Did I Dream You, Or Did You Visit?


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Dear Miss Sadie,

A few nights after you left us, I had the sweetest dream.

I was standing in the kitchen, and I heard you scratch at the front door to come in. I looked down the stairs, toward the front hall.

The inside door was open, but I could see through the clear storm door.

There you were.

Standing on the front porch, looking up at me. Your eyes were both wide open, like they used to be before you got sick. Shiny golden brown eyes, looking up at me. Your mouth was open in that loopy doggie grin, with your tongue lolling out one side.

Outside in the yard it was fall, just like in real life. Yellow leaves covered the grass and I could see the drying stalks of day lilies.

But there on the porch, on our little brick porch, it was snowing hard. You were covered in snow flakes; it was swirling all around you. You started to hop up and down, like you used to do when you were really happy or excited.

I laughed in my dream, and I thought, “Oh, wow! I forgot how she used to jump! She hasn’t done that in years.”

You were so happy, jumping in the snow, grinning up at me.

And then it was as if I was floating toward you. Suddenly you were right there, just on the other side of the glass. Jumping with joy, jumping in the snowstorm. Right there in front of me.

You looked right into my eyes, and I looked right back.

Then slowly, you simply faded, and you disappeared.

Outside it was fall again. The porch was empty.

I think you came back one last time. I think you came to say goodbye and thanks.

I miss you.

Love,

“The Mistress”

A letter from Miss Sadie


 

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Sadie, the elegant and beautiful

Dear Mistress,

I know this is hard for you. I am sorry.

I have tried very hard to stay strong and healthy. I exercise every day by walking with the Master and the Wolf King. I try to chase squirrels as often as possible, but those fuzzy little bullets have become faster over the years.

Since I’ve come here to live with you, life has been sweet. My fur is brushed and clean. Thank you! You have done such a good job of keeping my ears healthy, and my nails clipped.

I wish I could stay longer. I do.

Dear Mistress,

Remember how you used to take me to the vet?  I am a good dog. I am a very good dog.

I can always tell when you are nervous or unhappy. You smell sort of sharp and electricky. On those long rides to the vet, back when my skin was super itchy and peeling, I used to love looking out the window and feeling the movement of the car. But I could tell from your smell that you didn’t feel happy.

Remember all those visits? I liked that nice vet with the soft touch and the very crunchy treats in the jar.

You didn’t like that place, though. I could tell that you were especially unhappy when we used to go stand at the big desk before we went home. You would take out that little plastic card and you would start to smell worried.

I don’t know what “ring worm” is, but thank you for taking it away!

Man, that was itchy.

Mistress, I know that you used to cook for the Wolf King and I. I saw you with the chicken, and the liver, and the rice and carrots. Thank you so much!

You were great.

Dear, sweet Mistress.

I remember those nights with the thunder storms.

I am a good dog. I am so sorry for all the times I dug into the closet and threw out all the shoes. I am sorry for all of the drool that I put on your pillow, but I was so scared of all the noise! I tried not to shake, but I was terrified of the flashing lights. I wanted you to hold me, and you did.

I remember how the Master used to go downstairs with me to sleep on the sofa so we could be away from the storm.

You and the Master have been so good to me.

The Wolf King has been interesting, too. I love him, the big dopey face. I know he’ll miss me, too.

Dear Mistress,

This is just how it goes. I’m old.

I’m very, very old.

I need to go and rest soon.

Will you be OK?

I hope that someone will come to lie on your front steps all day to keep you safe. I hope that you will soon have someone to get up with you in the night when you cannot sleep. I hope that there will be another dog here to walk with you and Master.

Dear Mistress,

I will try my best, because I am a very good dog, to lie down quietly in the yard and simply go to sleep. I hope that you don’t have to put me in the car and take me to face the needle.

I will try, dear Mistress. I don’t want you or the Master to be upset. If I can do it, I will go softly. I will lie down and I will go to sleep.

And I will cross that bridge and run and play and I will be young again. And I will wait for you.

Love,

Miss Sadie

 

 

The Monster in Our House


 

I am alert, awaiting the Monster.

I am alert, awaiting the Monster.

There is a Monster at our house.

On cold, dark winter nights, he pounces and the deck BOOMs and the foundation shakes. He must have enormous jaws because sometimes I feel them snap so hard that I’m pretty sure the walls are going to crack.

I do not know where he lurks in the warmer months. I assume he hibernates in the woods. Maybe he moves to Canada.

But as the temperatures fall and the ice threatens, the Boom Monster emerges.  I can sense him.  I can smell him in the dark.

I am a good dog, as you know.

I am loyal, and obedient.  When I sense the approach of the Boom Monster, I do my best to protect my Master and Mistress.  I try to warn them of the danger.

Usually they are sound asleep when the Evil One approaches.  So I know that it is my duty to alert them.

I do this by panting as loudly as possible from the safety of my nice warm doggy bed.  Alas, the Master and Mistress are aging.  (I can tell this from the graying of the fur around their heads).  They do not hear as well as they once did.

They usually just keep snoring.

I raise the volume of my panting.  I rise from my cozy bed to stand over them. Sometimes the Master wakes up when I pant 500 breaths a minute into his face.  The Mistress usually just rolls over.

