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Animal House: Loss is difficult for animals as well

Thibault got a ride on Scott Curwin’s shoulders during part of the Truro AIDS Walk in 2015.
Thibault got a ride on Scott Curwin’s shoulders during part of the Truro AIDS Walk in 2015.

The death of a person leaves gaps not only in the lives of people, but also in the lives of animals who were close to them.

In August my brother, Clark “Scott” Curwin, died from cancer - less than two months after being diagnosed, and my dog is one of those who are experiencing his loss. I called my Chihuahua, Thibault, his canine nephew, and he was the person the dog stayed with when I was away. He was one of the few people Thibault was very comfortable with.

Scott had dogs of his own in the past.

First there was a Spitz called Angel, who was with him for several years before unexpectedly dying from a heart attack while undergoing surgery for a throat problem. For a short time he thought he wouldn’t get another dog but he found it too lonely without one and adopted a mixed breed called Bandit.

Bandit was one of a litter of pups left along the side of a road in Debert in August 1996. Only two pups survived and they were placed in an SPCA foster home. Things didn’t work out well at the first home Bandit was adopted out to so she was returned and Scott adopted her when she was five months old. They made a great team and, with it only being the two of them in the home, they bonded closely. Scott, who worked as a Ford technician, rarely took sick days from work but if Bandit needed to go to the vet he didn’t hesitate to take time off. Bandit was with him for 17 years and her death left a large empty space in his life.

Luckily, Thibault was able to fill some of that space. Scott had been living in Bridgewater but after the dealership he was working for closed he moved to Bible Hill to care for his mother. That also meant more time with Thibault. We would often go to outdoor community events together and there were always vegetarian dog treats in Scott’s car. Thibault now had a second home because when I was away, whether for a few months or just overnight, he was ready to have my little dog stay with him.

Now Thibault, like us, is adjusting to the loss of someone he loves.

Scott and Bandit were both cremated and we recently mixed some ashes from each of them and buried them in a special place. I hope he is now walking somewhere with Angel on one side and Bandit on the other.

A selfie Scott Curwin took of himself and Thibault earlier this year.


Lynn Curwin is a reporter with the Truro Daily News and an avid animal lover. She resides in Bible Hill.

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