In Loving Memory of "Scarlett"
July 10, 1994 - January 9, 1996
Champion Pointed at 10 months from Puppy Class
A TRIBUTE TO SCARLETT
For those of you who knew her, remember little Scarlett now and then.
A great little Labrador has senselessly fallen before her time,
without the opportunity to leave her mark of excellence upon the future of the breed.
Her passing leaves a crushing, painful hole in my life and in my heart
that I'm afraid, will take a long time to heal.
But at least she always knew, and maybe still knows ...
"I love you, little 'Darlin' and will miss you forever."
January 9, 1996
Scarlett at 6 & 8 months of age
Scarlett was special from the moment she was born, a surprise because it looked like mama, Impression, had not taken, was nesting with a false pregnancy. But, to be sure, I stayed and watched, and finally pulled one huge, lovely black puppy. That was it ... Scarlett was the entire litter all wrapped into one, and she was worth it. At 3 weeks, she had lots of special toys and I hung my hair over the whelping box so she could bat at it, and imitated the actions of littermates. I named her Scarlett, after Scarlett O'Hara, because she was so spoiled! She came in the house early, was crate trained and learned how to interact with the other dogs, and I knew I couldn't part with her. Scarlett had a spirit and sparkle that I will forever miss, as well as being the essence of what I'm striving to breed. Her second show out, at 10 months, she took Winner's Bitch and I was so shocked and excited I forgot to ask for the photographer. As I left the show site, I thought, "well, there'll be many more opportunities". Unfortunately, there weren't.
One cold day in January in 1996, while I was at work, someone opened my kennel and let all 10 of my dogs out, closed and latched it again. After getting a call about a Lab getting hit on the highway, I drove home to check, but so determined it couldn't be one of mine I drove right by the black body lying on the side of the road. Eight dogs greeted me in the yard, loose, waiting for Mom, two were missing, and I knew then in that moment that I had lost one of my beloved Labs. Sitting on the side of the road, holding Scarlett's dead body in my arms was one of the worst moments in my life. A passer-by stopped, then a highway patrol, who literally dragged me away and took me home. In my devastation over losing Scarlett, it took the insistence of a special friend to even get me out to look for Scarlett's mama, Impression. (Thanks, Audrey.) Just before dark, we found her, hanging on to the ice, in a spring hole in the icy lake. She barely turned her head in response to my call as I headed out to save her, ignoring my friend's calls to wait for help. I crawled towards the hole, still in a skirt from work, and hoisted Impression out slowly, expecting any moment for the ice to give way. We figured she had 10 minutes left, at best, before she froze and slipped under, but she recovered. But there was no joy, as little Scarlett couldn't be saved.
I wrote the tribute to Scarlett (above) that very night and framed it with some pictures and her ribbons. Unable to deal with her parting, I carried it to work with me every morning and back home every evening for 3 weeks; and I cried for 3 weeks straight, even as I worked. I had to have something of her with me. I know most co-workers thought I was losing it, one even suggested a doctor, anti-depressants. Now the pictures stay at home on the wall, but I never forget. Tonight, on the eve of four years since her leaving, I cry for her again, sorely missing her spirit and so sorry for her final moments of suffering. In spite of having others who I dearly love, the grieving for little "Darlin", as nicknamed, never ends. I know she'll be one of the first waiting there, sparkling with love, when I approach the Rainbow Bridge.
January 8, 2000