Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Farewell To The Garden Mascot
After five years of faithful service as Lord of The Learning Garden's Patio, the inscrutable and ever alert Casey died yesterday losing the fight with a tumor in his spleen.
Those that knew him, recall him as a feisty force to reckon with; like all Scottish Terriers he did not suffer fools gladly and if he didn't know you, he was pretty sure you were one of them. An abused rescue when he came to us, over time we watched him turn into a little butter ball who accepted the love and adoration of all who came around. Everyone who knew Casey is grateful for Carol Herd and the work of all Scottish Rescue volunteers. Carol was the one who went to the pound east towards the City of Industry (sorry, I don't remember the actual city) and found our little fellow there in pitiful condition, hair so matted he had to be shaved with an additional diagnosis of kidney stones. She had to make the call to spend the money to save him, or put him down. Our success story is entirely dependent on Carol's compassion and choice of that day.
Carol, from the first meeting with him could see that he had a neurological problem: Casey was born with Cerebellar Abiotrophy (CA), a population of Scottish Terriers that has gotten alarmingly large in the past few decades. The Scottish Terrier Clubs of America have funded research into the problem. The dogs are affectionately called Wobbly Scotties with their own website. An old photo of Casey is on page three of their website.
In practice, this meant that Casey walked with a wobble, had difficulty running (his back legs would refuse to run at the same pace as his front legs which made some amusing acrobatics) but he could trot straight as an arrow. His condition worsened under stress, so we did everything to keep his stress level down. With the tumor taking over his body, his control over his limbs was severely diminished and added to the challenges he faced over the last few weeks.
He fought the tumor with all he was worth dying peacefully yesterday afternoon in my arms. Of all the things he wanted, he wanted to be near his 'puppy pile' and it was the job of the humans around him to be the puppy pile. He could be put on a lap with a pad on his back and serve as a writing desk, or a reading desk with a book. He would sigh that particular 'satisfied dog' sigh that so warmed my heart.
Many stories are told by Learning Garden volunteers who came to the Garden Patio and not finding me there, would ask Casey "Where's David?" and Casey would look out to the Garden to where I was. He did keep good track on me at all times.
The Garden will not be the same without him. Known by many aliases (among them: Killer, Butterbutt, Magellan, Compost King, Happiness, da Puppy and Love Muffin), he will always be remembered for his loyalty and devotion to me and his huge presence that was way bigger than his 25 pounds.
He was my big, beautiful dog in so many ways and I will miss him more than I can describe.