Coping With The Loss of A Pet

I couldn't look at them the day after Heather died. It was the worst feeling in the world. Mr. K, Nibbles and Pudley needed me but I couldn't even bring myself to turn on my other side in bed, never mind go downstairs to walk and feed them. I felt defeated. I had prepared for sadness and ugly cries but this reaction I was not expecting. How was I unable to even look at my dogs? Fortunately, I had reinforcements to take care of the pups that day while I grieved...if that's what you want to call it.

While lying in bed, it dawned on me. I really hadn't told people yet. How was I supposed to do that now? I started with family. My grandmother, who has experienced greater loss than any other person in my life, had me laughing a bit and feeling inspired to at least try to tackle the day by the end of our call. She reminded me that Mr. K, Nibbles and Pudley needed me and that I had given Heather a really good life. Both things I knew but couldn't channel to pick myself up that morning. 

I managed to get through the grocery store and other mundane errands before returning home. I opened the refrigerator and saw the bowl I kept Heather's home cooked meals in and nearly lost it. I whisked around, slamming the refrigerator door behind me. I couldn't handle seeing that. How quickly I had forgotten it was there. And how surprising to find something as simple as food could be such a jarring emotional trigger. No one said grieving the loss of a pet would be easy but I think I had hoped the wonderful memories and love in my heart would prevent things from being this hard.

Sometime that afternoon or early evening, I got down on the floor and opened my arms to let my three Scotties come hug me. They all came smiling - Pudley acting silly and jumping around, Nibbles burrowing her head in my lap and Mr. K with his tail wagging but those soulful eyes showed me he was worried about me. I assured him everything was okay and took up a game of squeaky tennis ball and suddenly, his world was so much better than it was before. I had to pull it together for him.

With each day that passes, things get easier. Nights are the worst, though. It is as if your days return to normal but all that grief that was pushed aside rushes back to the surface once you've settled in for the night. It took me weeks to learn how to quiet my thoughts so I could rest. People always tell me look for signs of her. That she'll let me know she's in a better place and doing okay. Sadly, I have not seen any such sign. Not even after her remains came home. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough. Instead, I remind myself that she is not in pain. It helps. It doesn't make it all go away but it helps.

Losing Heather was difficult and it didn't matter how many articles I read about dealing with the loss of a pet. I had to go through it and cope with it on my own and in my own way. (And I still am.) It is the best way to heal, in my opinion. I didn't feel peace until I decided to do something to honor Heather and began brainstorming ways to champion the rescue cause on her behalf. Knowing she'll live on in the hearts of many and that her memory will be preserved brings a tremendous amount of comfort. And I know she's looking on with that cute, crooked smile from wherever she is today.

Scottish Terriers of Instagram

We know you can't wait for #TooCuteTuesday so say hello this week's #ScottishTerriersofInstagram! If you'd like to share your photos with us, upload them to Instagram using #ScottishTerriersofInstagram or tag @TheScottieMom. Oh, and be sure to follow us and this week's featured Scottie dogs! 

A photo posted by Chelsea McBouncy (@chelseamcbouncy) on

A photo posted by Helen Cannings (@helencannings) on

A photo posted by Cait K (@0ffwiththeirheads) on

A photo posted by Kae (@kaecatalano) on

Still looking for more Scottie Love? Check out other Scottish Terriers of Instagram on Pinterest!

Hilarious Videos of Scottish Terriers

Scottish Terriers have the best smiles and their antics are great for making Scottie Moms and Dads smile, too! We searched the Internet for videos of Scottish Terriers with lots of character and Scottie-tude to come up with a few that are sure to bring a smile to your face. Got a funny video of your Scottish Terrier you'd like to share? Send it to thescottiemom(at)gmail(dot)com.

Hello, It's Me

I thought I knew what it was like to be greeted by a happy Scottie until I learned how (arguably) the happiest Scottie of them all - Pudley - likes to say hello. It started relatively early on after I rescued him and his litter mate Nibbles. He was crazy happy. All the time. And the first couple of days I came home from work, I rushed upstairs wondering what all the commotion was about.

Hello - it's me, Pudley!
As it turned out, Pudley clamors at the doggie gate so that he may be the first to say hello when you get home. He even tries (and, fortunately for me, he fails) to jump the gate. It sounds a bit like someone's playing a host of percussion instruments all at one time. Heather used to make a similar noise as she bat her tail against the gate when I came home - only it was significantly slower and much quieter. Pudley's musical rendition sounds a bit like, "BAM! BAM-BAM-BA-BAM!!"

Once you cross over the threshold, he jumps up and down against your leg again and again making sure you know how excited he is to see you. And when you go to pet him, he drops to the floor so fast and hard, you think it was an accident until he rolls over - paws in the air - and grins as he waits for a belly rub. Once he's had enough, he then moves all four paws up in the air as if he's riding a doggie bicycle while lying upside down. I've never seen anything quite like it but it's awesome.

How does your furry friend greet you after a long day? 

Scottish Terriers of Instagram

We know you can't wait for #TooCuteTuesday so say hello this week's #ScottishTerriersofInstagram! If you'd like to share your photos with us, upload them to Instagram using #ScottishTerriersofInstagram or tag @TheScottieMom. Oh, and be sure to follow us and this week's featured Scottie dogs! 

A photo posted by Shannon (@shantilly) on

A photo posted by Scott Rose (@scottrose) on

Still looking for more Scottie Love? Check out other Scottish Terriers of Instagram on Pinterest!

