Our Dogs: Casey and Scratch
Our beloved Scratch passed away on August 27, 2009 (seven years after Gord died; one day prior to his birthday), following a brief illness. Scratch, who would have turned fourteen in October, was originally Gord's "baby," so losing her was not only sad in-and-of-itself... it also felt like losing another part of Gord.
Scratch was a great little girl: full of spunk and enthusiasm for life, loyal, affectionate, obedient and a wonderful companion to me, my daughter, our Springer Spaniel (Casey), our cats (Robyn and Dexter), our neighbour Marilyn and her family of cats and dogs. Scratch was an outdoor adventurer, who was up for almost any challenge. During the first three years of her life she canoe-tripped with Gord and went for rides on his motorcycle and snowmobile. In the summers following his passing, Scratch camped, hiked and swam in over two dozen Ontario Parks, with Emily, Casey and me. Her biggest adventure was our 2007 month-long camping road trip to Thunder Bay and back, during which we stayed at and explored nine different parks. In 2006, Scratch enjoyed the car ferry ride from Manitoulin to Tobermory, teepee-camping at a native campground and riding in a Zodiac on the Bruce Peninsula. The only thing Scratch feared was heights. We found out about her phobia a few years ago, when we climbed the steel-mesh stairs of a fire-tower and she stopped and refused to climb any further than halfway up. Scratch's favourite home activity was treeing squirrels. She last engaged in this hobby as recently as three days before her death, despite being gravely ill. We miss your smiling face immensely, Scratch! We would like to think that you are reunited with your Dad and Buddy the cat now, paddling the marshes of heaven in his big, old cedar strip canoe...
Gord's "adopted daughter" Casey passed away of old age, on August 11, 2010 (eight years after Gord died). She was almost fifteen.
Casey was originally my dog. Gord and his wee dog Scratch first met Casey in 2008, when the dogs were both three. Casey and Gord adored each other; Casey and Scratch became inseparable, lifelong companions. Casey was a gentle, fun-loving soul who enjoyed children, other animals and being outside. She started camping and canoe-tripping with me as a young pup, joined Scratch on several of Gord's solo canoe trips and then, after Gord's passing, spent the several years trekking around the province with Scratch, my daughter and I, tent-camping for a month every summer. One of Casey's biggest passions in life was swimming. In the picture above, Casey is revelling in the icy cold waves of Lake Superior. In her old age, Casey showed us that she would have been a wonderful mother. She took on the role of foster Mom to our tiny, rescue kittens Robyn (born in 2007), and Dexter (born in 2008). Casey took the death of Scratch very hard, howling whenever she was left alone for the entire next year, until her own death. Two months after Scratch passed away, Casey was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Ten months later, she followed her best friend Scratch to "The Rainbow Bridge." The veterinarian said Casey died because her heart valves stopped functioning properly... but I believe Casey died of a broken heart. :-(
The ashes Gord, his cat Buddy, Scratch and Casey are buried together on Gord's favourite island in the Algonquin Park interior (see Interment).