Our Dog Sally is Dying

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Sally—declining in body, but never in spirit.

Big, loving heart. Chaser of sticks. Snow skipper. Able to catch biscuits in a single bound. Squirrel chaser. Detective of food hidden in under brown leaves. Chicken bone crusher. Cat scarer, and scaredy cat with cats. Tennis ball devotee. Short distance sprinter. Endurance walker. Town greeter—head down, tail wagging, eyes hopeful and kind. Teacher of politeness in puppies. Ignorant of cars. Understanding of infirmity. Protector of children. Professor of unconditional love. Ever present pal.

Funny to have such a dear friend of another species. I ask myself, what if Sally were a woman?

She couldn’t be. She’s too good to be human.

We walked together: to the dog parks of Brooklyn, meeting all breeds of dog and human.

We discovered the little town of Hastings-on-Hudson on late night walks under big star-filled skies.

We hiked on the Croton Aqueduct trail for miles together, seeing flying furries of all colors, big does with their curious babies on spindly legs, trees like good friends leaning over us, and the Hudson River coming suddenly into spectacular view. We kept good company together—me leading on the way there, and Sally leading, nose aloft, all the way home.

Sally is a neurotic, food aggressive, not really house broken, snapper, snarler, food napper, chicken lover, fruit dish raider, private part licker, drooler, stinker, pillow biter, rug destroying dog.

Sally also has:

-Absorbed many tears in her broad chest.
-Cuddled sick children for twelve hours straight.
-Kept lookout during scary movies.
-Soothed a sore back, as I leaned against her all night,
-Barked a million warnings to strangers passing our door.
-Pulled a weak Daddy up a steep hill, and sat vigilantly while he inched his way up the stairs.
-Jumped between arguing family members before a blow was struck.
-Slept facing the door, going from bed to bed every night.
-Sat beneath the table for a million meals, waiting for hers.
-Whined a trillion times to go out, instead of peeing on the carpet.
-Helped channel confused and worried feelings of tweens regarding sex, boys, girlfriends, “am I fat?”, school, social life, Facebook, and everything else.
-Closely watched boyfriends.
-Accepted fiancé Alan as the alpha.
-Taught the kids responsibility.
-Demonstrated the complex emotional feat of empathy without understanding.
-Made us happy.

When Sally is there—we are never afraid, we always guard our food, we often stroke her soft ears, we sometimes use her hard belly as a pillow, and we cannot be lonely. 



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