She came into our lives in an abrupt manner. We were leaving PetSmart with Sadie, who had just “graduated” from her training class. There was a couple outside the door who were trying to place some puppies – their black lab had gotten mixed up with a Welsh Corgi and – well, the only way to put this is these little black puppies were too cute to pass up. I told TMBWitW to go wait in the car – we didn’t need another puppy! I joined her shortly after in the car, with Sara in my arms.
She was a cutie – and Sadie got along with her very well. The two of them romped and played together, and as the puppy family grew, Sadie and Sara split the role of alpha dog – Sadie was alpha in name, Sara was the muscle.
Time passed, and Sara grew. She was a gangly little girl, all legs and a tank of a body, the result of the Welsh Corgi mixing.
Once she got past the initial growth stage, she filled out and even though her coat was not the sleek water dog coat, it was all black and very fuzzy. She delighted in being cuddled and hugged.
Sara was Logan’s bestest bud. She took him under her wing, and taught him the ropes of living in a house full of females. He learned quickly, and when we had to let him go, Sara was really lost.
Sara had a regal way of sitting. She would be in the “down” position, and her head would be up, her Corgi ears perked, and she would cross her right paw over her left. Of course, every time we tried to get a picture of it she thought we were going to give out treats, so we never were able to get a shot of her pose.
Until last Friday.
Last night, Sara stumbled a bit as she came down the hall to her blanket. She shook it off, gave me a big slobbery kiss, and laid down. This morning she scratched to be let out as usual; it was still a bit dark outside, and I stumbled my way to the door, let her out, and since it was cool I left the door open so she could let herself back in. When the alarm clock went off at six, I got up and Sara was still lying out on the patio. She looked at me and kind of half-rolled for a belly rub, which I gave with gusto.
TMBWitW got up and handed out the customary doggy treats for first thing in the morning. Sara didn’t want hers. TMBWitW was immediately concerned, since Sara has never turned down a dog treat. She called Acoma Animal Clinic and arranged for an exam at ten; I headed for work and TMBWitW started doing some work from home.
TMBWitW called me a little after ten, Sara had a blood test and xrays. The blood test showed decreased platelet counts, the general exam revealed an elevated heart rate and shallow breathing, the xray showed strange wispy growths around her lungs and a spot near her heart. All of her organs were OK otherwise. Dr. Burnham said it could be either pneumonia (but Sara wasn’t coughing, so that kind of got ruled out right away), valley fever, or cancer. He wanted to keep her for observation, so TMBWitW and MEG headed home.
I left work early (thanks, boss. i owe you one.) and headed home, after a bit we headed up to Acoma to pick up Sara and get an update from the doc. The results from the valley fever test wouldn’t be in for a few days. He went over the diagnosis with me, since I missed the first go-around, and showed the areas of concern on her xrays. We then headed back out front to get Sara and head home.
Sara came out on her leash, ready to go. TMBWitW knelt down to give her a hug, and I came around behind TMBWitW to kneel down next to Sara also. As I came down to one knee, Sara stumbled and went down, in another seizure. Dr. Burnham and Jessica were right there – they picked her up and got her onto an exam table faster than it took me to type this. Dr. Burnham inserted a trach tube.
We stood there, flabbergasted. A few minutes later, Jess showed us into a front exam room. Dr. Burnham came in and told us what had happened – Sara had suffered a seizure leading to cardiac arrest, and that he was basically performing first stage CPR for her. He asked the toughest question I’ve ever had to answer – “How far do you want me to go?”
Naturally, thoughts of Logan’s trials flashed through my mind, and TMBWitW was just devastated – I couldn’t make Sara go through a long period of pain and suffering. Dr. Burnham said that any time an event of this magnitude occurred, the chances of a full recovery were very slim.
I told him to let her go.
And, as unexpectedly as she entered our lives, she had left.
We gathered ourselves as best we could, and went in to say our goodbyes.
You are a good girl, Sara Bear. We love you and will always miss you.
July 2001 – May 2010
Gentle Giant, rest easy now.
You are sorely missed.