When Sarrah was around eighteen months old I made an investment, mostly out of vehicular protective necessity; I got a divider for my Blazer so Sarrah could ride along, in the back. This was a Big Adjustment as she was used to riding up front, sitting on the passenger side of the bench seat in Leah’s old mini-pickup truck, but it was better than staying behind. I began taking her on many errands and to visit some parks in the area, but too far to walk. These parks were places that I had driven by countless times, but never stopped to experience. Sarrah gave me the motivation to redirect some time and go experience taxpayer sponsored gifts to the community. She delighted in the hunt for parks and recognized the roads that led back to them; vocal anticipation and occasional disappointment turned these stops into regular habits.
A few months later I started taking her with me to construction jobsites (most of which have rules against dogs so she stayed inside my vehicle), usually coordinated into Friday daylong trips. She loved joining me. Her company became ‘a perk’ of how I worked, many days the best part. Some days the perks are all that there is. Sarrah would rail with barks and then heart crushing howls of disappointment when she assumed or figured out the rare occasion that she would have to stay behind, at home. On these lone trips I’d look into my empty rearview mirror and for a moment, dread the day…
Around then our routine had evolved to where Sarrah rode with me in ‘the car’ everywhere, almost every time. Sarrah was always up for a ride, to anywhere. She sat up and looked around most of the time. When I was out of the car; taking care of something, working, whatever, she would mostly stand guard or occasionally just snooze in the back. When we were out on a day trip I would take breaks to walk a few times, usually at a park or a trail, both of us enjoying the escape from daily routine. Obviously, a day of riding around running errands was better than solo guard duty at home.
After a year plus of driving around with the ugly penal enforcement looking device, Sarrah proved worthy of not needing it (‘cept for the time that she stealthily devoured the sandwich I absent mindedly left on the dash and returned to her area, had she eaten All of the wrapping paper I may have chalked it up to an unknown mystery or simply forgotten about it).
“…And I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old…” –Van Morrison
Into The Mystic
Many of my friends and family, including myself were born in the colder winter months sprinkling this time of year with lots of birthdays. Fortunately Sarrah had the energy to navigate past all of these special dates noted on the calendar. Possibly, due in part to her lack of tolerance for sharing.
Given a final gift, to have her own day, January, Nineteenth, Two Thousand Eleven, to end her memorable journey here and cast a long shadow… into my future.
All of the pages of a calendar have been torn off… three times. Nothing significant has come to me… leafing through Circle of Life ponderings and Next Life beliefs, in my drifting quest of humbled wisdom and peace.
If you have a pet, in Sarrah’s memory… please some extra time for them, often.
This drawing was a gift to me, from my daughter Heather, of a gift to me, from Sarrah.
Sometimes it’s nice to snooze… with a friend
Sarrah loved to chase after a thrown ball in the confines of the backyard. She typically returned with it, occasionally just close enough to make a high speed teasing pass, but most of the time right back to me. However, she insisted on a contest of wills and strength, you had to take the ball from her all the while with a closed mouth growl from down deep to spice up the game. She learned to add leverage by lifting her front feet, twist her head quickly from side to side and thrust backward in attempts to break my grip from the slippery wet ball. She did very rarely simply drop the ball, but the real fun for her was in the struggle.
Since tug-of-war was her preference, I got a rope, not just any, one from a pet super store. This task specific two foot long green and white rope had three large knots for doing battle. Sarrah loved this rope! We got to where I could swing her around, completely off the ground, growling the entire time. Laughing caused deeper louder growls, adding audible competition to our sport. Our record was five times around, before one of us was too dizzy to continue. She would also grab one end and run with it, shaking the rope around like a medieval weapon, occasionally very effective accidental weapon. Many times I would throw the rope for her version of “fetch”.
Occasionally we would play rough, wrestling on the floor or in the grass. Sarrah would act ‘all tough’ growl and play bite, gingerly but with a firm hold. At times she’d run away crazy eyed and then straight back at me in a frenzy, raise up on her hind legs with her front legs spread like a praying mantis, mouth open wide. Sometimes jumping to kick at me in some kind of canine Kung Fu that she had come up with.
On occasion one of us would inadvertently get hurt a little, but it was all in good fun.
Sarrah usually even enjoyed the attention from hoards of kids who are in excess when the weather is nice (Kids instantly forget everything they’ve ever been told in regards to “strangers”, let alone running toward me and Sarrah). Thanks to Sarrah’s typical patience and our many visits to parks, beaches, trails and sidewalks many kids of all ages got to meet a real life “Dalmatian!” I couldn’t even guess how many hundreds of these people enjoyed their gift of meeting Sarrah. She was the most popular and often photographed dog, every time.
Despite her lack of cold weather fur, Sarrah excitedly danced in our rare snow. Many years, we do not get any snow near sea level. Some winter’s we get a trace, others an inch or so as we did for Sarrah’s first, possibly instilling a lifelong zest for snow play.
On extreme occasion we get Buried with several inches, those heavy snowfalls were delightful, for Sarrah. Her eyes got bigger; she made whimpers of excitement, when we finally got outside she would buck and bounce, jumping into the thick of it. I used the longer leash, usually reserved for parks and beach walks, extending a fifteen-foot roving radius of restrained freedom for galloping through yards. Like a kid off on a snow day I would bundle up and head out for the best, to turn her loose in the backyard to run, roll, dive and play. She would gallop through the thick bright white fluff and occasionally stuff her nose into it, snorting with excitement. It seemed that the huge fluffy flakes were her favorite kind, when the opportunity to get out into it came falling, we did.
Sarrah discovered regardless of the amount of this mysterious cold illuminating white stuff, it only stays here for a few days and then as quickly, it goes… away.