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Posts: 8
It's been two months since I last my baby girl, Sasha. It's still very hard - some days are better than others.

I wrote this the day after she passed. It was cathartic, and helpful to reread from time to time. There are so many other stories left out of this rememberance...maybe I'll write them someday.

Love you Sasha.

June 7, 2017
In March, 2010, I had recently completed renovating my house and installing a fence around the yard. The fence was the last requirement I set for myself before adopting a new puppy. I had been searching through PetFinder for someone to rescue and stumbled upon Partners4Pets – a rescue in Troy, IL. They were holding an adoption event at a PetSmart and there was a puppy I was interested in. When I got there, I realized how small she was and given the style of fence I had just installed, she would be able to easily squeeze through. Living on such a busy street, I decided I needed to keep looking.

As I was standing there, looking at the various dogs looking for their own forever home, there was this two-year-old black and tan girl named Pickles looking sad, inside a crate. It appeared she had been waiting to be adopted for a long time. I asked if I could walk her around the store, she was so sweet and appreciative of the attention. She licked my hand, and I knew I found the one. She adopted me, and we went home.

Of course, she had to be re-named – “Pickles” wasn’t something I could imagine myself calling out. Heh. We decided on the name Sasha.

She settled into the house quickly, enjoying a yard she could roam around in freely, with tons of new smells to enjoy and things to pee on. Of course, she was still being crate trained at the rescue, so that continued at night and while I was at work. She had a cozy little spot in my bedroom next to the windows.

Several months later I remember coming home one day from work and immediately noticed that unmistakable smell of, well, “someone had an accident in her crate.” The day before she had her monthly heartworm pill, and I guess it didn’t agree with her. Since she had had no other recourse, being the smart girl she was and not wanting to stand/sit there in that mess, had to cover it with something! I’m sure her thought process was “I need something to cover this up until daddy comes home….oh look, curtains!” Yeah, she pulled the curtains into her crate…pulled so hard she the mounting brackets came out of the wall. I wasn’t mad, of course, she was doing what she had to do. While it’s a gross memory, it’s still pretty funny to me and I have thought about it often over the years (also because I still haven’t painted the spots where I patched the plaster).

We’ve been through a lot together over the years. She’s always been by my side – except at night. She wouldn’t sleep in my bed. I toss and turn too much and would disturb her beauty sleep. She took to sleeping in the other bedroom with Chad, or on one of the many couches she could lay on and gaze out the windows – protecting her yard from squirrels, birds, and rabbits (yes, even here in the city!), and watching other puppies go by. She became friends with several other dogs in the neighborhood as we live on a busy corner, and lots of people knew her by name.

She would occasionally bark at other dogs when she would be outside protecting her turf. She knew she wasn’t supposed to do this and would always sheepishly look back at the house to see if we noticed. We usually did. One time, a nice couple from a couple streets over who have several dogs, said, “Sasha, you know you’re not supposed to bark.” She stopped, wagged her tail and stuck her nose through the fence to greet her friends.

Over the past year, Sasha decided that she wanted to go out early each morning to do her rounds and business. Like clockwork, 5:30 a.m. she would jump down from Chad’s bed, shake her head – you could hear her ears flapping and her collar jingle. Daylight Savings Time always threw her for a loop, just like the rest of us, but I digress. She would come into my room and stand next to my bed and let out this exasperated sigh. If I didn’t hear, she would jump up onto the bed and nuzzle, or depending on the immediacy of her needs, stand on me until I woke up. Sure it was annoying, but I would give anything to have had it happen again this morning.

The past week has been hard. I returned from Boys State on June 25th, she always hated when I packed because she knew I would be gone for a while. A few times she would even sit in my suitcase as I was packing. I then had a business trip in Boston for a couple days the next week. When I got back last Friday, something just wasn’t right. Chad said she had barely eaten since I had left – which sometimes happens. This time, however, she was lethargic as well. She’s almost 10 years old so I figured a visit to the vet was prudent.

We paid a visit to Webster Groves Animal Hospital where they took some blood samples and some X-rays and noticed her liver was enlarged. We went home, knowing it would be a couple days before the blood work came back. The next day they called and said she needed to come back in. She had very high levels of ALT liver enzymes, some other stuff I cannot remember, but the vet was concerned about her. A trip through the ICU, an ultrasound, and some cytology work, confirmed the worst: lymphoma, an enlarged liver, spleen, and lymph nodes. My heart broke.

