The Nose

You may remember that it was just over a year ago we lost our much loved Sadie.  It was hard on the family to put her to sleep but everyone agreed it was for the best; her hips had given out and she couldn’t walk any longer.

Those who have had pets know what I’m talking about. There is a strong emotional bond we humans form with these dogs who love us without restrictions. And yes, I say dogs; because I know my cats, who might like me, just don’t have that same relationship.

So, that said, we all grieve differently and we all decide whether to risk attachment and assume the responsibility to another pet at different times. The family, for example, was ready for a new pup last summer but not me.

Still, as more time passed it did seem like we were ready for a new dog. For months Bob had been getting emails from friends to whom he had put out feelers. I managed to ignore them all, until last month. Bob was busy at a job site and without looking had forwarded an email with a picture of “Sadie”.

Really.

A pretty common dog name, no doubt, but for us, one that called our attention.  So I called the lady and it turned out that “Sadie” was a lost beagle whose owner couldn’t be found. This woman was part of a beagle rescue program and had taken the dog because her friend had indicated she wanted one. But, like sometimes happens, when the woman was given the dog she backed away from her statements, saying they just weren’t ready for a pet. The rescuer’s husband wouldn’t agree to their having a third beagle so she decided to seek out a good home for her. Lucky for us.

Sophia Wendt, once known as Sadie.

Sophia Wendt, once known as Sadie.

The only stipulation to getting the dog was that the woman would have to come meet us. She invited me to come see Sadie but I laughed and told her that once Matthew saw the dog there would be no leaving it so she arranged to come visit us and bring the dog along. If we passed muster the dog would be ours. This turned out to be our most exciting Christmas present ever. Of course, we kept the dog and now almost a month later this is home.

While the name Sadie caused us to call initially we decided that this new dog should have a different name so Sadie became Sophia.100_2363

The cats were especially concerned with the idea of a new dog in the house, they too had gotten used to the quiet. Spooky (the black one you have never seen) turned into a giant puffball of fur with saucer eyes. But they are all now, if not friends, at least mutual acquaintances; the cats now allow the dog to sleep on the bed next to them with just the occasional wary glance her direction.

Sophie thinks the pillows are for her exclusive use.

Sophie thinks the pillows are for her exclusive use.

Now that Sophie is more comfortable with us we have learned some things about her. She is gentle and Matthew will tell you she has the softest ears. At about two years old Sophie has had some training and likes to go for walks or rides in the car. As a beagle, she has a definite hound dog howl. She hates to be alone–we wonder if she lived with someone elderly who was always home and liked to sleep in.  And she has a nose. She is always tracking in the back yard and it doesn’t matter if she’s in the upstairs bedroom, if I start cooking she is right there to see what’s going in the pot. You can’t hide a snack because the nose knows.

Someone had food up here...

Someone had food up here…

So if you come to visit, prepare to be greeted by a wagging tale and a howling greeting of a loving dog. Of course, if I’m cooking you’ll find The Nose in the kitchen.

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What’s for dinner???

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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.