Sunday, July 27, 2014

It's a Sally Thing

There is a good dog named Sally and my Sally girl will soon take her walk over the Rainbow Bridge. My heart is broken and I beat my chest because I cannot reach in and squeeze my heart so it doesn’t hurt anymore. The decision we had to make we probably delayed too long. She’s been sick with tumors for a while, but we hoped - maybe a little selfishly - that she would understand it was her time and let nature do what nature does. But I truly believe Sally felt so loved that she just didn’t want to go. So we had to make that decision for her. She’s a big dog and was only expected to live 7-9 years; she’s 14. She’s had problems with her pancreas since she was about 5, so she has not had dog bones, treats, or any kind of scraps for years. Until last week. We saw a blog about a dog’s last day and decided we’d make it last 2 weeks. She’s had hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, treats, bones, pancakes and pretzels - anything and everything a dog shouldn’t eat. Why not? We’ve sat on the porch with her, put up a sign to let the neighbors know, and watched movies with her until late in the night. She has loved the extra attention, and I loved that as a family we understood spending time with her was more important right now. We have loved her and she has loved us. Everyone says it about their dog, and we are no different - Sally is THE best dog we could have ever had for us and our girls. As I sit typing this she’s lying on her bed next to me. I’m on the front porch - it’s late afternoon - and it’s hot. I have a tear-stained face and I doubt it will dry before I finish this. The neighborhood will be a little less noisy with Sally gone. Between her barking and us telling her to knock it off, well, yeah, it’s going to be too quiet. Sally topped out at 120lbs; she’s a black lab/great dane/golden retriever mutt. And get this..she was the runt of the litter! I always compared her to Clifford, the Big Red Dog. He grows so big because he’s loved so well. I like to think that about Sally. She just kept growing because we loved her well and gave her a great home. A small home, one she quickly grew out of. When the dog is bigger than the kitchen they tend to become outdoor dogs. But she had her moments in the house. School mornings were her favorite because she got to charge in like a bull in a china shop and pounce on the girls to get them up. She loved her walks around the neighborhood. Those days are gone, but I still remember how she’d get all excited when the leash would come out. And she could smile! And when she did, people thought she was going to eat them, but it was her “I’m happy to see you” smile. It could be offputting though if you didn’t know her well. So for some kids around the block that liked to bully her a bit, we kind of let it slide when they thought she was being menacing. She had a big personality to go with her size, even though she let storms and firecrackers put her in a tizzy. Even our neighbors are coming to say goodbye and bring her treats. After all, she's been barking at them for 14 years. I think they'll miss her too. Sally, the big black dog. The one who helped me put up the cemetery every year at Halloween (and posed for pictures in it!). The one who would chase the lawnmower and the rake, who hated baths and would run from the hose, but would sit in her kiddy pool on hot days. The dog who would tell me which way the girls rode off on their bikes, would tell me when rain was coming, and guaranteed we could never use our back yard. Who even in her last days was going deaf and blind made sure we knew when other dogs were close by. The dog who knew she could chase any cat that came in the yard except the ones that were inside the house, and even befriended the bunny. The dog who helped us decorate our Christmas tree and liked to help us open presents. The dog who would try to squeeze all 120bls of herself between my legs when people would try to pet her - small people anyway. One who loved the beach and rides in the truck. Sally is one amazing dog. One who's spirit will be with us always and can never be replaced. The love in our hearts will always remain. And we will see her again, smiling at us and waiting to go on a walk once more.

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