When I was 16 years old I started living in a basement apartment (you can read about that here). I met my high school boyfriend, Mark, mid-way through my sophomore year of high school. At our 6 months dating "anniversary" (oh the silly things we celebrate when in a high school relationship, riiiiight?!?!) he bought me a puppy (kinda a big gift!).
I really wanted a dog because I was scared and lonely at my apartment and wanted that companionship. My mom had a shitzu, Abby, and I wanted that same breed as she was such a great dog! Mark and I went together and picked out Sadie and she became my source of comfort for many, many years to come.
Her favorite buddy was her little yellow duck!
Celebrating her birthday
Yup even appeared in my senior pics haha
Sadie lived with me at my apartment all through high school. She went with me wherever I went. She was in the car when Mark and I had a bad wreck coming home from visiting my mom in Melbourne. She went with me on road trips to Maine with my dad. She was a great sidekick! We had a system rigged up at the apartment with the LONGEST leash ever so she could go outside and go potty without me having to go out with her at night (I was scared!). She slept with me and was always there waiting for me after school. She truly was a security blanket for me and I have always been grateful for that gift from my high school boyfriend! She outlived that relationship ;)
Not only did I have her during my entire relationship with Mark (which spanned little over 3 years) but she also was with me throughout my dating years with Zach and then the 9 years of marriage that followed including having relationships with all three of my children. I mean that's a long life for a dog to live and a lot of memories she was part of!!!
Yes...I had her in some of my bridal pics haha I wanted her to walk down the aisle but with a beach wedding that wouldn't work too well ;)
My favorite pic of her! She loved the boat rides we took during a trip to Maine!
She was also buddies with many other pets that entered our lives. Mark and I got a cat, Spencer, while also in high school and he was SO cute with Sadie. They were truly best buddies! Out of all the pets we've owned, Sadie and Spencer had the sweetest bond.
When Zach and I got married we got Levi (Zach wanted to have kids RIGHT away, I said "Let's get a dog first" haha). Sadie and Levi never had that BFF type of relationship. I think it's because Levi is a chihuahua and wants so badly to be the leader that he never vibed well with the already established leadership role that Sadie had. I also think it's probably b/c Levi is just kinda a pain in the butt haha.
Levi almost died the night we brought Kye home from the hospital (as if a new baby coming home isn't dramatic enough!) and after that Sadie and Levi were much sweeter!
My favorite thing about Sadie was the constant "pep in her step." She always just walked so bouncy-like that she still seemed like a puppy even at over 15 years old! She always did this thing when she was excited where she'd get up on her back legs and hold her front paws together almost prayer-like and then wave them. It was super cute and was just a "Sadie thing" that made her special. I also always loved opening presents with her (oh I used to be the type of person who bought presents for my dogs...) b/c she'd rip open the paper and be so pumped!
Sadie was NEVER jealous. Ever. She was extremely easy-going and patient and loving. She always accepted any new pets we brought home. Any new situation we may have faced. She never had issues with riding in the car, traveling, visiting new places, or making major home moves. She was always sweet to everyone. She never, ever bit or barked in a rude way at people. She was just a great dog! She did especially well with all of our kids. Tail pulling never phased her and the only issue we'd have with her is that she'd want to be CONSTANTLY kissing all over the babies!
(All of these are of Britt with Sadie, Sadie was too old with Tess to remain free-roaming in the house and I couldn't find any of her with Kye although I'm sure there are some!)
cuddling in Kye's bed
and with one of Britt's dolls!
It's been hard watching Sadie age through the years. The past several I've constantly debated with myself about whether or not "it's time" to put her down. She had quite a large growth on her underbelly that I'm SURE was something wrong but at her age it just didn't make sense to mess with any of that. She started to lose the ability to control her bowls and she started to find comfort in her crate. We stopped having her sleep with us and instead began putting her in her crate at night. She also got in a routine of being outside during the day and then coming in right at dark to be in the crate. I think the dark scared her because she already couldn't see much at all anymore? She still got around pretty good though, she'd struggle a bit when getting up from laying down but once she was up she still was peppy as ever! She kept eating and drinking, although she was SO skinny so I don't know if she was still getting a lot of the nourishment.
I made the call NOT to put her down for two reasons: 1) I wanted to give her the opportunity to die peacefully in her sleep while in the comfort of her home with all of us there. 2) I wanted my children to have the experience of a NATURAL death. They've only had two experiences with death and both weren't the way it "should" go (Austin and Casey and Jordan's recent baby). I wanted them to have that "easy to explain" death situation and I knew Sadie's passing would give them that.
Well. I completely 100% regret not putting her to sleep and feel terrible about it. I didn't want to make the call, but if I'd known how her life was going to end I'd have made it 100 times over. Poor Sadie. I'm REALLY okay that she died. Our bond was VERY close during my teenage years and I'm thankful for her but once I met Zach I didn't need that security blanket anymore and as I became a mother I didn't have the need or time to really have much a relationship with Sadie. She was VERY old and it is a natural part of life that people and animals die. I'm okay and at peace with her dying. But I'm TORE UP about how it happened.
