Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lament: A Passionate Expression of Grief

My heart is broken today. My dog, Sassy, died this morning.

You know the military life does require sacrifice from time to time. I wasn't able to go home for my Grandfather's funeral. My youngest daughter was born while my husband was in Iraq. I've been living on the other side of the world for way longer than I'd like. I know that there are those who have sacrificed so much more than I have and who have lost so much more... so a part of me feels very guilty for my grief but I am so broken right now. I am so sad that I didn't get to say goodbye to her. Having to leave her in the states, not being able to explain where I was going and why and that I would be back... and then losing her... it's one of the hardest things I've ever experienced.

Sassy was my baby. Really she was one of the most obnoxious dogs you've ever been around. Nobody and I mean nobody could enter our house without the entire neighborhood hearing about it. Once people came in and got settled she was quiet but God forbid they need to get up to go to the bathroom or something. She was a born watch dog and probably a little neurotic.

But really she was the ultimate one person dog. If you weren't her person she just wasn't interested, well, unless you had food, then she was very interested... until the food was gone. She was my shadow. She literally followed me everywhere I went in the house and out. For the longest time I didn't know what it was like to go to the bathroom without company. (I think she was secretly preparing me for motherhood.)

I'll never forget the first time we tried to have her dogsat. My husband and I had to go somewhere, I don't remember where but we were only going to be gone for a couple of hours and we asked a friend and neighbor down the street to watch Sassy for us. I'm not sure why. I guess we didn't want to have to crate her as she was still too young to be trusted out in the house without supervision. When we got home that night there was Sassy sitting on our front porch waiting for us. We talked to our friend and found out that she had escaped from his yard three different times and run back to our house. She knew where she belonged.

I'll never forget the first time I saw her. It was at a puppy store. Yes, one of the ones in the mall where you aren't supposed to buy animals. But this was 13 years ago and I didn't know any better at the time and of course I absolutely don't regret her in the least. When they brought her out for us to meet her in the little meeting cubby she just ran around and barked at me but it's hard to explain how. She was just so... sassy... like she knew she was hot stuff and she was going to tell you all about it. That's how she got her name.

When I found out how much they wanted for her I nearly died. I couldn't afford her but my parents were also looking for a dog at the time and they bought her. Let me just say that I pouted and pouted because they wouldn't give her to me. I admit it I was a big child. My behavior was somewhere around the age of a 4 year old but I didn't care. I wanted her. It probably wouldn't have worked, though, except for the fact that my Mom had already decided she couldn't handle her. Every time she let her outside to go to the potty she would climb under their woodpile. (This was during a very cold November.) She was such a pain as my Mom would tell you. But really I think she just knew she was meant to be with me. I never had any trouble getting her to mind and stay with me. I really think we were just made for each other.

She was just so special to me. She was as much a part of my family as anyone of my kids or my husband. The decision to leave her in the states was very hard. I knew it was the right thing to do with her age and medical issues but it was just so very hard to leave her and I really was afraid of this happening.

I know this is text heavy but it was something I had to write. I have cats over here in Japan and I do like them but it is not the same. I don't know that I would call myself a "dog person" or a "cat person" because really I enjoy both species but having the loyalty of a good dog is something I will never take for granted. I just wish I could have said goodbye.

Sassy you weren't the best dog in the world but you were the best dog for me. You kept my secrets. You let me cry in your fur and you always made me feel like I must have hung the moon. I will miss you so very much.


  1. Ugh I am crying for you. We lost our first child i mean aussie a little over a year and a half ago and weren't able to say bye to her (she jumped out of our 7 ft fence while I was gone and there was a babysitter and was hit by a car :( worst ever). I feel your pain and am sending hugs and prayers of peace for you.

    1. Thank you! We had a dog that got out and hit by a car when I was younger and that is a terrible experience. Sassy did have a long and comfortable life and she was always loved and I'm so glad I had the time I had with her.

  2. HUGS... Huge HUGS!!! There are no words...

    1. Thank you! I really do appreciate it. Animal lovers just understand better.