The One Left Behind

Sophie

By now you know, probably, that the Microcosm lost its Faithful Companion Scout. Just writing that still brings tears to my eyes. Such is life and well, I guess, death.

I have been lost in grief, I won’t kid you. It was too soon. Scout and I still had roads to travel but maybe that traveling is destined for another plane of existence. Maybe he and I will be writing a hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy of our own. Who knows?

All the while there is Sophie.

Sophie smelled the spot in the grass where Scout laid before we placed him in the van for his very last car ride. She won’t lie in his usual spots or play with his toys. She now cuts her late night walks short because she doesn’t have Scout to walk with. Her self-confidence has dwindled.

I wrote a post last year about how Sophie reacted when Scout had to undergo a procedure, how sweet she was to him when he came home. For a while after he passed, I know she was expecting him home. She wasn’t alone. I saw him pass but it was unreal to me. How must it have been for her?

She sits in front of the chaise where he always sat, looking out the window. She doesn’t sit on the chaise nor even place her paws on it as she would have done when he was alive. She sits on the loveseat nearby. She doesn’t sleep on either of the dog beds in the bedroom. None of my other dogs ever had this depth of reaction–that I noticed. Perhaps it existed in ways I didn’t understand.

If a delivery arrives, there’s no barking. Evidently, my introverted Scout was the guard dog. Did I ever tell you how he’d take his toy and walk in circles around the living room after a delivery? How the delivery guy from Chin’s Kitchen used to chuckle over the sweet black and white dog with the over-sized plush lamb in his mouth walking in circles? This is a heart memory if there were ever a heart memory. My Scout.

I think maybe I need to wash covers. To remove Scout’s scent. And, yet. I’m not there yet. Somehow I feel like washing the chaise cover, the dog bed covers would be to eliminate Scout for good despite my knowing that it won’t remove him from either Sophie’s or my heart.

We’ve had several days of intense thunderstorms, which Sophie hates. Scout used to hate them too, running upstairs to the bedroom and his refuge until his hearing got to a point where thunder was nothing. Sophie and I were chased into the house by the winds first, which howled and bent the willows. When I told her to go the door, she ran. Sophie leaned against my leg today, shuddering, hating the lightening and thunder.

The storm passed. A brilliant sunset arced on the horizon, laden with fuchsia and orange. Scout’s still with me, but only Sophie and I watched the sunset.

We’ll figure this out. Like so many other things, it will take time.

18 replies »

  1. Aw, poor Sophie. I’m sure like many creatures and people dogs mourn their lost family too. I’m sure. W/o Scout will he hard, but it eventually heals — even if that’s 3 years away.on the upside there’s Sophie and she can be Center it attention and guard dog now too. Hope you’re doing okay and enjoying summer

    • Thank you, Mandi. 💖 I won’t say there are good days and bad days. There are mostly good moments with some very sad ones. Being unprepared for death is a very hard thing. I hope you are feeling better and that your summer is going well. Is it? Many hugs and thanks for checking in.

      • You’re welcome. Summer is OK, could be better. Somedays are good, others are better. And yes I agree, unexpected death is most shocking, not having time to get used to that. Take care 🤗

  2. They do grieve, sometimes deeply.
    After my old dog, Ebenezer, died, her constant companion cat, Boof, waited until her ashes came home, then curled around them and let out his last breath.
    It breaks me to recall it, even 15 years later. It breaks us because the love they share is deep and honest, the pillar of companionship.
    I didn’t wash any of their things for ten years, but I did pack them up after a few years. When I brought some out for the new residents of the house, the new animals settled faster. Maybe smells speak volumes we don’t understand.
    I wouldn’t wash Scout’s blankies. Let Sophie spend as much time as she needs, as much time as you and she both need to still feel him as part of everything.

    • Thanks for this. I don’t think Sophie’s paid any attention to Scout’s ashes, for which I’m selfishly thankful. I will wait on cleaning things. When my kitty died, I couldn’t even clean her litter box for a bit, which is probably weird. Fortunately it was in the basement in the storage room so it wasn’t in evidence, but…. Thanks, again.

  3. Sorry for your loss, Sascha. I’ve never had a dog for a companion, so, I can’t say I feel your pain. Still, I wish with all my heart that may you and Sophie get over your grief. Scout is in Dog’s heaven. It’s a special kind of place. 🙂

  4. My sister had two cats and the second one was inconsolable after the first one died, and passed away shortly thereafter. They were both the same age. So, Sophie’s reaction, given her close relationship with Scout, is understandable. After all, you’ve both lost a member of your family.

  5. Poor Sophie. She’s grieving too. When my GSD passed away, we buried her in the back garden. The collie stood by the mound completely still for about 5 minutes, pawed the ground three times, and then turned away. He didn’t eat and drank little because she was no longer there to share. He was lethargic and I was really worried. I ended up getting another GSD from a rescue. She was 5, timid and nervous. He tried to rule the roost, but she sat on his head and he was content then as she kept him in line, just as Babs had. This was over a matter of months Sascha. I’m not suggesting for one minute that Scout needs a successor (terrible terminology, I am so sorry). Dogs grieve and sadly we can only be there to reassure them and love them. <3

  6. I know it’s too soon to suggest another baby – a puppy- to console you and Sophie but when we lost our first dog, we took on a puppy that was homeless. However, fifteen years later when Major died, neither of us could face a new dog. I wish we had. Hope you and Sophie feel a bit happier as time passes.

  7. I’m assuming you’ve talked to Sophie about Scout’s death. I talk to my animals about all sorts of things like when I’m going to be gone and who’s taking care of them. Or when the vet is coming and why. And when animals die, I always explain it to the others and I visualize along with the words. Animals do see the images in our heads and I think Sophie may not understand exactly what happened to Scout since she wasn’t there when Scout died. (Animals do understand death–when my mare died, my other two horses stood vigil over her body all night until we could bury her, and they didn’t call to her as they might have had they not been present.) And I suspect Sophie still feels Scout’s presence because animals are much more attuned to the spiritual world than humans. And if you haven’t talked about Scout to Sophie, it might be good for you, too. Share your memories with her. Your grief may help her with hers. Of course, everything takes time.

  8. Our older cat, Cleo, really struggled after our Izzy passed. She would sit and meow in all the places she expected to find Izzy. Even though they weren’t obviously close, they often sat near each other as though they were just keeping each other company without being in each other’s spaces. It has been less than a year and I have to wonder if it is age or grief that has cause so much of Cleo’s weight loss.

    • Thank you. When we had Scout, we lost three other dogs within 3 years. I think he liked being the only dog and then I brought in Sophie because I thought he might like the company. There’s always second-guessing. 🙂 Kitties, however, from my experience really do like being the only one at times.

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