Miss Sadie. Quiet Wolf. Sadie Pants. Sadie Pantalones.
My Sadie Faced Child.
She had so many names, it’s a wonder she ever came when I called her! But she was a good dog. She was a very good dog.
Yesterday Miss Sadie spent all day sleeping in the sun on our front walk. We checked now and again to be sure that she was still breathing.
When she came in late in the day, she ate her supper and let us pet her, but she kept pacing in circles. Around and around, searching for a peaceful place, finding none.
She tottered, leaned against the wall, panted. Lay down, got up to circle again.
My nephew Jim was here with us. He talked to her, patted her big warm head, watched her stumble into the walls.
He told me what I knew, but wasn’t ready to hear.
Sadie needed her rest. She was suffering.
“But her tail is wagging,” I said. “She ate her food.”
He repeated that she was also pacing, stumbling, panting. I knew he was right. I thanked him as the tears poured down my face.
It was a long and difficult night. We knew that we’d be saying goodbye to her this morning. We fell asleep with her at the foot of our bed, one last time.
“Maybe she’ll have more energy tomorrow,” I thought.
But it was a long and restless night. She paced, and circled and tried to put her face into the corner of the room. She dug at the door of our closet, the way she used to do during thunderstorms.
I got up three or four times, gave her medicine, stroked her thick, glossy fur. She was trembling from head to toe.
Something was coming for her, and she was afraid, not knowing what it was or where it was hiding.
We held her, we talked to her.
When morning came, she wanted to go back outside, to lie on her step. Paul let her go.
After a while, he took the dogs for a short walk. Sadie was stumbling and limping, but holding her mouth open in joy as she smiled into the cool fall sunshine.
Then into the car we went.
We were holding her when she died. Her head was in its comfort seeking spot, leaning against my chest. Both Paul and I were stroking her, telling her how much we loved her, thanking her for so many great years.
She took one breath, then simply folded gracefully to the floor, stretched out in the sunshine coming through the window. Quiet and resting at last.
Bye, sweet Sadie McGrady.
You were the doggie of my dreams. You walked through the woods. You helped me dig in the garden. You chased squirrels and deer with complete abandon.
You slept on my side of the bed, and leaned against my pillow when one of was sad or scared.
I watched you leap over stone walls when you were an old lady. You inspired me to keep loving life as long as I draw breath!
I shouldn’t be surprised that you went to your rest with a full belly and a wagging tail.
After knowing and loving you, I hope to do the very same thing.
Good night, honey. See you when I cross that bridge myself.