Sunday, March 4, 2012

Best in Our Show: In Memory of Our Rescue Dog, Scotty

Have you ever experienced love at first sight?

I'm lucky enough to have twice in my life. First, when I met my sweetheart Steve, then again when I laid eyes on Scotty. Here he was on that fateful day in July 2009 when my mom and I visited him at his foster home. We found him through Tenafly PetResQ on We knew immediately he was our dog. At that first meeting, he already wanted a belly rub, one of hundreds he'd get in our too short time with him.

It's with a very heavy heart I tell you our beloved family member Scotty passed into the next world. He was diagnosed with a heart murmur a few months ago, and his condition rapidly deteriorated. He was just a shadow of his former self. He collapsed on Friday afternoon with my sister by his side. His poor heart just couldn't take it anymore.

Here is his story.

His bio on petfinder said he was given up for financial reasons by the family. We suspect he may have been abused by a man based on some behavioral issues which the vet and others think as well, but time and lots of TLC made for a big change in Scotty. We were told he was seven. The vet thinks he might have been a little older but we can't ever really know. Adoption was the only option for us. We would never patronize a breeder or pet store when so many dogs are already in this world waiting patiently for a loving guardian to come along. An older dog was a good match for my parents who are seniors. When we went to meet him there were all these pennies by my car and my mom always thought it was a sign. Pennies from heaven. On the last day of his life, my sister found a penny. We think heaven was calling him back.

Here he is on his first day at what rescue advocates lovingly call his forever home. "Home, home where I wanted to go," Chris Martin sings wistfully in the Coldplay song Clocks. Scotty was home at last.

Pets teach us about the underrated power of touch.

They so enjoy the simple pleasures, like a lazy nap on the grass on a summer day.

Never had we been such frequent park goers, and when we did go we never said more than a "hello" to those passing by us. Now, we interacted with fellow dog guardians all the time. Even on the snowiest winter days, Scotty craved the smells, sights and sounds of nature.

Scotty at one of his favorite parks, Van Saun in Paramus. We loved him so much, and he loved us. He never judged me for superficial reasons like putting on a couple of extra pounds.

I still remember a scene from the sitcom Family Ties when Nick had to say goodbye to his best friend, and also welcomed a new friend. I suspect my family will adopt again and give another dog his or her forever home, but we're still mourning Scotty. Like Nick's dog Scrapper, he was a special little soul.

I love all the seasons, but summer felt particularly pleasurable. After a day in my cubicle, how I enjoyed going to my parents' house for a veggie burger or dog off the grill with some lemonade, a swim and then a stroll with Scotty.

This is how I will always remember my dearest friend. His paw print is on my heart always.

Do not mourn me when I pass into the next life, for I shall be greeted warmly in the afterlife with a wet kiss.


  1. Oh Catherine, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your sweet friend. Scotty was beautiful and looks so happy in the pictures.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss.

    By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
    Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
    Where the friends of man and woman do run,
    When their time on earth is over and done.

    For here, between this world and the next,
    Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
    On this golden land, they wait and they play,
    Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

    No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
    For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
    Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
    Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

    They romp through the grass, without even a care,
    Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
    All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
    Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

    For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
    Together again, both person and pet.
    So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
    The time of their parting is over at last.

    The sadness they felt while they were apart,
    Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
    They embrace with a love that will last forever,
    And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.

  3. Thank you so much for your condolences. As my family feels, the spirit has left the house. No one to greet us at the door so happily.

    I love that Rainbow Bridge poem. The solace is that Scotty no longer wails in pain at night, doesn't struggle to take a simple breath and is without the appetite for food and life he once had. I know we will meet again.

  4. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. We had to let our beloved kitty go almost a year ago. She was 2 weeks short of 15 years old. She was also very sick. I miss her so much, I think of her every day and we laugh and cry at the pictures of her that pass by on the computer. We lasted only 3-1/2 weeks before we got a shelter kitty. This kitty went straight up to my son, sat down, and stayed by his side and in his lap for a hour + while my husband drove home to get paperwork we had forgotten. I think our sweet departed kitty had whispered in the ear of the new kitty and said "go choose that boy, he will treat you well". Having a new furry family member helps heal the heart but you know you'll never stop loving the ones who went on ahead. Warm thoughts as you grieve, Lilypad (in Seattle)

  5. What a completely adorable dog Scotty was! I'm so glad he found a good home with you.

  6. Thanks Lillypad and Amy. Lillypad, what a sweet story about your kitty. I would love to adopt a cat but I developed allergies in adulthood to cats. I had two precious cats as a child.

