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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Giant Hole in Our World

May 9, 1998 - January 11, 2009
Remembering Sadie
(written by Dad)

Was there ever a soul so gentle or a spirit more loving than our Sadie Vanessa?

Remember how, after greeting you at the back door, she would lope down the hall, ears flapping, as if running to tell Mommy that “Daddy’s home”?

Remember how, when you would kiss Linda, Sadie would raise her head, lift her chin, and look for all the world as though she was trying to pucker her lips so that she, too, could get a kiss. If you didn’t go over and pet her then, she would look at you, hurt and disappointed.

Remember how she loved to get the newspaper out of the front yard in the morning, and how proud she was to carry the paper back up to the house — her head held high and her tail wagging.

Remember how comical it was when Linda tried to show Sadie a squirrel up in a tree? She’d say, “Look, Sadie, a squirrel!” and she’d point, and Sadie would run off expectantly, with head held high and tail wagging. . . . but invariably she would run to the wrong tree.

Remember how we called her our “inter-species friend,” our little “rude child”?

Remember how, whenever she knew where we were going — out to get the mail or whatever — she would “elbow” her way to the front, so she could be the first in line.

Remember her “drinking problem”? When she lapped water from her bowl, water would squirt out the sides of her mouth as if she were a sump pump, so that the floor around her bowl would become a puddle of water. She would then leave her bowl before she had swallowed all the water in her mouth, so that she would leave a trail of water behind her. Typically, she would go straight to where you were standing and put her head between your legs, almost as if she was wiping her mouth. If you were seated, she would stand and look at you proudly, while water dripped copiously from her chin into your lap.

Remember how alert and excited she would instantly become when asked, “Sadie, want to go get the mail?” Remember how, if you failed to go for the mail soon after your return from work, she would stare at you expectantly and persistently. When you finally asked The Question, she would leap to her feet and run to the door, jumping and dancing happily and turning to make sure you were following her.

Remember how excited she would be, whenever she saw us getting her leash, or whenever we would tell her that she was “going to camp;” that is, going to the vet.

Remember those “railroad crossing-light” eyebrows of hers? How they animated her face and made her so very expressive!

Remember how she would always “help” Linda as she prepared to leave for work how she would stay with Linda as Linda showered, dressed, and gathered her things for work. Although Sadie would pine for Linda throughout Linda’s absence, she would be excited at the time of departure, simply because she knew the routine and knew what was happening.

Remember how she would eat almost anything that we would eat. But remember, too, when she was young, and there were a few foods that struck her as odd. She would “dance” with those foods — crouching, jumping, and playing with the food and sometimes even barking at it.

Remember how Sadie would always look for Linda first, whenever we returned from being away, so she could greet Linda first before turning to greet anyone else. Remember how she liked to bring Linda a gift — a shoe, a chapstick, or whatever she could find quickly — to welcome Linda home. Remember how Linda would “kiss” her, by sticking her chewing gum out of her mouth and letting Sadie take it.

Remember their morning routine and how I’d always know that Linda was up and coming into the room, wherever I was, because Sadie would come in first, leading the way.

Remember how Sadie would lay at our feet during dinner and how eventually she would start groaning for her supper if we didn’t finish our own meal soon enough. She wouldn’t whine or whimper or beg outright but would be more like a child dropping hints for a treat. But remember how, once Linda started preparing her supper, Sadie would lay in the middle of the kitchen, pretending to be indifferent to the whole affair.

Remember how she would patiently pause in her meal to allow you to give her the insulin shot. Remember how Linda would gently warn her, saying, “Mama’ll stick.”

Remember how she would press her face into the notch of your legs, until her head emerged behind you and she would stand there laughing happily, with you immobilized.

Remember how she loved to be in the midst of whatever we were doing and how she would lay right in the middle of the floor or in a doorway, this big brown dog sprawled out where everyone would constantly have to step around her or over her.

Remember how she loved to attack the garbage barrel as you rolled it back up from the street to the side of the house. It was virtually the only time we ever saw her attack anything. She would growl and bark ferociously, and she would bite, gnaw, and pull at the handle as you rolled the barrel along. Her side of that plastic handle is rough and prickly from her teeth. Remember how sad it was as she got older and progressively less able to attack the barrel, sometimes falling down as she tried to turn and bite the handle. Toward the very end, she would merely trot along beside the barrel, looking at the handle and not trying even to bark.

Remember how she would thrust her head through the “doggie door” and look around, especially if her family was outside and she was inside. (Unfortunately, we got the new back door with the doggie door insert after Sadie’s hips were already getting weak, so it was very rare for Sadie actually to go out through the door, and she never went inside that way.)

Remember how Sadie would often burst into the room and come to your side with a happy smile on her face, as if she was trying to say, “Look! I’m here! Let the good times begin! Aren’t you glad to see me?”

Remember how content she could be, simply to be near you, and how she would often lay the full weight of her head on your knee or in your hand, as she gazed lovingly up at you.

So many memories. Long after the pain of losing her has softened, and long after we have finally grown accustomed to the hole in our world from her departure, we will remember Sadie and the boundless, abundant joy — the utter joy — she brought to our lives.

Thank you, Sadie.

Good girl.


Angelia said...

Goodbye my sweet sister.
I'll never forget the talks you and I had laying on the kitchen floor. That was our time and it was special to me.
Forever and always, Angelia

Katie R. said...

Oh, I'm so sorry for your loss. Sadie sounds like one very, very special puppy dog. I can see why you'd be missing her. My thoughts are with you.

ps I read Jessica's blog. I thought I'd come check out Weezer.