My big beautiful gentle girl died yesterday. She was an English Springer, big and goofy and loveable. Scampi was named after shrimp scampi, don’t ask me why, it just suited her, but as it turned out, shrimp was one of her favorite things to eat. We weren’t sure how old she was when we got her, Austin picked her out of the pound the year after we moved into the new house, and that was in 2000. I foolishly promised him we could get a dog when “Grammy got grass”. The weekend the builder put grass down, Austin got in the car and said okay, lets go get my dog. We went to the pound, and I was thinking small dog, small dog. But the only small dog had a huge sign on the cage saying “Not good with children.” Most of the others were Rotweillers or labs or Shepherds, and we were about to leave, when Austin spotted Scamp. She was the only dog that wasn’t barking, the only one that just came to the end of the cage, with her head down, peeking up at us, and when Austin put his hand out, she licked it.
We were done like dirt. She had us.
The vet wasn’t sure how old she was, she guessed no more than two. But she walked through the front door that first day and just sat on the rug shaking, like she wasn’t sure what she was expected to do. That lasted about a day, then it was wahhhh hooooo I’m home!
We honestly thought she was psycho the first couple of years, she was so full of energy. I had to buy a separate wading pool for her because she would climb right into the kids’ pool as soon as I filled it and she wouldn’t get out. She’d just sprawl out like she owned it and the kids had to play around her. She loved the kids, was never rambunctious around them, would let them use her for a pillow or a big moving toy. She had a lot of buddies in the neighborhood too…Woody–a big lab up the street whose owners tied him off to cement blocks to deter him from wandering down the street. Pretty much every day though, Woody would come loping down the road dragging the blocks behind him. Dudley lived across the street, a big English Sheepdog, and another great friend of Scamp and Woody. They’re both gone too, so I hope they’ve found each other over that rainbow bridge and are playing havoc like the three caballeros again.
Five years ago, when I brought Suzie into the house, she was just a little black furball, barely 8 weeks old, and looked like a mouse beside Scampi. But Scamp instantly took on the mother role and from that day on they were inseparable. Slept together, ate together, walked side by side wherever they went, usually with Suzie dashing and weaving around Scamp’s legs.
Unconditional love, that’s all she ever gave. I don’t think there was a person she didn’t like, didn’t lick to death, didn’t snuggle up beside. Yeah, she thought she was a lap dog, all 45 lbs of her, and she thought her rightful place in a car was behind the wheel. She loved going for rides, the longer the better, and didn’t even care whose car it was. Several times people came to visit and left the car door open a few minutes too long while they said goodnight…they’d drive out, reach the end of the driveway, and pull back in, open the door, and throft Scamp out.
Unfortunately she went to live with Stupid last winter and I haven’t seen her since last January when I went south. There was a size restriction in the park in Florida, and she was too big to go down with me. She was almost completely deaf by then and slowing down, but she always loped to the door to meet me when she felt the vibrations from the door slamming. Her one flaw, if you could call it that, was that she adored him. She was by my side all day, but the minute he came home, I was forgotten, so at least I know she was happy her last few months. He promised to bring her over to visit a few times, but never did. It took Suzie a while, after we got back from Florida in the spring, to stop looking for her in the house or out in the yard. It took me a long time too. I still get out of bed carefully at night so as not to trip over her, then have to remind myself she’s not there.
She was a great dog, and I hope she meets Walter over the bridge too. I’d retype the poem here, The Rainbow Bridge, but I don’ t think I can cry anymore tonight.
Bye Scamp. See you over the bridge.