By most standards, Saboo was a terrible dog. For the last 15 years, she?s run away at every opportunity, peed on everything conceivable, picked fights with every dog and cat she could, and never did a damn thing for me unless she knew there was something in it for her. She was fiercely independent, and a goddamn hussy to boot- while aloof to most strangers, she?d inevitably ditch my company in favor of that of any male that spent enough time hanging around.
When I met her, she was a spindly half-wild creature that stank of cigarettes. She was a christmas present to me from my parents- my longed-for puppy, there at last. I was 12. She was a terror. I loved her.
She slept on top of the fridge, gnawed through steel cables, snapped collars, dug under fences, climbed over fences, ate dead rabbits, killed mice, shredded socks. She lived on the streets for a few days. She dodged flying hooves. She just about electrocuted herself… multiple times. She made me chase her down on a dirt bike when she?d run off from the farm. In her youth, she was wild-eyed and fierce. She was hard-muscled, fast, and intelligent. She outsmarted me regularly.
So slowly that I hardly noticed, she began to get old. My little dog, that heartbeat at my feet, she began to opt out of hikes and bike rides. She had less tolerance for the cold and suddenly, more tolerance for sweaters. She slept most of the day away, following the sunlight as it crept across the floor like a breathing sundial.
She abandoned the frivolous use of force and energy in favor of cynicism, a wry smirk, and well-timed lunges. Many a pastry was lost to her jaws. I?ve never seen a cupcake disappear as quickly as it would in her mouth.
She aged. We all do.
Arthritis caught up to her. Her thyroid issues got worse. Incontinence set in. She lost her appetite and she'd turn her nose up at most anything. Her back end got wobbly. She began having seizures. I made the decision to let her go with dignity.
I got fifteen years with her. I have spent more time in the company of this dog than I have without her. I know I learned far more from her than I was ever able to teach her. I am the person I am today because of her. It?s days like these that make me wish I believed in the idea of heaven, the concept of an afterlife. I wish that all dogs DID go to heaven (regardless of merit, in her case). I wish that I could watch her raise hell one last time.
She was not a good dog, but she was my dog.
Saboo 8/31/98 - 4/25/14