When Scout was a little pot-bellied pig puppy, I’d try to walk him from our apartment on San Vicente near the steps in Santa Monica, to the Starbucks on the corner of Montana and Third. We wouldn’t get far before he’d sit down with his little legs sticking out in front of him (sort of), and look at me. He was hot. He was tired. He was three-months old, with puppy breath and sharp baby teeth the size of a speck. He was wild, and for a while I worried that he was crazy, because he’d bare his teeth when he thought something was funny. Turns out, he was smiling.
Maud was just a little girl then, with long blond hair that would swing like a metronome when she skipped out in front of me. The three of us and Bodhi, just a year old when we found Scout sitting on the lap of a rescue kid out on Montana, made up our family.
It’s so strange to think that that’s over, the time of the little girl and the two baby animals and no money. The time of all that deep, deep love. I have to work to think that something else as wonderful will take its place. I don’t know if I actually believe it.
I bring this up because tonight I was out walking with Scout by the ocean in East Marion. He’s been spinning in circles all night long for the past two days, and the vet, who has seen me through this over the last couple of years—or before that, when Bodhi was sick—says that there’s no medication left for him, and that the tumor in his brain must be giving him headaches all day long, and the spinning is nauseating. She would like me to put him out of his misery.
I wrote a poem, when he was little, that described his leaping through the grass, which was only tall to him. His joy was so intense it could be infuriating. (I remember a story about a mother who, when they asked her why she killed her little girl, said it was because she was doing cartwheels in the house.) Unfortunately, my hard disk failed, and I lost the poem. Today, I carried him up the higher steps leading from the beach to the road, and let him struggle with the tiny ones.
We saw: A deer in a field as the light dimmed
We saw: tiny birds, hopping happily in the grass because no one was around.
We saw: a little boy chasing his tiny white dog around a car parked in his driveway; the dog was fast, and laughing as he looked behind him.
We’ve seen some things and need to be glad, even if we’re unbearably sad.