This afternoon, I lost the best friend I’ve ever had.

In June of 1998, I walked into my parents’ living room with what my dad referred to as “a little ol’ double-handful of dog.”

That little ol’ double-handful of dog grew into a hilarious, exasperating, adorable, maddening, willful, clever, disobedient, and utterly brilliant rat terrier who would spend the next 10 years and nine months by my side (or, more often, somewhere behind or ahead of me, sniffing something interesting or barking at a stranger).

During that time, Scout had her own business card …


… discovered the magic that is Ted Drewes’ Frozen Custard …


… stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona …


… ate dead chicken and cheeseburgers with cheese at the Snow-Cap …


… and, through her Web site, became a kind of unofficial four-legged ambassador for Route 66.


Scout drove me crazy. She could be hard-headed beyond belief, and she went through about a three-year phase in which she solved all her problems with her teeth. My standard line, when anyone asked about her, was, “I wouldn’t wish her on my worst enemy, but I wouldn’t trade her for anything, either.”

And I wouldn’t.

The common belief is that Scout was a dog. This is a misconception. In point of fact, Scout was a very short person in a fur coat.

She is the only dog I have ever known who had sense enough to use her paw to extract peanut butter from the bottom of a jar. She’s the only dog I’ve ever seen watch a greyhound run and then copy his movements in an attempt to improve her own technique. And she’s the only dog I’ve ever known who recognized the sound of the ice-cream truck (and wouldn’t look at me all afternoon if I let it go by without dashing out to buy something nice for her).

Last November, Scout went to the vet to have her teeth cleaned. She came home with a scary diagnosis. She — and we — spent the next three and a half months fighting it, but she slipped away from us this afternoon.

On a bright morning not many days from now, we will take her on one final road trip down Route 66. At the end of our journey, we will climb a certain mesa overlooking a certain town, and we will let the high desert wind carry her ashes out into the New Mexico sky and over the road where we had so many adventures together.

Travel well, little Monster. Stay out of the cockleburs. And be careful with my heart. You’re carrying most of it with you. Try not to make a chew toy out of it, hey?


15 thoughts on “Anguish”

  1. Thanks, Mom. Scout is probably as close as I’ll ever come to having a daughter. When she was healthy, I was always on her to quit barking so much … but the house is much, much too quiet without her.

    Two things I found oddly reassuring today: First, Dr. Hallman said a little prayer for Scout and for us before he gave her the first shot. Very classy, very sweet, and very much needed at that moment. Second, after they gave Scout the first shot (a strong anaesthetic), she snored softly until Dr. Hallman returned to give her the second shot. I knew the first shot would make her sleep, but I didn’t know she would actually snore. I don’t know why that made me feel better, but it did.

  2. oh Emily (and Ron)
    I am so sad for you and send you big (((hugs))) … as you know … i lost our little Max recently and the pain is so strong. They really become part of our families and our hearts. Thinking of you.

  3. I’m sorry to hear about Scout’s passing. I remember all the great stories you told about her as she grew up. She definitely had a personality. I only met Scout a few times, but it was hard not to love her.

  4. Oh Emily, I’m so sorry! Scout was just the coolest dog (I mean … part person, part dog). My fondest memory will be watching her balance stuff on her head until told she could whip it in the air and catch it in her mouth. Unless, of course, the substance stuck to her head. 🙂

  5. I am so sorry. I lost my good girl last Thanksgiving and the pain is still intense. You gave a wonderful description of your furbaby and the love you had for her is clear. You gave her a wonderful life. Again, my sympathies.

  6. What a beautiful & loving tribute. I felt your loss & wept with you. The love that our animal companions bring to share heals and teaches us so much–the loss is great indeed.

  7. I’m so sorry, Emily. Scout was a singular dog. I love that you taught her to breakdance. It hurts so much to lose a pet you love so deeply, especially when they’re still young. I lost my beloved dog Juliet back in college when she was 9. She had congestive heart failure. It broke my heart. I hope you’re finding a way to cope. If you ever need a basket of small dogs to cheer you up (it’s even expanded at this point!), I can arrange something.

  8. We’re so sorry, Em. I still remember pulling the night shift with her several times on the couch in Mom and Dad’s old house when you first got her and she wasn’t paper trained. She was so teensy then. My favorite memory of Scout will always be the way she freaked out the night I slept on your couch and woke up disoriented when Ron came home from work and started screaming my head off and Scout was so confused she didn’t know if she was supposed to be afraid of Ron, who’d just come in the door, or me, who she’d been snoozing on for several hours, so she just started running around in circles and barking at herself. Heehee! I bet Ron will never forget that night either! 🙂

  9. I am so sorry for the loss of your family member. I could always tell how much Scout meant to you in your posts.

    My best non-human buddy is a cat, not a dog, but I do understand how it feels to lose someone you love. Shadow left us not all that long ago, and my husband and I were devastated.

    Peace be with you.


  10. What a beautiful tribute to your baby. So very sorry for your loss. I’m going to go hug my little jack russell Bill, a small person in doggy suit, a dog so smart, so frustrating and persistent, so charming and loving, I can’t imagine life without him.

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