Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Black Mercedes January 22, 2000 ~ May 15, 2013

My Sadie Girl.  She was that once in a lifetime Dog.   The one that all the others will have to live up to but will never be able to.  ( I know the longer she is gone, the better she was~ for some reason time intensifies memories, but that’s okay!) Sadie was my Soul Dog.  She loved me like no other…
My blog since the beginning started and ended with my Sadie Girl. When my Sadie’s life on earth ended, my heart was broken once again.  It has not only taken me a while to get back here, but even just deciding if I wanted to come back here.   I think I have found my new normal again.  I think I can handle it , so here I am! 
 I will not be able to write this without crying, feeling sad, missing my sweet girl, but here goes.  This post is going to be long.  Sadie was my sidekick.  Where I went, if dogs were allow, there was Sadie.  She knew my every move, responded to all my moods and loved me no matter what.  I learn what true unconditional love is from her.   She deserves to be remembered and memorialized here.   This is for me, it will help me to remember her when I am old and my memory fails me.   I will always be able to come here and read all about her.
My Sadie Girl fought the good fight.  Like everything, nothing in my life is without meaning.  Tonight, I sit here in Mami’s kitchen in Puerto Rico writing about my Sadie Girl.  (Papi & Jay are one in the same ~my Husband,  Mami is Jay’s Mother~ my dear Mother in Law).    Growing up, we always had a dog or two.  I love animals.  My brother loved animals more.  He found a solace in them which has taken me a while to understand, now I do.  He knew that no matter what he did, or how he did it ~ his pets, would always love him.   When he was about 6 or 7 years old, my mom took him to a therapist to help with some of the PSTD symptoms.  At the time, it didn’t have a name, but I believe that’s what it was.  My brother had a classic case of PSTD.  If you lived through what he did, you would as well.  I love the fact that during one of the sessions, he talked about “his pets” ~ Tiny, Patrick and Janet”.  The therapist had to check with my mother at his next session as he had thought Janet was a person and not a pet.  I love this story and know it is true.  I have most of my family history on paper in the form of my mother’s love letters to my sister when she was away at college.  This story appears in one of the letters.  I love this story, because I know that Andrew, my brother knew I loved him unconditionally.  I do.  Which brings me to my Sadie Girl. 

In the late 90’s, Andrew found himself without a home.   He knew of course he was always welcome where ever I lived.  At the time I had a sweet deal living in the upper part of an old home in West Henrietta, NY.  A friend of mine from high school owned the house.  When I asked if my brother could live with me for a while, he was fine with that.  Of course he didn’t know at the time, my brother came with two adult pit bulls.  A couple of weeks was fine, but after about 6 months, the welcome was wearing out.  I needed to do something.   Our older Sister, Carol came through.  She is probably the only person in the world who knew me better than I knew myself.  She found a perfect house for me.  Old home with character, in the village of Rush.  Perfect!   It was mine and I could bring Andrew and the dogs with me.   Besides, I always wanted my own pup.  A dashound, like Patrick and Snuffy ~ the dogs I loved from my childhood. 
Andrew, Buddy, Keisha and I moved into our new home….. life was alright. Not great, as adult siblings were probably not meant to live together!   But it was alright.
Fast forward to my 40th year.   About 6 weeks after my birthday Andrew announced he found the perfect dog for me.  I indulged him.  We went to see her, a little black pitbull 6 weeks old ~ born on my 40th birthday, in the year 2000. 
Let me digress here a bit (it’s my blog ~ indulge me).  Up until I was about 15 years old, I used to wonder if I would be alive at the turn of the century.  You know 40 is really old!   Hmmm look at that ~ 14 years later than the turn of the century, still here!

Well back to Sadie girl.  She was not my dashound, but she was cute.  I decided I would name her Mercedes, Sadie for short.  Given the fact I wanted a doxie and didn’t get one, I thought I would take advantage of the fact I also want a black Mercedes and probably will never get one of those either, so I had my little black Mercedes!  Sadie for short.

When Sadie arrived, we were down to just one dog, Buddy.  Andrew was not working, he was home all day.  Andrew ~ if you didn’t know him was the real dog whisperer!  His love, patience and ability to train the pups was second to none.  Sadie and I reaped the benefits of this.  He and Buddy set out to train my Sadie Girl.  Even though Andrew trained her, she was still my dog.  She loved me like no other and I loved her just the same.  As the years went by Sadie became a better and better dog.  Andrew never stopped training her.  He also took every opportunity he had to train me as well.  He made me read books, watch videos and never stopped preaching about how I needed to be “a responsible pit bull owner” and what that meant.

I am going to digress here and share some Andrew stories.  Andrew being the dog whispered, resulted in our home come to be known as the “Dog Ranch” in our family.  Everyone knew their dog was welcome at our home, for it was decorated and modified to meet the needs of our pups!  Not only that, but anyone who brought their dogs to visit also had the benefit of some free dog training.  I will never forget one day I came home from work and Andrew had Buddy, Sadie and Cheyanne lined up on the edge of our yard facing the road.  Andrew was in the road facing them making all kinds of crazy hand signals.  When I asked him what he was doing, he simply told me, teaching them not to go in the road.  He explained that he did it frequently and that they would, if they didn’t already understand and not go in the road.  You know what, “Road School” as we call it now, worked!   Sadie Girl only went in the road once when she thought another dog was going to attack her property and people.  Aside from that one time, in 13 years, she only went in the road when she was on a leash.
Thank you for letting me share one of my favorite Andrew’s…. Now back to my Sadie Girl,  my love.
Sadie was with me though some of the hardest days of my adult life.  When she was 6 years old, my sister passed away.  My only sister ~ the one my mother wrote love letters to, the same one who knew me better then I knew myself.  It rocked my world, but there were so many others impacted by this that I had to hold it together.   Andrew offered the best advice, when I was feeling lowest, he would say, “when all is wrong with the world, go hug the dog”.  That I did.    Sadie let me cry on, she let me talk, she never tired of me needing her near me.  Of course I have other supports (my Husband and Tracy and the kids, but this post is about Sadie Girl and Andrew kind ofl!)

