I don't love dogs...

by Christie
(Bellevue, WA)

I don't love dogs. Well, that may not be true, I like dogs well enough, but I never wanted to own a dog. Then I had my daughter, Amber. My daughter is a dog person right down to her soul and she was born into a cat household. I believe in the unconditional love relationship between pets and kids and knew that one day there would be a dog in my life.

When the time seemed right, I threw Amber a surprise 6 month birthday party. Everyone brought dog oriented gifts for Amber to open. There was a collar and leash, a dog dish, dog bed, toys, treats and more. It was a great day and so much fun to watch as Amber realized what was going on.

My sister is a veterinarian and the day she called us changed all our lives forever. "I know you were thinking about something smaller and maybe younger but I have this dog that needs a home..... The second Amber met "this dog" they fell in love. She was a Springer Spanial, about 3 1/2 years old, rescued from a drug house and an abusive owner, and the most loving, gentle, sweet and beautiful dog on the face of the planet. Amber named her Sasha, it means protector. I don't love dogs but I loved Sasha.

A veterinarian recently said to me that we don't know what Sasha's purpose is. I know, she came to save Amber in so many ways and she did it really, really well. We had Sasha for 12 years during which time she loved Amber through the teenage years, she camped with us, loved the ocean, gardened with "Dad", made friends with the cats, mothered the kittens we fostered and taught love to everyone she met.

At 15, Sasha was old for a Springer. Amber was away at college when I made the call, "Come home". It wasn't unexpected but it was still a shock, too soon, always too soon. It was night when I called, Amber had a 5 hour drive and I expected to see her the following afternoon. I woke up to a knock on the door, Amber had forgotten her key, but she drove all night to get there. We spent the next day and a half together Amber, Dad, Sasha and I. Amber held Sasha, slept next to her, spent the afternoon talking. I found a wonderful vet who totally got our situation and that Amber only had a few days, so the doctor came to our home on a Sunday afternoon.

Sasha left this world wrapped in Amber's arms, wrapped in Mom and Dad's arms. We shared memories, laughed about the silly times and stroked her velvety ears. The doctor was wonderful, all the vet supplies were unobtrusive, barely noticed. We had all the time we needed. I asked Amber if she wanted a lock of her hair and she clipped a sweet curl, a little bit of black, a little bit of white. After Sasha passed Amber helped to put her on the stretcher buckled her in and covered her with a cute flannel blanket (nice touch doc) and tucked in her favorite stuffed animal. Amber even helped the doctor carry her out to the car then sat in the back with Sasha for a few minutes. The three of us stood in the driveway hugging and crying as they drove away. It was the best of a difficult situation.

Amber isn't sure if she wants to scatter Sasha's ashes or not. For now we ordered an urn. I bought a silver locket which will contain Sasha's lock and dangle around the urn when Amber comes home for Thanksgiving.

Now it is too quiet when we come home. I don't love dogs but I loved Sasha

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