In Loving Memory

Grieving the loss of a pet has its ups and downs but one thing that brings me comfort is looking at photos of happier times. As time passes, looking at the photos bring tears to my eyes more often than not but I know Scottie Mom friends miss her as much as I do. That's why I share my favorite memories of Heather as I remember them, in hopes I can offer you comfort as well. Feel free to tell me about what you loved most about Heather Beather in the comments below.

One of the first photos taken of Heather after she joined the family in April 2011 and one I've come to cherish. Heather, like most Scottish Terriers, loved to scratch her back on the green grass below.

Heather's first birthday party after joining the Scottie Mom family. She would have been about 7 years old in this photo. Each year, I bought Heather (and Mr. K, of course!) a special doggie birthday cake to celebrate the occasion. As rescues, I don't know their official birth dates but I always celebrate their birthdays on October 25.

The Scottie nose ALWAYS knows! Heather was notorious for being able to sniff out food, no matter where it was hiding. No obstacle could get in her way once she had found an interesting scent. Heather went to great lengths to make sure her belly was full at all times...going so far as breaking in to trash bins whenever the opportunity presented.

Heather was an easy travel companion. She loved to go for rides and never turned down an opportunity to see new places. Here, she's checking out accommodations in Connecticut. We journeyed all the way from Atlanta, Georgia to Providence, Rhode Island by car to spend the weekend with family.

Heather's favorite destination was to visit The Overtreater. It was never hard to get her to smile or pose for a photo whenever he was around. In fact, she typically sat immediately in place and waited a little impatiently for her reward. This photo was taken in 2012 in Belmont, North Carolina.

I hardly ever let my dogs off leash but on this trip to a dog-friendly beach in Charleston, I decided to let Heather loose for a few minutes. She chased after a family friend who was running down the beach with Mr. K on leash. My heart nearly stopped. I had never seen her move so fast. I called out to her and asked if she wanted a treat. Heather stopped in her tracks and came bounding back with the happiest look I ever saw on her face. 
This photo never fails to crack me up because it shows just how Heather felt after one too many trips to the V-E-T. Much to her dismay, Heather had to wear the cone of shame more often than either of us would have liked but she truly was a trooper and even marched happily into the V-E-T up until the very end. This photo was taken after a mass was removed from Heather's tail in 2014.

Did I mention Heather loved road trips? Here she is smiling away during one of our pit stops.
I'm convinced Heather was a natural model. She never minded the camera capturing her every move (hello, treats!) and she always gave me a little grin to complete the shot.
Even when work took me far away from home, Heather never held it against me. She knew my goal in life was to work at home with her by my side and to still contribute to important causes close to my heart (with enough left over to feed her treat habit, of course!). In this photo, taken in 2014, Heather and Mr. K traveled with me to Tennessee for work.

Heather loved to put her chin to the ground and use her back legs to scoot forward to give herself the perfect chin scratch. 

Every day that I had with Heather was like Christmas but I especially loved spending the holidays together. I once stuffed a pink stocking full of treats just for Heather. She never liked toys so treats were always the way to this Scottie girl's heart.
I bought Heather a stroller not long after her 11th birthday. Though she seemingly was fine, I noticed she did not like to take long walks like Mr. K does. In fact, she preferred to take care of business and get back to the air conditioning inside!

Taken just before I learned Heather's cancer had returned, here she is exploring a dog park she, Mr. K and I discovered within walking distance of our house. (How I lived here for years without finding it is beyond me...)
Much of the time in those last months, you couldn't even tell Heather was sick. She was in such good spirits, always looking for food and still loved to roll around in the grass. I found myself hoping against all odds she'd beat cancer once more.

I moved the human bed to the bottom level of the Scottie House so that Heather did not need to walk as far to go outside - especially when nature called in the middle of the night those final months. While the bed certainly was crowded between myself and four dogs, I wouldn't have traded those nights for anything in the world.

Perhaps the hardest to see, this is one of the last photos taken of Heather before she passed on Friday, August 26, 2016. Though she couldn't walk, her Scottie spirit was very much alive. And my hope is to make sure that spirit never fades.

Though this photo was taken years before she earned her wings, I knew early on the Heather really was an angel on Earth.

The are hundreds of other "favorite" photos and even home videos of Heather that I could share and maybe in time, I will. For now, my focus is honoring sweet Heather and it all starts with dozens and dozens of homemade blueberry muffins. Stay tuned for more details. Until then, we'll leave you with this special message about Heather Beather from our friends with The Whippety Wood...

Beautiful Brindle Needs Forever Home

Meet Trixie, currently in the adoption program with Aberdeen Scottish Terrier Rescue. Isn't she gorgeous? I fell in love with this girl the minute I saw her photo. And if I lived closer to Washington (state), Trixie probably would have already been welcomed into the Scottie House. After all, who could say "no" to a beautiful brindle that has big, expressive eyes like my late Heather?

Trixie is 8 years old. She is spayed, microchipped and up-to-date on vaccinations. Her foster Scottie Mom describes her as "perfect" and says, "she's easy with baths, gives kisses and loves to cuddle up at night." Trixie even lets her foster Scottie sister steal her favorite toys and share the same food dish without any aggression. She knows basic commands and is looking for an experienced Scottie Mom (or Dad!) who will be the pack leader. Much like my Pudley, she may need some training on leash aggression and barks at other dogs while on walks but still gets along fairly well with dogs.

If you think you might be the perfect Scottie Mom (or Dad!) for Trixie, submit an application online by clicking this link. For those whose Scottie Houses currently are full at the moment but want to help make it easier for this pup to find a loving home, please share Trixie's story to help raise awareness for her cause. Together, we can find this sweet Scottie girl the forever home she deserves!