A Late Best Friend

Scout was a crazy, deranged, lunatic dog that I loved with all of my heart. Although his time on earth was short, his impact in my life was big. The day we picked him up seems like yesterday, and so does the day he died. I still think about him a lot, and so does the rest of my family. He was a crazy dog that made our lives both more difficult and more fun. In Scout’s mind the whole world revolved around him, and he wasn’t ever going to step off his throne.

Scout was a little more of a handful than we bargained for. He was a Hungarian Vizsla, which we had read were very energetic. Scout was more than energetic. He was insane. He would run around our backyard for most of the day. Every so often we were greeted at the door with one of Scout’s prey. Before we got him we knew he was a hunting dog and that this would happen. What we didn’t appreciate about this was that the animals didn’t always have their heads. Scout was also very picky. He didn’t like eating certain things. We always give our dogs table scraps, but Scout would only accept if he approved. Anything salty was out of the question, and vegetables seem to make his stomach upset. He didn’t appreciate when people sat in his chair. He would make a strange noise from the back of his throat, it was almost a growl but not quite. My dad didn’t appreciate when he did this. My dad didn’t appreciate him much at all. They seemed to always be fighting, and whenever Scout lost he went to my mom for support. My mom would always be there to give him just that.

When Scout first became sick we didn’t know what was wrong with him. The vet kept changing the diagnosis, and each time it got worse. The last diagnosis we got was for myasthenia gravis. His mouth was foaming constantly, and he was becoming weaker every second. He wasn’t running around like he used to. He wasn’t chasing any squirrel he saw. He wasn’t doing any of the crazy things that made him Scout. I was scared for him. My dad had taken him to an emergency animal hospital about an hour away in Libertyville. By then we had known that things were really bad, and that he probably wasn’t going to make it. That was confirmed when the next morning my dad got a call from the hospital. He was so sick that there would not be time for us to drive up to say good-bye. We had to approve putting him to sleep right away.

I clearly remember the day we picked Scout up. The ride to the Winnebago, IL breeder had been long, and my growing impatience was almost painful. The excitement of getting a new dog had been filling me up for the past eight weeks, and I felt like I was about to pop. We had decided a few days before to name him “Scout.” Personally, I liked the name Rusty, but as usual I was outvoted. I was talking with one of my sisters when I spotted the sign for Busch Farms. I don’t think I had ever been more excited in my life. When we opened the door of the house we were greeted by three adorable puppies, each with a different color collar. The breeder said it was “obvious” which of the three was the best dog, but none of us could see any differences. I didn’t want to have to choose among them, and would have been perfectly happy taking all three home with us, but I knew it had to be done. After about a half-hour of going back and forth in our discussions within our family, and after taking each puppy for a short walk, we finally picked the “red collar puppy.” I don’t know why we chose Scout, and I sometimes wonder if his two brothers (with blue and silver collars) that we left at the breeder’s house that day are still alive and healthy (they would be only seven years old), but I would still never take back our pick. Three years were all we would have with Scout. That was not enough time, but it was more than enough to know that no dog will ever take his special place in our lives.





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