It's a dog's life. From puppyhood antics to the twilight years and saying goodbye, this collection os 101 heartwarming and inspiring stories focuses on all the memorable ages and stages of our beloved canines' lives. It also pays special attention to senior dogs and grieving when our dear friends leave us. All dog lovers will laugh, cry, and recognize themselves and their furry friends in these wonderful stories.
Jennifer gives an overview of the book:
The Good Dog
A good dog never dies. He always stays. He walks besides you on crisp autumn days when frost is on the fields and winter’s drawing near. His head is within our hand in his old way. ~Mary Carolyn Davies
We were in the Berkshires visiting my mother-in-law, and my brother-in-law was calling my name from the kitchen where he was doing dishes. I got up from the dinner table and found him looking down at my dog, Scout, a two-year-old, eighteen-pound Bichon Frise. Scout was standing, all four legs splayed, with his head hung low, mouth open, and his girth fully expanded. His breathing was loud and labored.
“I think he just ate a corncob,” my brother-in-law explained.
Suddenly Scout heaved and up came a four-inch-long piece of a corncob. Recently tossed into the kitchen garbage after our Labor Day dinner, Scout had rummaged, eaten the cob, and tossed it back up again. What kind of crazy dog would try to eat a corncob almost as big as he was? Scout, of course, who, above all and anybody else, loved food. Although cute like a stuffed animal, my small non-shedding dog was stubborn, hard to train, curious, prone to relieve himself indoors if I made him unhappy, and would eat anything.
After the long weekend, my husband Ted, Scout, and I drove back to our home in New York City. Everything returned to normal for a few days until Scout started throwing up. I took him to the vet, whose office was only three blocks away, and explained about the corncob incident. The vet thought that the vomiting was probably caused by the other half of the corncob. Although it wouldn’t show up on an X-ray, he said that to rule out that he swallowed something else, we should take an X-ray. As he suspected, after the X-ray, nothing showed up. However, he said, if the corncob was still in his digestive system somewhere, it had to come out, since otherwise it would eventually get lodged in his system and kill him. He explained that what Scout did was common -- and dangerous. If we saw no change in the next few days, and Scout couldn’t get it out himself, we would have to go in and get it.
Besides the occasional vomiting Scout was acting like he normally did. He begged, gobbled down his food, wouldn’t sit when you asked him to, came to me only if he felt like it, and searched for disgusting things on the New York City sidewalks to rub in during our walks. However, after a few days the vomiting hadn’t improved. The vet said that it was clear that his body was trying to rid itself of something that wasn’t coming up. He suggested surgery.
Surgery was scheduled for that Friday. I could pick him up Saturday. As I left Scout at the vet, I gave him a kiss on his fuzzy little head and wondered just how much that piece of corncob was going to cost me.
At just after midnight on Friday night, as Ted and I were turning off the TV to go to bed, the phone rang. It was Natasha, the vet’s assistant.
“I am really sorry to call this late, but we have done all we can do. Scout is bleeding. We have gone through five pints of donated blood, but he is not keeping it in,” she said.
“What?” I said, trying to understand what she was saying. “Is he dying?” “Um, yeah, can you come?” I grabbed the apartment keys, and Ted and I ran the three blocks to the vet’s office. Tears
from fear and shock ran down my cheeks. They buzzed us in and brought us directly into the operating room. It was only the vet and his assistant.
“He’s lost so much blood,” the vet said. “I am so sorry.”
Scout lay on the silver operating table, his eyes closed. A towel covered his midsection and back end. Only his shoulders, head, and front paws could be seen. The vet flipped back his ear, and showed us the skin. It was white, not pink like it usually was. The vet pulled back Scout’s lip and his gums were pale, too. He was losing blood.
“We even held a kitten to his nose to see if we could keep him with us a little longer,” Natasha said.
Trying to stifle sobs and be strong for my dog, I held Scout’s front paw and put my head near his head. I took a long sniff of his fur. It didn’t smell like Scout anymore. It smelled like the vet’s office. I put my lips to his ear and whispered how much I loved him.
“Scout, you are a good, good dog,” I said, crying into his fur. Suddenly, I felt a lick on my cheek. I picked up my head to look at him. His eyes were half open, and he was trying to raise his head. He tried to lick again. The movement of his mouth looked like a smile. Scout had never smiled before.
Relief flooded over me and I laughed. I put my nose to his nose, and my eyes level with his eyes. “Yes, you are a good dog, Scout. A very good dog. A good, good dog,” I repeated. “Now please don’t die on me.”
Ted and I stayed there for three more hours watching the pink slowly return to his ears and gums. Fortunately the corncob had been found and removed. Today, Scout is fourteen and ever since we have been very careful with corncobs. However, looking back on it, I’m not sure that Scout was really that close to the pearly gates of doggy heaven. I think he just wanted me to tell him that he was a good dog.