family dog. A family’s favorite memories of their loyal pet and the hard day they had to say goodbye.

Scout

Saying Goodbye to Scout

Scout, the world’s happiest dog seemed to enjoy every minute of his life, and had a knack for sharing that joy with his ranch family.

 

Story by Jeff Olson

Decatur, Texas

“It’s OK if you have to go, buddy,” I said, looking into those eyes that showed love, devotion and friendship. I knew what he was thinking: I have to get up, go home, be the ranch dog, take care of things, train the new guy. We’ve got a bull to load, cows to move. Who’s going to watch the place?

But he wasn’t coming home.

Scout was taking his last ride from a specialist in Dallas back to our vet. We had cut our vacation short and driven all night to be with him. We couldn’t imagine doing anything else for this dog who had worked his way into a job on our small ranch and found a place deep in our hearts.

He couldn’t get into the truck himself. The dog who could do anything, learn anything­—the dog who always beat me to the truck—had to be lifted in. His 70 pounds of muscle were down to a lot less, but his heart was still as big as ever.

Scout started out on the floor in back. But when we got close to home he jumped up, rested on the console and leaned against me. Then he crawled, obviously hurting, into the passenger seat where he always rode. For a minute he looked out the window and then back at me.

My first memory of Scout was as a 6-week-old pup, perched on the edge of the seat, front paws on the window, looking back at Twin Pines Farm as he left. You might have expected him to whine or act nervous, but he just smiled and watched.

When he wagged his tail his whole rear end moved. He smiled all the time—we called him the world’s happiest dog. He graciously put up with new dogs and puppies. He wasn’t what you’d call a hands-on father, but he would play with the puppies if nobody was looking.

He was all business when there was work to do. Most of his duties consisted of riding in the truck, playing Frisbee or lounging. But when needed, he was always there to load a cranky cow, to keep coyotes away, to make me feel OK when I was miles away, knowing he would protect his family with every last breath.

How do these four-legged fur balls get so deep in our hearts? It hurts when they go. But when you ask yourself, Would I give up having known him to make the pain go away? the answer is, of course, no.

I think Scout was probably a once-in-a-lifetime dog. But his son Gus is romping around in our backyard right now, and he had his first ride in the truck yesterday. He has the same way of looking out the window and then back at me with a smile on his face.

Gus has some big shoes to fill. Right now he doesn’t know which end of the cow is supposed to be in front, but he comes from good stock. We’ll see.

Scout, however your son turns out, we’ll always remember you. In time, it won’t hurt so much, and we’ll get by. It’s OK, buddy. You had to go.

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Ruth July 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Oh, my heart goes out to Scout’s family. Our Aussie, Libby, was much the same. She left us six years ago and my heart still hurts when I think of her. So glad that you have his son Gus to love.
We have not gotten another Aussie to replace our Beloved Libby.
Maybe some day.
R

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Carla August 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I cried while reading this story-I too lost a great dog back in October, 2007. BoJo, was a shep/husky mix and lived a long and happy life until the ripe old age of 16-1/2. I am sure many people have suffered the pain of losing a wonderful and very loved pet but I must agree the pain of the loss was well worth the joy of knowing, loving and sharing in the life of a great dog. I hugged my dog and looked him in the eye everyday to tell him that I loved him and that Iwould always take care of him. I held him as he took his last breath and as heart wrenching as that was for me I take solace in how comforting that was for him. I would not change a thing.
Thank you for sharing your story and maybe God will place a little bit of Scout in Gus and you will find joy again.

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Sandy August 3, 2012 at 6:10 pm

We just lost our border collie, Sully, after 10 years of being a devoted and loyal friend. He was 11 years young and diabetic with a significant heart murmur. We found him one day while walking through the pound in Prineville, OR. One day later we found ourselves adopting him because we couldn’t get him out of our minds. He too smiled, showed me multiple times per day how much he loved me and I will miss him more than words describe. Even our neighbors in (we now live CO) shed tears when they heard of his passing. You had to go too Sully (July 9, 2012) but its okay; you’ll never be forgotten.

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Diane December 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm

So sorry about Scout. We sure miss our little apricot poodle Heidi. What a wonderful dog. I
wish I could hug her again. She was so sweet.. and my pal. It doesn’t get easier and you don’t
forget, but remembering the good times and their sweet faces sure helps. Have a nice holiday.

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Del Smith March 14, 2013 at 10:30 am

We lost our beloved Sheltie, Bonny, 12 years ago and will never forget her or stop loving her. During her long and happy life, she gave us almost 17 years of joy. We were so proud of her for her sweet ways and beauty. She had the loveliest face and kindest eyes of any dog I’ve ever seen. We will soon leave our home where she and her cat sisters are buried, and I will miss seeing their resting places every day. However, I will always remember my beloved little souls with a smile and deep gratitude for the fun we all had together for so many years.

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Gravecb7 January 25, 2014 at 10:39 pm

I just lost the best Rottweiler I ever had on Jan 24,2014 I was crying on the way to the vet and as I I watched her just laying there helpless on the floor it hurt me so much we had to put her down because she wouldn’t walk anymore and eat she lost a lot weight and became very weak I’m crying as I write this I’m so sad

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