The doctors at WGAH laid out the options. Given her age and the type of lymphoma, chemo would only buy her a couple months, but lots of struggle with the drugs themselves. We elected to try to treat with prednisone – which sometimes works, but only for a short while. I wanted her to be comfortable, of course I wanted to have her with me for as long as possible, but I didn’t want to be selfish either. Her comfort was my primary concern.

She had developed a condition called ascites – fluid buildup around the liver caused, most likely, by low levels of protein and the lymphoma attacking her liver. Since last Saturday, she had gained 6 pounds, but had hardly eaten anything. The fluid was building and causing her discomfort, her breath became labored and she couldn’t lay down comfortably. I called the vet again, they suggested she come back in.

Dr. Randazzo, who is now one of my favorite people, was so honest and compassionate. We made sure Sasha was comfortable, held her sweet little head, rubbing her ears and telling her we loved her, as she crossed that Rainbow Bridge late last night.

I have comfort knowing that somewhere, she’s running and playing with Sophie, Spice, Crystal, Susie Q, Judy, Lady, Sam, Allie, Katie, Turk, Kaiser, and the pets of so many of my friends’ and families' who have been down this road. I know each of them would give anything to hear that jingle of a collar again.

Rest in peace Sasha. You’re my baby girl and will always be missed and have a special place in my heart.

Posts: 8
Hey Sasha. It's been a long two months and I miss you every single day. Some days are better than others.

Your nose prints are still on the window over looking your yard. I can't bring myself to clean the windows.

We adopted a new puppy last week. It was time we gave another fellow rescue a home. Her name is Daphne - a one year old beagle mix. I think you two would get along nicely -- after your typical adjustment period of course. She hates her crate just as much as you did, but she's very loving. We talk about you often. Daphne knows she has a big collar to fill.

I mowed your lawn today. The grass is nice and short like you preferred. Today was a very nice day, you would have loved laying in the yard today.

I saw the neighbors from around the corner walking their dogs. They asked about you and were sorry when I told them the news. They gave me a hug. We talked about their other pups up there with you at the bridge.

I love you, Sasha. Miss you lots and lots.



Posts: 8
Hey Sasha.  Three months.  Miss you so much.

Daphne is doing well.  She's setteling in and starting to play more and more.  I know she still smells you and we still talk about you often -- always will. 

Love you baby girl.  xoxo.

Posts: 8
Hey there Sasha! It’s been 6 months without you by my side. I still think of you often and wonder how you’re doing on the other side of the bridge.

My friend’s dog came to join you recently. Please show her where all the good spots are!

Daphne is doing well. She gets called Sasha every once in a while. Sometimes I don’t even realize it.

Miss you. Love, Ryan

Posts: 8
Hey Sasha!  It's been 8 months...I still hear your collar rattling around the house sometimes.  I miss you so very much.

I wanted you to know that with Spring approaching, Daphne is doing a great job of keeping the yard clear of squirrels and birds.  She's a huntress just like you. 

I miss you terribly.  Please keep a look out for all of my friends' pets that have been lost recently.  I think you all would get along great. 

Love you.

Posts: 236
Dear Ryan, I had to read your tribute to Sasha after you were so kind to comment on mine. It brought tears to my eyes understanding what you are going through. It sounds like Sasha did alot of the same things my Brandy did. She loved being outside, she was so nosy. She always tried to protect her yard but she always wanted me there to stand behind. I always laughed and told people she was my back-up. She was never a very brave dog, she just loved everyone and everything too much. I still wake up in the morning ready to take her out so she can do her duties. Then I realize she is not here and I feel the pain all over again. I just wanted to say Thank you very much for knowing my pain and reaching out to me. Diane

Posts: 8
Sasha.  It's been 13 months since you crossed.  I still think about you all the time and still miss you terribly.  Daphne is still fiercely protective of the yard -- keeping it clear from squirrels, birds, rabbits, and invisible things.  Well, at least I cannot see them.  She also enjoys drinking out of the water garden and stares at the fish until she gets distracted by something else.  We still play with some of your toys and talk about you often.  Sometimes I even slip up and call Daphne by your name.  She's a good girl, just like you. 

Your photos come up on Facebook rather often.  It's nice to remember the fun times we had together.  You were always good for a laugh. 

Well, I hope you and your friends are having fun playing and sniffin' butts. 

Love you,

Diane772:  if you get this, I hope you are feeling better. 
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