Thursday, June 25, 2009

no more dead dogs . . .

This might come as a shock to some of you . . . but I almost gave Scout away last weekend.

The night of Lindsay's wedding, I had all of Scout's earthly belongings packed up and loaded in the back of my sister's car. I had bequeathed my spazzy little Scout to Shannon and her family, to live out her dog years in Missouri. I had been stewing and praying about it for days and felt it was the right thing to do.

What prompted such drastic action? I think it was shock, basically. Over the past few weeks, my life had been shaken, not stirred. I felt hopelessly adrift in a sea of transition, not able to lay hold of any solid thing.

Jesus is my Rock and the anchor of my soul, but for some reason I was having a hard time clinging to Him. Some days, I felt like I was going down for the third time.

And I didn't want to take my beloved dog down with me!

At the time, my decision seemed rational and practical. The thought of finding Scout-sitters every time we left town for an interview made me anxious. What if we had to move someplace where dogs weren't welcome? What if the stress of all of our changes made Scout's health deteriorate?

So when my sister's son, Sam, fell in love with my dog, the answer seemed obvious. Scout would live happily ever after with them.

Shannon, Manny (her husband) and Sam were excited about the idea (even after I explained that Scout was a little brain-damaged and had to take meds for the rest of her life), but my family was not. When I explained patiently that this was the best solution for all parties, my friends and family stared at me in disbelief, knowing how much love, time (and money) I'd poured out on my neurotic dog. They all put forth their best arguments, but I'd made up my mind. Scout was going, even if my broken heart went with her.

Until I had an unsettling conversation with my newphew as we drove home from Lindsay's reception.

"Are you excited about taking Scout home with you?" I asked from the front seat, hoping Sam wouldn't notice how depressed that prospect made me.

"Well," he answered quietly, "we talked about it the other day and my mom is kind of worried that we'll forget to give Scout her medicine. And then she'll be dead, just like the dog in 'No More Dead Dogs'."

For the first time, it dawned on me that my grand gesture of rehoming Scout was stressing out Sam. He loved her, but was genuinely concerned that they would be able to properly care for a special needs dog. Poor Sam! Scout hadn't even come to live with him and he was already worried about her dying. I realized that maybe sending Scout away wasn't such a great idea.

"I changed my mind," I mouthed to Greg as we continued driving.

"Good," he replied under his breath with a smile.

I was a little afraid my sister would be mad at me, but Shannon totally understood and we unloaded all Scout's stuff from their car.

"You need to get Sam a dog," I told her. "But not one that's so high-maintenance."

She agreed, and they headed out early and dogless the next day. Scout wouldn't get withing 20 feet of their van as they pulled out of the driveway. I think she knew all along . . .

As for me, I'm trusting that the Lord will help our family ease gracefully through this time of change.

Spazzy little dog and all . . .


Ann Powell said...

This is a precious story. You are such a great writer! You had me in the palm of your hand.

Ann Powell said...

This is a wonderful story. You are such a great writer. You had me in the palm of your hand. I couldn't believe you were going to give Scout away. I'm happy with the outcome. You love that girl.

Alyssa said...

Well I'm so glad you kept her, Shawn!! We would love to be on the "Scout-sitting" list if you need us!! I've been praying for you guys. Love you!

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