One of my very best friends just lost her "best friend." Sasha, a beloved, fourteen year old Shi'tzu, recently passed to her eternal Valhalla for pets. Sasha was indeed a hero in our lives. She encouraged and cheered our friend as nobody else on this earth could do. My friend is a dear, sweet, big-hearted, retired school teacher. She has never married, never had children, and never completely abandoned the beauty and innocence of childhood. With that same passion, she embraced this little dog with all her heart. It was absolutely nothing for her to swoop Sasha up in a big bear hug and chant, "I wuv ooooooooo." much to the astonishment of any and all who were sitting right there.
I sometimes got a phone call that said, "Sasha would like to come out. She's been missing you!" And indeed Sasha pranced in the house and took over. She was such a good little dog... Early on, she loved to play with gloves, growling and snarling with one in her mouth like a marvelous wild animal. Once she jumped like a war dog from the top of my couch because she felt she was being left behind. But we never left her behind. Wrapped up in a Mickey Mouse sleeping bag, Sasha accompanied us on all our impromptu picnics to the lake, to the mall, on midnight moon chasing nights. She was a compadre in the finest style. We bought her fancy collars, clothes, treats, and Christmas gifts. My friend treated her like gold. I made her gourmet dog bone cookies one Christmas that looked better than the ones I made my family (which, I admit, isn't saying all that much.) Every time she and my friend left my home, her good little mistress would have Sasha come over and, "Say goodbye to Aunt Gayla." and Sasha learned to do it naturally... rushing in for an extra special pet. I called her Sasha Rasha... My friend called her Sasha Jean (my middle name), and we all called her our "little pookalini." (which means what?)
The wonderful grocer in this town always cut Sasha little scraps of the finest meat. I once told him I was getting dinner for my friend and Sasha, and this kind hearted man started to laugh. "Ah... Sasha," and he smiled such a loving tribute. "May she live forever." We wished for her to do just that. We took her to the fancy vet in Columbia who charged hundreds of dollars to do a full body scan...... and ultra sounds... Of course it was her heart that gave out.... Of course... For nothing about Sasha was as extraordinary as her special, loving little heart. Devoted and sweet spirited, she often waited in front of my kitchen door for an entire day when my friend left her for me to "doggy sit." She knew the sound of my friend's voice, and it heralded something magical between them. My heart aches for my friend because nothing seems any lonelier to a pet lover than that glance around to locate a pet that won't be coming back. Nothing. So, even though this is sad, it had to be written. Sasha will be more than missed. She will be mourned as the little niece who never will leave our hearts.. (disclaimer: I know... pet lovers will understand. The rest of you think this is dumb. I just don't care.)