Tribute to a Sweet Sandi Girl
I’m sure that you know by the title of this post that we had to say good bye to our beautiful Sandi this week. I share so much about the Sponsors, Charlie and Chance, that I thought it only fitting to write about my nearly constant companion of the past 14 years.
Sandi was one of 4 dogs (2 pups and 2 adults) who were discovered living under a barn about 45 miles from here. The person who found them turned them over to Second Chance, a wonderful no kill animal shelter where we later adopted Muppet, as well. Sandi found us 3 months after my mother moved in to her apartment here in 2002. Our veterinarian guessed that Sandi was about 4 – 5 months old during her first evaluation visit. She required a lot of care to eliminate Demodex Mange and other starvation effects. Time and patience were necessities to teach her that there would, indeed, be another meal and she didn’t have to inhale her food out of fear.
As soon as possible, I enrolled Sandi in puppy kindergarten to begin obedience, bonding and socialization training. She was a slow learner! I think she repeated kindergarten, first and second grades at least twice! Trusting humans was her biggest hurdle but she eventually took the chance and bonded with her people.
During her training exercises, Sandi learned how to hold things in her mouth on command which evolved into picking up the nightly newspaper and delivering it (or rather tossing it) in my mom’s lap. Several years later when Mom moved into assisted living, Sandi would proudly carry the paper down the hallway, stopping to visit and wag her tail at each open door, before finding Mom and tossing the somewhat drippy paper into her lap. Mom was quite the hit because she not only had family, she had a dog visitor!
When Muppet came to live with us, she was a challenging 8 month old puppy who had already lived in 2 places. Her energy level required someone to take time to walk her multiple times each day so she could live with herself as well as her new family. Sandi enjoyed the benefits of walking, too, and helped Muppet understand that pulling and going fast were reserved for bicycle rides rather than walks. Together we logged several hundred miles during the next few years. One of their favorite stops along the walk – the patio at Starbucks where everyone loved to pat Sandi’s head and admire Muppet’s dedication to wearing a backpack. They assumed she must be a service dog when in reality, she carried poop bags, their collapsible water dish and 2 bottles of water in case of emergency thirst.
All the animals that we live with serve as models from time to time. Sandi was always ready and willing to pose for the camera which she did more times than I can count. Pretty girl, huh!
As Sandi aged and began losing her sight and hearing, she attached herself to me. As long as she sensed I was close by, she was content. Any storm would send her under my feet, under my table, or in my lap if she could figure out how to get there. Although she rarely asked for affection, she always wagged her tail when she knew I was back home from an outing. She loved to go with me and ride in the car anytime any distance.
We knew the time was fast approaching when Sandi would be moving on and tried to prepare ourselves for the inevitability. I don’t know why I do that because no matter how much I try to be ready, I never am. During one of our last late nights together, I decided to take just a few more pictures, but she was not able to pose for me. I laid on the floor on my tummy to get to her level as she looked at me with her beautiful brown eyes. And wouldn’t you know, as I’m feeling incredibly sad, Charlie (as if he knew something was happening) immediately crawled on my back and settled down. Tears of sadness and tears from laughter were instantly all mixed up!
Life goes on.
As challenging as it is sometimes, life does goes on.
Today and every day I choose to celebrate this beautiful companion. I appreciate what she shared with me each moment. As I write this, one Sponsor is fussing at me to be held, the other is peacefully napping in a bucket of newspapers and Muppet is adjusting to her new status of only dog. I’m truly grateful for the unconditional love shared with me by each of them. Just like my human family, each animal friend has brought their own uniqueness into my life. For that, I’m forever grateful.
As you read this I hope you celebrate a certain Golden Retriever named Sandi, as I do. Her life was one that was so very well lived.