Scruffy



Goodbye Scruffy
October 16, 2002
We have lost a family member,
A good and loyal friend.
A final act of kindness brought
His struggle to an end.

We couldn't bear to watch his pain.
We saw the cancer winning.
The time had come to say farewell
Our pain is now beginning.

You might believe you'll be okay
To watch your loved one die.
You hold it all together 'til
You say the word "Goodbye".

Life has tough decisions
We must make without regret.
I will miss my loyal confidant,
My backyard pal, my pet.

Scruffy was known by many nicknames: "The Scruffster", "Scruffaluffagus", "Houndini"; "Mutt Butt"; "Sweet Bottom" and sometimes "That @#$% Dog!!". He could be a pain in the neck at times, but we loved him dearly. He presented us with many challenges, which we would laughingly refer to as "The Scruffy Enigma".

Scruffy was a freedom-loving dog. He routinely made his escape from fences and garages, broke free of chain and harness and took electrical shocks from running through the invisible fence. One day he got out of the yard when we weren't home and the dog catcher chased him down . We don't know what happened, but they put him back in his yard and he never wanted to leave the safety of his yard again.

Scruffy was one tough customer: He unraveled ordinary chain link with his teeth. He chewed on rocks as if they were chew toys. He devoured a soccer ball once, and some pink vinyl shoes, and yet he lived. (The soccer ball required some surgical assistance).

Scruffy could be downright scary to strangers. He had a growl three times his actual size. He once grabbed and held the arm of a man who unwittingly reached out towards my wife. The only thing Scruffy was afraid of was "Thunder Dog". Whenever a storm would come up, he wanted to be in one place, and one place only: under the bed. This was a problem for Scruffy because he was not allowed inside the house. I spent many hours repairing window frames, door frames and screening because Scruffy had decided he needeed to come in. We lived in a house once that vented the clothes dryer to the carport, which had been built-in to a garage. When a storm came up one day, Scruffy tore the metal vent out of the wall and stuck his head through the hole. Safe at last! We finally bought a large pet porter to put him in during stormy weather. At the first sound of thunder, he promptly tore the door off. I ended up bolting a section of thick sheet metal to the door and running a thick steel rod along the latch so he couldn't get a grip on it with his powerful jaws.

Scruffy was a good student. He enjoyed learning and following his commands. He learned: "Come", "Stay", "Heel", "Sit", "Lie down", "Roll over", "Shake", "Fetch", "Speak" and "Drop it". That last command was added after I heard a story about a dog that retrieved a live stick of dynamite. Not a happy ending to that one.

More than anything else, Scruffy loved "The Ball". He would vigorously chase down the ball, strut around proudly showing off his prize, and then bring it to you so you could take it away from him. He would let you, of course, and then you had to throw it again.. If you and Scruffy were going for the ball at the same time it was best to let Scruffy win. I would hide the ball inside a snowman, put it in a bowl of water and even turned his bowl over and hid the ball under it. It might take him a few minutes, but he always figured it out. If I jammed the ball into the fork of a tree over his head he would sit there barking and staring at it. If it wasn't for the barking I might not have needed to repair all that fencing for I am quite sure he would have sat there indefinitely.

Scruffy was an affectionate fellow. He always had time for TLC. Even when he was full grown he still wanted to climb into your lap. He also loved his baths. He was willing to suffer the indignity of the water for the ecstasy of the warm, dry towel. He became a wriggly puppy all over and would bite at the towel.

Uncle Lloyd came for several weeks one summer, and he adopted Scruffy as his personal. companion while I was at work. He said Scruffy was a "splendid dog". Lloyd had dug a hole in the yard while working on a project and he turned around to see Scruffy's rear sticking out of the hole. He watched as Scruffy was apparently locked in some sort of struggle at the bottom of the hole. Suddnely, up he pops with a section of tree root held proudly in his teeth. Good boy!!!

We noticed a lump on Scruffy's nose early this year, and took him to the vet. They took a biopsy and diagnosed it as nasal cancer. They said that even if we opted for surgery or chemotherapy, it would not extend his life significantly. He was almost fourteen years old, and the cost of the treatment was simply too high. After a time of watching the devastating effects of the tumor on our friend, he stopped eating. I was not going to allow him to starve to death. That was the turning point for Scruffy, and now we have these, and many other, fond memories of our furry little four-legged security system.

He served us well and we will never forget him.

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