“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole”— Roger Caras.
When our first dog came into our life, we named her Scout after the young, scrappy tomboy narrator from Harper Lee’s book “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Scout possessed the same fearless countenance and spirit as Atticus Finch’s daughter Jeanne Louise, which she must have developed in the first two years of her life — before we adopted her, before she was discovered as a stray, and saved by the good people of collie rescue.
In this photograph, Scout observes the stillness of an autumn day, leaves in hues of ochre, burnt orange, rouge red and brown reflected on the water encircled by one of her favorite walking trails. She is healthy here, with much needed pounds added to her frame and a rich sable coat that had grown from the sparse fur when we had first gotten her.
This was before we added another collie, Rusty, to our family pack with whom she would play, chasing squirrels, wrestling, stealing toys, and of course, vying for treats and our attention as their human companions. This was before the duo took over our bed, our house, our lives. Fun, frolicking years of collie bliss… This was before the neurological condition they called idiopathic vestibular disease masking itself as a stroke stole some of Scout’s light away. This was before hip dysplasia finally took its toll on withering hind quarters that couldn’t rebuild muscle even after water therapy, e-stim, acupuncture, and orthopedic visits. This was before we made the painful decision we always knew we would eventually have to make.
Scout is here, captured in her glory on an autumn day — not just a pretty dog by a lake but a resilient spirit who found her way into our world, rescued us, and made our lives whole.