Thursday, June 28, 2012

Scout It Out, Old Boy!

As a professional dog trainer, I come to know many of my canine clients and their owners in the most intimate of ways. Together, we travel on a journey called understanding and growth. Scout's journey came to an end today. Hemangiosarcoma, the dreadful cancer - common to the Labrador - that took my Bailey Burgan just 375 days ago, claimed another canine life. I know all too well the steps that Scout's faithful owners took, today, to give him the most peaceful exit to this life and most beautiful entrance to his next life. And I remember all too well Scout's owners holding me through Bailey's most critical moments...talking me through the night. Holding me through what I didn't know would become the end.

Really, over time, each of these dogs takes hold of a special place within my heart. Then, when it is time to let go, each takes a piece of my heart with them. This dog, however, will take a piece of my soul. He is quite possibly the most inspiring dog I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Surely, one of the best "books" I've ever had the opportunity to read.

For the last two and a half years, I've  worked with Scout weekly. He's anything but graceful. Old, arthritic, blind and losing his hearing but with a brilliant Labrador zest for life and desire to live, learn and earn! He likely taught me more than I could have ever taught him. Scout role modeled perseverance and tenacity. He exuded bravery. He taught me to always, always, always get up after falling down and to do so with a smile. He always found something...anything to be happy about, even throughout rounds of chemotherapy. Correction. He always found something to be THRILLED about! This is a dog that never gave up on anything or the possibility of everything!

Scout taught me, too, to always carry a spare set of pants with me. As one of six dogs (but the only blind canine), he apparently decided that there was NO WAY that anyone was getting the liver treats from my pocket but him and him only. The only problem was that he, um, he took my whole pocket. In a split second "said pocket" was gone! of my pants leaving a gaping hole of bare KB skin. He promised he didn't "see" anything! Yeah, KBDT Outdoor Adventures was, in fact, rather adventurous that day! Note to self: add spare set of clothing to training bag in the future!

Who needs eyesight when you are a dog with such vision?

My dear Scout, for 14 years, you faithfully brought peace, joy, comfort and inspiration to others, it is now time to go find your own. Go "see" again. Go "hear" again. Go "run" again, without pain, without tripping, without bumping, without falling. May the scent of lavender provide you with an endless olfactory memory of retrieval games with your mommy and daddy that loved you and gave you everything, always...and then some. Go chase lizards with my Bailey. Swim with her, for miles, and return to dry land to shake it off and then find Mr. Mannix, again. Take in his scent, for all of us, and just "be" all that is you! Scout it out for us, old boy, and we'll see you again someday!

In loving memory of Scout.
He knew joy. He knew life. He KNEW life ♥
September 6, 1998 - June 28, 2012
It has been said, that it is a fearful thing to love what death can touch. I get that. But, with a deep breath...and without fear, I'll say that after seven years of watching this amazing creature, learning from him, and at times drawing strength from him, I would not have had it any other way. We love big and we lose big...but we love!

My deepest condolences to Scout's family, both human and canine. I remember with you. I sit with you. With love and so much gratitude, Kimberly