this past June 10 was a huge milestone for Marianne’s gentle and dignified lady lab, Scout…she reached her 13th birthday! pretty amazing for a dog that was given a diagnosis 4 years earlier that she wouldn’t survive a few more months.
over their 13 and a half years together, Marianne and Scout grew their pack to include: one man, three kids and two more dogs (forming the perfect trio of labs).
i had the pleasure of meeting all of them in the fall of 2012 and was lucky enough to have spent time with them again this fall to capture their 2013 holiday card. always a pleasure to spend time with their vivacious and loving family.
sadly on Monday December 16, Scout passed away peacefully at home with her family and lab sisters at her side, nuzzling her muzzle for one last time.
my heart goes out to you, Marianne and your beautiful family. Scout was the luckiest of dogs…not only to be loved, but to be understood down to her very soul by you. thank you for allowing me to share your beautiful and befitting tribute (below) to your lovely Scout:
“Tonight, I said goodbye to my first dog, Scout; one of my best and most loyal friends.
puppy Scout. courtesy of Marianne Policelli, 2000.
Thirteen and a half years ago, the woman who owned Scout’s mother placed a big, brown puppy in my arms and said, “Your life will never be the same.”
Scout was a ‘tomboy’. She could never be a “Molly” or a “Daisy”, so I named her for my favourite tomboy in literature. Thanks, Harper Lee.
Scout was highly intuitive, and deeply loving. When we lived on Vancouver Island, we visited a seniors’ home in Sidney. We did this every Tuesday for “Snuggle a Pet Day”, as Scout and Summer were registered therapy dogs in B.C. The other doggies were shih tzus, bichons and poodles; small, sweet and hypo-allergenic. Scout seemed out-of-place: a gentle bear among wee lambs.
The residents loved her. They’d say, “Hi, Scout!” Every week, one or more of them would invariably turn to me and say, “And, what’s your name, dear?”, even though I’d been visiting with the lab duo for half a year. It still makes me chuckle.
One day, I took Scout alone. I noticed a man, sitting well outside the circle of ‘regulars’. He was frail and small, hunched over in his chair, his head parallel to the floor. He didn’t seem to want to be part of the goings-on, so I stayed clear. But Scout would have none of that. She tugged me toward him. She rarely pulled on leash, and I had to pull her back. She yanked harder, and won. I hastily prepared an apology, but she plunked her anvil head down on the man’s lap. He took it in his frail hands, and stroked her muzzle. “Ahh, yes,” he said, “Finally. A REAL dog.” As an avid hunter and angler, Laurence had owned many ‘bird dogs’ in his life, he told me, and the thing he missed most about living in “a home” was not being able to have a dog. He wasn’t fond of small dogs. He’d seen me on other Tuesdays with my labs, and hoped he could meet Scout, who reminded him of one of his favourite dogs. We visited Laurence every week after that, until the dogs and I returned to Ontario in ’04.
Scout was a stubborn Alpha bitch, a food fanatic, and a lovely old soul.
She adored people, her pack, and (hopefully) her life with me, Stefano, and the raft of little kids that followed.
I took her for a drive on Monday evening, past dusk…just the two of us, like in the early days, and i pulled over on a street full of Christmas lights…i asked her, “What should I do, Scoutie? What should i do for you? Tell me, Scoutie.”… and she leaned wayyyy over and licked my chin and looked at me with so much pain in her eyes…she told me…i listened.
The vet came to our house..Scout passed away with all of us around her, lots of love and tears. Summer and Snooker (her sister labs) actually came over and nuzzled her muzzle one at a time after she died…it was a wildlife (elephant-like) moment i will never forget.
It gives me peace to say that Scout died as she lived: gently, quietly and with dignity. We laid her to rest on Tuesday morning in my country garden.
Run free, my girl. You have many friends where you’re going. I’ll meet you there, one day, with cookies.”
(Scout and family photographed at home on October 26, 2012)