Seeing Miss Sadie here with Miss Stella brings to mind when it was Miss Maggie and Miss Sadie. When we first moved, many moons ago, Miss Maggie lost her buddy, Miss Sophie. We thought that being in a new place without her scent would help her adjust and she would do well in our new place.
However, Miss Maggie had a hard time. She missed her buddy, her friend. She was at a loss. You could see it and feel it surrounding her. Grief was creeping into the corners and trying to take over. Into our lives came Miss Sadie. Miss Sadie Lou Simba Nala to be precise. Our twins could not decide on one name so they each created a name and combined them. Miss Sadie brought out the pup in Miss Maggie – she was still young – only about 4 years old but she was actually quiet and almost depressed and alone. Miss Sadie became her buddy. They would talk and tousle, steal socks and play tug. They would keep watch for us humans and steal cough drops and gum if given the chance. As Miss Maggie began to age, Miss Sadie helped take care of her. Miss Maggie watched over Miss Sadie when she had her seizures, and Miss Sadie returned the favor staying by Miss Maggie’s side until the very end. With a cracked heart, Miss Sadie then began to seem older, more quiet, alone. She seemed almost sad. Once again, you could feel grief seeping in, creeping around. It did not seem right that Miss Sadie should be on her own with just us two legged people. Within months of losing Miss Maggie, we lost my father, and during that time our whole world just seemed to feel darker, out of kilter. The atmosphere seemed to shift and we all, including Miss Sadie, needed something positive and strong, something filled with joy and laughter, something to push grief back into the shadows. Enter Miss Stella.
Miss Stella truly changed our lives. We have loved and learned from each of our pups and treasured them all beyond measure. But there was something very unique about this Newfoundland pup. It is very hard to put into words the impact she has had on our lives. She can make even the grumpiest bear of an ol’ man (cue hb) belly laugh and smile from the soul. She has this quality that just is, well, Newfie. She took on the role that Miss Sadie had with Miss Maggie. She brought the pup and laughter back into Miss Sadie’s days. She pushed the grief back out to bay. They played and tumbled, chased and tugged. They spent their days together. They were buddies. Then Miss Sadie started to fade. She was strong willed and tenacious. She was determined and used her sweet Chessie smile to bend the world to her ways. She would have her seizures and Miss Stella would stand by until she was in recovery mode. Miss Stella would let us know when Miss Sadie needed us. She would lay by her side and watch over her. She used her big bear giant self to just be, just be present for Miss Sadie. Then it was time.
And Miss Stella, too young to be old, seemed to be very quiet … and aging well before her time. The grieving was once again upon us. It was trying to reach deep and if you know anything about Newfoundlands, or Newfies, they are bonded pups. They bond deeply with their family – four legged and two. Miss Stella had lost her fur buddy. She lost the pup that helped her learn right from wrong, how to play and bark at the wind, and even when to use that soulful pup face to try and gain anything she could ever want. Miss Stella was in the middle and the grieving was thick.
So who grieves? Is it something only humans do? Is this only for us to deal with, to face, to have scar our hearts.
If you have lived then you know. Grief is not just for us. It grabs hold of any and all. It can take over all walks of life if left unchecked. It does not matter who you are, where you are, or even what you are, grief is. It just is. How we face it, let it wrap itself around and through our lives is what we need to prepare ourselves to face. Not just us. But our pups too. They face the shadows and long fingers of grief. Grief knows no boundaries, unless we set them.
Any and all.
It is what you do when it enters that matters.
I think you have to take time to figure it out. You make an effort to remember what is right and good. You hope the pain will ease with time.
I am glad I took time to hang out with our Miss Sadie. She was such an amazing pup. I will never know if the time was right, but I know that we had to do what was best for her. Or at least what we think was best for her.
We watched her.
All the time.
Like a hawk.
We watched her eyes.
It was her eyes.
They were the key.
We were losing her.
She was still smiling some, filled with spirit when barking at her squeaky or the wind, giving effort when trying to walk and get up and about. She could still meander around the yard after being carried down the two steps. She would wear out quickly though and want to return to her favorite spot with her favorite toy.
But her eyes.
