Cruising with a Dog

Goodbye, Old Friend

Monday, June 16, 2014S.V. CAMBRIA

The human heart is an amazing thing. Not only does it sustain our lives, it fills them with its capacity to love . . . and to feel pain.

Sally is gone now and our hearts are broken.

She lived a long, good life but, in the end, old age won out and we had to say goodbye to our girl.

In all honesty, she wasn’t much of a dog . . . but she was a great friend. And she had a personality all her own, whether you liked it or not. One you were stuck with because she wasn’t going to change. Not for anyone. Especially us.

And what an amazing personality it was.

Sally was strong and independent – always the lead dog. She knew what she wanted and left you with two choices, either go along for the ride or try to outlast her will: Pleasing her people was never a high priority . . . and yet she did, time and time again.

She was an explorer by nature and loved to visit new places as much as we loved taking her, each new destination bringing more joy than the last. But nothing brought her more pleasure in life than a good walk, and we took thousands of them over the years – from the mountains and canyons of Southern Nevada to the black sand beaches of New Zealand to the remote trails along Canada’s shoreline – she always knew the way home, even when I didn’t.

She was incredibly smart and always seemed to know the difference between right and wrong but was never afraid to break the rules or embarrassed about the fact that she had. She had a mind of her own and she was going to do as she pleased, whether it be sneaking off the boat to have an adventure or simply refusing to come when called: She made no excuses or offered any apologies. And that was fine by us.

She was beautiful, and she knew it. Strangers constantly made a fuss over her and she loved it . . . for all of two seconds (or as long as it took her to realize there weren’t any treats on offer). And she used that beauty to her advantage. Whenever she was bad, which wasn’t very often, she’d simply flash you a smile and end the discussion as quickly as it had begun.

She was a proud dog but somehow managed to balance that perfectly with being a world-class beggar, especially when it came to David who hasn’t had an ice-cream cone to himself since she came into his life . . . or a piece of pizza crust.

She was a loner and would move from end of the boat to the other just to avoid us and find some space of her own. But, at the same time, she couldn’t stand to be without us and was forever peeking around corners and in hatches to see what we were doing. If we had to go somewhere without her, she couldn’t help but revert to type and wait anxiously for our return, always greeting us with whatever level of excitement she could muster.

Sally was all of this plus so much more. And for almost 18 years, this incredible little creature, more person than dog, blessed our lives and made them fuller. We’re going to miss her terribly and loved her with all our hearts. . . not in spite of all her quirks and peculiarities, but because of them.

Goodbye, old friend. And thank you for being part of our lives.

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  1. I'm so very sorry to hear about Sally. I almost feel like I knew Sally reading about her in your blog. She was obviously deeply loved by you guys and will be deeply missed. My thoughts are with you. Take care - Ellen

  2. Thanks, Ellen. It's been tough but we're working our way through it. She was a HUGE part of our lives for so many years and we're feeling a little lost without her underfoot, but it was time. And that makes it a little easier.

  3. Your story about Sally fills my eyes with tears. I am so happy she had a long life, living it the way she wanted! :-) Some of her traits sound similar to our dog Kali, who we lost at 10 years old. She had this wise, people like features about her as well and enjoyed being by herself, as long as she know you were close by. I totally understand that you are still missing her dearly...