The Story of a Most Heroic Dog, Scooby

June 11, 2015  

Our dog, Scooby was given to us through the VA when he was a young dog. He was an Australian Shepherd, and I remember it was raining when we had picked him up. All the other dogs had gone back inside except for this one dog, so initially I nicknamed him Scooby Dumm as a lighthearted joke. Later,after we had brought him home and cleaned him up, he ended up blending right in with my family, and he and my wife’s dog Scrappy became fast friends. In addition, throughout training, he proved himself to be very adept at learning basic commands as well as the more advanced commands expected of both a service and therapy dog. He was then, of course, renamed Scooby Doo.

On November 23rd, 2014, I was at work and had heard news that there had been a fire at my home. I had wanted to rush home immediately, but I had to wait for someone to pick me up. When I arrived, the firefighters had just finished working on my wife’s dog. They had given her three canisters of oxygen plus she had had several severe burns. In addition, I noticed bites on her ear and her tail. We think Scooby must have bitten her twice and driven her off the sofa in attempts to get her to the back door. I’d found out that Scooby was able to wake up my sleeping family by barking and creating a lot of noise. My neighbors two houses down said they could hear his barks and wails.

After the fire was over and they had shored up the building, they let my family and me back inside to get what was salvageable. I discovered the body of my wife’s black cat near the backdoor. We think she must have died from the smoke and had been unnoticed. She had bite marks on her neck so we suspect Scooby had carried her to the back door. Sadly, we found out Scooby was killed by the shrapnel from when the television exploded and he was attempting to save the other cat.

When I heard the news, I was devastated. The fire officer made me wait in the backyard while they brought out his body. I saw the gouges and the wounds in his side that the shrapnel had made. I stood over him for a long moment, then touched him behind his ear, and said goodbye. The fire marshal wanted to know what I was doing there to which the information officer replied that I should be left alone. He said I didn’t need to see this, and I was told that I could leave.

A few days later, a close friend and neighbor had her husband and father bury Scooby in her backyard. It seemed like it only rained for the next three weeks; tears from heaven were pouring down, grieving over the best friend I lost.

Do I intend to get another dog? I do, someday, but it’s a difficult choice. My Scooby was one of a kind, a hero in every sense of the word. The VA, my primary care doctor (I am a disabled veteran), my psychologist and my psychiatrist all recommend that I get a new dog. And I will someday. But no dog will ever replace my Scooby Doo.

-Charles Wade
Chesapeake, VA