The Strong Life of Sally, Our Beagle, and How She Made Me Believe Again

by Sheena
(Michigan)

Sally lived a long 17 years. My husband had her before we met, since he was 12 years old. I can't tell his story with her because I don't know all of it, but he did tell me how when his dad abandoned him in a home with no heat that she was right there keeping him warm, and how she used to be a hunting dog before he got her. He was always proud about that but he never took her hunting.

When I first met Sally, my boyfriend at the time, her daddy, was only 18. She still had color to her face. One day she crawled under a fence and cut her side pretty bad. Sally was always getting loose because she loved to run. That was the first time we met.

I shaved her and cleaned her wound and bandaged it up. Whe was not very happy with me but when my boyfriend became my fiancé, he had to find a home for Sally. I still lived with my dad and he wasn't much on animals, but he let her move in with us. That was the beginning of a long and happy 7 years as a family of three.

One day before we got married, Sally got loose with a chain attached to her collar. We walked for miles looking and calling for her and never heard a sound. After 2 weeks we finally gave up and thought for sure that she was gone for good.

My fiancé and I were sitting at a restaurant when my little sister called and said she saw Sally. I thought she must have seen another dog, so we left the restaurant and headed home when the phone rang again. My sister said she had Sally, that she had caught her with a piece of lunch meat. It was amazing and we rejoiced.

Sally was so thin that you could see every bone in her body but she fattened up within 3 days and was as healthy as an ox again. We never knew what happened to her out there. Maybe someone tried to keep her, or maybe she was just strong enough to last without food or shelter for as long as she did. She was stronger then any dog I'd ever known.

After her daddy and I got married, we moved away and took her with us, and the first day in our new home Sally got free again and was shot in the rear. It got infected and she fought through it. Before we moved back north, Sally had a romantic run-in with a Rottweiler and we couldn't stop it.

By the time we moved, she had her very first set of 6 very large pups. I had to pull 6 of them out of her; 3 were breach and their heads were very large. She had a pup every half hour and we waited an extra 2 and a half hours to make sure she was done birthing but I had a bad feeling. Two days later she had a still birth pup.

Later, after all her pups were gone and she was healthy again, we found a pea size lump on her breast. For over 2 years it never grew or made her sick. She was a healthy, happy, lazy old dog until we got her shots done. Within 6 months Sally's pea size lump of 2 years turned into a tumor the size of a plum. The tumor had no more room to grow so it moved throughout all her breasts.

We tried to make Sally as comfortable as possible and happy and she was, but we did not want to put her through a surgery at her old age. She would have passed before her time and in more pain then she already was in, so I gave our baby pain meds and babied her and loved her and told her it was ok when she felt ready to leave. Even though I would never be ready I just wanted her to rest and feel no more pain.

We moved into a house from a trailer three weeks ago and I could tell Sally was distancing herself from us and our other dog. Although she would lay with him sometimes to comfort him, she never stayed to close by.

Over the years Sally has been my comfort through a lot of tough times. She knew when I was sad and she was happy when I was happy. I remember dancing to a song in my kitchen and her literally dancing along side me and she would put her paws on my thighs as I danced in circles around our home.

The morning of our greatest loss I woke like any other morning and went to bathroom then let our dog Caesar out, but upon my waking I did not look around my room even though I felt something was missing.

When I came back to let Sally out, I did not call her name because she had started to lose her hearing at the end. I just walked back into my room and there she lay, with her head on my husband's duffle bag and right up against my clean hamper of clothes.

This was strange because Sally always slept in her bed. I knew she was gone when I saw her. She left us more than one message that day. Her daddy was out of town on business and he took his small bag this time, so Sally said goodbye by showing us she missed her daddy and she loved him and me, but Sally left one more gift for me.

I had been through so much over the years, I was losing my faith in heaven. Sally gave that back to me. When Sally died she died looking to the sky, she was laying on her side with one eye open looking up.

Sally C., 17 years old, died 5.6.2012
Our angel baby, we will see you again. We love you.

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