Scarlett joined our family in October 2010. She joined two other dogs, 2 cats, and 2 rabbits.
Darling Husband said, “We don’t need a third dog.”
And that was probably true.
But we needed THIS dog.
We’d dog-sat for her before. She was so calm. At night, she curled up into a tiny ball (that seemed much too small to be comfortable for a dog her size), went to sleep, and didn’t make a sound until morning. I gushed when our friends (her owners) came to pick her up, about how good she was. And we’d be happy to watch her ANYTIME. Cause I LOOOVED her! She had the most beautiful brindle colored coat. And she had the softest ears I’ve ever felt on a dog.
When our friends could no longer keep Scarlett… they thought of me first, and asked if we’d be interested in giving her a new home! And I was! Darling Husband took some time to convince, but agreed on a trial week to see if it would work.
When I went to pick Scarlett up, (or maybe they dropped her off, I can’t remember now) our friends also gave us her chair… a really pretty chair, that matched our house… and was Scarlett’s to sit in whenever she wanted. We got her all set up and the first thing she did was curl up in the chair.
This dog was more of a third cat, than our third cat (we got HIM a few months later) would be! She was so quiet and calm.
Scarlett never got a song, but she was nicknamed “deer-face” because she had a very doe-like face and she was timid at first.
She had a few quirks that weren’t immediately evident. Eventually we would find out Scarlett HATED thunder. or lightning. or fireworks. HATED. The poor thing could hear thunder before we even knew a storm was coming. Her whole body would just shake… and the only thing that seemed to help was to be in the same room with someone. I still remember one storm that started during the night, and all of a sudden, Scarlett was on our bed… trying to sit on my face. (Trying to get as close as she could.)
She liked carpet. And so she licked it. And licked it. Until carpet pieces started coming out, leaving a hole down to the mesh backing. (Not sure what the official word for that is…) There are currently three “Scarlett holes” in our living room/hallway area. All about the size of a silver dollar.
She loved squirrels, rabbits, and birds… but mostly squirrels. She would stand under a tree and just bark until someone would go get her.
She hardly barked at all in the house… but on walks, she would pull, jump around, and bark at anything and everything. She always seemed so young on our walks… even as the years went on.
She never licked our hands or us… unless it was by accident and there was a treat involved.
And after a bath… she would RACE around the house. Think bucking bronco meets playful puppy. It was the most excited she ever got in the house…. and it always made me laugh!
We did the math with our friends, when they gave us Scarlett… we THINK she was around 7 years old. She always had a bit of white on her face, which made a lot of strangers comment on our “old girl”, but 7 isn’t so old.
If she was, in fact, 7 when we got her… then in October of 2015 she was around 12. She’d already begun to slow down… and math alone told us she’s be the first of our dogs to pass. She had started to lose a bit of weight and slow down a bit more… but everything else seemed ok.
I went out of town during the first week of December. I got back on December 6. The next day, I asked Darling Husband if he’d noticed that Scarlett wasn’t acting normal while I was gone. He hadn’t. But I knew something was up. She kinda chose one spot and didn’t really leave it most of the day. She’d eat and go outside to go to the bathroom… but other than that… she’d just sleep. And WHERE she would choose to sleep was unusual for her too. We’ve since gotten rid of the chair, and she had a nice, plush dog bed by the fireplace in the living room. When she slept, it was usually there. And she wasn’t sleeping there. She was choosing a weird spot in the middle of our hallway.
She wasn’t in any pain that we could tell, and she was eating and going outside to use the bathroom without issue… so I wasn’t overly concerned. But I knew something was up. And began to wonder if this was “the end”. My gut told me we were close.
But it didn’t help that, during this week, my older daughter was up for two nights with a fever that turned into chicken pox (we’d vaccinated her and it was a mild case, but I was more concerned about our younger daughter who was still 3 months away from being old enough for HER vaccine), and my baby was cutting 4, yes FOUR, of her first teeth at once. So I wasn’t sleeping at all. When that kind of sleep deprivation happens and you go into survival mode. A sleepy dog who seemed otherwise normal, didn’t set off any alarms… but by the evening of December 12 I knew something was wrong when Scarlett was walking to get water and her legs gave out and she collapsed.
Scared me to death.
But she was ok…. slow to get up and shaky after that.
December 13th is Darling Husband’s birthday… and we spent the day taking pictures with Scarlett and saying our good-byes. We had a vet appt scheduled for the next morning… she had collapsed a couple more times that day. We hoped to be surprised and the vet could recommend an easy treatment. But we just… knew.
That night, Darling Husband went to the store and bought some nice canned dog food. Our dogs only get dry food, with few exceptions. When I saw the cans, I teared up a bit. He’d been thoughtful to bring something tasty for her last meal. Which our older daughter served her the next morning. (One of her first chores was giving Scarlett her food… which speaks to how gentle this dog truly was.)
One of the hardest things for me to do was not be there. I couldn’t take my contagious child with me, and I couldn’t do the hard thing (if that was what was needed)… alone. So Darling Husband went without me, and put me on speaker for the vet consult and through the entire process.
Basically… they couldn’t say exactly what was wrong. She had pain in her stomach (that we didn’t know about) and her pulse was so weak, the vet could hardly believe she was alive. The low blood pressure is probably what caused her to collapse… and she was old.
Darling Husband let me listen while he told Scarlett what a good dog she was…. she fell asleep, and then she was gone.
I knew she would be missed. But I didn’t expect to be be suddenly surprised she was gone again and again. She was just so quiet most of the time… it kinda felt like she was still here. And then the fire would pop in the fireplace, and I’d instinctively looked around to tell her it was ok. Or I’d go to vacuum, and be ready to comfort her. After the girls are in bed, sometimes I putter around the living room (read, do projects, etc.) and as it would get later, Scarlett used to do this very sleepy/dramatic sigh. Even now, MONTHS later… I can still hear her in my head when it is dark in the living room…
And I wasn’t ready for my older daughter (2.5 years) to ask often “Where is Scarlett? I miss her.” I certainly wasn’t ready to explain death yet. But, there you go.
Scarlett was so, SO loved. And is SO missed. We are so grateful to have gotten 5 years with her.
Though, no amount of time is ever “enough”…