On Saturday, 09/8/12 we had to put down our Australian Shepherd, Sassy (aka: Sass or Sass-a-fras). We rescued her in 2003 on Father’s Day. She was the gift.
When we called about her, the foster parents said she hated men. And yet when we got there- she immediately fell in love with Matt. She crawled into the front seat of the car on the ride home and kept inching her butt into my space and kept looking at me like, “Excuse me, you’re in my way and I would like to be close to MY MAN!” I finally asked Matt to pull over the car. He looked at me weird, but did it. I went in the back seat while she sat in the passenger seat so happy and content. She was immediately in love with Matthew, a love affair that started in an instant and never diminished as she followed Matt everywhere and nowhere.
Our precious Blue Merle Aussie with one brown eye, one blue with a precious freckle on the side of her nose. Halle was 16 months old when she came into our lives and Devin was eleven. She loved each of us so much, was so loyal, protective and loving. From the moment she got home she never had potty accidents, never complained and rarely barked.
Devin was 11; we still lived in a condo and he had to take Sassy potty on a leash. One day as Matt and I sat sipping coffee, we saw Sassy eye a man across the courtyard. She was not happy. In her effort to protect Devin she decided it would be a good idea to charge at the man. Devin flew through the air as Sassy dragged him across the grassy courtyard. The entire time Devin screaming, “Stop Sass, Stoppppp!” When he stood up he was covered in dog poop and grass stains from his chin to his shins! Matt and I were doubled over, laughing so hard we could not breathe, tears pouring down our faces.
Sassy had terrible OCD and would not stop licking the carpet, couch or legs. She loved licking Matt’s shoes; when he stepped in them without realizing she had been slurping on them we would always hear, “YUCK, Sasssssss!” Then laughter and he squished around the house in dog saliva sandals.
Years ago when Matt’s back took a turn for the worse, so did Sassy’s hips. She would sleep behind Matt’s chair, just to stay close to her man, to protect him and listen to his breathing.
Sassy loved crystal burgers, car rides, French fries, peanut butter and popsicles. She hated strangers, stray cats, and bubble baths.
Sassy took a chunk or two out of my brother-in-laws butt and shin, pulled Matt’s Dad to his knees for moving too close, too fast to her toddler Halle.
Sassy danced on her hind legs, in a circle for treats. She would speak softly and would get louder when we said, “You can do better” or “Louder” She twirled in excited circles when we asked her, “Wanna go in the car Sass? Car ride?”
Sassy was afraid to kiss and when she would, her kisses were so gentle, like the wings of a butterfly softly on your face or lips and then looked guilty afterward as if she were in trouble. If we were eating pizza- well forget the soft kisses, she would slurp and beg and kiss for a piece of crust!
Sass pouted, smiled and herded the vacuum like a champ (yes, plastic is still missing from the dyson).
When her hips and back got worse, she valiantly tried to get up and keep moving. What was once easy, suddenly became a struggle that ended with one of us having to help her up. When she stopped eating, we were devastated, but with no mass found… we were elated. She got more tired our precious baby. And the struggle got worse. The medication wasn’t working.
We loved her enough to let her go and say good-bye. We wrapped her in a fuzzy pink fleece blanket. She looked at us knowingly, but shook in fear and the coldness of the room. We cried wet soppy tears all over her head.
When they injected the anesthesia first to let her sleep…every muscle relaxed and for the first time in a long time, our girl was pain free. We collectively stopped crying as we looked at her, relaxed and snoring. It would be the last time we heard that sweet snore.
Sassy looked so happy, surrounded by her family, loved, wrapped in a fuzzy pink fleece blanket. She reminded me of a fuzzy pink burrito.
When the final shot was given and two vet techs listened for a heartbeat, it was Matt that stayed close. He was adamant that he be the one to carry her out. I didn’t argue, I knew why (regardless of his back pain). He was her man, that was his girl and while their love affair ended on this earth- it would never be forgotten in his heart. In any of our hearts.
She was our precious girl, wrapped like a fuzzy pink burrito. At peace and ready to go home.
Let’s go home Sass, wanna go for a ride? Let’s go home baby, let’s go home.