Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sally's Story

     I honestly really did not want this dog. I had answered an add for a free, six month old, short haired, border collie but when I went to see her she was not what I thought I was looking for. I was very wrong.
    I had bought a little tiny house just outside of town for myself and my three children. We had left a farm so we had to sell our house cow and Barney our pony. We bought Buster the dog with us but a few months after, he was hit on the road. My children really wanted to get another dog so I put her in the front of my truck and took her home. We named her Sally. She became a part of our family for seventeen years. Most of those years were rural.
      In our little area a few miles out of town there were five houses not too far apart and a large barn at the back. All these places had dogs and a few mutts also lived at the barn with the horses and cows. Back then nobody tied up their dogs so doggy relationships had to be made. Sally was only a medium size dog but she was the alpha female. She bossed and ruled even the large males. She never backed down from any dog, but this little ruler had a heart made for babies.
      Sally  loved "baby anything" I have seen her look for chicks and ducklings lost and peeping in the long grass and ever so gently rescuing them by picking them up in her mouth. I remember the TV being on and Mr Dressup had baby chicks peeping. She was determined  to find them and even jumped onto the TV. Sally would take under her wing sick calves or goat kids that we had brought in the  house to warm by the wood stove. Her mothering instinct was so strong that she would lick and soothe calves that were three or more times the size of her. What really touched my heart was her love for my babies. I had three more while we lived at that little white house.(The old woman that lived in a shoe often came to mind!) She was always on duty when there were children and babies in the house. She would do anything to get a little lick of a wee ones feet. I could leave the baby out in the pram or lying on a blanket and Sally would never leave their side. If a cat or critter came too close she would bark and send them off running. One day I had Annie lying on the blanket with Sally as always a few feet away. I had gone in the house to wash dishes with one eye on the window when I heard Sally bark. Looking out I could not see what had got her attention. Off I went to check on the situation. Turns out Sally in her vigilance to safeguard my/her baby was barking at a spider who had dared to set itself down on the blanket. I always trusted this dogs instincts and one day she showed me what a wise decision that was.
      I had just got back from the hospital with baby number five Eddie. Sally's instincts told her that there was a new baby and she kept running around the house whining and jumping for joy until I finally let her in for a sniff and a little lick of baby toes. Eddie was two days old and I had put him down in the front room for a nap. I had shut the door so that the other children would not wake him. All of a sudden Sally who had been sleeping by the wood stove got up and ran to the front room . Frantically she started to scratch the door and whine. I ran in the room to check on Eddie and his little face was blue. I grabbed him and turned him upside down then blew gently into his mouth. I was so scared. He finally started to breath again. Sally had saved his life. (I still cry when I think of this)
      Sally's other love was her "boys" JJ and Joe were five and six years old when we got her. They had many adventures together. Sally loved to dig for groundhogs and over the years I often saw the boys with Sally and usually a few other dogs in tow traipsing the fields on a groundhog hunt. She also had a knack for rooting out raccoons. Sally often had a few battle scars from tussles with these critters that were very often the same size as herself.  
      We moved from the little white house to a farm about eight miles away. Knowing my little dogs alpha ways I was a little concerned for Sally because the neighbouring farm had two rottweilers and a doberman. I was so surprised to look out my window two days after moving there to see little Sally chasing two rottweilers and a doberman back across the field. At the white house on school days you could always find Sally waiting at the top of the driveway for the kids to come home. It was the kids first day of school at our new place and Sally was missing when they got home. I was so upset I thought maybe she had been hit on the road so I went looking for her. She had travelled the eight miles to meet her babies were she always had. The next day I kept her in and took her to the end of the long lane way to show her the new waiting place.
      Sally was a brave and wise little dog. Over the years we had 12 other dogs that came to unhappy endings. Jake was the exception. We got him when Sally was around eight years old. Even though he was a big bossy german shepherd who was always ready to rumble with anything canine (even cute little puppies), he knew his place with her. She reminded him a time or two as well. We lived for a little while under the flight path of hot air balloons. Jake was petrified of them and would hide under the nearest truck when they went over. Not Sally she would bark and carry on to chase those big "birds" away from her territory.

    I could probably fill a book with Sally's stories but I will end here. In her old age she turned into a wobbling little old lady. Affection in her younger years was not something she sought. As she got older she was almost glued to my hip. She was deaf and almost blind. As she got incontinent we kept her in the kitchen and I gladly cleaned up after her. She stopped eating. It was a week before Christmas. I could not watch her starve. I carried her in my arms into the vets (A fight would have been her normal response. She hated the vets office.) She was ready to go. I wrapped her in a shawl and my now big boys dug a grave for her in our backyard. I have never grieved so much for an animal in my life. My oldest daughter asked why I was so upset. "Mom its just a dog" No she wasn't. I truly loved that brave, baby loving little creature.


  1. AAHH! I think I'm gonna cry! That's so sweet! I never know that about Eddie! What a wonderful dog! No wonder you loved her so much!!!!

  2. Oh, Rosemary...I did cry. That was lovely. So well written and heart tugging! I miss Sally, now, too! xx

  3. thanks Mom for writing about our Sally. (Love JJ)

  4. This will surely bring a tear to any eye!!!