Farewell, Our Sweet Sandy
Silence. Heartbreak and emptiness hit us as we unlocked the door to our home last night. Our dearest friend and family member living with us moved on without us. Her spirit was not strong enough to survive another day and at 5:30 P.M., March 22, 2013 our world was scattered as she passed on to a healthier life.
Sandy, wonderful sweet chocolate Labrador with a heart of pure gold that never complained when hurt, loyal to all she loved, smart in every way has left our home empty. For almost eleven years she has filled our lives and yet we never knew that this incredible feeling always present in our family home was because of her love. Each year Doug and Sandy celebrated their birthdays in May together having the same date.
Sandy- she earned her name when we first brought her home because her very first walk in life was on the beach and the very place I find my peace, she too loved. Splashing in the waters, digging in the sand and of course, exploring what may be in the washed up seaweed! Running up and down the beaches as though there were no end to her energetic nature or ours.
As she grew a little bit older not to stay in a play pen, she earned her stripes chewing up the remotes for our adjustable bed. Naturally the remotes had to be ordered from a distance away and we always had our beds stuck in a position not fit to sleep, for days at time.
We had always had poodles so she taught us well and trained us just to her satisfaction. We had decided she may grow too large and would teach her not to get on the bed as the poodles always had but Sandy had other ideas. Off to the pet store, we bought an outdoor fence and fenced ourselves into the bed at night since she seem to find a way out of her playpen and into our bed. That never stopped her as she somehow managed to always get past the fence and upon wakening, our sweet Sandy would be either starring into our face or fast asleep curled up against our chest or legs happy as she could have been. Her independence and drive to never give up was as if she had heard that was how I had lived my entire life.
Once we lost that battle, she became a regular in our bed giving us less room as she grew from what was to be a forty five pound dog to one that had become larger and weighing one hundred pounds! Training was our next move so Sandy and the two of us took our child to obedience school and the only problem was that we became her student. All in all, we learned to take walks, Sandy style; eat with her sweet head tilted as if to say “where is my plate” and watch the TV shows she most enjoyed.
Our lives with laughter and love were endless and such a delight even if frustrating at times. Sandy never met a stranger yet we knew that no one had ever dare enter our home with any ideas of harm. Her bark would set anyone on notice or if welcome, her gentle mouth would form a circle as in saying wooo and soft voice to follow with an expression of her feelings.
Her life was not an easy one as she suffered from seizures and allergies. I know that her feelings must have been hurt when those who laughed at her calling her fat but what they did not know was that she suffered from a Thyroid disease and although we protected her from those remarks, I believe she understood. Yet she always responded to them lovingly with a sad look but with a wagging tail and soft kiss. I figure it was their loss to be so dumb to quickly judge without knowledge or simply a cruel heart.
It was not much later in life she began to have issues with her feet and was misdiagnosed as having allergies. For the following two years she endured allergy shots which she did not need only to learn she suffered from a Cancer and lost half her foot. Now in her senior years she had to learn to walk all over again but never whined or complained of the obvious pain or frustration. She was determined to wear socks and bandages with dignity and the will to never give up.
Sandy’s favorite all time joy was to take a ride in the car. Her middle name could have easily been “Go” as we could not even spell the word and she was up and headed for the door.
Once she developed bone spurs to the hips and knees she was unable to enjoy the excitement of chasing squirrels or even taking walks she longed for whenever her leash was shook. But that did not stop this sweet stubborn soul from enjoying life. I have to say as she sat on the back deck, it seems there were a couple of squirrels that would always come to the edge as if to say “come play” but with hair that stood up on her back she just gently smiled back.
Sandy lived to watch the TV and very often spoke to the animals on the screen or if she did not like the eerie music, she would express her opinion. Her front room bed faced the TV so she was regularly able to watch and had her favorite shows.
It was not beyond Doug to sit on the floor with her and play their favorite game. Doug would take a treat and hold it in his fingers at Sandy’s mouth and as she would go for it, Doug would tuck it inside his palm. He would repeat this a couple of times and she would turn her head as if to say “I don’t want it anyway” and as soon as she felt he was not looking or paying attention go after it with gusto always to win! After she would go for the treat she always wrapped her little paws around his hands as if she would never let go. It was one of many games they shared and will be forever missed.
Although she was not well and in certain discomfort, she never complained but found the good things in life to be happy about.
The last few days have been extremely difficult again for her being unable to stand and walk on her own but with the bone spurs we prayed it was a temporary set back. We made an appointment with her new Veterinarian in hopes he would fix our baby. Again we found or feel that care she had been under before was not as it should have been. She had her hips and legs x-rayed learning about the spurs but never a mention she had the major tendon in her knees torn. Her new doctor told us it was like having two broken legs that she would never recover from. He gave us medicine and said she should not be walking at all except to go out until the inflammation was improved. He said that two to three weeks would tell us and if she got well enough to walk, we may have her another year. He gave her a dose of this medicine which had made her better before and we left the office. We drove to a pet store so I could buy a sling but because it was not sold there I was quickly back to the car.
When I returned to the car, Doug called my name to the side of the car where Sandy was laboring for her breathe. He started up the car as I called the doctor and told then we were on our way back. They were ready for us when we returned but it was too late. In spite of their efforts to revive her, Sandy just could not make this last journey.
Now our hearts are full of grief wondering what we could have done different. She had bled to death internally still never complaining as she died, while we were helpless to help our sweet Sandy. I know that God’s mercy had been shared with our innocent baby of almost eleven years. We did not ever want her to leave us but her death came quickly and very unexpected.
Sandy loved us very much and had her routines she followed regularly each day. One of her all time favorite things to do each morning seven days a week was to greet each sunrise through the glass doors in our bedroom. That meant she had to push the vertical blinds aside, gently waking us to say “good morning, the sun is up.” That was Doug’s cue to hang his leg over the side of the bed and gently rub her tummy as she wrapped her paws around his foot.
Sleep was not possible while we mourned her presence as each place in our home rang out with the silence we hated to hear.
Today is a mixed day of emotions as we remember all the joy, laughter and sadness your life brought to ours.
But Sandy can now run along the beach again and we will watch for her each time we are there, and enjoy her chasing that squirrel once more always allowing it to escape!
The days will never be the same and nights unbearable as you are gone but your love that filled the rooms will be forever with us.
Farewell sweet friend, we love you so. Be at peace and know no other will replace the love we shared with you. Perhaps someday we will love another but in different way. You are our angel and will never forget you.
This year come May Doug will celebrate his birthday without his special friend , Sandy, we love with all our hearts.
May 2002 to March 22, 2013
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