If the panting has not woken them, I move to step two.

I am a good dog.  I desperately want to protect my humans.

I add some drooling to my panting.  I make sure that it drips directly onto the Master’s nose.

At this point, the Master usually reaches out one arm to pat me.  I shudder and shake violently, determined to arouse him.  He mumbles, “Good girl, good dog.”

I know I am a good dog. I get it. Now get up!!

I begin to panic.  The Monster pounces, the house shakes, I continue to pant, drool, shake.

Nothing. They sleep.

My heart is racing.  The roof may fall in any minute!

“Alert! Alert! The Monster is coming!”

I decide to dig frantically at the door to the closet.  The cheap metal door.  It clangs, it bangs, it slowly creaks open with the sound of a haunted house.  This will surely send my message!!!!!

I turn to look back at the bed where the Master and Mistress continue to snore. Seriously? What does a good dog have to do to save these people?

I shove myself into the closet, continuing to pant, drool and shake.  I start digging, throwing shoes and boots and slippers out of the closet toward the bed.

Still nothing.

Back to the bed. I go around to the side where the Mistress sleeps.  Shake, shake, pant, pant, drool on her face.

She pulls the covers up.

“BOOM!!!!!”  

At last, the Monster attacks with enough force to wake the humans up. The Master sits up, groggy.  He reaches for his phone.  At last!   Is he calling the police?  The National Guard?  Homeland Security?

He turns on the flashlight app, and shines it on my face.  I let my eyes bulge.  I pant with even more force and let the drool flow.

He flops back down, pulls the pillow over his head.

“Lie down,” he says faintly, “You’re a good dog.”

I give up.  I shove myself into the back of the closet, where I have dug myself a safe little cave of shoes and old sweaters.  I turn in a circle, panting and drooling and shaking.

Dear Humans,

I am a good dog.  I am a very good dog.

But the Boom Monster is out there.

You guys are on your own.

The Allure of the Bacon


547141_10150758018436101_1737503360_nI am a good dog.  I am a very good dog.

Usually.

I can usually resist the allure of human food.  Well, you know….except for ham. Or chicken parts.

But I am a very good dog!  Even though sometimes I quietly linger around the kitchen when my Mistress is cooking a chicken carcass for soup, I would never, ever stoop so low as to steal human food.

I am an incredibly good dog.

The trash may smell delicious and filled with chickeny goodness, but I would never dive in there to get a treat.

But…….

The Boy was home. The happy, smily, rubs-my-belly boy was home last night!   He slept at our house, and I greeted him with squeals of joy and delight.

I really love him.

I followed him around last night, before retiring to the bedroom where my Master and Mistress sleep.  I love our boy, but I know my duty.   I curled up next to the Mistress, but I could hear the boy breathing.

I love him.

See, after the Master and Mistress went to work this morning, the boy-who-loves-me-so got up and made himself some breakfast.

With bacon.

Dear god.  There was bacon.

He poured the grease onto a napkin, and then put the napkin into the trash.  I knew what he intended to tell me when he did these things.  He meant to say, “Sure, there’s plenty of bacon fat here for a good dog like you.”

I am an obedient dog.  I listen to my humans when they tell me things.   I follow instructions.

So this afternoon, after the wonderful boy threw all the bacon goodness into the trash and headed out, I knew what I had to do.

Yum.

I followed orders, as any dedicated good dog would do.

A few hours went by.  I was lying on the couch, sleeping off my bacon induced coma.  The day was fading, and the Beautiful Dope was getting restless.

He gets hungry, because he doesn’t know enough to follow implied orders.

He did not chew on any bacon-fat-soaked-napkins.  His whiskers were not greasy and fulfilled.

I lifted my head, and realized that the Mistress would be home soon.  I licked my lips and chin, tasting the porky delight.  “Aahhh, what a lovely day!”, I thought to myself.

And then I heard the garage door opening.  Mistress….greasy papers on floor…..smears of grossness on furniture…..

Red Alert!

I lifted my head, all thoughts of the generous and loving Boy chased away.   “Oh, no!”, I thought.  “I have raided the trash!  I have tossed chewed up paper all around the living room!”

I did what I had to do.

As the sound of the  slowly rising garage door  filled my ears, I dropped to my belly.  I thought quickly.  Where could I find the most humbling, depressing, apologetic place in the house?

With a sigh, I stuffed myself behind the oil burner, where the dirt and dust had collected for years, and where I could abase myself in the eyes of my Mistress.

I closed my eyes.  Yet even as I hoped  that she would ignore me, the taste of salty mapley bacon filled my mouth.

“Sadie?” I heard her call. “Where are you, pretty girl?”

I crawled from behind the furnace, making sure that my belly scraped the floor the whole way.  When I got to the feet of my Mistress, I rolled onto my back, lifting my paws into the air.

My Mistress is nobody’s fool. “Oh, crap”, she said as she eyed my efforts to show my subservience.   “Sadie……You ate some bacon today, didn’t you?”

What can I say?

I am a very, very good dog.  But bacon…….well, all bets are off where bacon is concerned.