Farewell, Faithful Friend

Snow was one thing that slowed a young Sadie down.

I admit. I did not want her. In a lesson learned too late, I realized one should never take children when just ‘going to look’ at a new dog. Right.

Bob had convinced me that we would get a Brittany puppy this time. So when he found one at a rescue home he really though we should go see what kind of dog it was. In retrospect, I think he was only fooling me. The rest of the family had a plan.

So what do you say when the ‘puppy’ is a little bigger and a lot older than you were expecting? What do you say when you look at her and think, is her hair naturally that short??? But then, what do you say when she quietly sneaks up between the kids just waiting to be loved? Yeah. That’s what I said too.

So home she came. Her name was Madison and she had lived in an apartment until she got too big. But, they forgot to tell us that she really didn’t like living in an apartment and she really didn’t like being stuck inside. We knew immediately she was misnamed.  A Madison dog would lie quietly at your feet while you read. A Madison dog would be friends with your cat. A Madison dog would hear your voice and respond to your call. Nope. This was not a Madison.

We named her Sadie. It was obvious that Sadie was a better choice. A Sadie dog is a free spirit who loves life and loves to run. A Sadie dog thought cats were to be played with. And a Sadie dog could not hear when you yelled her name…unless she wanted to.

Salem was Sadie’s first cat friend.

Yes, Sadie was an experience. It didn’t take us long to realize that apartment life was torture for her and it was probably not the dog’s size but the fact that an open door meant freedom that caused her to be given up. Our first year we had numerous friends, and even strangers, left standing at the front door as we ran down the street chasing the fool dog who would bolt every single time the door opened. We took her to Strawberry and she ran through the gate down onto Fossil Creek road where I ran after her like a crazy wild woman, waving my arms trying to keep the cars from hitting her. Gradually, I learned that if I yelled in an angry voice she would suddenly become deaf until I was almost within arms reach and then she’d tear off down the road.

Yes. I would tell Bob regularly that I did not like that dog. While not a pup, she loved chewing up anything that took her fancy. Barbie dolls lost their limbs and heads. Toy cars were unrecognizable. And anything left outside was fair game. She loved cat food and would quickly wolf it down until I finally moved the dish to a counter she couldn’t reach. When we’d take her to Strawberry she’d sneak down the hill  suddenly deaf to my calls and run like a bat out of hell over to Grandma’s back gate. She’d easily climb the chain link fence and head down the house to visit her canine friends.

And her hair? Something of a mix she had beautiful long wings on the back of her legs. Or at least they would have been if she would have tolerated being brushed. No, she just chose to chew on the brush instead and run off would try to catch her. I discovered she had had a haircut just before we met. And being a Sadie dog that was pretty much the only way we could keep her neat looking.

But at some point she stopped being a crazy teenager and starting acting like an adult. She still loved the kids and loved to sit next to them either inside or out and she would walk fairly well on a leash (as long as you kept her on the outside on a one foot leash…) And I don’t know when it happened but I could open the door to company and Sadie would run down…to greet them, not run off. And once she stopped trying to play with the cats and they actually decided she was pretty warm and would snuggle next to her on cool days.

Sadie and kitten Socks. He loved lying next to Sadie. Maybe he thought their same coloring meant they were related?

Oh she still had some crazy quirks. Like somehow climbing over the six foot wall to get out of the back yard. First we thought she was digging out and we covered all the gaps under the gate and made it so she couldn’t dig. But, if we would leave home and Sadie was in the back yard, we could be assured that she’d be in the front, hot, thirsty and ready to go inside. Except for those two times. The first, we’d been out shopping and just come in when the door bell rang. It was a policewoman and she was asking if we were all okay. I asked her to come in, that I needed to shut the door to keep the dog in when I realized. No dog. Sure enough. Sadie had jumped the fence and visited one of the neighbors. They tried to bring her home and heard the radio from outside and were concerned about our welfare. The second time I came home to find a note from the animal control. Sadie had been arrested and was in jail. Apparently, a not so nice neighbor spotted her and instead of calling the number on her collar just decided to call the police. Yep. The first arrest in our family. When I called Bob to bail her out I reminded him this was his dog. Sure enough he found her down at Sheriff Joe’s in Cell block C.

Everyone incarcerated at Sheriff Joe’s has a public profile picture.

Though I still threatened to trade her in it became more apparent that she had found her job in the family. At night Sadie would go from room to room, including the folks room when they were here, checking on her charges. Eventually, I stopped comparing her to our first dog. And when it was time for my chemotherapy it was Sadie who followed me from room to room, never far from my side, always offering a soft head for petting.

All those years of jumping over that wall took its toll on Sadie and the stairs became more and more difficult to manage. Medicine might have made her feel a little better, it was hard to tell, she didn’t complain. She still enjoyed greeting company and found at least a few seconds of energy to play with friends.

Grandma’s young pup convinced Sadie to play one more time.

But finally she reached the point where she couldn’t get up and she couldn’t walk. So we took her to the mountains for one last time.  And the sad thing is I realized how much I loved the dog I never wanted.