January 1, 2002 – August 22, 2015
I got into bed at 3:30 this morning. I usually do not go to bed so late, but today was a celebratory day, but it was not a day of excitement or merry celebration. At 2:30 am I held Scamp, my miniature schnauzer, in my arms as the veterinarian administered the drugs that put him to sleep. It was a very painful decision that I had made and I had the full support of my wife who was by my side.
We got Scamp as a 9 month old puppy at the local county animal shelter. They had found him running around loose in a neighborhood some distance away and we were the first to see him and place our name on the list. When we first saw him he was brown and gray and that was how the shelter had listed him also. We were told that since he did not have an ID chip or any tags that we had to wait three days before we would be allowed to adopt him. Three days later we went to see if he had been claimed by anyone and found that he was at the vets for a little procedure, and we would be able to pick him up the following day.
We left church about 12:30 pm and got to the shelter about 1:00. This little ball of hair was ready to see someone, anyone, he was ready to go. As we walked out he did not yet have a name. A lady was passing by and said “You are such a Scamp”. It was decided there that we would call him Scamp.
When we arrived home, and as it was my wife’s custom, he got a bath. The brown started to roll down the drain. The grey got lighter and the brown became white, talk about a surprise. His eyebrows, mustache, belly and leggings were the prettiest white which was offset by the silver-gray.
Being a nine month old pup he was curious about everything. We had not had a puppy in the house for so many years (our last two dogs were older dogs when we got them) we had forgotten what it was like to have one this young. He looked everywhere, chewed on everything, and if we were not fast enough he did his business anywhere he wanted.
As a carpenter it was not unusual for me to be laid off for varying lengths of time, but this time was not the usual. The nation had suffered the blow of September 11, 2001 and now a year later construction had dried up. Money was not being lent, projects on the books were being cancelled, and those projects that did move forward were manned by employees who had been with the company for years. I went back to the companies I had work for in years past, but they had their crews and were not hiring. I was out of work for two years.
During this time I picked up small jobs to keep busy and to make some extra money, I took Scamp with me everywhere. Scamp was a traveler from day one. He was ready to go at a moment’s notice. No matter how close or how far, he wanted to go. When I was ready to go, so was Scamp. He would run out and be ready for me to open the door of the truck. Even though he was small, his legs would propel him up on the seat. I had rigged up a short leash for his safety and he would lay down next to me. We became inseparable.
After that two years I returned to work, but not in construction, but in the claims department of a health insurance company. My wife told me that Scamp would pout and be depressed all day until I got home. It was quite a while before he accepted the fact that I was no longer at home with him during day.
When I was a child my parents would not allow dogs to sleep on our bed or even in the same room. I now had a small dog, I wanted him to sleep on my bed. After a while he ended up sleeping down by my feet under the blankets between me and my wife. This became the norm through the years.
After an incident at work that caused me to retire, Scamp was happy to have me home again full-time. My wife was still his
main caregiver and took him for a walk every morning. She walked him every morning until a few months ago when she was diagnosed with a progressive disease that started to interfere with her walking. I took over walking Scamp in the morning and then in the evening before going to bed. Scamp and I could now go off and do things together again. When I went somewhere and it was too hot for him to stay in the car while I did business he had to stay home. He was not pleased and would let you know about it.
In the past year we changed churches, and now Scamp would go with us. He sat in the pew with us and he wanted his own cushion to sit/lay on. I don’t think he liked the cold, hard wood of the pew. We allowed him to go to church only once a month, but he loved going and visiting with the people. Last week was the last time he went to church. At the end of the service everyone joins hands forming a circle and we sing our closing song. Normally he just laid there and listened, but this time he sat up and joined us.
Friday morning I got up at 4:30, showered, dressed and took Scamp for a walk before I headed out to meet a friend and play a round of golf. After that I went to Forest Grove, where I picked up my niece, and brought her back to our home for a Bar-B-Que and to do some shopping for school clothes and then back out to Forest Grove.
Even though it had been a long day and I had to get up early the next morning I still needed to give Scamp his evening walk. Our walk started out uneventful, we walked our normal route and when we turned around to go home, Scamp’s excitement increased. As we were walking home he would stop and smell areas along the way as I would continue to walk. He could sense when the end of the retractable leash was near and he would run past me and find a new spot to smell ahead of me.
This happened 3 or 4 times before he stopped to smell a hedge. When he was through he needed to jump a curb. As he jumped the curb he gave a sharp yip and fell onto the asphalt driveway. I rushed back and picked him up because he was not able to stand and started to carry him home. A few minutes later he wanted down. I knelt and when I placed him on the sidewalk he fell onto his side and went into a major seizure. I petted his head with one hand and with the other stroked his chest and belly. I kept saying “Oh Scampie, Oh Scampie” over and over again. After a couple of minutes he laid quiet on the sidewalk. At first I thought I had lost him there on the sidewalk.
I again picked him up and headed for home. I stopped and called my wife and told her what had happened and that I was taking him to the Emergency Vet Hospital. When I got home, we gathered some things and drove to the hospital. After checking in, they took Scamp to the back for examination. It wasn’t long before the Doctor came out and talked to us about our options. First we could leave him overnight for observation or we could take him home. We discussed the merits and drawbacks of these options and discussed if we should continue with more tests.
After a long discussion we turned to the idea of euthanasia. I knew that he was having a hard time standing and an even worse time trying to walk. I thought about the life he had with us and what his life would be from this point forward. The doctor left us to discuss it alone. Instead I went outside and took some time to think and collect my thoughts. When I returned the receptionist offered us a room that was quiet and we could talk easier. It was better than sitting in this great big empty lobby.
After a short while the doctor came in and we gave her our decision. She went back to Scamp and prepared him. We were shown to another room that was much nicer and comfortable. The technicians brought Scamp in and laid him in my arms. We sat there talking to Scamp and as he laid there with his chin in the crook of my elbow he relaxed. He later moved to where his front paws were crossed on my arm and he laid his chin on them as if he were praying and saying I’m ready. That is where he was when he went to sleep for the last time.
I missed seeing him first thing in morning. I miss his running up and down the hallway. I miss his slapping the floor in his playing manner. I miss fixing his meals. I miss him sitting in my chair or lying next to me in bed. He was my little buddy. I will miss him more than I can imagine. Bye for now my friend, sleep well.