In looking at this site the other day, I noticed that the page about the dogs has yet to be updated. How do I write Scout out of the plot here? It’s one thing to add a paragraph about Tanner and how he is so wonderful except for the part where I can now touch concrete through over a dozen holes in the bedroom carpet. It’s an entirely different matter to turn everything about Scout into the past tense and then cap his bio off with “…and now he’s dead.”
I like to say it that way for the shock value; not for you, but for me. Something about putting it so bluntly makes it feel like bludgeoning myself over the head with a watermelon in a pillowcase. In the days right after he died, I’d say it over and over in different ways like some weird chant. “He’s dead. HE’s dead. He’s DEAD. Dead. DEAD.” It still didn’t make it any more real.
Having Tanner around has made everything better, though, partly because he’s so sweet and partly because he’s incredibly distracting. He didn’t know anything when he first came home – for example, walking on a leash was a complete shock – and everything was a teaching moment. No, we don’t pee on the walls. Yes, that is your food. No, we are not out to get you. Yes, Kobe probably is.
I still can’t figure out how to convince him that inanimate objects aren’t scary. He’s terrified of trash cans, plastic bags, dumpsters, jackets, shopping carts, strollers, tents, boxes, etc. and when confronted with any of these, he drops to the ground or tries to bolt. Tanner panicked so badly in front of the neighborhood dumpster the other day that he shot out of his harness and sprinted into the woods. It was breathtakingly awful; my heart dropped out of my butt and I had a crying meltdown while trying to catch him. When I finally grabbed him, I never wanted to let go.
He’s a handful and a full-time project, but that’s what I needed to stop crying over Scout at inappropriate times (at the grocery store, during races, at a pop-up taco party). Now it’s hard to leave home for trips because (a) Tanner increases his destruction tenfold and (b) I’m reminded of every moment I missed with Scout because my own plans mattered more. Kobe seems a hundred years older than he did a year ago and it feels like every second with him should be savored, even when he is shrieking like an indignant parrot because Tanner is annoying him by breathing. He’ll be 13 soon; I thought he and Scout would both live forever and since I was clearly wrong about that, now it feels like every day is going to be it.
That’s morbid. But frankly, living each day like it might be the last isn’t a terrible philosophy. If I don’t have that cake because calories and don’t call my parents because busy and don’t take the dogs to the park because lazy, at some point I’m going to wish I had. Tanner is destroying my condo one bite at a time, but I don’t really give a shit because he’s also proof that life goes on and that sometimes epic disaster can be followed by boundless joy. All that said, I’m not quite ready to put Scout into the past tense yet. He can live on here for just a little longer.