For Sadie

Sadie Girl Lane

I still remember looking up the stairwell of the apartment.  Michael was standing there holding this little ball of fur.  I was shocked.  I had no idea that on this particular day I would come home and be a Mama.  It happened, though.    A Mama and a Papa were born.  Sadie was our first child.

Her puppy breath was intoxicating.  I was in love with it.  People called me gross, but I didn’t care.  I loved to feel that little breath on my cheek and the smell was just right.   She would gnaw and bite and run around like a drunken lunatic.  Puppy Sadie was an amazing little creature with big paws, a fluffy tale, and eyes that instantly melted you.

She, of course, also became our excuse to leave gatherings—that we didn’t want to be at—early.

“Oh, we have to get home to let the dog out,” we would say.

One night we came home from some church gathering.  Neither of us wanted to be there but we were there to make my parents happy. You know how that goes? When we came home we found the elephant figurines (the very first ones) that Michael bought for me, in unrecognizable pieces.  There was this little space in the figurine that was perfect for holding a necklace or a pair of ear-rings.  I had placed this great necklace there and we didn’t move it off the coffee table before we left. I guess we didn’t figure that Sadie would pull it down.   I never did see that necklace again, and I wasn’t about to go searching the poop to find it.

Sadie was still a puppy when we left Buffalo for New Orleans in 1996.   She was rambunctious to the nth degree.  For years, or so it seemed, she would hunker down and “show her ass” to us.  Papa loved to rile her up like this.    Oh Papa’s little girl she was. Michael always joked that when Sadie died he was going to have her stuffed and put on display.  It’s quite ironic that her fur has all but fallen out so that he couldn’t do it even if he was sick in the head and wanted to.   The joke was just that...a joke.

In New Orleans Sadie got herself into all sorts of trouble.  She chewed mouldings, tore apart a down feather comforter, knawed on the kitchen chairs, but the worst thing I can recall happened one night after I came home from work.  I had a leftover shrimp po’boy sandwhich saved for Michael.  He was hungry and the leftover bites were going to be very well received by his belly.   He set the plate down on the nightstand in our bedroom to get something to drink and within seconds Sadie was up on the bed and scarfing down the sandwich.   I can still hear Michael yelling, “DAMMIT SADIE!!!!”


I think that very next weekend we got Summer for Sadie.  We got her to help Sadie through the day, to keep her occupied.  We thought, for sure, another dog would help Sadie tone down her puppy attitude.  And we were right.   Summer, even though she’s quite the shit to this day, changed Sadie.  Their relationship is different and unique, to say the least.  Sometimes I think they are lesbians, sometimes I think Summer thinks she’s the pretty sister that gets all the boyfriends and Sadie’s the spinster who’s never been kissed, and sometimes I think that Sadie is the mom that takes her kid’s shit regardless of how much it annoys her or makes her shaker her head in disbelief.    Sadie has taken Summer’s shit for so many years:  Face humping.  Bitten jowels. Obnoxious barks.  You name it, Summer’s inflicted it upon Sadie.  But in true Sadie form she would just look past it and love.

Sadie, our chocolate lab, is truly a big old sack of brown sugar.   There hasn’t been a moment in this dog’s life that hasn’t been love-filled.  She’s watched my belly grow four times.  She’s smelled four hospital blankets of four newborn babies, to get their scent.  She’s watched over and slept beside a bassinet with a baby in it for years in a row.   She’s licked the faces of toddlers.  She’s slept at the foot of our bed, at my feet, or on my side.  She’s slept in front of the doors of the children’s rooms.  She’s barked to alert us of trouble.  She’s barked at TV game shows whose buzzer sounded like our doorbell thus forcing us to stop watching said TV game show.   She’s made friends with every person and animal that she’s come in contact with.  She is love.   When I think of the word love, I cant’ help but think of Sadie.

