Exactly Nine Years Ago

On this day nine years ago, I got up early on a quiet warm morning in Pensacola, Florida. I fed my dog, the best German Shepherd God ever created, a bowl full of Andes candies, her favorite. We spent some time together before Ash got up. Then, we got into the car, her with three legs by this time. We tried to get rid of that cancer. Didn’t work. She still insisted on getting in the car by herself, though. Miss Independent. Then, we took her and her favorite ball into our vet’s office where she and I said goodbye. See you at rainbow bridge Sasia Full of Grace.

See, this was not just any dog. She was my “it” dog, the dog you dream about as a child when you watch Lassie or Rin Tin Tin. You wish you had a dog like the ones on t.v. Not many people get that dog. But I did. I was 17 when this little ball of fur who was 8 weeks old came home with me. She was smart but very clumsy with her paws that looked like they only had size Large in stock when what she needed was a Small. She was a terror as a puppy, mostly because I had no idea how to raise a puppy. When she was grown (and had a couple of obedience classes!) she morphed into Sasia the wonder dog. Dog who protects without all the barking, had an intuition about things, and was just a good friend, but not “my baby”. 

I moved to Japan at age 20 and she went with me. She was a bridge to the people there. The Japanese were completely in awe of her. She was big and looked nothing like the Shiba Inu mixes that most of their dogs were. She helped me a lot while I was living there those first few months. She was always totally confident and didn’t care that we were in a strange place where I didn’t know the language. Dogs speak an international language and her job was always the same- protect me with a silent confidence and let nice folks talk to us and give her a little rub. We walked together for hours getting to know the lay of the land. I found there was an orphanage just down the road from where I lived. (Coincidence? I think not!) We’d go there and she would lay on her back and let the little kids rub her belly, sit on her, etc. International ambassador, that’s my dog.

When we were living in Hawaii, she lived with family in Arkansas for a while. During that time, she fought a bear that came onto Ash’s grandparents’ property and the Arkasas state police tried to buy her because she loved tracking a ball so much. No, she didn’t love fetching a ball, though she always brought it back, she loved tracking where it had been. I also used to ride a three wheeler through the woods while Ash held her back. Then he’d let her track me and find me. She was always right.

As you know or may have guessed, she developed bone cancer. We had her back leg amputated in hopes of saving her life, but it only worked about 6 months. She never felt sorry for herself or gave up. She actually seemed relieved to have that painful, annoying leg removed. She was back outrunning me in about 6 weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the dogs I have now, but there was something truly special about my Sasia. I can’t explain how cool this gal was. I’ve only shared a couple of the hundreds of cool stories and tid bits about her.  Now if you’re not a dog person, you may not fully understand, but she was one of the best friends I’ve ever had. (I guess that’s why I’m writing a blog post about a dog that died 9 years ago)

I don’t want to sound like freak, thought I may. I just want people to know they do make ’em like they do in the movies. I’m not trying to be all sappy (Sasia would hate that). I’ll just say to her, “Hey, girl, you’re my pal.”


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sarah
    May 20, 2009 @ 15:32:22

    Well now I am a mess. That was so sweet! I could really feel all your love for her when I was reading it. 🙂


  2. matthew
    May 20, 2009 @ 18:09:57

    Sweet, protective, fun, strong and scary Sasia. I remember our little game of “lick it over.” I also remember the walk the three of us went on where you and I were both holding her back from that loose dog who charged us at the park behind our houses. How was she so strong? The cancer was sad. What a great dog.


  3. Ash
    May 21, 2009 @ 03:23:08

    While she was only my “step dog,” I loved her like no other as well. Her confidence did truely set her appart. She was a sentinal. She was not a barker, she never flipped out or went crazy. It was never about her feeling threatened, but about if she thought Char was. And when she did she got quiet, thats when you knew trouble was coming. With her, my first reaction was not to grab her leash and jerk on it. If she was about to “do some business” in a situation, she was usually right. Two distinct situations come to mind. The first was when she was forced to pick up a little yorkie and sling half the life out of it (it was off a leash and acting like a yorkie). The second and coolest was when I was working nights. I must have not pulled the door completely closed on my way out at midnight. I returned home around 7am to find the door open and Sasia just laying there. I was terified and rushed back to the bedroom where Char was to find her sleeping soundly. Sasia had been at the door all night making sure the next person coming throught it was invited. Guess she could have closed it but maybe she just wanted to make a point. Either way, she was awesome.


  4. Elaine
    May 21, 2009 @ 23:56:11

    You brought tears to my eyes. What a great tribute to a great friend.


  5. Punkin
    Jun 03, 2009 @ 16:51:39

    I love reading dog stories, because I am a animal lover, not just dogs.
    Mike had a dog, a black as tar color and smart as any dog could be. Char you saw him before. We were building our house and it was in the summer. Mike was on a ladder( I will make this short), and it was hot.
    Bo climed up the ladder and started pulling Mike’s pant leg, he just thought he was trying to play. Not this time, he sinced that something was wrong with Mike and then finally they both were on the floor Mike in horrific pain and had to be taken to the hospital. He had a kidney stone attack and Bo knew it. He was the best dog and so friendly and never barked either.
    He had spent only 11 years with us and then the unthinkable, we had to put him to sleep. We miss him so much, sometimes I think I hear him at the front door, because that is where he would lay during the day. He would always hit the door when he layed down and I still hear that sound and I have to wonder, is he still laying there?


  6. tntstanifer
    Jun 24, 2009 @ 14:20:36

    Whew, I couldn’t swallow my coffee on this one. And yes, tears are wetting my face. I had a dog like that! She was my best friend through some very happy times and some very sad times. My girls named her Shony and they did everything with her, including dressing up. We were blessed with her for 14 years, gosh, I miss her……..


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