My Sara…the border dachshund collie.
Sara was one of the coolest dogs ever. While I did not get to spend the time with her like I have our other dogs, she was still pretty awesome. She was basically a 55 pound dachshund with border collie markings and a bull whip for a tail. She was also the runt of her litter. Being the youngest of ten, I guess that was why I took to her.
That tail. When she was happy, she would swing that tail back and forth with reckless abandon and if you were standing down wind, I hope you have some sort of pain threshold because your legs were going to be attacked on both sides by her tail. It was just as long as she was and Sara was nearly 3 feet WITHOUT the tail. She was short and low to the ground like a typical wiener dog. Her paws were at the end of about 6 inch stumps and were nearly 2 inches wide. Despite her large appearance, she was as loving as any living creature could be. She would never harm anyone.
We had Pepper when Sara came to us. The vast majority of her life was spent with Pepper in the dog pen. He was grouchy with her at first but then began to accept her as his best buddy. They always traveled the yard together. Pepper had some injuries prior to Sara coming along and she used that to her advantage when Pepper would get the best of her. They would frolic and wrestle and when he would get the upper hand, she would simply use her weight and roll over on him. Due to his eggshell nature, it would hurt the injury to his back and he would yelp. This meant game over. Sometimes she would do the same while they were sleeping. She slept like a puppy her whole life and was most often on her back sprawled out. She would do the phat gurl roll and right on Pepper’s legs and here would come the game over yelp. It always woke everyone in the house but we all knew what it was and would go back to sleep.
Sara loved Pepper despite his grouchiness and grumpies. Pepper was a few years older than Sara and, with his injury, passed away before she did. The last couple years of her life were pretty sad. Even though we had Behr, the Pomeranian, she was still sad over the fact that her lifelong buddy was gone. I think she understood but did not know WHY he was not coming back.
The pen they shared was attached to the end of the car port. The part that opened into the car port was a big gate that was big enough to drive a car through when open. Any time I took the dogs for a walk or we had to take them for a ride, we would use that gate to let them out. The only other entry into the pen was via a chicken walk that Dad carved out of the side of the lawnmower shed. The floor inside the shed was elevated and Pepper’s injury did not allow him easy navigation of steps. When dad made the doggy door into the shed he had to put a ramp. Inside the lawnmower shed, dad fashioned a little room with a water powered heater, carpet and a radio. This would keep them out of the mud when it was too wet to be in the southern-style dog house mom made for them (Here I digress. Mom took a crate and some linoleum and 1×1 beams and fashioned a dog house with a door to the left on the front of the crate, a sloping roof, and a front “porch” for them to relax upon when the sun was too hot to lay in. While she said she was not a dog person, she did do silly things like that.) So yea, even though they were outdoor doggies, they were spoiled rotten.
When Pepper’s injury became too much for his old age, it paralyzed him. While he was not in pain, I did have the option to take him home and care for him or have him put down. Were I a stay at home mom like I was a few years later, I certainly would have kept my buddy with me but it was just too much. He never knew when he was going to use the potty and when he moved, he dragged the lower 50% of his body around and walked on his front paws. His paralyzed portion would bend in move in ways that made you hurt. He just didn’t feel it. I think that, the day we too Pepper to be put down, Sara knew. She and Pepper were sitting on the deck of the dog house. It was a warm sunny day and they were enjoying the weather like two old people. I imagine if there were rocking chairs, they would be your typical southern old couple complete with iced tea between them. I went to the house to pick up Pepper and immediately, Sara began to cover his face with doggy kisses. She had never done this before. She then followed me all the way to the car door as if telling me I had to be very careful with her buddy. I laid the old dog in the back seat and shut the door. I turned to see Sara sitting on the concrete behind me with the saddest puppy eyes I had ever seen. It was that point at which I think she knew. I sat down right there with her for about 5 minutes hugging her and telling her it was gonna be ok. When I got up, she dutifully went into the pen and turned around at the gate expecting me to close it. I did. She then sat at the corner of the pen/carport and watched me drive away with her Pepper.
A few years later, mom told me she howled soulfully for about 45 minutes after I had left. That broke my heart. After I came back, she looked at the car as if searching for him and when he was not removed from the car, she just hung her head and walked up the ramp into the shed. Sometimes she would come out and howl. It was such a sad howl that it made your spine shudder. Sara was so sad. Even when we would put Behr in the pen, it didn’t help. I guess nothing replaces your lifelong best friend. After a couple months, she began to dig. She would dig her way out under the fence. She would not leave, but would just sniff around in the part of the yard that was the direction in which we had taken Pepper. She was looking for him.
One time, I showed Sara where we had laid Pepper to rest. She watched me and Cal when we buried him but I don’t think she knew what was going on. We put him behind the lawnmower shed just outside the pen fencing. When I showed Sara what it was and told her, she just looked at me with her doggy eyes. Long gone was the spunky sparkle and it was since replaced with the look of someone who had lost something dear long ago. I took Peppers Collar and laid it in the circle of stones I had put to mark his grave site. Immediately, she walked into the circle and laid her head on his collar. Poor girl.
After that, she would sit at THAT part of the pen (it was just behind the chicken ramp) and watch the collar. I imagine she was talking to him the way people do when they visit their loved ones whom are deceased.
Sara was with us for a couple more years and then was laid to rest next to Pepper. Sara and Pepper had many adventures together and I will share those in other posts. For now, this one is too much and bringing tears to my eyes. I miss my Sara. She was my Uber Wiener dog. 🙂
What do YOU think?
Posted on March 17, 2015, in Life and tagged aging, death, Dogs, family, friends, friendship, getting older, marriage, memories, old couples, pets, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.