Here lately, though, I haven’t been able to recognize my Sadie Girl.  She’s lost all her fluffy fur; the fur that I cursed as it clogged my vacuum up repeatedly.  She’s been afflicted with these horrible lesions on her skin that makes her stinky and scaly.  She’s lost that bark that was booming and deep, though there are still times she tries.  She can’t do anything that she used to do.  She gets up. Goes outside. She shivers.  She lays down.  She sleeps.  She is just there.  Her eyes are even a little vacant;  it’s totally heart-breaking.    The hardest thing is how frustrated we have become with her.  I’ve tried to explain to the kids that they need to stop being frustrated by her, but it’s so easy to do.   This we are not proud of.

Michael and I have been talking for weeks about calling the vet to make an appointment to put her to sleep.  Yesterday I called and the appointment is today at noon.  Michael will be taking her by himself.    Oddly comforting in that he got her alone and now he’s letting her go alone.  Oddly.

Last night when Michael told the kids about Sadie’s appointment, Olivia burst into tears.  I was editing the pictures for this post and my sight was suddenly blurred by tears.  I feel so bad for Olivia.  She’s cared for the dogs so much over the past year+, and she’s done a remarkable job for a girl of only ten.  This is definitely going to be hard on her.  She’s strong, though, and I have faith that she will be able to channel this grief into even more of an appreciation for her love of animals.  I love her compassion and I think this will grow it even more.

I guess I just have to remember all the wonderful times Sadie has shared with us.  We’ll have been married 14 years this September and Sadie just turned 13 in February.  That’s going to be the hardest part.  Most of the memories I have up till now involve Sadie.   I just never want the memories of Sadie to lie dormant within me.  Fourteen years from now I’d like to be telling my grandchildren about the time Sadie got a hold of my first ever elephant figurine.  Or how she ate a whole tube sock once.   Or how she dragged me to the ground when I was four months pregnant with Mikey.  Or how she used to tell me that my period was gonna be here soon by smelling my crotch in a certain way.  Or how she used to lick the little next door neighbor boy’s feet through our fence in New Orleans.   Or how she chewed up our headboard and scratched up our foot board.   Or how she thought she was human.

No, she didn’t think she was human…she knew she was!  Indeed this dog never thought of herself as a dog.

She’s Sadie Girl Lane and this post was written for her
She’s Sadie Girl Lane and she is the one who gave me my first taste of motherhood.
She’s Sadie Girl Lane and I will always love and miss her.

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52 Responses to “For Sadie”
  1. 06.04.2009

    you know when I first started this post I thought to myself I’m not going to cry and seconds after the waterworks came. Sadie was your first baby and she sounds like she was a remarkable ‘human’. What a great companion she must have been. She looks well loved and well taken care of. She’s beautiful :)

  2. 06.04.2009

    Oh that was the best tribute to a best friend indeed. I love just sticking my nose into my dog’s fur and smelling his stinky self. I love that smell. And I know just how you feel when you smell Sadie’s breath. There’s no doubt Sadie was as much a part of your family as anyone. And ALWAYS will be. She lived a full and happy life. For that you should smile.

  3. 06.04.2009

    I’m so sorry. She lived a life of love. She was a good girl, and she’ll never be forgotten. (((hugs))) to you and yours. A big special hug for Livey.

  4. 06.04.2009

    After knowing what you’ve said about Sadie Girl in the past, I thought some day this post would come and that it would break my heart and make me cry. It did. Hugs to Michael, to you, to the kids. It’s got to be so damn hard. I hope you will always take comfort in knowing that as happy as Sadie made you, you all also have to have made her. What a lucky dog to have been a part of the the Secret Agent Family. You know I’m here if you feel like talking (and especially Friday while I’m doing the long drive).

  5. 06.04.2009

    *sniff* Yup, cried. Great post; what a fitting tribute to such a long-time friend. Too funny about that necklace! ;)
    Sending *hugs* to you & your family!

  6. 06.04.2009

    I had to do this for my mom a year before she died. She loved that dog more than me, I think. I like to think that now they are both together.

