“disloyal.” The void in my life was so thick, so palpable that I convinced myself that maybe it would be OK to buy a puppy for Charlotte! That way I could have something to feed, train and clean up after. Char would have that cute, fluffy little lap dog that she always wanted. After work I went to a local pet store to look at that tiny little Pomeranian that Char had fawned over a few days earlier. That puppy wasn’t there. In its cage was another very cute, fluffy little girl. I asked the teenage girl at the counter about this pup. I was assured that this was a pure bred Pomeranian that would be at most five to seven pounds when full grown. Ah, what the heck. I paid the then princely sum of $300 bucks for this pure bred, no papers pup. I carried the little bundle of joy to the counter along with a bag of puppy food and a few toys. I brought the pup home and while sitting in our driveway, I gently placed the little bundle of joy in a small cardboard box with a red bow on top. After rushing to the front door, as to not scare or alarm the pup, I rang the doorbell. Char came to the door. I presented the box to Char, cautioning her to be very careful. Char cautiously opened the box and simply melted as she picked up the baby and looked into her sparkling eyes. I felt pretty darn smug. Yeah, I’m the man….. I got mama that pup that she wanted. That illusion was quickly dispelled as my teenage daughter Brandy came to the entryway and discovered her mother holding this new puppy. Now, I first should tell you that next to me, good old Bugs adored Brandy. Brandy also adored Bugs. Brandy looked this precious little baby in the eye. After careful, considerate deliberation, she railed, “Take her away! I don’t want another dog!” Brandy then stormed off. So much for me “being the man.”
Brandy ultimately decided that Sadie (the new dog’s name) was OK. Sadie enjoyed driving around town with Char. Every drive up window in town knew Sadie. Sadie would bum treats from the dairy queen or the bank at every visit. The first sign that Sadie wasn’t exactly as advertised was when we went to the local veterinarian’s office. Dr. Dave at Barlow trail veterinary clinic gave Sadie her puppy check up. She was healthy, but the doc estimated that full grown she would be about fifteen pounds! What’s this? No doc, the pet store said she was going to be tiny! Nope, Dr. Dave said, “Fifteen pounds for sure.” Doc was right. Sadie wasted no time getting up to fifteen pounds. She also developed a little habit of shredding the TV guide into tiny, tiny little pieces. Do you have any idea how many tiny pieces of paper can be generated from a single TV guide? Sadie also showed tendencies to be a little less “feminine” or “refined.” Sadie took to roughhousing with our son Wes. Sadie barked a lot. Sadie ate constantly. Sadie had to be kept separate from the cat box. Sadie was well…. Sadie was stinky. Sadie ate Brandy’s entire Easter basket full of chocolate. Dogs aren’t supposed to eat chocolate. It gives them a serious upset stomach, as evidenced from the dog mess we found all over the house. If anybody remembers the movie “Revenge of the Nerds”, Sadie would most resemble the character of Booger. Yes, Sadie was Booger. If Sadie was supposed to be Paris Hilton, she more closely resembled Paris, Texas. No matter. She was part of the family and that was that. Sadie broke the ice as far as getting a new dog. We even decided that maybe it would be good for little Sadie to have a friend. I decided to get a Border collie for myself. Millie joined the family. Sadie wasted no time teaching Millie that the proper way to greet somebody at the door was with a chorus of barks and howls. This is something that to this day I am completely powerless to stop. When Opie joined the family four years later, Sadie taught him the same “engaging” behavior.
Life went on and we all grew older. Sadie grew plump and happy, as did I. The last few years I’ve learned that a haircut improves Sadie’s life. She’s not quite as beautiful as she would be otherwise, but she got a lot more lap time without the floor length hair. The first time that we had Sadie shaved, our then three year old grandson Kody looked at Sadie and said, “Awww Nonna, what you new dog’s name?” I don’t think he believed it was really Sadie.
Sadie has the distinction of being the first dog to kiss our granddaughter Karly. Karly came home from the hospital to be thoroughly inspected by Sadie, who promptly kissed her forehead as a seal of approval.
Sadie never missed a meal and never had to sleep outside in the cold. It’s now 13 years since I brought that little puppy home on Christmas Eve. Last night Sadie had what can only be described as a stroke of some sort. I knew there was a problem when I woke up a 7:00AM and Sadie was not standing in the kitchen, growling and fussing for her breakfast. I fixed her breakfast anyway. Almost blind, Sadie carefully stood up from her bed and carefully made her way to the food dish. In spite of an obviously life threatening event, Sadie ate her breakfast. This is right and appropriate.
As I write this Sadie sleeps at my feet, snoring up a storm. We have what is in all likelihood a last veterinary visit at 11:00 this morning.
Update: Sadie went to the light. It was quick and painless, but no less difficult for us to watch. She was part of our pack, our family. She gave us her best.
As Char and I got out of the car and somberly made our way to our front door, we were greeted with only one single, solitary bark.