Sunday, June 17, 2018

News From the Farm

A guest post from Elva....

Here I am with another guest blog post.  First of all, I would like to thank all of you for your kind remarks regarding the loss of my beautiful boy, Scout.  I really do appreciate them.  

I figured I owed you all an explanation of what exactly happened.  Mostly, it was just old age, as he was a little more than fifteen-and-a-half years old.  For probably the last four years or so, Scout had been having some issues with his back legs.  I guess it was osteoarthritis.  I had him to the vet multiple times, and we tried different pain medications.  He did best on Previcox, and he was on half the dog dose for many years.  Then last year, we added Gabapentin, which did seem to also help.  

In the last six months, I increased the Previcox to the normal dog dose and added another Gabapentin.  Scout seemed to do quite well on this regimen for years, and he went on all the daily hikes with my other dogs, Kelsey and Bess, and also Kris’ Connor when he was with us.  He enjoyed his rides in the truck, and he slept right next to me every night, right under the covers no matter if it was summer or winter.  

Then about six months ago, I could tell it was uncomfortable for him to sleep on my bed.  I guess the mattress was too soft or something, but he would get in a bad position and could not seem to get comfortable.  I switched him to a very firm Orvis dog bed, which I had right by the head of my bed, so I could still keep one hand on him at night.  This seemed much more comfortable for him.  

Then it got to where he could no longer ride in the truck.  I had a 1977 Chevy truck with a bench seat, which is the kind of seat that dogs love, but he just had trouble maintaining his balance and was no longer having fun riding.  This was very sad for the both of us, especially when I got my new old truck, a 1967 Chevy, which I know he would have loved!

Of course, this year, Bess had her puppies, and Scout seemed to enjoy that whole process, especially as he got to sample all of Bess’ six meals a day.  He thought the Bess menu plan of prime rib, poached eggs, and beef heart was especially delicious.  He also seemed amused by the antics of the puppies when they finally started hiking around with us.  

In May, Scout started having more difficulty with his mobility.  In the house on my old wooden floors, he would sometimes turn too quickly and slip down.  He would have difficulty getting started in the morning, and his movement outside was scary to watch.  However, he still seemed to enjoy our hikes, although I made sure to keep a very close eye on him in case he got himself into trouble.  

Then he started to act more anxious, which he exhibited by panting.  My vet said it might be an indication of pain, so we doubled his pain medications, just to rule that out, but it made no difference.  This led us to believe that something else was going on.  At this point, it started to look like Scout was no longer really having any fun.  

This is the hardest part about having a dog…trying to figure out the right thing to do.  So far, Scout had really had a perfect life.  He spent almost every minute of every day with me, and we were always doing fun things.  He was a great cow dog, and he enjoyed bossing the livestock around.  He loved riding in the truck, and he loved exploring the woods and fields with me and the other dogs.  It was very, very important for me that Scout would go out easy.  I didn’t want him waking up with his own excrement all over him, or crying in the middle of the night when I couldn’t get any help.  I didn’t want him to be to the point where he could not walk at all and had to be carried around.  I wanted him to be clean, able to eat, and able to walk without pain, and when it was time to go, I wanted him here at our home with me.  

Luckily there is a compassionate, highly-skilled large-animal vet that is willing to come to my area every other Thursday.  She was the one that performed the ultrasound on Bess and also administered first vaccinations to Bessie’s puppies.  She was willing to come to help me with Scout, but it had to be on the proper Thursday.  So then I tortured myself by saying, could I wait another couple of weeks or maybe a month?  It was a terribly difficult decision.

To help me, I talked with Kris and also other friends.  I talked with three different vets.  I read stuff online about the subject.  Finally I made the decision.  

Was it difficult?  


It was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life!  

However, now a little more than a week later, I am glad I did it when I did.  The vet came to my home, and she administered a tranquilizer, which Scout never noticed because he was too busy eating the hamburger I was feeding him.  He fell asleep still swallowing hamburger, while I was holding him.  Interestingly, the vet said that he had developed a very severe heart murmur and was likely developing congestive heart failure, which could have caused the panting.  

