Yesterday we had to put my big girl Sadie down. It was unexpected, and hit like a ton of bricks.

Over the last few days I started noticing some changes in Sadie’s eyes. She was getting gunk built up in the inner corners, and her hazel eyes took on a darker, almost reddish color. Aside from the eye color change, she was behaving totally normal. On Sunday my dad found two lumps on her stomach. Yesterday morning she started bumping into things. He took her to the vet and we found out she had cancer and it had spread very quickly throughout her body. She was also almost completely blind. This was a shock to us since just a week ago she was totally normal. The vet said there wasn’t much they could do, and she would begin to suffer soon. We made the decision to not let her suffer. She was only 6.

I’ve had dogs since I was a baby. Usually anywhere from 2-5 at a time, so I’m no stranger to losing a pet. In the last few years we’ve lost dogs much younger than we had in the past. In the last 3 years we’ve had 3 dogs die young. Every time a pet dies it hurts, but it hurts even more when they are still young and you expected to have more time with them.

I remember when we first got Sadie. We had been looking for a dog for awhile, but my dad had a certain type of dog in mind. We went to a local shelter to look at a specific dog, but the dog was very stand offish, and we could tell it wasn’t a good fit for our other dog. We heard this dog behind us going crazy. She was barking, and jumping at the fence. I turn around and saw Sadie. It was love at first sight. I remember asking my dad if he would make an exception to the type of dog he wanted, and with the biggest smile he said yes. Since then she has brought so much joy to us with her antics.

The day we picked her up from the shelter she was so happy and curious. As we were walking out of the glass sliding doors, she was too busy looking around that she walked face first into the doors. Everyone burst out laughing. The first night at home she managed to climb the wall between my backyard and my grandparents backyard. I found her the next morning playing with my grandparents 2 huge boxers looking happy as a clam. Another time my dad had just installed a window A/C, and I was sitting in front of it in my living room. I hear this weird noise and look out my window. I see Sadie’s little mug staring back at me. She had climbed my dads ladder and was sitting on the A/C. There are many other stories like those about Sadie, and thinking about them makes me so happy, but also incredibly sad.

One of the hardest parts about losing her is how hard it has hit my dad. Over the last two years my dad and Sadie have bonded pretty strongly. Since I was in grad school I wasn’t around much, and my dad was the one who spent the most time with her. She was his loyal companion and I could see how much she loved my dad. She wasn’t a very affectionate dog and didn’t like people touching her much, but every night she would cuddle up with my dad to sleep. She would rest her head on him, and she always looked so happy. My dad isn’t someone who cries, but yesterday he cried. I know he’s heartbroken, and he’s going to miss her.

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My mom is someone who doesn’t have pets. She always tells me it’s because losing a pet hurts too much. Although I’ve lost many pets, and every time it breaks my heart, I can’t imagine not having them. The joy they bring is worth the heartbreak.

R.I.P. my big girl.