Sabo as we'll always remember him
It's been just over 24 hours since I put my dog to sleep. I knew as soon as I got that furry little white puppy that I'd hold him when he died, and I kept to that promise.
Our dog Sabo was an American Eskimo, and was the warmest, sweetest dog--everyone loved him. He was suprisingly great with kids. I found him beautiful to look at when I first saw him in a pet store. My husband and I even played with him--I'll always remember how he untied my husband's shoe and then popped his ears up in surprise when the knot came free.
I never saw a dog with white eyelashes before--if a dog could look like an angel, he was the one!
We left the pet store that day without bringing him home with us, though. We just didn't feel we were ready for a dog. However, I felt compelled to come back and see if he was still there after a day or two.
When I walked through the pet store door, I noticed all the other puppies were barking--but he was seated, looking directly at me. My friend told me that you don't pick the dog, the dog picks you. Although he was already on my radar, the look on his face seemed to say "Where have you been? Let's go home!" And so our lives with Sabo began.
Through puppy training, holidays, day trips, a move to a new home and the births of two children, Sabo witnessed a lot in his 11 1/2 years with us. He was lively and energetic all his life. Wonderfully, he mellowed as an adult dog and his easier pace made time with him even more enjoyable. But he developed cancer in his sinuses, and a large tumor began to grow just above his eyes. We learned this in May, but knew he had some bloody sneezing as early as the previous September.
Throughout the summer he had difficulty breathing sometimes, especially at night. And then there were the nosebleeds, which became more frequent. The only option for treatment that could possibly help was radiation, but a canine oncologist told us he'd be uncomfortable, and at most, we'd only be able to buy him a year.
Ultimately, we were advised that he could suddenly hemmorhage, and possibly bleed to death while we weren't home. The idea of his end coming that way--frightening for all of us, especially our two young children--was finally too much to bear. We wanted him to leave this earth being held in our arms and in the care of the doctor who took care of him all his life.
So Friday, August 29, 2008, we took our dog on his last ride in our van. He was still lively and perky--but again began bleeding from his nose. We knew he would not recover from the cancer.
We spent almost an hour with him as he slowly relaxed with the sedative injection--when the time came say goodbye forever, he looked very much like he did when he was sleeping. It was peaceful and quiet. We stroked his fur and talked to him until the end.
I now feel a void that I cannot fill, and although I know in my head that the way Sabo died was all I was hoping for when his end came, I can't help but feel I was cheated out of a few years with him. But life isn't easy, nor always fair. I'm grateful for the fact that he was in my life at all, and that we shared some of the best years of our lives with this great dog.
My prayer is that I will see him again--and I look forward to that day. I do believe he has become the angel that he always looked like.
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