My friend posted this on Facebook the other day and it just really hit home for me because I knew what was coming.
Warning: this is a sad dog post and I’m gonna ramble so you’ve been warned if you decide to read it. If you don’t, that’s okay too, I actually have some cards I’m going to post as soon as I take a picture of them.
This is my girl Sasha. I took this a couple days ago when I realized this day was coming.
Let me go back a bit, about 14 years. I used to keep a journal, before this electronic blog thing. I started when I was fourteen and stopped around the time my kids were young. I started a personal blog, but I haven’t done so well with that. In fact, I was going to put this post there and maybe I will, but I haven’t been writing and I realize now I need to get back to it.
So, here we go:
March 6, 1998 10:20 pm
[not sure why I wrote the times in my journals, but I’m sure I had a good reason for it]
The wedding day is approaching fast, but I might be getting a divorce if I bring another mutt home. I brought home another dog. Sasha. She’s part chihuahua, part something else. She’s so cute. I don’t know if I can keep her, but I’d really like to.
Then there are lots of entries about potty training her. When I brought her home, she was 10 months old, covered in fleas and was not potty trained. A mom of one of my students gave her to me. They lived in an apartment and couldn’t have dogs. This student was rather… uh… let’s say rambunctious and he had two brothers that were equally… uh… rambunctious. Sasha was deathly afraid of children and men when I brought her home, so she wasn’t winning any points with the Mister, that was for sure.
I remember the first thing I did was give her a bath and the water was black from the dirt and fleas. Then I put a leash on her and walked down the street to my fiancé’s grandma’s house. At the time, we lived in a condo overlooking the bay and his grandmother lived down the street. A very busy street. Morena Blvd for those of you that live locally. Anyway, as I was walking her, she somehow slipped out of the leash and ran away from me. She was a puppy so she was a bit crazy and she ran into the street. Cars were flying by and I just brought this dog home and here I was trying to catch her, but not wanting her to get hit by a car. Finally, I just stopped and so did she (go figure, that game is no fun when you want to be chased and your partner stops). I looked her in the eyes and I remember saying, “Please, Sasha, please come back.” I was so scared and I didn’t know what else to do. She looked at me and we had a bit of dog/human staring contest and then she slowly crept over to me and laid on her back in a submissive position (I didn’t know that at the time, but I learned many dog books later).
I carefully slipped the leash back on her, making sure it was plenty tight and hugged her and told her what a good girl she was.
After much convincing, I was able to keep her, but I had to promise to potty train her and I always thought it was easy, but looking back in my journal, it wasn’t.
So we ended up moving over by Lake Murray (rented my future mother-in-law’s house), got married, the mister had two back surgeries, I got pregnant with my daughter, we bought the house we currently live in, got pregnant with my son and fast forward to today.
Sasha was the first of four dogs. We got Daisy seven years ago, and Duke and Bella five years ago. Sasha loved Daisy. Sasha was still spry at eight years old and they became the best of buds. We had only intended to add a Bella to the mix, but when I saw a Duke, I had to have him as well.
Sasha has always been a healthy dog. She got sick once when we went on vacation and had to be hospitalized for a couple days because she was dehydrated. They pumped her full of fluid and then she was good to go again.
When I took her to the vet a couple weeks ago, I could tell she was starting to struggle when she walked so he said she was perfectly healthy for being fifteen years old in the exam (without blood and fecal tests and all that) and except for the arthritis, thought she was okay. In fact, she took a snip at him when he tried to pet her (after giving her a shot, I would’ve bitten him too!) He gave me some medication to give her, and I decided to start her with it when we returned from vacation, in case she had a reaction.
I asked the vet how we would know when it’s time and he said I would know. I kept saying, I don’t want her to suffer.
I started her on the medicine and began to notice she wasn’t eating, except for dog treats. I bought her some canned food and she ate that for a couple days. She would still walk around, but it looked painful for her. She started falling, but then got back up again. Last night she quit eating and this morning when I went in the bathroom, there was a huge mess. She had been throwing up daily, but now she was pooping black mush. It was all over the floor this morning. I cleaned it up and then held her in my arms for about an hour. I tried to feed her, but she didn’t eat. My daughter laid her down on her pillow and we noticed blood and pus leaking out from her back side (trying not to be gross about this and not succeeding).
Sasha looked up at me and right then I knew it was time. I had originally planned to drop her off at the vet today because they were going to evaluate her, but I knew at that moment what the outcome was. It was as if she asked us to take it all away.
I woke up my son and told him he needed to say goodbye. I asked him if he wanted to come, but it was too hard for him. My twelve-year-old daughter not only wanted to come, but she stayed in the room during the procedure. I held Sasha’s face in my hands until the end.
Sometimes people around you can see it before you do. Maybe any one of you looked at Sasha and knew it was her time and maybe I was prolonging it. I don’t know and never will. I know that I had doubts all along until this morning. It was that look, like the one Sasha gave me in the street fourteen years ago. I don’t speak dog, but it was as if she was asking me to save her back then. And today, it was her asking me to save her again in a different way. Despite how much it hurts, I know I did the right thing letting her go and wherever she is, she is free.