On Saturday night our sweet, perfect puppy passed away. She had an infection in her uterus and her uterus ruptured sometime in the past few days, probably Friday night. The doctors did everything they could but the infection was already through her whole body, so we had her put down. Sadie was my family's dog, but I have always considered her my dog, and this was really hard on me. I've been trying to remember all the good things, so I decided to write about it on here. Feel free to read it or not, it's mostly for me anyway and I think it may end up being pretty long.
We got Sadie when we were still living in California, from our realtor, actually. Our parents told us they were going out to run errands, I think, and then my dad came in and told all of us to go into the family room because they had a surprise. My mom came in through the backyard holding the sweetest, cutest, little black lab puppy. To say I was thrilled would be a complete understatement. I loved that dog, and it didn't take long before my dad started calling her my baby (and I certainly treated her like she was my baby).
When we first got her, my parents decided to kennel train her. We put her in the kennel in the family room when we went to bed, and even though it was on the other side of the house I could hear her sad little cries. At first I just tried to go out there and comfort her, but it was so sad that she ended up sleeping in my room a lot, which was definitely against the rules. Eventually my parents put an end to this, and she started sleeping outside. Every night when I went to bed I would go out and tuck her into her kennel in the backyard.
My parents have this big, professional looking, vacuum, called a Rainbow. The hose attachment is really good for suctioning onto people, and we used to do this to each other whenever the Rainbow was out. So one day, we had the vacuum out to do our chores and one of us (I'm not sure who) had the brilliant idea to stick it onto Sadie. She freaked out! But instead of running and hiding, she attacked the vacuum hose. It was hilarious! The vacuum was pretty high powered, so if it wasn't attached to anything it would flip around on it's own a little. Sadie faced that vacuum hose like it was the enemy... every time we had the vacuum out.
I'm sure everyone has heard us refer to Sadie as "the perfect dog." The thing is, she really was the perfect dog. First of all, Sadie hardly ever barks. In fact, she barked so seldomly, that I actually remember the first time she barked. We were all in the backyard doing yard work and my dad put her in the dog run on the side of the house. She sat at the gate and whined and cried, wanting to be out with us, but my dad wouldn't give in. Finally, in sheer desperation I'm sure, she let out her first bark. It was the most pitiful bark I've ever heard. It was high pitched and squeaky, and so stinking cute! Unfortunately, I don't think it made my dad give in. After that, I started trying to find ways to make her bark, in an attempt to teach her to "speak". This never really worked out though, because she just wasn't a barker.
As she got older we found that we could tease her with something she wanted (usually a ball) and get her all worked up and she would bark. We all thought it was funny, just because she almost never barked. Sadie was a very happy, friendly dog. She always wanted to go see other dogs and especially people. She loved little kids, and it was so funny to watch her with them, because she would follow them around (although that might have been because she discovered that they were easy to steal food from...). Sadie also pretty much trained herself. I mean, we taught her what to do, but I'm pretty sure she spoke English, because she just picked right up on it. She always seemed to know what we were saying too, and I swear she knew how to spell.
At some point Sadie got completely addicted to tennis balls. She LOVED them. She always had one either in her mouth or sitting next to her, and if it wasn't in those places you could say, "Sadie, where's your ball?" and she would get up and get it. Anytime we said the word ball her tail would start wagging and her ears would perk up, so we started spelling it so she wouldn't get her hopes up if we weren't going to play with her. The problem was, she picked up on it. We would spell ball, and she would perk her ears up and start wagging her tall. She got this way with a few different words, ball, play, walk, and park. When we would take her to do something, we would always say those words over and over and she would get so excited that she wouldn't know what to do with herself. At some point, Sadie just turned part-human. She was very much a part of the family, and liked nothing more than when all of us were together. Last night, we went to see her in the hospital before they took her for surgery. All of us were there (except Greg, because he had to work) and even though you could tell just by looking at her that she was very sick, she was so happy to see us all. She was laying on her side when we came in, but she kept moving around to look at us all, and trying to stand up to get off the table. We were joking that she probably felt like that was exactly how things were supposed to be; laying on a table, wrapped in a nice comfy blanket, surrounded by her family, with all attention on her. Man, I am going to miss her. Okay, new train of thought, this one is making me sad again...
Sadie had two other loves in her life, besides her ball and all of us ; they were cheese, and water. Cheese was her very favorite food. In fact, part of the reason we knew something was very wrong with her was because she wouldn't eat cheese when we tried to give it to her. Every time someone would walk toward the refrigerator she would stop what she was doing and sit up and watch us. If we opened the fridge, her tail would start wagging slowly. When we opened up the cheese drawer she would be there next to you instantly. She'd look up at you with those cute eyes, wagging her tail, her ears all perked up. It was just about the cutest thing ever, and also extremely hard to resist. I think she usually got some, too =) Last, was water. Sadie LOVED to swim. It's funny, because it took a while to get her to that point. At first we forced her in the pool.
We would push her in, carry her in, and even sometimes put her on a boogie board and pull her around the pool, trying to get her used to the water. I don't remember when it finally happened, but at some point she decided she loved it. Her favorite game was fetch (because it involved a ball) and her favorite place to play it was in the pool, (or pond, or stream, or lake...). When we would get home from the park, or anywhere that she did anything other than lay on her bed, she would come home and jump in the pool, even when the pool was freezing! Then she would come stand at the back door because she (being the perfect dog) knew she wasn't supposed to come in when she was wet. For a while, one of us would have to go open the door and invite her back inside, but eventually she got to the point that she would just wait at the door, usually with her head inside the doggy door flap, until she felt like she was dry enough. Then she'd come in and get on her bed.
Another funny story about Sadie (I just remembered because I saw this picture). Sadie really liked going on walks, but she wasn't very good at walking on a leash, partially because we didn't use one very often. She was so good about not running away that she didn't really need one, but there's a law about using them. So one night, my mom went on a nice long walk, without Sadie. The next morning my mom came downstairs to this:
Sadie doesn't chew on shoes (like I said before, perfect), but if she doesn't get to go on the walk with you, she gets the shoe you went walking in and sleeps with it. She did this to my shoes a few times too. Talk about making me feel guilty for not taking her!
I said earlier that I always thought of Sadie as my dog. There are lots of reasons for this, but I think the main one is that she has always been around when I needed someone, but felt like I didn't want anyone to help me. When we got Sadie I was going through some tough things, and it was so nice to have her around because she loved me, no matter what stupid thing I had done, and no matter how I felt about myself. There were many nights that I would sit outside with her after a bad day, and it was like she knew. She would come sit or lay down by me, or on a couple especially bad days, she just climbed right onto my lap. Early last year when I was living at home again, and having a pretty rough time, she slept in my room every night. At first she just slept on the rug on the floor like she was supposed too, but one night she sat up and laid her head next to me on my bed, just looking at me. I smiled at her, because it was really cute, and started scratching her head. Then she just jumped right up next to me. From then on, she slept in my bed with me most nights. I can't tell you how much of a comfort it was to me. Dogs are great that way, they are more perceptive than they get credit for I think. Sadie always seemed to know what would help me feel better. It sounds so silly, saying all of this about a dog, but she was more than that to me, and to my family. Sadie really was a member of our family. We are all so sad that she is gone now. I had looked forward to her being around when I had kids, and I still can't believe that she won't be. But she was very sick and in a lot of pain and I know we did everything we could for her. So, to my Sadie puppy: I love you, I miss you, and I wish you were here.