After being with me for 12 years, Sadie (my German Shorthair Pointer) passed away. Part of it was expected and part was not. To say I haven't been dealing well with it is an understatement. The fact that these photos are up is a miracle. Every time I opened the file on my computer and her picture popped up, I started to cry all over again. I decided to push through this time because I really wanted to write this tribute for her. Maybe it'll be therapeutic for me.
A few years after I married my husband we adopted Sadie from the largest animal shelter in the U.S.- Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Since she was a rescue she hadn’t had her tail docked (and I also suspect she had another breed in her gene pool). I’m not sure how we came up with her name but it was love at first sight with those big brown eyes. She immediately went everywhere with us, including to work with me (I worked at a doggy daycare facility). After a few months I started work at a vet clinic and she continued to go to work with me every day. Sometimes during the summer I’d stop at a natural pool surrounded by big boulders. People would gather there with their dogs to walk and swim. Sadie would swim and jump for balls for hours. She would swim so fast she’d leave a wake behind her. She loved it!
After a few years we moved to Washington State and things got tight (square footage). We were living in a 650 sq. ft. apartment with 3 cats and 1 dog. Thankfully that didn’t last long. We found out we were expecting and moved into a larger apartment. Luckily we found a nearby dog park that had large open fields, trails throughout and river along one side. Sadie and I spent many happy days here. She would jump in the water or get lost in the tall grass chasing some scent (like her breed dictates) or chase her tennis ball endlessly. I never had to worry about her “manners”, she was so well socialized she never bothered other dogs or people. We would come home and she’d sleep for hours!
Finally the day came when we moved into a house! We were so happy FOR her. She immediately established her territory and set up a perimeter. She finally had a home to protect. As the years passed we had a baby, went on camping trips, gave up one cat to my dad and set-up a boring daily routine. We noticed that while we still did a lot with her we weren’t doing as much as we once did. We felt the right choice (instead of giving her away) was to add another dog. Crazy! She wasn’t sure at first but after awhile she and the new puppy played and played and played :). She now had a little doggie friend. Yay! The puppy (Josie) attached herself to Sadie right away and followed her around everywhere. She worshipped her big doggy sister. We took them to the beach, on hikes, to the dog park and even short trips to the pet store. After two years of fun we added another member to the family…a baby girl. I loved having Sadie at home with me and the girls during the day. She was a great watch dog, she would bark if anyone came up our driveway or knocked on the door. She made me feel safe. When my husband would go on business trips I’d even sneak the dogs onto the bed with me to sleep. Sadie especially enjoyed that! Such a treat :)
The time came that she started slowing down but tried to act like she wasn’t. She’d come in from outside limping because she’d run after a squirrel or bird. She’d be slow getting up and would be happy to sleep the day away. When she started to pee more than normal we took her into the vet. They pronounced her normal. She continued to have issues, even going so far as having accidents in the house. We knew something was wrong so we took her back to vet. This time they said she had a UTI and prescribed antibiotics. She didn’t get better. They suggested an ultrasound for $500! I decided (with the help of my mom) that we needed a second opinion. At the new vet we were told they had been able to see a tumor near her urethra. She had bladder cancer. They told us if she responded to anti-inflammatories she could live another 2 years. If not, there was nothing more we could do. She didn’t respond.
On May 18th, Sadie had a grand-mal seizure. It was time. I made the VERY difficult decision to put her to sleep. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.
I love her and miss her every day. Nothing will change that. Not time or a new puppy. But maybe someday soon I can think about her without crying.