Friday, December 25, 2009

Good Dog, Sweetie. 2005 - 2009

Zach texted me the other day, saying, "Please call. Sweetie is dead." I called home and everyone was in tears. Sweetie had been hit by a car and was gone.

If you have been lucky enough to have a dog like Sweetie (and I hope you have) then maybe you know what it's like to lose her. She was a faithful companion, a constant presence, and a member of the family.

The day we brought her home, she let her new big brother, Tiger, know who was boss.

And instead of resenting being put in his place by a puppy half his age, he seemed to benefit from it. He had been hard-headed, scatterbrained, and unmannerly as only a young Labrador Retriever can be, but Sweetie had a calming effect on him.

She never let him forget who was boss, and that seemed to be exactly what he needed. He loved that ball you see between them, but when we threw it, she never let him retrieve it. He had to relinquish it to her and she would bring it back to us.
Our first night in our new home in California, a man stopped his car in front of our house and told me he'd run over a yellow dog. We thought we'd lost her then. (In fact, he'd run over a cat. You can draw your own conclusions about his sobriety.) That sudden grief, so quickly relieved when we found her sleeping in the yard, was nothing compared to what we're feeling now.
She loved the ocean and she loved to swim. Once, on Carmel beach, I threw her ball and she bounded after it into the surf. She grabbed the ball and turned for shore and, strictly by coincidence, caught a wave that carried her to land on its crest. The surfer watching her beside me said, "Dude!" His tone was reverential. I didn't tell him it was an accident. That was our little secret.

When we moved back to Georgia, she loved the pool. She would open the gate for herself and take a little swim whenever the urge caught her.

She loved her people. Here she is with her boy.

She liked sneaking into his room and catching a nap on his bed. She never seemed to mind if the room was a mess. Sometimes, after everyone was asleep, she'd climb in with him. In the morning he'd find himself squeezed into a tiny corner of the mattress and Sweetie would be all stretched out.

And though she may have preferred Zach's bed, she was also happy to share her own with Zoe.

She was easy to please. Whatever you were doing was fine, as long as she could be there with you. Watching TV,

Or going for a ride in the truck.

You were a good dog, Sweetie, and you are sorely missed. But if it's true that dogs go to heaven (and I have to believe it is) we will see you again.


Keith Miller said...

I'm so sorry, Steven. I'll pray for you and your family. Your post is a warm tribute to a truly sweet family member and creature of God. It is indeed a comfort to know that this precious life came from Him and He holds it close once again.

christian soldier said...

Sweetie is a dear and you and yours will miss her...
I believe that they (our cherished pets) will be waiting for us in heaven..