    Stay strong for your human babies, but don’t forget to give Summer some extra snuggles!

    We’re all here for you.

  7. 06.04.2009

    Big hugs for you and Michael. This is never and easy time.

  8. 06.04.2009

    Well, shoot. I’m crying.

    She’s beautiful.

    I’ve been where you’re at, and it’s not easy . . . .

  9. 06.04.2009

    So sorry to hear about Sadie. My wife and I went through putting Claudia, a cat, down last year. A cat we adopted through Petsmart 9 years ago. I/we never had a cat with so much personality. She had the ” I will do what I want, when I want and you WILL pet me when I want it by God”. I cussed that cat out more times than I care to admit and swore to whoever is in charge that I would never, ever get another cat. Of course when we had to put her down, she was the pet I had the hardest time letting go of.
    It’s difficult to let go, but remember you have your pictures, memories and funny stories that you and your family can share with each other. Sadie will still be with you.

  10. 06.04.2009

    Oh I’m so sad for you and your family. Saying goodbye is hard.

  11. I’m so sorry. That was a lovely tribute. I can’t think of much else to say. My tears have rendered me speechless. =(

  12. Elizabeth

    My heart is breaking.

  13. 06.04.2009

    Awwww…I even got teary-eyed when reading this (and I can’t honestly can’t stand our dog—yeah, you hate me now….I know)! What a beautiful, beautiful tribute to Sadie. She was well-loved and very well taken care of. You guys kept her on this earth for nearly 13 years and made each moment special for her.

  14. 06.04.2009

    My heart is breaking for you too.. This was a beautiful tribute to your wonderful Dog.. Big hugs to you the family Mish.. big big hugs..

  15. 06.04.2009

    I am so sorry for you loss. This is a wonderful tribute to her.

  16. 06.04.2009

    You have my deepest sympathies. Our pets are so much more than ‘just a dog,’ they really are important members of our family.

  17. 06.04.2009

    I am definitely sitting here in tears. A beautiful tribute to a wonderful member of the family. Pets truly are more than just pets; I know so well. My thoughts are with you today.

  18. 06.04.2009

    What a beautiful tribute to a member of the family.
    My thoughts are with you and your family during this time.

  19. 06.04.2009

    I’m so sorry you had to say good-bye to your furbaby. My mom still gets upset if we talk about a dog that I grew up with. I’ve grown up with stories of my parent’s dogs, too. So Sadie will live on in your hearts.

  20. 06.04.2009

    I am so sorry! I am crying tears for her and for you. My heart hurts. Just for Sadie, I won’t complain about the fur or the mess today. I will take my dogs out for a round of fetch instead.

  21. 06.04.2009

    Oh Mish, I’m so sad for you and your beautiful Sadie but you have written a moving and fitting tribute…

  22. 06.04.2009

    Oh totally in tears at my desk. Sadie sounds like the perfect family member and its very clear that she was loved and will be very very missed.

  23. 06.04.2009

    I am so so sorry about your sweet girl. Just reading the first few sentences I was sitting here crying.

    Dogs are such special family members. Thank you for sharing your beautiful love with Sadie and her beautiful photos.

    Hugs to you all.

  24. Know what you are going through, from the fatherhood point of view. I always tell people that raising a puppy is the best training for having kids. Losing my first dog three years ago left me devasted.

    But now Kiner has a new friend to play with in Sadie. Condolences and hang tough.

  25. 06.04.2009

    I’m relatively new to your blog and your words made me hold my fur babies close and cry tears into all that annoying fluff that I curse at every time I clean it off the furniture or my clothes.

    Such a beautiful tribute to a gorgeous soul…I’m so sorry for your loss.

  26. 06.04.2009

    I’m so sorry, Mishi. Furbabies really are the bestest and it’s awful when we have to say goodbye. I hope Sadie and my Jasmine are having fun together wherever they are now.

