Memories of Scrubby

Saturday, January 9, 1993 was a very sad time for me personally and for my son and daughter and husband as well. Scrubby our faithful pal for almost 18 years died today.

His life in the past year was not a healthy one. He was suffering with a large tumor that had started somewhere in the vicinity of his left ear and had spread to eventually misshape his head.

I don’t know if I did the right thing by letting him remain like that. I often times thought that I should have had that taken care of. Agonizing a decision as it was, I felt he was a very old dog and I would rather him live out his days at home.

In my mind I knew if I had taken him to the vet, they would have reasoned it was cause to have him put to sleep. I couldn’t face that. Scrubby, I tried to do the best for you. Even all these years later, I think it was the right decision.

A few days after Scrubby died (he died at home), we had popcorn for the first time in a long time. Subconsciously I did not want it. I remembered all the times when Scrubby whined for his share while we were enjoying popcorn. Popcorn was one of his favorite treats.
But then, almost everything was a treat to Scrubby as he was a treat to us and to our lives.

Scrubby came into our lives during Christmas of 1974. I remember the night my husband and I drove to the animal hotel on the outskirts of Milwaukee, to see him. We fell in love with the extraordinarily spritely little guy. Scrubby was a mixture of Wirehair terrier, Schnauzer and Heinz 57. He had come to the animal hotel when his former owners were displaced by a fire in their home. They had two dogs and were unable to keep both of them while their house was being rebuilt.

At that time in our lives, I was unsure of getting a dog. With two young children, a new home and work, the thought of a pet to care for was not exactly what I needed at the time. But the kids wanted a dog. So, my husband and I bundled the black, wiry, little dog, whose nappy was Pappy, into our little car and headed home.

I should have know then what a mischief maker he would be. All the way home he whined and cried. Later, after I thought about it, I realized he was afraid because he had been taken from his home and placed in the animal hotel to be left. From then on, Scrubby was never very good in cars. Some dogs love to ride in cars, but not Scrubby. When walking with him on our street, if a car approached he would go into a wild frenzy of barking and would try to attack the car. It was his way of getting back for being left alone in life. It would be our duty to change that feeling he had.

As it was quite near to Christmas, when we arrived home my husband told the kids that Santa had made a special trip to our house. Our son and daughter approached the door to the entry hall with excitement to see what Santa left. Imagine the racket when the door was opened and this little dog came bounding in. And so, Scrubby came into our home, into our lives and into our hearts.

As my husband and I didn’t really care for his original name, Pappy, we needed a new name. The decision wasn’t difficult. All you had to do was look at him to see his name written all over him, Scrubby.

Kids being kids, promises were made to feed and walk the dog. As usually happens, the majority of his care fell upon me. I didn’t mind and Scrubby and I soon got into our routines.

Scrubby enjoyed being outside. Did he ever! We soon learned though that we had to have him tied up outside or before you knew it, he was gone. Scrubby had a wanderlust and was fast. For most of the years he was with us, we spent a great deal of time calling his name or driving around the neighborhood looking and searching for him. I remember shedding many a tear when he was gone for hours on end only to be greatly relieved to see him wandering close by. Upon his return he would be gently scolded and then hugged and kissed because he was back. I think we played this “game” umpteen times over the years.

Scrubby never liked to be alone outside in the yard though. One of us always had to be nearby or he would start crying until we came out or let him in. In the summer, his favorite spot was either sitting under my lounge chair or behind it in the shade. Then he was content. We spent many a lazy summer afternoon this way. My buddy, my pal. My faithful companion.

Scrubby had the run of the house. Each night he took his time deciding whose bed he would sleep on. Usually he started out on one of the kids beds only to be found curled in the crook of my knees in the morning feeling comforted and reassured by his presence. When any of us was sick, he knew. When we were sad or unhappy, he knew and comforted us by his presence. The Christmas before he died, as sick as he was, when I had a very bad cold and slept on the couch in the family room, when I woke, there he was, laying on the floor next to me. That was Scrubby.

There were many humorous times. The time my husband chased Scrubby with a BB gun trying to lure him home (fat chance of that happening, Scrubby was no dummy.) Or on the day our son got married the hilarious videos showing dad and Scrubby where it appeared as though Scrubby was pulling both he and the car down our driveway. Or when KittyPuss came into our home as a teeny kitty (KittyPuss passed away this past August – another story some day) and Scrubby didn’t know what to make of him. I remember KittyPuss playing under the couch and sneaking out from under to attack Scrubby. Another unfavorite and hilarious event always was when trying to bathe Scrubby. He was not fond of having a bath. Another time I remember our kids sledding down the driveway with Scrubby seated and held in front on the sled. I don’t remember how many times it was that they went up and down. Scrubby was pooped out from that, but an experience he really seemed to enjoy.

Among Scrubby’s less than happy moments were his trips to the vet. Dr. Butler had a special place in his heart for him, but Scrubby didn’t care. Each time I brought him, they muzzled him so he wouldn’t be tempted to take a bite. The ride there was endless, as short as it was because Scrubby started crying the minute the car door was shut. Each time I had to reassure him that I was not going to leave him and that I would take him home again.

It also was very hard to leave him when we took our family vacations. I clearly remember one of the first times we did so. As I recall, I got some cozy, comfy blankets and arranged them on the kitchen floor. (Our neighbors took care of him while we were gone.) This time he wasn’t his usual feisty self. He knew something was up and looked sad. As we were about to leave, I looked at him lying in the kitchen and could swear he was crying wondering where we were going. Needless to say, the start of all our trips was always bittersweet for me. On the way home at the end of our vacations, I would silently say to myself “We’re coming home Scrubby. Pretty soon we’ll be there.” I always said this. When we walked in the door we were always welcomed home unconditionally by him jumping up and down and wagging his tail in excitement and happiness.

All these years later I still miss him. Scrubby was my friend and my confident. I am at peace knowing that he loved us as we loved him and was content in our home. How else could he have spent so many happy years with us, putting up with our comings and goings and still remain faithful and true ?

Scrubby was a once in a lifetime dog. I know he was there to welcome KittyPuss when he died this past August. I truly have been blessed to have had these two great friends be a part of my life. I know God has a special place in heaven for animals and until then, my love always.

Carol from WI