Sandy was only ten weeks old when she came to live at our house. Our oldest child was ten years old, just the right age for needing a canine companion. Sandy was a great fit.
This beautiful mixed breed came to us because her Golden Retriever mother had escaped the kennel and bred with a yellow Labrador. The result was a roly-poly bundle of fur with a gorgeous coat and a gentle disposition. She had the perfect temperament for being handled by several children.
Sandy’s protective instinct was a blessing to us through the years.
Once, when a dangerous person came to visit as the baby and I were home alone, Sandy sensed the danger and stayed close by my side. Other times, when I put the baby in her stroller and went for walks, this gentle friend refused to let us go alone. She would trot alongside, always watchful for threatening situations. Her only vice was dashing away occasionally to chase a rabbit or a squirrel.
A bittersweet time came when we had to say goodbye to our priceless friend.
She was twelve years old, had arthritis in her hips and cataracts on her eyes. She had lived through our children’s growing-up years, allowed tiny arms to hug and squeeze her, and been our faithful friend and guard.
Our son—her master—was about to leave for the military and knew he shouldn’t saddle someone else with the responsibility of euthanizing his canine best friend. So, he did the hardest thing he had ever done. He dug her grave and removed her well-worn collar in preparation for the end. And then it was over.
Goodbyes are never easy. But to say goodbye to a loyal dog who has been at one’s side for twelve years—only those who have experienced that can know the gut-wrenching emotions it brings.
If there are dogs in heaven, I’m sure Sandy will be there wagging her tail, waiting to greet us in her usual way. I’ll be listening for her bark.
How about you? Had any faithful dogs dear to your heart? We'd love to see your comments below.