It is an understatement to say that I knew nothing about dogs. But I figured that I could read a couple books, ask a little advice, get an electric fence, lose five pounds during our pleasant walks around the neighborhood, enjoy my children enjoying their dog and we'd all figure it out. How hard could it be?
Long story short, we hooked up with Paws and Prayers. After meeting with our family for four and a half minutes, they decided that all we could handle was a submissive, gentle sort of dog. They called us saying they had a black lab mother with a litter of puppies who needed good homes. One of them would be just right for us. We and 20 other future fur families met Paws and Prayers in the parking lot of PetSmart and, in a frenzy of puppy love, we were handed 'Kylie'. 'Kylie', who after much deliberation and debate became Sadie, immediately nuzzled her face in my hair. I pried her off my shoulder to get a look at her. She wasn't really lab-bey looking. I thought my dog would be a lab! But she climbed back into my hair, hung on tight and said she was ours. I didn't realize it until years later, but Sadie chose me.
We signed the papers, made a donation, bought appropriate supplies and brought our new fur baby home. Then, of course, we brought her right into the house so she could piddle and poo on the rug. Looking back, I kinda feel sorry for puppy Sadie - her new family had a LOT to learn!
We crate trained her and she slept downstairs. I slept on the sofa in the living room next to her for weeks.
The electric fence battle between the Do-It-Yourselfer and the Invisible Fence professionals ended with the sales woman laughing out loud and explaining that 80% of her customers were just like my husband. (Ego bruised but fence professionally installed.)
We spent a lot of time in the yard with Sadie. She would chase after tennis balls literally for hours. She hounded the kids soccer games so persistently we finally gave her her own ball. She learned to play hockey and lacrosse with Cole. And she played tug so aggressively I thought her teeth would pull out of her mouth.
Sadie could destroy a bike helmet in minutes. Itty bitty teeny tiny pieces strewn across the lawn before you knew she had some kid's helmet. For years I would tell the neighborhood kids to leave their bikes and helmets by the mailbox beyond her electric fence. Those replacement helmets got expensive, let me tell you!
She also really, really liked hair bows. With lightning speed, Sadie would traumatize some poor little girl by jumping up and pulling the bow out of her hair. Naturally the kid would cry. I would simultaneously comfort the girl, reassure her mother, futile-y chase the dog and herd them all into the house for a conciliatory popsicle. Then, after a few days, (fortunately, because this always worried me a bit) the bow would reappear in a colorful dump somewhere in the yard. Surely you can't return a hair bow after that process, so they got expensive too.
Sadie needed exercise for all that energy. I have always needed to lose five pounds so with blissful expectations off we trotted down the bike path. Well OMG! She pulled and peed and sniffed and chased. I'm lucky to still have my arms in their sockets! Her entire life, she never trotted along passively at my side for longer than 25 seconds. There was always something to sniff or pee on or eat along the path that pulled her attention from the primary task at hand - being my exercise partner. One time, in a moment of cockiness, Sadie and I were just about home from our run when we saw some neighbors running toward us. I cheerfully waved and greeted my friends thinking I must look super cool running with my dog. Then, because Sadie couldn't stay by my side to save either of our lives, she crossed in front of me. I flew over her back and bounced onto the pavement. Athletically (I'm sure), I jumped right back up (I'm okay!) fervently hoping my neighbors hadn't just seen me wipe out 20 feet in front of them. I'm pretty sure they didn't think I was as cool as I'd hoped. Sadie pulled on the leash with Super Dog strength to sniff her greeting.
As Sadie grew older she was extremely gentle with small children. It probably had to do with the fact that they all smelled and tasted delicious. But we think she had an innate sense about their vulnerability. That said, there were certain dogs that she just did not like! Even when she was older and gimpy with hip pain, I know she would have fought ferociously to defend me or the kids.
Most of the time it was just me and Sadie in the house. She'd move from room to room with me. The kids were never alone in the house when Sadie was here. She provided a certain sense of security.
It's so weird that she's gone. I listen for the jingle of her dog tags. I have fleeting thoughts, "I need to let the dog out." "Sadie needs to be fed." Out of the corner of my eye I see her sleeping on the floor beside me.
I'm going to donate her dog beds, food and leashes to a nearby shelter. We are going to keep her blankets. I said I thought I should wash them. I said they stink. Kendall said, "I know. They smell like Sadie."
Good bye my Fur Baby.