scrappy surrounded-1When you write a zany blog, it’s tough on both writer and reader to switch gears and post something serious.

“Is she trying to trick us again?” you may be asking yourselves.

The answer is no.

This post is a rare and serious one–as serious as a stroke, or heart attack.

Which is probably what Scrappy had.

Which is probably why I’m sitting here and he’s not staring at me with his big brown eyes while curled up on his bed.

My almost 14-year-old boy who people always confused for a puppy is gone.

And, just like my free-spirited boy, he left me by surprise and on his own terms.

Friday was supposed to be a rain-out of a day, but the sun came out in the afternoon.

Scrap had been acting confused that day, something he was doing more and more. Failing senses? Doggie dementia? Mini-strokes? But he had been cooped up all day and I decided that when we got to the walking path behind our development, I could let him off leash for just a little while.

Scrappy was happiest when he could trot around and sniff unfettered by the ever-present leash.The walking path is tucked well away from streets. It’s been his haven for the last three weeks.

The path ends at a thickly forested ravine. He’s never ventured beyond there.

Friday he did.

I asked, then demanded he “wait!” In response, he turned his head and looked directly at me for about two seconds. In that time, I saw something in his eyes. Something that said, “No, There’s something I have to do.”

Then he disappeared.

When he was younger, he got away from me and went on grand Terrier-fueled adventures a lot. The difference was that I would hear him barking and running through underbrush. And, of course, he always come home.

This time, all I heard was silence. He disappeared.

Vowing I would never let him off leash again, I waited, called, then gave up and returned home, hoping that maybe his sense of smell was still working and he could find his way back home.

When I got home and I saw he wasn’t there, I decide to walk the neighborhood. The last thing I wanted was to have him lost and confused. I needed my vagabond boy back home, safe.

Fate had other plans.

As I headed out, I saw a gathering of people and cars by a corner one block away.

Instantly I knew.

I ran to find Scrappy lying, as if sleeping in the middle of the street on four-way-stop intersection.

Two vehicles, a car and a small pick-up truck were parked and three people were bending over his perfectly still body.

The woman in the car said she saw him running in the road and avoided hitting him. The young man in the pick-up truck claimed responsibility for hitting him, but I don’t know how that was possible. The vehicles could not have been going more than a few miles an hour.

There wasn’t a mark on Scrappy and absolutely no blood came from anywhere on his head or body. He was perfect.

I think, being the Highly Sensitive Dog that he was, he got startled by the traffic turning the corner and either had a heart attack or a major stroke. I want to believe that it was instant and that he never felt a thing. And I really want to believe that he was coming home. To me.

Was he saying goodbye to me with that definitive look before he disappeared in the ravine? I’ll never know.

With Scrappy, keeping me guessing was his sport of choice.

I felt wracked with guilt for letting him off the leash and for not being there to say goodbye to this little soul who has journeyed with me through both very low and very hide tides in my life over the past eleven years.

How many tears can a body produce? I think I tested the limit over the weekend.

But I found a way to lighten my heavy heart in a most unexpected way.

More about that in the next post…

scrappy sleeping