May 16, 2021

I had to put Scout down on Friday. I’m still in shock. It all happened so quickly. Which, looking back, was how it had to happen. 

I thought I would be dropping him off for his vet visit and then boarding. We were leaving for Wisconsin Saturday morning and I knew timing would be tight and the morning chaos would take precedence over everything. 

He’s had a cold for a few weeks. 

The last time I boarded him, at the end of April, he also saw the vet. He had a runny nose and some congestion, which the vet thought could be some sort of infection or a cold. 

So, he went on antibiotics. When it didn’t seem those were working, he suggested stronger antibiotics. He mentioned something about a possible tumor, but I didn’t consider it. 

I couldn’t.

I was home in Wisconsin for my dad’s celebration of life. I was knee deep in grief already, struggling to put one foot in front of the other. 

No. There would be no tumor talk. Not today. 

I agreed to the stronger antibiotics. 

I came home and picked him up a few days later. He still had his cold and his nose was still runny, but he also still had another week left of his antibiotics. 

They just haven’t kicked in, I thought. We need more time. 

Scout sneezed and wheezed through that next week. He went a full day without eating, and I freaked. I went to bed knowing that if he didn’t eat the next morning, I had to go to the ER. 

But, the next morning he had pep in his step. He seemed to be on the mend. He scarfed down deli meat and even wanted to play. 

As the next week passed, his energy waned. 

The mucous from his nose got worse, too. I tried to wipe it, but he wasn’t having it. Just like the kiddos, I thought. No one likes to have his nose wiped. 

He slept all day, but that wasn’t necessarily out of the ordinary. He couldn’t make it up the stairs anymore, his little joints wracked with arthritis and his hips as wobbly as ever. 

He almost couldn’t stand to bear the weight of his tiny frame. His 6 pounds might as well have been 30. 

Still, I couldn’t see it. 

I didn’t want to. 

Friday came, and it was time to get ready for our Wisconsin adventure. We were heading to northern Wisconsin to visit family. We were looking forward to connecting and unplugging.

I knew I had to talk with the vet again, before checking Scout in to board. 

We headed to the vet. I told him what I was seeing – that even after the round of antibiotics, he wasn’t getting better. And, he seemed to be getting worse. The tech came to the car to get Scout. COVID precautions. I stayed in the car. Waiting.

The doc called me after 10 minutes. 

“He’s gotten progressively worse since I saw him a few weeks ago. His breathing is labored, his lungs are filling with fluid. And since we know it’s not a cold, my best guess is that he has a mass or tumor obstructing his airway. We could scope him, but I’m not sure he would make it through that. And that would just be diagnostic. You and I both know we’re out of medical options.”

My breath caught in my throat. 

“I…I-I-I know. I just, I don’t know, I mean, my dad just passed away and I’m…I don’t…” I stammered.

“I’m so sorry.” He said. 


“I know it’s time. I know. It’s just…I’m not…I know I’m being selfish.” I said. 

I couldn’t think. I had to make a decision. 

We talked it through. He’d treated Scout for the last 8 years. He assured me that I’d given Scout a good life. Almost 18 years. 

“When do you get back?” he asked. 

“Tuesday,” I said.

“I can’t assure you that he would be able to hold out until then. We would make him as comfortable as possible. But I can’t promise anything, especially knowing how much he’s worse he’s gotten in the past few days.”

I felt a weight in the center of my chest. My throat tightened. Tears burned my eyes.

It was time. 

I finally accepted what everyone around me could already see: it was time to let my boy go. Time to put an end to his struggles. 

From there, it was a whirlwind. 

The bereavement room. My boy, a catheter in his teeny tiny vein in his teeny tiny leg, wrapped in bright red tape. A fleece blanket. A nurse with kind eyes. The vet, solemn and steady. 

And Scout. 

It happened so quickly. First, the anesthesia. Then, the fluid that made his cloudy eyes heavy, his frail body go limp. 