Sadie has always been afraid of storms and Zach and I have come home a couple times this summer when a quick storm has passed through (as always happens in summer!) and have found Sadie in our pool. She would fall in I guess during the storm? I'm not sure WHY she'd come out from the porch during a storm or WHY she'd go near the pool during them but she really couldn't see well and was really losing it mentally so who knows the reasons behind those decisions. She would swim to the steps and was able to pull the top half of her body out of the water but couldn't get her bottom half. Thankfully we got her out and she was fine, but it did worry me a good bit.
This Tuesday (July 19th) I was at Mrs. Charlotte's and was heading home with the kids when Zach called and said our power was out due to a storm. I turned around and took them back to her house and we waited until our power was back on to get home. It was later than we'd typically get home and when we walked in the house I KNEW. I could see from the kitchen the corner of our shallow end and could see a float in the pool and knew the thing I saw beside it was not a reflection of it in the water. I left the kids in the living room and went outside. I know I probably should have put them to bed first and then went out there but I needed to know RIGHT THEN.
Sure enough she was at the bottom of the pool. My heart is so broken for her and that she died during a storm (something she always hated) and died afraid in such a horrible way. I don't know if she just fell in and couldn't swim or if she tried to swim out and couldn't make it. There were floats around the pool area that had blown into the pool during the storm that could have been blocking her ability to get to the steps.
I was pretty upset and told the kids that she'd died. Britt was SO dramatic about it. Fake crying (even Tess walked up and fake cried with her, I think b/c I was crying they thought they should be too) and she kept saying "she was the cutest dog ever" and instantly asked if we'd get another dog. Kye said "well, that's one less chore for us to do" haha! The mouths of kids right? But really for them there wasn't that bond or relationship like Zach and I had with her. She has been an old dog who sleeps all the time for years.
I called Zach and asked him to come home. I couldn't stand the thought of her in that pool. I hate thinking about her lying there at the bottom. I was so confused at why she wasn't floating but realized she must have been in there awhile and taken in a lot of water to make her sink. I feel so guilty that I wasn't there to rescue her. That I hadn't just put her to sleep awhile ago. That she didn't get to just pass peacefully in her sleep like I'd wanted for her.
He came home and said getting her out of the pool was actually very peaceful. While I was upset seeing her (I didn't watch him get her out), I did also think she looked so peaceful. Her hair has been nasty for quite sometime and it looked so clean and soft and she was laying so sweetly just like she had fallen asleep. It was SO sweet to me that Zach said he even got a little emotional because she was such a part of his life for so long too.
We had a little funeral for her last night. I found her duck stuffed animal (yes, it lasted over 15 years too and she still slept with it) and put it in with her. We put her behind our fence, but still on our property and I plan to order one of those pet headstone things to place there. Zach said a prayer and then each older kid sang a song they made up for Sadie and gave her some notes they wrote for her (Kye had a drawing he didn't want anyone to see). I ended not saying anything at all. The kids have been super lighthearted about it all and Kye even had Zach and I laughing so I wanted to leave it at that and not say anything too heavy or get upset.
You can see Britt's song and her notes here and Kye's here (I'm glad I cut it off before I busted out laughing but it was so funny the way he ended it, it's like he knew the ONE thing that I was super upset about and just kept harping on that!)
I randomly took a picture of Sadie and Seth when he and his kids were over Sunday so I do have a last picture of her and it's pretty awesome ;)
I'm very thankful for the MANY years and memories I have with Sadie. I'm thankful especially for the comfort she provided for me in times of hurt or fear or pain throughout the years. She was a great dog and it was an honor to be her owner.
I often tell people that there are seasons of life where pet ownership is a wonderful thing: the season of life with young children at home isn't one of them. I know a handful of people who still TRULY love their pets while also dealing with new babies, toddlers, and the daily craziness that is parenthood. But most parents I know agree that the love we have for our pets prior to kids takes a super big backseat once we start having babies. I do think as our kids get older (and we're done adding more babies) then the phase of life for pet ownership will start up again. I'm def not against having pets, but we know that as our current pets (we still have Levi and our cat, Zeke) pass away that we won't be adding anymore to our home for quite awhile.
While I'm very sad about how Sadie died, I'm really at total peace with her actual death. It was a long time coming and she had a great, long life! She was a pretty lucky little dog for sure! I know that often people are very attached to their pets and may ask for prayers when their pet passes away. I get it and I respect it but I truly ask that no one prays for this loss. I know personally we have a funeral to attend this weekend for a close family friend and have other family members undergoing major operations. There are so many people who DO need prayers and we really don't for this situation. I just wanted to post this as a way to honor Sadie and to have a chance to look through old photos of her and remember the great times I had with her!