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the cat Nuisance

Scruffy Treats

Little Scruffy Dog

Scruffy's Story

(The black lines are due to unconquerable problems with a Canon scanning device.)

    Pat, pat, pat.
    The small, furry paw stretched through the cage bars, tugging at my leg, politely but insistently. I looked down; starring expressively up at me was a pair of large, dark, liquid eyes, framed in a thicket of black and silver hair. Hair-drenched ears, seemingly jointed in several places, quivered like sensitive radar. As eloquent as the eyes, they pricked forward hopefully. I read the tag on the cage: "Scruffy; female terrier x." So she was, indeed, a dog. For a second, I'd thought I'd encountered one of Steven Spielberg's gremlins.
    My parents and I were in search of a Great Dane -- for them, not for me. I had spent my life in the company of cats, and had no intention of taking on a canine. Pat, pat, pat. The eyes grew even larger, gazing up at me intently, beseechingly. She trembled all over, obviously terrified, but still behaving with perfect dignity. Pat, pat, pat.
    Ears high, tail swishing like a semaphore flag, Scruffy trotted happily out to the car, hopped in the moment I opened the door, and made herself comfortable in the first available lap. She has never looked back.
    Scruffy weighs eleven pounds, and a good deal of that is attitude. I once watched, horrified, as she chased a German shepherd across the grocery store parking lot. (He ran, too.) Other dogs are her buddies, and she is always ready for a good romp with them. She clearly considers herself one of the Big Dogs.
    She's also a well-traveled one. I take her everywhere I go: Cheyenne, Denver, even Texas. She loves to "ride-about", and, I suspect, has a better sense of direction than I do. She certainly knows which truck stops have the best hot dogs.
    Scruffy makes friends easily -- everyone from students to business people to mail carriers (she recognizes the truck) to politicians. We attended the '96 Wyoming State Democratic Convention. Scruffy sat at the table with the rest of our delegation, ears pricked attentively toward the podium. Our
Congressional candidate asked me, "Is she a delegate?"
    I said yes, she was; and he said he believed it.


    My wonderful little dog died about 2:30 in the afternoon of November 30th, 1999. Her heart failure problems had worsened over the past week, and she was going into kidney failure and having trouble breathing. The vet said there was no reasonable hope of improvement, so I decided it was best for her to end there. The injection was very quick and peaceful. I held her and she had the injection and her little heart just stopped beating. It was her time, and I think she knew that, even before I did, and she was ready. My friend Marvin built a really nice box, and we lined it with a piece of purple fake fur, and I cut up my green velvet skirt and wrapped her in that. (I thought of a line from Rossetti: "Garmented in green, even as in days of yore thou standest today.")
    We buried her near my front steps, in front of the honeysuckle bush, so she can always be with us and watch over the house.
    (It was a very odd thing; that morning after I spoke with the doctor, Scruffy got off the couch & wanted out. She did a little business, then went and sat down, just to the east of where I had planned to bury her. (We put her in the spot she chose.)
    She was the most personable, loving little dog I have ever known, and I miss her so much -- but as my father says, that's the price of having pets. Their little lives are not as long as ours. I will have other dogs, and they will be wonderful, too, but Scruffy will be in my heart forever; my little Good Girl.

A Tribute from a Friend

    "My Scruffy Memory is of the days that I was working at the Democratic Headquarters. I would arrive around 8 or 9 a.m. and sit at my desk. Next to my desk was Scruffy's little bed. I remember that the door to the headquarters had a bell on it and hearing that bell ring...followed by the rattling of Scruffy's leash on the hardwood floor as she ran across the room to greet me for the day! I also fondly remember how helpful she was when we would do mailings. I would set a chair next to mine and she would sit there and supervise. You have been so lucky to have such a wonderful friend as Scruffy, but you should know that she was lucky too...she had you! We are thinking of you and remember our little (yet mighty in spirit) friend Scruffy.
Garrett & Dean"

three good Democrats: Garrett, Dean and ME

Scruffy and her friends Garrett and Dean.

Little Scruffy Dog
1983(?) - November 30th, 1999

"From whose happy spark here let/Spring the purple violet."

Scruffy, on her last morning, sitting on the spot she chose for her grave.

scruffy on couch, last day
Scruffy's sweet face
resting on the last day

The black lines on these pictures are due to unconquerable problems with a Canon scanning device.


"Hey now, hey now, don't you cry;
It's just the dying of the light.
Time to say our goodbyes;
I'll look for you in that goodnight."
-- Ian McCulloch

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