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My Friend, My Sanity
By Becky Ayers
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Rated "G" by the Author.
The story of my special friend Sheba who is sorely missed.
I have had many dogs and cats, but one dog in particular was like one of my own children. Her name was Sheba and she was ½ Chihuahua and ½ Dachshund.
I ran into a lady one day while taking my cat to the vet for a checkup. The woman had a box with 2 tiny little puppies in it. I was amazed at how tiny these little ones were. I could fit both in the palm of my hand if I tried. I remember the little squeaky sounds they made as they tried to crawl around in the box looking for their mommy. The lady was old and looked worn out. She noticed my interest in the puppies and started up a conversation. “I’m hoping this is the last litter she has. She’s getting too old for this.” I inquired about what breed they were. “Well, their mom is a Chihuahua and the dad is the next door neighbor’s mini Dachshund.” She said with a smile. “Aw, they are the cutest little things I have ever seen!” I said with that high pitched baby talk voice that women use when they see something cute.
I asked if I could hold one, and of course she let me. I chose the one that was pure black. I just couldn’t believe how tiny it was. I fell in love immediately with the adorable little pup. “Are you selling them?” I inquired. The old woman shook her head. “Yes, but not yet. They are still too young to leave their mom.” I could see they were too young, but something inside me just wanted to take that pup and run with it. “Oh, well how much longer?” “Another 5 weeks and they’ll be ready.” She said in a kind voice. I was rather let down at the length of time, but knew it had to be that way for the pup to grow up healthy. I just didn’t want to leave it. “Oh, what are they? I mean, boy, girl or what?” I asked. “One boy and one girl, but only the girl will be available in 5 weeks. The neighbors already have dibs on the boy since their dog is the father.” I was happy to hear that since I wanted the black one, plus it was a little girl which was perfect for me. I never ever had male dogs for some reason. I guess being a girl I felt more in tune with female dogs than males.
At the moment I told her I wanted the girl and she agreed to contact me when they were ready. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to get my little pup home with me so I could spoil her rotten.
Those 5 weeks went by so slowly, but finally I got the call. It was time to go get my baby girl. I drove to the address the old woman gave me. It was an old farm house looking place. Not in the best shape, but I’ve seen worse. Other dogs ran around the yard like I guess most farm settings would be.
I knocked on the door, barks of excitement emitting from inside and around the outside of the house. The woman answered the door. “Well, I’m glad you came to get her. You seem very attached to her.” The woman spoke as if she could hear my thoughts. “Yes, I am just nuts about her. I guess it shows doesn’t it.” I said with a smile. As I talked to her I saw a little nose behind the woman and I just about died from excitement of finally seeing her again. “Is that her behind you?” I asked. She turned around, bent over and picked her up. “Yes, this is her. She’s a tiny one still, but she’s healthy as a horse. Just make sure you don’t step on her by accident.” I laughed at the thought of a pet being so small that I could actually not see it and end up stepping on it. “Oh I won’t. Don’t worry.” I said back to the woman.
As she handed her to me, she smiled and said “I have a surprise for you”. I was curious what else could be more surprising than finally seeing my little friend. “I’m not going to charge you for her. You truly seem to love her and I can’t put a price on that.” I was blown away to say the least. “Oh my goodness! Are you serious?” I asked in a shocked tone. She nodded her head.
I looked down at my new little cuddle bug and leaned over to give the woman a hug for her kindness. “Thank you so much! She is going to be one spoiled little girl.” I said as I pet and cuddled my new furry friend. The woman closed her door as she waved goodbye to me and the pup. I walked back to my car and put the pup in my lap for the drive home. Knowing that it probably wasn’t the safest way for an animal to travel, it wasn’t far and it was just the one time. I just didn’t want to put her down.
Once we got home, I sat in the chair in my living room and cuddled with her. She was so sweet and loving. She loved to climb up onto my chest and lick my face, her little tail wagging so fast that it looked like a blur. The feeling was incredible. I had a little friend that almost seemed to see inside my soul. I felt so close to her.
From then on, she was my shadow. Everywhere I went, she followed. I couldn’t go anywhere without her. She even went to the bathroom with me and waited for me. It really was the cutest thing. Our entire family grew closer to her with each passing day. She was a clown, a caregiver, a close friend, and most of all a permanent part of our family.
Sheba was what I decided on for a name for her. I don’t even really know why, it just came to me. She was a little short stubby dog with very short smooth and water resistant fur. Her legs were like that of a Dachshund, little wrinkled stubs that moved like the wind. Her face was adorable. Her eyes were Chihuahua like, but the rest was more like the Dachshund. She was approximately 1 ft. high and about 18 inches long.
Sheba was a funny little dog that warmed everyone’s hearts. She had a love of Jerky Treats and would stash them everywhere in our home. If you gave her 2, one would be eaten, the other would end up in the back of the couch or in one of your shoes. She saved food for middle of the night snacks. She never was a “scheduled” meal sort of dog. We always had a bowl of Kibbles and Bits on the floor in the kitchen for her. I always thought about how I would feel if I could only eat at certain times and only if someone gave it to me. So she was allowed to eat whenever hunger hit her. She was very strange about her food too. She loves table scraps like pieces of meat or that sort of thing. We never gave her bones because we knew of the choking hazard, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t manage to find one once in a while. She was very resourceful for such a short little thing. She even had a passion for McDonalds. I remember every time we went to the drive through for the family how she would jump into my lap as we approached the pick up window. They always had a little jar of dog biscuits handy, and she loved those too, but what she really wanted was a hamburger and of course I always gave in. When we got home with the food, she’d dance around in circles, her little tail wagging like crazy waiting for her burger. Once all the food was doled out to everyone I take her hamburger and rip it into little pieces that she could easily eat. I can tell you this, that burger would be gone in less than a minute, minus the one piece that she would hide in our couch for later.