    Amy, so funny people would see Scotty and say, "What a cute puppy!" I'm remembering the happy times, like when Scotty would see me in the backyard and come charging to me. I think he's the only soul who "charged" toward me with such utter happiness. Or when he was done eating he'd do a "happy dance," which I want to do after many a meal. Pets are so honest in their emotions.

    He did have a really great home, lots of love, park visits, a backyard.

  7. I so sorry that Scotty passed away. We know that when we take them into our lives, they have to go sometime in the future. But, it never is easy, ain't it? I steel myself for my turn at losing my dog, Fidelma. She has a heart murmur too, diagnosed in November 2010. At night, I could hear her heart beat loudly. It's like I am on the same road back in 2004 when my other dog passed away also from a heart murmur. Small dogs are prone to heart disease. Fidelma has collapsed a few times, but somehow came back from death's door. It was the sodium in the food that was doing a lot of damage. For dogs that have a heart murmur, a no sodium diet is imperative. It sounds like Scotty did have a good life with you. It's one thing we can always console ourselves with after their passing. Our dogs had love, a home, and fun. Imagine, you had this wonderful opportunity to be one of the best humans in Scotty's life, his life hinged on yours, and all worked out fine. Scotty has made the great escape!

  8. Hi Ted. Thanks so much for your story and condolences, and passing mine on as well for Fidelma. Scotty was our first dog, and our next rescue dog will likely be a little guy or girl too so we may have to face this again.

    I always meant to tell you this, but a post on your blog On Loving Animals set the chain of events to getting Scotty. I had visited a dog at the shelter you volunteered at and wrote about but my mom thought it wasn't a match, but that weekend I started looking on Petfinder. I found another dog from the Tenafly group that was already adopted out when I called, but the people directed us to Scotty. It happened so fast. But if it weren't for your blog post about adopting, Scotty wouldn't have been in our lives. So we owe you a huge thank you for your work on behalf of homeless dogs everywhere.

  9. I have spoken to a lot of different people about animal welfare, or just simply pet ownership. Some say they wished dogs/cats had a shorter life span so they can adopt more in a given time. Some wished that they live longer, to have them by their side even more. It something, in my opinion, better not figured out. Just help those who need help, and go with it. My other dog lived 15 years while Fidelma right now may only be with us eight years. Just play the cards that were dealt to you and play them well. When Fidelma passes away, I will try my hand at fostering dogs, alternating, from the shelter. The shelter is a high anxiety place for animals and a week or weekend away from it will do them good. Fidelma does not like other dogs bothering her, and so I can't foster right now. I know that you will "opt to adopt, " as our mantra says. Getting another dog, I decided, wasn't a matter of replacing the former dog. Our time with a specific pet is our unique and irreplaceable time with that animal. The next pet will have its very own timeline in our lives. It is a continuum, and not a replacement, in other words.

    I am pleased that I had a positive effect on your life. I have been posting dogs for adoption on my Facebook page and not on my blog. Maybe I should correct this habit. However, a truly sad set of circumstances fell on our shelter. Long story, but it closed last month! Yes, so very sad. We were doing 600 dogs a year, and now the grounds are empty, vacated with only memories remaining. Bloomingdale Animal Shelter Society still exists, but only as a rescue group. The members keep the animals at their homes instead of at a shelter facility. Yep, that's not bad but that won't have the adopting power of a shelter, no 600 dogs a year. I will be beginning volunteer work with a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in Ringwood in 2 weeks. This will ad a new dimension in my animal welfare experience--rehabbing animals and then releasing them back into the wild. There is talk that the town officials at Bloomingdale want to put up a shelter service once more in town, but run by people they like. I have been informed to keep my options open for that. People say you haven't live a full life until you have a pet die on you. Well, losing a shelter is some other experience, I can tell you that.

  10. I know you'll make the most of your time with her. I'm so sorry to hear about your shelter’s hard times. It’s so sad because in my hometown of Emerson there's a puppy store. We met someone in the park who got a dog from there. It's such a bad cycle. The animal kingdom is lucky to have you here.

    It's funny you mention replace because that word has come up, and I keep saying it's not about replacing him, but giving another dog the second chance Scotty got. Whatever special soul comes to us, lots of trips to the park, a backyard and belly rubs await.