Tribute To A Dog

Nine and a half years ago I walked into the local animal shelter in search of an animal companion.  It was during a difficult and lonely time of my life and I thought a dog would be good company.  I had a home and plenty of room to give to a dog in need.  As I stood at the fence, watching the dogs cavort and play, my gaze fell on a skinny young black dog racing around, in the thick of a pile of much larger dogs, chasing a ball.  I thought, “now there’s one with moxie“.  Suddenly, she stopped playing, looked my way and immediately trotted over to the fence.  She jumped up and stared into my eyes with her unbelievably blue eyes, while her tongue lolled out of the side of her mouth.  She bumped her nose against my hand and then looked directly back at me again.  Suddenly the thought, “pick me”, came into my head.  Little did I know then how that nose bumping gesture would eventually become a familiar and beloved one.  What I did know then was that she was mine and I was hers.  I learned from the staff that Sadie was a “rescue dog” because she had been abused and mistreated and therefore had some socializing issues that would need to be addressed.  I didn’t care…I was smitten.  I took her home and we spent two years attending obedience classes, agility training and behavior modification training.  The first six months we spent a lot of time in the “time out” corner for bad behavior but she got it eventually and a very strong bond formed between us.  Despite the months of training, the bad beginning she experienced at the hand of a cruel person left an indelible mark on her so she never trusted people she didn’t know and would rarely allow a stranger to touch her.  However, she was completely devoted and loyal to those she did know and was as loving and affectionate in all the ways so many dogs are.  I quickly learned how smart she was.  When she wanted my attention, she would bump me with her nose and then point it towards whatever it was she wanted, a dog treat, the door to go out, her leash to take a walk, the sink for a drink of water etc… .  Nothing got past this dog and I would swear she understood every word I said.  She certainly knew the words for lets “go for a walk” or “go for a ride”.  This is a dog who would pick raspberries with me and I would have to pick fast in order to get the biggest ones before she gobbled them up.  She would go ice fishing with me and sit staring into the hole in the ice, patiently waiting for a fish to come up.  She was always ready to go exploring in the woods or follow a path or a winding stream.  Everything was an adventure to her, and thus, became so for me as well.  Tennis balls were her passion, and long after I was tired of throwing it, she would toss it around on her own.  We did practically everything together and she was almost always by my side or nearby.  Until now.  Now Sadie is gone.  She became noticeably sick over the weekend and a hurried visit to the vet confirmed my worst fears.  She was bleeding internally from a ruptured tumor and there were more.  Many more.  She had cancer and there was nothing they could do except alleviate her pain by putting her down.  When I said good-bye to her, I simply hugged her and hugged her and held her face in my hands so I could look one last time into those blue eyes.  I told her what a great dog she was.  Then she leaned close and bumped her nose gently against my face one more time.  At this time, with her loss so fresh and sudden, I am inconsolable.  The heartbreak feels unbearable and the silence in the house echoes with her absence.  I know that this grieving is a part to be endured and time will ease it but it is so very hard to lose her.  Give your pet a hug today and enjoy every moment of them.

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2 Responses to Tribute To A Dog

  1. P Bergh says:

    My sympathies to you. There are few losses as hard as losing a beloved dog. I’ll share with you my favorite dog eulogy:
    Dog’s Faithfulness/Old Drum’s Eulogy
    “The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.
    “Gentleman of the Jury, a man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side.
    “He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that encounters the roughness of the world.
    “He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.
    “If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies.
    “When the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.”

  2. Cindy Hair says:

    I saw the picture of Sadie and had to read. She was definitely special.
    I now have chickens and I have a stupid pet story. My rooster was wearing the patience of my hens so I turned him loose in the yard while Bob and I were doing chores. He follows us around like a dog and makes sweet sounds. He is only 4 months old but quite beautiful. He is yellow and strawberry blonde with a fabulous red comb and wattles. I had foolishly left a can of kilz where he could reach it. When I saw him, he had just pecked the surface of the paint but since it gave no resistance his entire head was white from the neck up. I was horrified! I threw down my paint brush, swooped down to gather him up and ran to the water hose. I hugged him tight and asked Bob to get the paint off. I said I did not care how much paint got on me. I said please don’t drown him. “Big Man” never complained. He just waited for it to be over. He had paint in his ears but thank goodness none in his mouth. I held him while he started to dry and then he started to groom. When it was all over, he just hopped off my lap and started acting like a chicken again. He did shake his head for about a week because evidently he had water in his ears. I’ll send chicken pictures when I can. All is well here,

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