It was her eyes that seemed to be trying to tell us that she was very tired. There was a different look in them. She started to have more pain, more than what the medicines, good food, and rest could ease. Her nearly 14 years of wisdom seemed to be trying to say that she needed to rest. That even though she still smiled, whirled her tail tornado style when greeting us, even while lying in her spot, and she still barked at the wind, she was hurting. Too much. She was tired.
It was then that we knew.
It was time to face the next part, the hardest part, of her journey.
It has been a very long time since I have posted. Life has taken over. It has been an intense time while away from blogging and for some reason I have found it difficult to come back to this. Typing the words about our Miss Sadie brings me to tears still. I am not sure if there even any readers out there anymore. But I have more to share, more about Sadie’s final journey and new lives and moments if anyone wants to read.
Miss Stella and Miss Sadie share some secrets. Time keeps marching but our hearts continue on pause. We are watching our girl on a daily basis … her gleam is not so sparkly, her ‘boss mode’ and bark arrive less often, and her eating has slowed. More accidents occur in the house and often she struggles after being carried to the yard. However, she still loves her ear scritches and that ‘look’, you know the ‘tired beyond able to rest and catch up’ look, has not quite shown up yet. Her Chessiness is amazing in that she has such tenacity and durability. She seems to want to grab every moment of life and living possible. It is as if she is almost trying to teach us something and we ‘two-leggeds’ just do not quite have it yet. I am determined to listen to this sweet girl. She has something to say and we are listening.
Miss Sadie Lou continues to be strong. She wants to get out to run and play in the yard like when she was a young pup. We carry her into the yard, let her get her footing, and she picks one of the squeaky toys to start bossing. She will wobble her way a few feet from us, drop her toy of choice, and begin to nudge it with her nose and bark at it bossing it with complete confidence. No arthritis nor age will take that from her. We have to stop her and bring her back in, otherwise she tries to run and chase but this she is unable to do any more. She has lost a great deal of weight, is having more accidents in the house, and has extreme difficulty with getting up and down from the floor; yet in her Chessie determined way, she continues to make the best of it with grace and dignity. May I have even the smallest part of what this little girl has when I begin battling the process of aging.
Miss Stella continues to grow and keeps us on our toes. Her personality is amazing and perception of Miss Sadie’s needs even more so. We have celebrated her second birthday (typical post with pictures to come soon) and are constantly surprised by what a wonderful pup this girl is each day. The seasons of life seem to recycle. Having lost our Miss Maggie with Sadie guiding us through the process, we have now been blessed with Miss Stella and her Newfieness to help us deal with this phase of Miss Sadie’s life.
Soaking up some sunshine with a little squeaker.
I continue to thank you for your patience with my lack of diligence in blogging and commenting.
I hope to be able to read and respond to comments and others’ posts soon. I appreciate your patience. Having lost so many loved ones, I know time with Miss Sadie is the most valuable gift and I need to spend it hanging with her and Stella. I continue to still focus on being present in Sadie’s moments as they are precious. Miss Stella is her true Newfie self and bounds through the days with much enthusiasm. Her ability to bring happiness everywhere she goes is astonishing. We think she is keeping Miss Sadie motivated. If we are outside playing fetch, Miss Sadie wants so much to race after the ball and will attempt to do so but we have to intervene as it is to hard on her little bones. If allowed, she will try to race using just her front legs and her back side will move as one unit and not two strong legs. It is taking her longer to greet me at the door at the end of the day which completely breaks my heart. We often call her ‘Chicken Noodle’ as she wiggles her way like a cooked noodle, rather than walk, bringing us her typical sweet Chessie smile in greeting. But more often than not these days, she snoozes rather than struggle to get up and walk. I understand. It hurts her bones … and our hearts, hers included. Her eyes are starting to get a little softer and more tired. Her movement, more staggered and sketchy. She spends more time trying to get up than staying up. Yet, put her duck, tennis ball, or squeaky in front of her and she will boss it like she is still a young pup. She can often be found laying at our feet and you feel a slight trembling … it is her. I will lean in to her, scratch that sweet soft curly fur behind her ears and on her neck, and try to truly hear her.
She is my Chessie. I will listen to her. She is leaving paw prints on my heart and in my life.