RAYMOND REID: Rest in Peace, Sadie
Sadie was put to sleep the other day, and I didn't kiss her good-bye. I've seen my share of death, and I thought I might just come apart.
I had grown very close to this gentle Rottweiller from the minute she moved in. Sadie really didn't get a fair shake in life. She was born with a congenital condition that made her paws crack open and bleed. It was very difficult and painful for her to walk.
Her life in recent months was reduced to just lying around, eating and going outside to the bathroom. But as I told her vets at N.C. State, let's do what we can to extend her life and make it better. And they did, for a while.
Experimental surgery left Sadie with bandaged paws, but also the ability to walk without pain. But the paws hardened again in a couple of months. More trips to Raleigh and another surgery helped, but just for a short while. I'm thankful, though, that we were able to extend Sadie's life, and give it some degree of quality.
But every dog has his day, or so they say. And Sadie's day came this week when the vet told us that she was only going to get worse. So we left her there to go to sleep for the last time.
"Stay with her as long as you'd like," said the vet.
I didn't stay long. But I remember saying, "Sadie, I love you. And you're going to heaven today."
I believe that, too. I agree with Will Rogers who said if dogs don't go to heaven he wanted to go where they go.
On a Web site called dogquotations.com, dog psychologist Stanley Coren said, "For those who love dogs, it would be the worst form of a lie to call any place where dogs were banned 'paradise.' Certainly no loving God would separate people from their canine friends for eternity."
On the same Web site Pam Brown said, "If there is a heaven, it's certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to de-tangle them."
And from Marjorie Garber came this observation which is all too true: "If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness."
Sadie is survived by her "mother," Teresa. Until I came along last year Sadie was all she had. It was just the two of them for many years. Now Teresa is experiencing the profound sadness Garber mentions. Because when you lose your dog you lose your best friend. The void left by Sadie must be overwhelming to Teresa.
Sadie is also survived by Palmer and me. Palmer barked at Sadie all the time and surely drove her half-nuts. But now the Jack Russell terrier is moping around the house as if he's lost the love of his life. He never made a move on Sadie, however.
Let's just call their love "platonic." Because when it came to anything amorous, Palmer barked a good game and that was about it. When she looked at him he looked the other way. When he looked at her she did likewise. They were like two high school kids playing puppy love games.
Sadie, I think you're dancing a jig in a better place today; and chasing Frisbees, too. But your "mother" is devastated by having to make the decision to put you down.
You see, Sadie sometimes we keep our pets around -- not for their sake, but for our sake. It's just hard to let something go that you love so much. We all know you're better off now, but rest assured that we're not.
It was heart-wrenching to let you go. But I know if you could talk to Teresa today you would thank her for letting you go. And you would thank her, too, for being so good to you when you were on this earth.
Rest in peace.
Raymond Reid can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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