With my nose to his, I told him how much I loved him and how proud I was to grow right alongside him for 18 years. 

I wept. 

The vet put a stethoscope to his heart. 

“He’s passed,” he whispered. 

He’s passed, I thought to myself. 

He’s past.

My dog of 18 years. My companion. The only other being who was along to witness my entire adult life. My sidekick. My best friend. 

In that precise moment, he became my past. 

I walked into the vet with my pup and I left with 18 years of memories.

As always, I turned to my brother for guidance.

“He had a great life with you. You had him for 18 years, “ he said, in an attempt to comfort me and remind me that I got out all the life that I could out of that little guy. 

“Is that supposed to make it easier or harder?” I asked.

“Hmm. Harder.” He said quietly.

In a cruel twist of fate, I lost my dad and my dog of 18 years within just 2 months of each other. 

My two anchors. 

I don’t have a tidy ending to this story. The ends are loose and frayed.

I know that eventually the sharp edge of grief will become a dull ache. I know my heart will survive this break and keep beating.

Right now, though, I’m torn apart by the fucking grief.

  1. Jamie says:

    I’m so sorry. It’s cruel how long and short a dogs life is – long enough that they become a part of us, but short enough that we have to say goodbye. You can never be ready for it. Sending love.

  2. Meech Brikshavana says:

    I’m sobbing as I read this. It’s just too much. I’m so sorry for both your losses. I can only imagine how hard this time must be for you. Let yourself feel all the things. XOXO

  3. allison says:

    ugh full on tears right now. My heart aches for you. I am so sorry. I lost my father when I was 10, (43 years ago) the pain has subsided but the grief of what I could have had is still there. The loss of your sweet dog so close to the loss of your father, I can not imagine. one foot in front of the other, seriously one day at a time, all the cliches but seriously, give yourself the time, feel all the feelings and just breath. your beautiful family and the love that surrounds you will for sure help. Thinking of you….

  4. Gabrielle says:

    My heart aches right along with yours. I understand too well the agony you are enduring. My own pup had to be helped out of a painful life last September and I still cry every day, for him as well as for the Mom I lost only three years ago. I am so sorry. Please know that grieving is perfectly okay. Cry as often as you want to and ask for the support and understanding you need.

  5. Dawn says:

    I am so sorry for all the loss you’ve had to deal with all in a row. ❤️❤️ I cried reading this! It’s never an easy decision to make. Sending you lots of love.

  6. V says:

    I’m truly very sorry for your loss Suzanne. It’s never easy losing someone you love….let alone two in such close proximity. I lost Bella (my Chihuahua) 2 years ago…and it still hurts. I am in a much better place now….but when the wounds are fresh it feels like the pain will never end. Though it may not feel like it now…you will get through this. As some of the others commented….cry …let the tears run…that’s how we process losing someone we love. Mourning is a part of life that we all will face at one point or another in our lives…but each time we are faced with it…we are never prepared. May God give you the strength to get through this difficult time???

  7. Jaana says:

    The heartbreak! I’m so sorry. I hope you find some peaceful moments through the grief.

  8. Tracey says:

    I burst into tears as I read this. It’s real, it’s raw & it’s so honest. I am so truly sorry for your loss and I am sending you hugs. On a personal note, I am struggling with the same brutal reality with my sweet boy soon and I just cannot come to grips with the thought of it. Our fur babies are just that and it is just so unfair; we will never have enough time with them unless it’s forever.

  9. Debbie says:

    U am so sorry Suzanne I am crying right now its so sad but I am positive you gave him a great life, it’s so sad they cant stay with us longer!! I have lost so many in my 62 years and I remember them all and hope someday I will see them all again ❤ you were very lucky to have him so long, (I know it is never long enough). Take your time but just know he would want you to be ok and happy and never forget him! ❤?

  10. Deanne Williams says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Scout’s passing. I am sure you gave him a lot of love and a great life. Hold on to your sweet memories and take your time. He would want you to be ok and happy again/ hugs to you.♥️?

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