Jerry's Journey is a blog written by 11Alive reporter and cancer survivor Jerry Carnes.
This blog has nothing to do with cancer.
It has everything to do with companionship.
It's about lost companionship.
Like most families, we've shared our home with a variety of pets. There was my 29-gallon aquarium that hosted dozens of fresh water flappers over a twenty year span. There were my daughter's guinea pigs that failed the Carnes survival test. There was the red eared slider turtle she purchased outside of Turner Field after a Braves game. Longevity wasn't it's strong suit either.
We've had our best luck with dogs and cats, most recently a 14-pound frankfurter shaped hound by the name of Scout. Scout trotted around our ankles for so long we were starting to think she'd be around forever.
We were wrong.
After the passing of our first pooch we waited awhile to get another. We thought no animal could possibly replace our loyal beagle Crockett. Our search took us to a local pound where it seems that we were the ones being adopted by an odd little cross-breed that was most certainly part dachshund, probably part terrier, and possibly part nanny goat. Scout, as we would discover, could and would eat anything...especially if it's something she was not supposed to eat.
Scout possessed the excitable personality of a cheerleader and the appetite of a trash compactor. We almost lost her once when she devoured a low hanging bag of Easter chocolates, wrappers and all. You would think a date with a stomach pump would teach her a lesson, but her voracious appetite for the forbidden only grew.
Scout was just as hungry for attention. She was famous for surprising you with a nuzzle. With the skill of a circus contortionist she could work her head underneath your hand for a behind the ear scratch. She was always in a good mood, always up for a walk. She was most comfortable when she when she was dolling out affection.
After ten years, Scout developed a little routine. She would go outside for her morning constitutional, take a lap around the cul-de-sac to make sure the neighborhood cats were staying in line, then come back inside.
Friday, she didn't come back. A fast moving pickup truck made sure of that.
For some reason, Scout wandered beyond the cul-de-sac. We're not sure why. My wife said she'd done it once before earlier in the week and was promptly reminded of her boundaries. But curiosity got the better of her and she snuck off once again. It would be the last time.
The driver of the truck never stopped. He didn't witness the suffering that sent my wife racing to the vet only to hear that Scout's injuries were beyond repair. Cady's tears punctuated the pain.
It isn't the same as losing my father to prostate cancer nearly a year ago, but then again, a loss is a loss. Just as there are times I start to pick up the phone to call my dad, I started to whistle for Scout this morning. We'd grown so familiar to those marble brown eyes blinking up at us from her mat as we huddled around a fire for a Saturday night movie. I can still hear her little nails clacking across the hardwood floor as she trotted into the kitchen hoping for a treat.
Fourteen pounds of furry friendship is gone. The weight on our hearts is a lot heavier than that.
Eventually we'll welcome another pet into our home and fall in love again. Just like Crockett, Scout will watch over us from the Christmas photos posted on our den wall. They're a part of our lives forever.
I just hope God doesn't mind when Scout eats his Easter chocolates. It's going to happen.