I, of course, was a wreck, but at least I was in the privacy of my own home with Kris, who of course also loved Scout.  Another friend came over with his backhoe and dug a place for me in a beautiful location.  Kris and I buried Scout and planted Periwinkle, wild violets, wild columbine, forget-me-nots and other wildflowers.  It was the best I could do for him.

What I hope you get out of this is that you have the option of getting a vet to come to your home when you have to euthanize a pet.  I believe it is so much better for the animal and for the people that love that animal.  Even if you can’t get a large-animal vet to come, check out animal Hospice care vets.  Also, even though it is so hard to let go, maybe it is best for your dog or cat to leave at a time when they can still do so with dignity. 

On a happier note, it should be mentioned that my other border collie, poor left out Kelsey, did have a birthday on June 11th.  She is now nine years old, and even though we were all mourning Scout, we managed to play extra Frisbee and go on a very special hike.  Kelsey now is allowed to sleep on Scout’s many day beds, and I also now let her clean off my plate, which was always Scout’s job.  She is honored, of course, and she is doing the best she can to pick up the slack. 


Bess is doing great, and she greatly enjoys frequent visits from one of my friends that adopted one of Bess’ puppies now named Bruno.  

Bess and Bruno love to wrestle around, and Bess seems to get a real kick out of Bruno’s playful behavior.  Bess and I look forward to going on lots of fun hikes with Bruno and his owner. 

Lastly, regarding the cattle, I now have five new calves.  In honor of Scout, they all have names that begin with Sc, so I have Scallion, Scooter, Sceeter, Scott, and Scud.  One more calf is due, and if it is a boy, the name will be Scurvy!  That last one was Kris’ idea! (I meant is as a joke! You'd think after 25 years I'd know better.) Scooter and Sceeter are twins, and my milk cow, Jane, is the mom (Crackhead Jane had TWINS this time, can you believe it?).  Of course, Jane does not like calves, so I am waiting for Shannon to have her calf, and then she will also adopt Scooter and Sceeter.  

Okay, that is the news from here at the last week of spring 2018.  Thanks again for all your kind comments. 


  1. Scout was blessed from start to finish to have landed with you. That every dog could have such a life – and death!

  2. Thank you for the update. What you described with Scout is exactly what I’m going through with d’Arcy. I’m struggling with the decision too.

  3. Thank you for letting us know what happened. It sounds like you did everything just right, at a time when our beloved pet must be the one considered first.

  4. Thank you for telling us Scout's story. I am facing it right now with my 12 year old retriever mix. We are two months past her original euthanization date because of CBD capsules, but, I noticed this morning, she was panting hard outside. I am watching her closely for signs of pain. She is actually getting around MUCH better in these last few weeks, but it is inevitable. My closest large animal vet won't do it, he is in a practice with a small animal vet and does not want to "take away his business".

    1. Can you see if one of those hospice vets is around your area? Your regular vet should maybe be able to help you locate a vet that will come to your home.

  5. The very worst part of loving a dog is knowing that you will lose them.
    Sincere condolences.

  6. Elva, this is beautifully written and touches on so many of the things we go through and consider for our pets. It is a comfort/relief/reassurance to read of another's thought process navigating something so difficult yet it is a loving gift we can give to our animals.

  7. Indeed you did the right thing and it was thought out with the most consideration given to Scout. You know about Morris. All I can say is that our good pals always deserve fresh air, exercise, attention and of course a ride in a cool truck.
    They also deserve a human friend that meets and understands their needs and gives them dignity in the end.

  8. “Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”

    ― Agnes Sligh Turnbull

  9. Thank you for sharing. We are facing many of the issues you spoke of with our almost 14 year old Border Collie. It is really hard to think about saying goodbye but we always have to put our dogs first...such faithful friends deserve that. Again my sympathy:(

  10. It is hard making the decision to let them go. I know he had a long and happy life with you. He'll be missed for a long, long time.

  11. It's always hard making that choice if there isn't a really obvious point. I've often felt like I made the decision too late, but never that I've done it too early, so these days I try to remember that and make the call a little earlier. I've had an 'under the blankets winter or summer' dog too, and oh boy is it hard to let those ones go. Run free Scout. Good boy!