One of my favorite pictures of Carol and My Sadie Girl!

Two years later Sadie turned 8 years old.  Let me tell you, we should all take care of ourselves as well as I take care of my pups.  At her 8 year checkup, our vet~ who is just the best there is told me since “Sadie is 8 years old, she is considered a senior dog”.  She gave me some reading materials to look at, and things to watch out for and told me now I should bring her in every six months for "senior check ups".  That night I went home and cried.  I cried to Jay, I cried to Tracy, I cried to Andrew.  I even cried to Sadie.  I tried to will her to be the oldest living dog ever.  I asked if she could try to make 20 or 25.   She couldn't be a senior dog.  A senior dog means someday she will die.  I was not the same from that day forward.  It then dawned on me that dogs don’t live that long.  I had never given it much thought before then.

That year when Papi (Jay and Papi are one in the same) Tracy and I were in Puerto Rico, Andrew was taking care of the Sadie Girl.  He found a small lump on her belly.  By the time we got home (those days we came for 3 weeks) the lump had grown.   I feared the worst.  Andrew sat me down and gave me some cold hard truths, Sadie would not live forever.  I needed to face it.  He suggest I get involved with a rescue and when the time came, find a rescue dog that needed me.  I was still inconsolable.  I would never be able to replace or find another Sadie girl.  He assured me I had time, he thought I had a good 4 or 5 more years with her.  She still had the lump though and that worried me!   I, being the crazy Sadie lover I am ~ got her to the vets as soon as possible.  Our regular vet was on vacation, the one filling in for her didn’t think it was anything to worry about, but to be sure, she’d did a needle biopsy.  Yep, nothing to worry about she told us. 

As the 2009 went on, Andrew had an accident and passed away.  My world was once again rocked.  Would I ever find my new normal?  Every time I’d get close ~ something would happen.    I didn’t think life would ever feel normal again, too many holes in my heart.   I did what I could, used what I had and life went on.  I hugged Sadie, turned to Jay and Tracy and came out the other side alright!

The following year Sadie’s lump grew to grapefruit size proportions.  At her semi annual check up that year, my vet thought it might be good to remove it.  She did, she felt she got as much as she could, not sure she got it all.  Sent it to Cornell for a biopsy.  Grrrrrrrrrr, the biopsy came back it was Hemangiosarcoma.  She gave us 3 to 6 months at the most together.  I went home and got on the internet.  Read all I could, found a rescue group full of wonderful knowledgably supportive people.  People who understood/understand what my Sadie girl means to me.  They listened, assured me they would be there for me, told me their stories gave me hints on supplements and food, they became my internet family and they gave me the greatest advice anyone ever did.  Every day with her is a gift, love her, enjoy her and make the most of each minute together.  That is what I did.  For that advice I am ever grateful.  I stopped worrying about her dying and lived each day to the fullest with her.
Let’s fast forward to 2012…. My Sadie Girl was still with us.  Going strong, until I found some lumps on her leg…. The wind was knocked from me. Our amazing vet was able to operate and get as much as she could again.  Off to Cornell with the biopsy, only to verify the cancer had returned.  While we could treat it aggressively, we decided that at 12 years old, I didn’t want to put her through chemo and or radiation.  We would just take it all one day at a time.  We had 9 months of love before the cancer took my girl.  She was a trooper to the end, and she went peacefully with Jay and I holding her.  May 15, 2013.  One of the 3 hardest days in my adult life.

My Black Mercedes.  She had my heart.  She was my heart.  She was home.  We knew each other backwards and forwards.  Sadie Girl spoiled me.  She was a good girl.  She slept in each morning until I woke her up.  It could be 7:30am or noon.  Sometimes she slept with us most times she slept in her own room on her own bed, until she couldn’t jump that high.    She never ate what she shouldn’t have.  Although she did eat our couch once when she was a puppy and believe me, she never ate anything again without me telling she could.  She never left my side.  She never left the yard without one of us. She was afraid of cats.  (baaa hahahaah, I had a pitbull who was afraid of cats!)  I think she understood every word I said.  She stood guard next to me whenever I was sick.  She never let another dog between her and I.  She was my Sadie Girl, my normal, my love! 
Today she is part of Gagliardo’s Gladiators in heaven with the rest of the pack!  Waiting for us to join them.   

Don’t be sad, I am not.   I have one million pictures of Sadie and lots of memories that make me smile.  I believe that Andrew had the perfect pup waiting in the wings and was even able to lead us to her.  That story will have to wait for another day, for this post is all about my Sadie Girl!  While it has always started and ended with my Sadie Girl, tonight it has ended, I’ve decided to come back and Sadie Girl lives on in my heart….

(I usually go back and proof read my posts before I put them up, I don’t have the energy to do that tonight.  We are on vacation.  I am in a good spot and was able to write this.  I don’t have it in me to re-read what I have written.  I will soon and make corrections.  If there are typos, or mistakes in grammar please over look that for now and know my heart still aches a little for my sweet Black Mercedes, my Sadie Girl)   The End.

The Sunset on May 15, 2013

                                               I so miss my Sadie Girl... and so it ends with Sadie.



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