Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My dog's time

She was a beautiful black Labrador who lived with a family who abused her. She was chained to a tree outside and conceived a litter of 13 puppies when she was less than 2 years old.
She tried her hardest to take care of her babies, and hid them in an old log. The log collapsed, and half of her puppies died.

A wonderful rescue woman came to take her away. The owner didn't want her any more, or her puppies. The rescuers cared for her, gave her good food, spayed her, and gave her a name, "Whitney". Her puppies were beautiful, part black Lab and part golden Retriever, and they found new homes fast.

A woman in California who wanted a companion for her first dog, the doggy love of her life, Oscar, found Whitney online at Hearts United for Animals. The rescue woman said they would get along. She put Whitney on an airplane on a very wintry day in Omaha, Nebraska and flew her to California.

Whitney got a new name, "Sadie". She wrestled for Top Dog position the day she met Oscar. Mom wanted Oscar to win, but Sadie became Top Dog. They worked it out. They groomed each other and made up games. They were best of friends.

This changed mom's relationship with Oscar forever. He was still her boy, but he had an all-day, always-there friend now. He was part of a partnership.

Oscar and Sadie spent their best time in the Santa Cruz Mountains, chasing deer (who were never truly afraid of being caught) and running through the woods. They had favorite paths and dug nests into the sides of redwood fairy circles. They were strong and agile, forest dogs. They slept outside and smelled and listened to the life of those wet woods.

When they were back in town, occasionally they would go on "walkabouts". They would find a gate ajar and force their way out of the back yard and go around the neighborhood. Sometimes they got thrown in the dog pokey. One day Sadie was thrown in the pokey, and Oscar came home alone.

He wouldn't eat. At first his mom thought he was just sad because Sadie had been put into jail, but after three days (and Sadie had returned) mom took him to the vet. Within half an hour the vet told mom that Oscar had cancer. It was his time to go. Oscar was 12 years old.

Sadie was a survivor. She survived the abusive family, and she survived Oscar. She never lacked in courage. She has chased a bear and attacked a Rottweiler nearly twice her weight. She was dominant and smart and very pushy about being fed exactly when she was hungry, and telling you exactly what she wanted, when she wanted it.

So when she stopped eating on Sunday, we knew she was telling us it was her time. She had grown so thin, and her body was done. It was time to let her soul free to run with Oscar again.

Goodbye, Sadie. What a time you have had! You've been a wonderful mother, friend, and partner. I hope to have learned the lessons you were here to teach me.

Sadie died today at the age of 15. I will be waiting for her to bark at me at exactly 5:30 to tell me it's dinnertime.

1 comment:

Patti said...

Dearest Lisa...

Our home feels a special loss right now as Sadie become part of our family the very first time she stayed with us...and her "it's time to eat NOW" morning alarm clock went off...>chuckle<...

I'll miss her 'hopping' in the kitchen when it was time to eat... >smile<. And I swear she could tell time, too.

I can't begin to know what you feel right now, but I can imagine. You know where I am anytime you need an ear...or a shoulder.