  27. 06.04.2009

    I’m so very sorry Mishelle :(

  28. 06.04.2009

    Sobbing. Beautiful post for a beautiful companion.

  29. 06.04.2009

    I’ve been where you’re at and know how hard this is at this moment. I am so sorry. This post is a beautiful tribute to your girl. (((HUGS)))

  30. 06.04.2009

    She’s beautiful. Amazing how well their paws carry our hearts, isn’t it?

  31. 06.04.2009

    i’m so sorry. the way you wrote about her makes me feel like i knew her… like it was my necklace she made disappear, or my sandwich that she ate. or that it was me who smelled her sweet puppy breath. so, it is me who is crying now, too. and i’m so glad she was so loved. hugs to you and your family, and summer, too.

  32. 06.05.2009

    Honey, I’m so sorry. I’m sitting here, crying with a hurting heart and I can’t imagine what you, Olivia and the rest of the family are feeling. That was a beautiful post in her honour. I hope Summer’s not lonely.

    xo. Hugs.

  33. 06.05.2009

    i’m so sorry, mishi. **hugs**

  34. 06.05.2009

    You are being featured on Five Star Friday!

    I’m so sorry that you’ve had to lose her. I’ve lost furry family members, and I can feel that ache in my heart when I look at your beautiful pictures.

  35. 06.05.2009

    Your love for Sadie is refreshing. I am so sorry for your loss! As a dog lover there is no substitute for any dog, I can only pray that you will recover. Her memory is never gone.

  36. 06.05.2009

    Oh, M…I’m so sorry, but what a LIFE Sadie lived! To have a family like yours must have made her days a happy place to be.

  37. Mishi,

    That was simply beautiful. Sadie obviously had a spectacular life with y’all and y’all were equally blessed with each other.

    I am so very sorry for your loss and y’all have my deepest sympathies and love.

  38. 06.06.2009

    Gosh, Mishi. That was so heartbreakingly beautiful.

  39. 06.06.2009

    What a wonderful tribute to Sadie. I am so sorry for your family’s loss and I hope you all find peace in your memories. She will always be a part of your family.

  40. 06.06.2009

    Oh Mishi…
    I’m so sorry-it”s hard to lose anyone who steals a bit of your heart like that. Big hugs mama!

  41. 06.06.2009

    Mishi – Sadie was love because of her family. You are such a shining light – I am sorry you have to grieve your sweet Sadie Girl.

    Big hugs and kisses from me to you.

  42. 06.06.2009

    What a beautiful post. I’m new to your blog and look forward to more! Big hugs to you and your family.

  43. 06.07.2009

    This is a beautiful tribute. What a wonderful dog and good life she led with you.

  44. 06.07.2009

    Oh my God. I saw the caption on the photo in your Weekly winners post.I feel your pain, I really do. Sadie has been a fortunate dog, to have spent her life in such a beautiful family. What you did for her was the best thing you could do.
    And I SO know, you’ll never forget her. We’ve been through this too, and one of these days ( hope not too soon) we will have to go through this again, my cat is turning into an old lady too.

    Big big hug, my friend. xxx

  45. 06.07.2009

    i am so sorry. there is nothing like a lab. i know that love all too well. big hugs.

  46. 06.07.2009

    I’m so sorry you had to say goodbye to Sadie. What a beautiful post and beautiful pictures.

  47. 06.08.2009

    I’m so very sorry I missed this when it was posted. :( my heart is with you and your family. what a beautiful post for a cherished family member.


  48. 06.10.2009

    This post made me cry. Big time. Beautiful.

  49. 06.14.2009

    What a wonderful post. Sorry your Sadie has gone to that big dog park in the sky, but something tells me she’s having a ball! :)

  50. 06.18.2009

    That is the sweetest, saddest post I have read in a long time. Best of luck with all of the emotions that go with that.

  51. 02.21.2010

    You weren’t kidding.
    Kisses to Miss Sadie.
    and you.

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