Friday, September 19, 2014

On a personal note

I love dogs--big, long-haired, floppy dogs.  I'm not a fan of cats.  I've just never been able to make much of a connection with them.  But dogs are so easy to love.  They don't judge you, they're always glad to see you, and they love you even when you don't deserve it.

I've always had dogs in my life, but most of them primarily belonged to someone else.  Sometimes that was the choice of the person and sometimes it was the choice of the dog.  I remember we had a beautiful cocker spaniel once that we took in because its owners could no longer keep it.  I thought that dog was amazing and I wanted it to choose me as its person.  Instead, it trailed around after my mother, who didn't care for it at all.  It would cry when she left for work in the morning and bring her his toy to play with when she came home in the evening.  She was way too busy taking care of a family to have time for a dog.  I had lots of time and I tried and tried to make a connection with him, but he had given his heart to my mother and that was that.

When I was 11 years old, we got a border collie puppy.  Her name was Princess and she was beautiful.  Best of all, she chose me, and she was my best friend until she died when I was 18.  After that, I got busy being a grownup and, like my mother, I didn't have time to spend with a dog.  My husband had several Brittany Spaniels over the years, but he was their person.  I was busy with work and children.

When we moved to the country in 1997, we had a miniature poodle.  I had purchased him to keep my husband company after he retired and I was still working.  He was our first indoor dog and I loved him, but he was pretty high maintenance and my idea of a great dog was one who lived outside and didn't need to be taken to a groomer every couple of months.

Then, one morning Sasha came into our lives.  My husband discovered her on the doorstep, scared and alone.  It was love at first sight.  The vet estimated she was about 8 weeks old and she was the most adorable puppy I'd ever seen.  She looked like a little teddy bear and I almost named her Bear, but decided that she deserved a more sophisticated name.

We could tell by the feet that she was going to be a big girl.  She was so soft and cuddly with a curled up tail.  Who could have resisted that face?

Well, she absolutely took over our lives and seemed to love both of us equally, though, I think she always really cared more for my husband.  I was the one who nursed her through a cracked pelvis that she got when she ran into a tree while chasing a squirrel, a snake bite that, luckily, was not severe, though it was delivered by a copperhead, and a severe cut to her head, which we never did figure out how that happened. 

She was adventurous and very protective of us.  She hated snakes, squirrels, cats, and armadillos.  She was afraid of thunder and never liked loud noises.  One of us would usually sit with her during a thunderstorm.  She loved cold weather and snow made her deliriously happy.

Sasha died last night.  She was almost 14 years old.  She devoted her whole life to loving and taking care of us.  We will miss her terribly.  Wherever she is, I hope it's snowing.

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