Sasha

The last dog at the homestead is gone. For the first time in almost 20 years there is no bark when you drive up to the house, no bounding ball of energy to welcome you.

There was a whole list of barking voices that filled the air throughout the last 20 years. Butch. Rosie. Major. Sheba. Midnight. Buddy. Missy. Sasha. Honey. That isn’t mentioning the two batches of puppies.

On an early summer night in 1999, a “traveling salesman” (the neighbor dog) by the name of Alias (that was his name) came by to pay my brother’s German Shepherd, Sheba, a visit. Nine weeks later, in the middle of a Friday night, Sheba let us know that she wasn’t about to hold onto her load another day. We took her out to the whelping house that we had built for her and sat with her while 8 slimy, squirmy puppies entered the world. They were half German Shepherd, a quarter Pit Bull, and a quarter Red Bone Hound. I don’t recall the order they were born in but there were 4 black, fuzzy puppies, and 4 brown, shorter haired puppies. About the time their eyes started opening they all got quite sick. One of the black fuzzy puppies had to be put to sleep before very long. Then there were 7. The black ones were White Paws, Brown Paws, and Charcoal Paws. And the brown ones were Double Chin (or Jeff’s, “My Puppy), my “My Puppy,” Runt, and Black Brown (the blackest of the brown puppies) aka. Other Puppy. It wasn’t too much longer and my “My Puppy” was too sick to make it. Then there were 6.

After much nursing and TLC, the other 6 pulled through. By then they were past the “perfect age” to find homes for them. It was a slow process but we finally started finding homes for them. Pretty soon they were all gone except Other Puppy. It didn’t take long to realize that Other Puppy wasn’t going to be going anywhere, but was there to stay. She was finally given a more dignified name than “Other Puppy.” She became Sasha.

Nobody liked Sasha it seemed. They all said she was stupid and ugly and ridiculed her mercilessly. She was afraid of strangers and would often hide behind me to growl and bark at the newcomer. I love dogs, and Sasha was no exception. Most other people hated her though. She was kicked, smacked, yelled out, chased, made fun of, locked up, ignored, etc. They said she was stupid, good for nothing, couldn’t learn anything, wasn’t even worthy to be called a dog. I beg to differ.

When she was younger I used have her to help track down our other dogs who would often wander off seeking adventure. They were usually fine but my mothering nature would not be consoled if I didn’t know where they were. I would be worried sick that the were eating poison, running on the road, chasing cows and might get shot, etc. So I’d just grab Sasha (if she happened to be around), take her outside, and tell her to find Butch. The hound in her would start sniffing and tracking the footsteps left behind. I followed her until we found the dogs (usually eating compost), and we would return home happily together.

She became a big dog and I decided she needed to learn some manners or at least be able to do some things to prove herself. I didn’t like how she would shove past you to get into the house, stand excitedly in front of the door so you couldn’t open it, run around crazy on the tie out when you were trying to unchain her, or be jumping at the dog food bag as you were trying to feed her. This would never do. So I trained her. When I wanted to go inside and she was dancing around in front of the door, I’d tell her to go sit and wait. She would run down and sit by the steps out of the way until it was her turn. If I wanted to untie or tie her up, I could just tell her to get in her house and she run and jump into it with her head sticking out so I could get to her collar.

Even when I’d be gone for a year at a time whether in academy or overseas, I could always come back and with a command, she would do what I asked. She had a favorite ball that she often lose in a place she couldn’t reach shortly after I’d leave. But whenever I come back months later, I’d tell her to go find her bowl and she’d go hunt it down until she found it and would come get me to get it for her. Not only did she know what I was saying to her, she sensed and understood a lot that we as humans often miss. She was one of my furry lifelines.

So they say she was stupid, good for nothing, and couldn’t learn anything, wasn’t even worthy of being called a dog, did they? Well, I beg to differ.

She deserved every bit of love I gave her and then some. She was loyal, loving, and obedient to me and she wasn’t even “my” dog. In her life, she was ridiculed and despised. My voice was never strong enough to counteract it. She may only have been a dog, but she was still a creature created by God. So in her death, I want it to be known that she didn’t die an unloved dog.

I keep hearing around me, “So Sasha’s gone, well, its better off that way.”

“Nobody really even liked her, did they?”

“Come on, is anyone even going to miss her?”

So, while many are saying good riddance… I, for one, will miss her.

————————

Remember, there are people like that too. Except they aren’t dogs, but human beings that Christ died for. They deserve to be loved, given a chance, and befriended.

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~ by Maggie Lynne on May 30, 2010.

2 Responses to “Sasha”

  1. Oh Margie, that is so beautiful. Thanks for writing it.

  2. Reading this makes me sad. I liked her too — you weren’t the only one. She did have very few friends. She was a sweet dog — the others just didn’t know her. I guess she was hard to get to know. She was smart — very obedient when she was told to stay — even if she didn’t want to.

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