I got her at the pound-I took one look at her and just fell in love with her. There she stood, not pressing against the bars and eager to be picked, but not hanging back and afraid to come forward either. There was a kind of dignity in her sad brown eyes, as if she couldn't understand why her master had thrown her away in such a place, but she would accept it. I sat on the floor next to her cage while my son went to find an employee, and I promised her I would love her and care for her until the day she died.
We took her home and named her Sooky. The pound papers said she was three years old. She was very timid and sat crying in the living room the first day. We never did know her story, but she was a beautiful dog-a blue merle Australian Shepherd. We thought she might have been in a puppy mill and not been a good producer. She didn't know how to climb stairs and I had to carry her up and down the first week. She was afraid of the TV but got used to it after a few days. The outdoors and strangers always frightened her too-she prefered to take a quick walk outside to take care of business and then return to the haven of our home.
Sooky was never a great watchdog. I would say she had the heart of a lion-a dandelion. She would growl if someone came to the door, but that was about as menacing as she ever got. I do believe she would have tried to protect the house if someone tried to break in, but I don't know if she would have succeeded in chasing off a bad guy. Her strength was in her gentleness. She was the most loving dog-I still remember how I brought a sick friend home and Sooky used to curl up on the bed with her. She would have made a great therapy dog if she hadn't been so timid.
She died July 6, 2011. Her health had always been so good, but the previous summer we had to have a tumor removed. I was hopeful there would be no further problems, but it was not to be. Up until the last month of her life, she was so energetic and beautiful, but that last month she went downhill fast. She wasn't in pain, but she lost control of her bladder and looked so guilty every time she wet the floor. She didn't want to eat, but if I held the food in my hand, she would make an effort. She still went for her walks, but she got so thin. The day we took her in, she was still in fairly good shape, so it was very hard to turn her over to the vet and say goodbye. I know it was the right thing to do-she was already dying and I wanted to let her go before she started to suffer. But it was so hard. A dog like that is not just a pet. Sooky was my loving friend and my loyal companion for years-not enough years, but there never really is enough time. I hope it's true all dogs go to Heaven-if it is, I will see my cherished friend again, and if not, I will have kept her memory green in my heart for the rest of my life.