Thursday, November 21, 2013

Goodnight, Sadie

I've lost my best friend.

Sadie was probably born in December 2001, a Shepherd-Lab mutt. She was found beside the road in August 2002 by a family who took her to the Annapolis SPCA, where they evaluated her to be 8 months old.

In October 2002, my wife and I separated after 13 years. She took the kids and moved to UT, leaving me with an empty house and an empty heart.

On January 8, 2003, I went to the SPCA, where I met Sadie. On January 11, 2003, I brought her home.

Sadie gave me a reason to come home. She gave me someone to love, someone who needed me to be there. And for the next six years, she was the center of my life. Everyone who met her, loved her. And she returned that love, with interest.

We walked together, morning and night. I figure that together we have walked nearly 6,000 miles. We backpacked, camped, romped, and slept together. I loved the feel of her fur, the sound of her breath, the joy in her bark.

In 2009, we started into a new chapter together. I married a woman named Debbie, and Sadie was my best man. Together we moved into a new home on 6 acres. Debbie brought her Sheltie, Annie, and over the next 4 years we added Jake the Lab and Beau Bloodhound.

Some time ago, Sadie went through kidney failure. We nursed her through, put her on a prescription, low-protein diet, and worried. The vets gave her about six months.

Sadie laughed at them for over two years.

When the end came, it was quick. Last Friday, she was normal; but as the week passed, her energy waned, she had trouble moving, her appetite disappeared. By Thursday her breathing was labored and her heartbeat was fast. I worked from home that day, and spent a lot of time with and near her.

I spent the last three hours watching with her. Finally, that great heart failed, her proud head bowed, her bright eyes dimmed and closed, and she crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I hope she'll wait for me.

Goodbye, you beautiful, glorious bitch. You were my first, and I doubt I'll ever have a dog as special as you again. You filled my life when it was empty, lit it up with joy when it was black and dark. You carried me until I could stand, then walked beside me through 11 years. Now you've run ahead, and you can't hear me whistle.

But I know where you are.

Four dogs seemed like too many. Without you, three will never be enough.

Sadie, my first dog. December 2001 - 8 November 2013, 2:50 AM. Rest in peace, dear friend.