21 November 2013

Sara

Sara is our 15 and a half year old black lab.  She has soulful eyes and a crooked tail.  She whines when she wants anything and always likes to be close.  Her gray-haired "glasses" show her age and her super soft coat is always comforting to touch...and those velvety ears.

Sara is sick.  

Sara has battled her share of health conditions in the past couple of years.  From Cushing's Disease to vestibular neuritis, she has braved these ailments and bounced back.  I don't think she is going to bounce back from this one - she has a large tumor in her liver and one in her spleen.  Her liver is severely damaged and causing her to be nauseous.  She doesn't have long to live.  

Dan has been out of the country celebrating the wedding of one of his dearest friends in Mumbai, India.  Sara got sick while he was gone and I was in Minnesota.  He is currently making the 36+ hour journey home.  He knows that Miss Sara is very ill.  It makes his coming home very bittersweet.

Sara has meant so much to both of us as we have lived this journey of life with her.  Dan received Sara as a birthday gift when he was an undergraduate at Marysville.  Sara lived with boys.  Lots of boys.  She survived parties and late nights.  She frolicked in the woods in Columbia, Missouri, as the boys were in Medical School.  Sara moved across state lines when Dan completed Internal Medicine residency in Minneapolis.  Bless her soul, she spent long hours alone, waiting for Dan go get home from the hospital.  She is so patient.  

This is where I come in...  I remember the day I met Sara at Dan's St Louis Park townhome.  She quickly took a liking to me (or so I like to think) and welcomed me into her home.  I think Sara was finally happy to have a mother.  And she was happy to share her Danny with me.  

Sara's third state was New Mexico.  She made the trip in the Penski truck, right by Dan's side, as I followed in the Trailblazer.  She loved riding in cars.  Albuquerque offered Sara a fantastic back yard for sniffing and rolling in dry grass.  In The Land of Enchantment, Sara met some of her best friends: Meatball, Meatball's parents, Chauncy the cat & Pat her dogsitter.  We hiked in the mountains and walked around the golf course.  She enjoyed the Southwest.  

Sara in her backyard in Albuquerque.

Our next adventure led us to Salt Lake City, Utah.  We knew we had to find a good home for Sara that had a fun backyard for her to explore.   In that yard, Sara would bask in the sun, eat cherry tomatoes from our plants and spend cool evenings on the patio with us.  We all took countless walks around Liberty Park - some of the greatest joys I have had was watching her prance along that sidewalk.  She loved those walks.  We walked twice a day in Salt Lake City and she was in great shape.  


Liberty Park

One of  my favorite walks with Sara.  I love her tail.



Patio dog, keeping her Daddy company.

Dog Walk with Dad

Sara loved the snow - it always made her spunky.
Roadtrip
It was in Salt Lake City that Sara started to slow down.  She lost weight.  She was diagnosed with Cushing's Disease and got terribly dizzy and wobbly from vestibular neuritis.  She was treated so kindly at the University Veterinary Hospital and always bounced back to her old self.  The stairs started to become more burdensome.  The walks couldn't be so long.  You took your last mountain hike and camping trip in Salt Lake.  A great memory indeed.
Sara's last hike and overnight camp

In April of this year, Sara became a big sister.  I don't know if any dog or pet knows what's coming their way when a new baby enters the family.  I think it was hard for Sara.  And it makes me sad to think I couldn't give Sara all the attention I had given her in the years before.  Sara sat by me and protected me, just the same.  She sat with me while I was nursing and she learned to walk next to a stroller.
Learning to walk with a baby and stroller

She was always close and protective

Sara loved the picture window in Salt Lake City
Our final move has brought us to Boise, Idaho.  We hope to settle here and raise our family in this little gem of a town.  Sara made it here and lived here and that makes me happy.  She saw us get settled and knew we would be OK in our new home.  Sara witnessed Kiki's arm waves and squeals as she entered the room or drank her water.  They played next to each other; Sara watched and protected her little sister.
They love each other - closeness

How sweet is this?  Sara showing her love and affection for Kiki.
Animals are companions so dear to our hearts.  They touch us in ways humans never could.  They are loyal and loving.  They are gentle and kind.  They read our feelings and comfort us.  I told Dan so many times that "Sara is my best friend" because she kept me company so many days and nights Dan was working late or on call.  We spent so much time together.  And I will miss her company.  The house and world just won't be the same without her.  I love her.  

We don't know what the next day or two will bring.  We do know that we have to say our good-byes soon.  She isn't going to win this battle and we don't want Sara to suffer.  She has lived an extraordinary life and lived in amazing places.  She has sniffed a lot of soils and had great adventures.  Her soul will be missed, but she will always be our first baby.
Rare couch time with Mom

Best friend a man could ask for

Thank you, Sara, for your love over these years.  It means so much to us and we will miss your gentle spirit.  All dogs go to heaven and Meatball is waiting for you.   

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