Last Saturday was the hardest day of my entire life. Saying goodbye to my girl was heart-wrenching. I dreaded this day for some time, not knowing how I would survive without her. Not a lot of time has passed (not even a week), but each day is a little better than the last. I cried every day leading up to goodbye, and every day since. It comes in waves. Things remind me of her (so many things), or I just come home after being out and I break down because the house is oh-so-quiet now. I sleep with a blanket of hers because it smells like her. And I'm afraid one day that smell will fade. But I have been able to look at pictures of Sadie and remember all the good times we had.
Since the moment I picked her up a little over 10 years ago, I built my life around her. I gave her all I could, including all the love I had. Some would say that Miss Sadie was a bit spoiled. I couldn't help it though! Those eyes, that smile, she won me over from day one. I wanted to give her any and everything I could. I wanted her to be happy, to live a glorious life. In looking back on our years together, I believe I succeeded at that goal. The shelter I adopted Sadie from got her from a high-kill shelter. If they hadn't taken her in, and I hadn't found her on Petfinder, she may not have lived very long at all. I don't know what type of life she had before I adopted her, but I know what kind of life I gave her for the past 10 years. Sadie lived a very full life. We had many adventures together, we had much joy.
Here are some of the amazing things my Sadie accomplished in 10 years:
*Sadie visited 8 different states (technically even more, as she traveled through a few others). She started her life in Tennessee, and traveled to New Hampshire, where I picked her up. Then we went back to Massachusetts, where she lived in Boston with me for several years. We visited Florida, New Jersey, and New York during that time, and then moved to New York. We visited North Carolina, and then moved there, too. We took a trip to Georgia, and another to Florida in the past year.
*Sadie swam in the ocean for the first time in Martha's Vineyard, then in the Long Island Sound, a lake in NY, and even the ocean in Florida. She also swam in my aunt's pool quite often and loved it.
*Sadie has been on many forms of transportation, including planes, ferries, the subway, in several cars, a golf cart, and even on a sled. She loved them all.
*Sadie has enjoyed the companionship of many animal friends and cousins (dogs and cats alike), some she most likely is spending time with now on the Rainbow Bridge. In her younger days, she made friends easily and enjoyed playing and running free at the dog park. As she got older, she was a little grumpy and enjoyed just being by her Momma's side.
*Sadie had enjoyed every season to its fullest, including Florida and North Carolina summers and Massachusetts winters. She loved the snow but also reveled in the sun.
*Sadie has lived through hurricanes and nor'easters. She even survived a nasty dog bite at the dog park when we first moved to New York. Through it all, she was always smiling.
*Sadie had her own Christmas stocking and even opened her own presents. She actually knew the word "present," which maybe shows she was a bit spoiled. She thought that the bags I brought home always carried something for her (they usually did). And she knew the UPS man brought amazing boxes filled with treats.
*Sadie was the most stylish pup in all the land! She has her own wardrobe. Most items she could have done without, but she let her Momma dress her up every Halloween (and sometimes other times throughout the year). She also had more matching collars and leashes than a dog could even imagine.
*Most of all, Sadie showed me how to love unconditionally and without boundaries. When I adopted Sadie, I truly believed I wasn't capable of loving or being loved. She showed me that wasn't true. She gave me a reason to live on my darkest days, and she kept me going when I didn't want to. I believe she did so, so I could meet my husband. He fell in love with her too, even though at first he didn't think he could love a dog. She won everyone over like that. You couldn't help but love her. I remember her foster mom telling me "we don't know how anyone could not want this dog," and she was right. She loved making people happy. She wanted to greet everyone (no matter where we were). She would lay down and roll over so everyone could pet her belly. All she wanted out of life was to love and be loved. That's really all any of us want, isn't it?
There are certainly things I wish I did differently. While I had pets before, Sadie was the first pet that was truly mine, who relied solely on me. And this was the only goodbye of a pet I had ever experienced as well. I was not there for others, and I think I was protected from the pain of their losses. I keep thinking, "I wish I held her longer, or talked to her more." But I told her every day for the past 10 years that I loved her. I held her every chance I got. I think there never would have been enough time, really. No length of time would have made it easier. The pain wouldn't have lessened. I just wish we had more time together, but now I just have to remember the time we did have together and be grateful for that, because our time together was truly special. She was an extremely special dog and there will never be another quite like her. I can just hope she enjoyed our time together as much as I did, and that she knows how much I love her. Until we meet again, my sweetest girl.