by Happy Spring
A special box is needed for one special canine.
“A Special Box”
I searched the internet for just the right box. The price didn’t matter, for it had to be special. There were boxes of every type, from paper Mache to wooden boxes. From plain to fancy, I just couldn’t find what I wanted. I turned off the computer and left the room.
It had to be special, because it was for a very special canine. Her name was Sara. She was eleven years old and more importantly, eighty pounds of love. I saved her and she knew that. She saved me many times over and she knew that too.
Sara shared my secrets, my hopes and my dreams. She was there when I was sad, glad or even mad. My emotions became hers. She was my confidant, my girlfriend and my guardian angel. Attached to me like Velcro, she knew everything about me.
She knew when I was going to leave the house. She would watch my every move. She would reach out and touch me as I walked by. If she could get her toes curled around my foot tight enough, I couldn’t move. I would have to say “Let go, honey.” My husband couldn’t move either, when he was leaving for work. As soon as he picked up his keys, she would stand on his foot, using all of her weight. Looking up into his eyes, she would press down harder. What a face! It was her way of telling him “Please don’t go.”
Her hugs would steal your heart. I loved the way she would put one paw onto my husband’s shoulder, pulling him forward. She would then lay her head high onto his chest, under his chin. Leaning heavily against him sighing, she would pull him even closer. She would hug him like he was never hugged before.
She loved to travel with us. She went everywhere with us. She was the best backseat passenger you could ever wish for. She would sit and just look out the window, never making a sound. She whimpered only when she had to go “potty.” We would almost forget that she was there. My husband would jokingly ask, “Did we forget Sara?” She camped, hiked and ran behind our quads. On our car trips, she just loved motel carpets. We would always get two beds, because one would be hers. She would lay her head on the pillow; blankets pulled up to her neck and sleep content. She was a good and quiet guest and went everywhere with us.
Sara loved her walks and she would happily greet everyone. If she saw a dog she would like, she would stop short and wait. If she thought he was friendly, she couldn’t wait to say “hello.” Given the word, she would play roly-poly on the grass at the park. With her short, sleek, soft fur, our sweet angel girl was known as the “pretty red dog,” by every one. They all wanted to touch her, children and adults alike.
She loved to jump into UPS Trucks. Long ago, when our regular driver, Brian pulled into the yard, she would leap over our gate onto his truck. He always had a treat for her. After that, she thought all UPS trucks and their drivers were the same. If they didn’t give her the expected treat, she just couldn’t understand that! Of course, I finished the job. To this day, when I call “Joe”, my landscaper, he only knows me by the name of “Sara’s Mom.” This is the kind of impression she left on everyone. Many people still do not know my name, but they knew hers.
Out of the blue, Sara became very sick. After x-rays and several prescriptions, we knew she did not have long. When she became too weak to stand, we hand-fed her and helped her outside to do her business. Always the lady, she had a lot of pride. I would take naps beside her on the bedroom floor when she couldn’t come out into family room. Her many friends would come to visit her and we would cry together. Their help and support will never be forgotten.
When it was time to call the vet to come to the house, it was so hard. It broke our hearts to see her suffer and I knew we had to do “right” by her. An appointment was set up for a Wednesday night, because there were no openings before that. However when she became worse, I pleaded and begged the doctor to come Tuesday. The appointment time was 7:30 but the doctor came at 6 PM. She understood our sorrow and desperation.
My husband came home from work early so he could spend time with her. We both knelt down by Sara while the doctor put her peacefully to sleep. During the whole time, we stroked her head and told her how much we loved her. “Sara’s a pretty girl,” was repeated one last time. Sara left to go to “Rainbow Bridge” on July 14, 2009. We know we will see her there one day, on the other side. She will stop playing, her ears will be up and her tail will wag! She will come running across the bridge to meet us.
Just a few days ago, the vet’s office called and told us Sara’s ashes could be picked up. We couldn’t wait to bring her home. Our house was too quiet and Sara had left holes in both our hearts. We were given a small white box that bore Sara’s name and the date of her cremation. Again, I cried as I held her against my chest. Earlier, my husband and I had agreed that we would go to Michael’s and pick out a wooden box. I placed her in my large canvas handbag and cried again. But then I began laughing through my tears.
“Honey, this might make you feel a little better. Finally, we can take Sara into stores today. She can go places where she never was allowed to go before.” We took her to a restaurant (no doggie bag this time), a department store and then on to Michael’s Craft store.
My husband picked out that one special wooden box, brought it home and stained it twice. I lined the box with pink velvet for our very special little girl. We placed the smaller white box inside, along with her collar, leash and sympathy cards and a petite book entitled “A Dog is Your Best Friend.” Also a pewter medal was placed inside. An angel dog is etched on one side and the other side is engraved with the inscription “Always with you.” She was truly our angel.
On top of the box sits a small polymer clay dog that I had sculpted of her in her early years. I’m so glad I did. “We miss you, Sara, and your memory will be forever in our hearts.”
Ps. I couldn’t write this or even say her name last week without tears, but finally here is my mini lesson for you, Mariah. I cried while writing this, but it was a healing process for me. My husband hasn’t read this yet, but one day he will.
This will become part of a collection of stories entitled “Tails of Sara.”
Word Count 1155, not including title and Post Script.