There are no amount of words that can be written to describe the feeling, beyond the title.
All consuming grief that has taken over my heart, my mind, my ambition, my plans, my status quo, my future and my every moment. Not just my waking moments, but the ones in between. The comfort that sleep can bring is null and void. When I can sleep, which has not been often, my dreams and thoughts have been filled with memories. Sweet, kind, lovely memories that bring tears and pain to my reality.
Scoop was the best damn dog that ever lived, and now he no longer lives. It seems a cruel injustice that such an amazing and wonderful dog spent so much of the last years of his life unwell. He had a really healthy and care free start to his life with us, and the last 3 years or so have been very trying. He went through two surgeries to remove mass cell tumors, one claiming his glorious (and curly) tail along the way. He underwent chemotherapy treatments, succumbed to diabetes (which he lived with, healthily for the last few years), and in January had an incident that had left him altered for the rest of his days. It took over a week of emergency room visits, seizures and more to determine what was wrong with our little buddy at the beginning of the year: his blood was not clotting, and he had been bleeding internally. This was causing his symptoms to seem “neurological” (because of blood in his brain), and as a result he ended up staying further hospitalized, and needing several plasma transfusions to save his life. Since this horrible incident, he never recovered his personality or his health fully.
While we were away on an amazing vacation in Europe, our life was falling apart back home as Scoop was slowly marching on his path. When we returned from our trip, we had to take Scoop in to be hospitalized after he got into some garbage/old food from an unknown source and become so unwell that his diabetes was thrown out of whack, causing disastrous high blood sugar. Perhaps this played into his passing, but the truth is he was actually on the mend the day he died.
The last time we say him was around 1:00 PM on June 12th. We visited him at the hospital on Aaron’s lunch break, and we took him for a walk and told him how much we loved him. We gave him hugs and kisses, and told him how excited Ellie was going to be that he was coming home! (She’s his best friend and little sister as of January 2018) The nurse said they would call us before end of day, and we could probably take him home since he was doing so much better.
Around 3:30 PM I got the call from the hospital. I was in the middle of a cognitive assessment for a job I was applying for when I answered. I had no notion that something bad might have happened, but I was quickly in a spiral with the doctors distress and dismay. They were in shock. I was in shock. Scoop had collapsed in his kennel, and passed away very quickly.
Perhaps a heart attack, maybe an aneurism, possibly a stroke. They aren’t sure what happened to him. But he passed suddenly, and there was nothing to be done.
I like to think it’s better this way. It’s better that he didn’t have to suffer on with his afflictions, and that it wasn’t in a drawn out and painful way. I like to think he was glad he got to see us, and we were all happy together before he had to go.
I’d like to think it’s gonna get easier, and I really hope it will, but for now it’s just awful. We’re just in so much pain. We’re living with so much regret, though we know we did everything we could for him. Everything he ever needed was our top priority. Unfortunately, sometimes things happen outside of your control and all you can do its process it.
So, that’s what we’re doing now. We’re processing our loss, remembering our beloved dog, and manifesting happiness in our lives. It’s not easy, and at times it seems impossible, but we’re doing it together. And, you know what? It’s what Scoop would want for us.
So, part of our process is remembering all the happy and ridiculous times we had with our little buddy – our baby – over the last ten years of our lives together.
When it was the dawn of finals week in 2008, I was walking through campus towards a friends dorm room when I saw him: a little puppy wandering the road/parking lot area near the dorm. A large truck was honking at him to get out of the way, which startled the pup and enraged me (I was a very feisty young woman), so I of course began yelling at the truck and coaxing the puppy towards me. We locked eyes, and he ran straight over to me at full speed and leapt into my arms. Scoop was always a jumper, very agile. I immediately began texting all of my friends to come and see the puppy. He quickly became the center of all our hearts.
We looked for his owners; walked through adjacent neighborhoods, checked on the newspaper boards and such. But, the truth is, we didn’t look too hard. We knew we wanted to keep him. We weren’t sure what kind of life we could give him, or how we could even work it out, but we knew he was sent there to be apart of our family.
So, we kept him in our dorm illegally and fed him turkey from the cafeteria. We decided to move off campus the next semester, together, to be a family (which our families were NOT in support of). We decided we loved each other enough, and that we had some extra love to share with this sweet dog – and Scoop became the center of our lives, and a staple at our college for the next several years.
We weren’t always the “best parents” to him. He escaped and went on adventures, a lot. A. Lot. Our friends weren’t the most careful with closing doors, or keeping an eye on him if we weren’t around….hell, we weren’t the best at it either. I spent many a night walking up and down the blocks yelling “Scoop!”, but he always came home. He always made it back. We mostly kept him off leash, as our campus was very outdoorsy. He had fields and trails and acres on acres to run loose in. We’d go on hikes and let him explore on his own, knowing he’d always come back. And he did.
He had a good life there, and he had a good life here – in Austin, TX, where we’ve lived for the last 6 years. He’s made so many friends, had a brother and a sister, and a huge extended family that loves and cares for him deeply. He had the best Nana he could ask for, and she always watched over and loved him when we couldn’t. The outpouring of love for Scoop we have received has been so heartfelt and genuine that it does help tremendously.
He was so special, and anyone that was lucky enough to meet him knew it.
So, cheers to the best dog I ever knew, and cheers to all the lives he managed to touch over the years. I hope you all hold some sweet and kind memories of him in your heart, because I know we do.
The void in my heart will never be filled, but it will scar over and become covered in vines and flowers and develop into a fertile soil where I can let other love flourish on the foundation that he built. He will never be replaced, but he will always be remembered by so many people.
I’ll never forget how he took the leap (literally) into our lives, and how it shaped me as a person over the last decade. To say we wouldn’t be the same without him is a massive understatement. He helped me grow and mature and develop a deeper sense of love and responsibility, and he taught me that I will be an amazing mother one day, because I already was. You don’t just find dogs like that, but if you’re lucky, they’ll find you.
Morgan Messick is a Pop-Culture fanatic, Podcast Host, Booktuber & total #BookBabe living in Austin, TX with her Husband and two dogs — Scoop & Eleanor. She aspires to grow her #TBR pile, do all of the hiking, travel as often as possible and make a joke at every turn. She utilizes laughter and yoga for daily medicine, thinks that Harry Potter is magic for all ages, and truly believes Die Hard is a great Christmas movie (SO DEAL WITH IT.)
Catch her musings here, and around the web — links in the “about” page!