That was my little girl. A huge appetite and almost obsessive about her food, but it was cute. None of us could begrudge her a thing. She was so loving to us all, especially me. But she was also very protective and a bit on the anal side when it came to noise. She didn’t like it if our kids had a bunch of friends over and got loud. She’s always make it well known that she didn’t like the noise and that it was uncalled for. I remember her chasing the kids around the house yipping like she was going to rip them apart, but of course she never did. She was like the nanny I always wanted and needed. If one of the kids were doing something they shouldn’t like jumping on their beds, she sound off and I knew something was up.
I think of all the moments I remember about Sheba, the best moments were the ones where she would climb up onto my chest and lay her face across my mouth as if she was trying to hug me. And sometimes she was very pushy about it, like “you need a hug right now mommy!”. I used to laugh so hard about it. I never saw a dog do that before. She also slept in between my husband and myself under the covers on our bed. I always wondered how she could breath under there, but it wasn’t until she was 15 years old that she started sleeping on top of the covers. I remember it was a rather sad time for me because I was always comforted by the warmth of her against my stomach at night. But as she grew older, I could understand that her breathing wasn’t as easy, so I accepted it.
For years I wondered why she seemed so close to me, even though I loved her so much it seemed almost as if she knew me before in some other life. I can’t really explain it.
So many times during her life I was sad, even depressed and she simply would not leave my side. She watched over me and gave me a sort of shoulder to cry on. There is something to be said for the quiet soothing you get from a canine companion. Being a dog, she couldn’t argue with me or talk to me in anyway that might aggravate my stress. If I had a bad day and just could not take another moment of the craziness, she was right there listening to all my ramblings within my bedroom. That’s where I went often to relieve stress from the day.
Sheba was so much a part of our life that she had Christmas presents under the tree and her own little stocking that was jam packed every year with latex squeaky toys, dog treats and yes chocolate. I know, I have read about it being dangerous for dogs since then, but she was never sickly. She was always very healthy and happy. I think sometimes people can be a bit too cautious with their pets. Sheba lived to be over 15 years old and lived a very happy life while she was here on Earth. She didn’t want for anything. She was an indoor, well loved dog that lived life to it’s fullest and enjoyed every moment of it. Her last vet appointment was a hoot as the vet checked her and said “She’s overweight as heck, but she’s healthy and happy and that’s what counts.” That made me feel good knowing that even though I wasn’t uptight about everything I did with her, she was in fact healthy and happy.
I will never forget the night she passed away because I still feel the sting in my heart to this day.
It was late at night and she had been acting rather tired all day. I was laying in bed and she was laying on a soft butterfly pillow on the floor next to me. She had come to love that pillow over the last few years of her life. I remember laying in bed watching some TV to relax for the night and I noticed her breathing was labored. As I leaned over to check on her, she looked up at me and I new immediately it was time for her to go. It was like her soul told mine that she had to leave me. My heart broke. I wasn’t ready to lose her. She was my friend. As I told my husband that she was sick and needed to see the vet, I held her in my arms and kissed her. The tears flowed hard that night as our family scrambled to find a vet that would take her in that late at night in our small town. I was panic stricken, sad and shaking all over. “This can’t be happening” I thought to myself. It was like a nightmare. My best friend was leaving this alone. How would I ever cope with anything again without her? As silly as it may sound, she kept me sane.
My husband came into the room and said that a local vet said he could take her, so my husband handed her to my daughter’s fiancé and he took her in a cab to the vet. At that time we didn’t have a car and my husband didn’t wasn’t me in a cab with a stranger that late at night, so I stayed home hoping she would come back. As he took her from my husbands arms, her head rolled toward me and she seemed to be saying “Goodbye”. I completely lost it.
Sheba passed away in the cab before they even arrived at the vets office. It was her time and in her last moments she tried to prepare me for it.
There are many people in the world that say their dogs are their best friends, but many don’t experience the closeness that Sheba and I had. She was special in so many ways and changed my life in so many ways. I will never forget her as long as I am here on this earth. We had her cremated so I could make a nice case for her ashes and keep her with me until I die, upon which time she is to be buried with me.
Many people treat animals as if they have no feelings or souls and it is to those people that I wish to touch with this story. All animals have feelings just like you do. When they are hurt by a human, their bodies hurt just like yours does if you were hurt by someone. And not just that, you hurt their souls. These are the poor unfortunate animals you see in many local pounds. The animals that people felt were expendable.
I guess I am hoping that people will start finding their hearts where animals are concerned. Don’t buy one just because it’s cute. Don’t buy it for a friend or as a present for someone. Getting a pet is just as important of a decision as deciding to have a baby or adopt a child. It’s a living breathing creature of God that deserves to be treated as such.
This story is dedicated to my special little girl Sheba and all furry friends in the world.
Site: Author Becky Ayers
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|Reviewed by Donna Chandler
|A loving tribute to a beautiful friend. I know you will miss her. Keep those joyful memories always in your heart.
|Reviewed by J Howard
|a beautiful memoir, beautifully written about a beautiful friend. you might enjoy Nurturing Paws by Angelbooks, but there are so many wonderful animal stories. they do indeed share in the most wonderful part of our lives-least i do beleive so too.|
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|Delightful memoir, Becky; well written and presented!
(((HUGS))) and love, your friend in Texas, Karen Lynn. :D