The Sally Dog was once known as just plain Sally. But then the Berry Queen, who was not yet the Berry Queen, came into our lives with her beautiful and wondrous Berry Baby the First.
Berry Baby the First was an amazing baby from the beginning. She was beautiful, and clever, and most of all, she allowed me to hold her and tote her around for hours on end.
When Berry Baby the First learned how to talk, she was confused, because The Sally Dog didn't like her. And she was told relentlessly to not touch the dog. Alternately, she was told to not touch Sally.
And so, Berry Baby the first dubbed Sally: The Sally Dog.
The Sally Dog was a wonderful Dog. She was there when SuperNan took her biggest fall: A fall right from the hay mow in our barn, onto a concrete floor, and ended up spending three months in a full body cast. We were all worried to get SuperNan from the hospital because The Sally Dog jumped on everyone
. She jumped, sniffed, wiggled, and carried on over anyone who came through the front door. And how on Earth would we get SuperNan in without having the dog trample her to death?
But The Sally Dog didn't jump on the back-broken SuperNan. Sally sniffed her in the car and knew immediately that something wasn't right. And so, The Sally Dog became SuperNan's protector. She stood by SuperNan's side throughout her recovery, making sure that no one would hurt her. She eased ever so gently -- that crazy, woud-up, hyper German Short-Haired-Pointer -- on to the couch to be by SuperNan's side. When the doctor recommended that SuperNan walk to build up the muscles in her back again, there was the Sally Dog, walking ever so gently by her side.
The Sally Dog was my protector. Night after night, during my teen years, The Sally Dog would sleep on the bottom of my bunk bed while I clung, plagued by anxiety, to my pillows. I was terrified of the dark until I was seventeen.
One night, I heard a sound. It was a bone-chilling, terrifying sound. And I knew that I had Sally to Protect me. The sound continued for what seemed like hours, Sally patiently sitting on the bottom bunk. Eventually, the sound got so loud, and so horrifying, that I hid under my pillows.
I hid under my pillows and down duvet for what seemed like hours in the hot July night. I was sweating and then eventually crying, because I was so sure that this sound would come to kill me. And then Sally started. First with soft whimpers, saying "This isn't Ok with me." Then, she started growling. My protector.
Then she started full-on snarling, growling, barking, carrying on. It was at this point that I could take it no more. I started screaming bloody murder. Howling, crying, screaming.
My mom, SuperNan, came into the room in a hurry.
SuperDad slept on.
I clung to my mother, screamin, crying, drenched with sweat, hollering:
"Can you HEAR
that?! Can you hear it!! What is it?!?!"
Sally continued letting us know how she felt about the random sound. She was not pleased.
And SuperNan said: "How can anyone
hear anything amidst this hysteria!?!?!"
We went outside to investigate the sound: Me with my aluminum baseball bat and Sally by my side. My protector.
She took one look at the massive owl outside the door, tucked her tail, and yeeped her way back inside. My protector?
Sally started having some health issues when I was sixteen, right when Big Brother the First and Big Brother the Second left home. Big Brother the Second was away at Basic training at the time.
We decided to keep The Sally Dog, our Sally Dog, alive on pain killers and a myriad of other treatments until Big Brother the Second could get home from Basic.
But she just couldn't last.
I remember the day that I came home from school, and there was a hole dug under the flag pole. And I knew.
And I knew even more when I came home, and The Sally Dog just looked at me and whimpered when I came in, rather than jumping on me insanely when I came in. Even in her later years, in all her wisdom, she never lost that joi de vivre that puppies have.
She looked at me, and I looked at my parents, and they said she had had a stroke, and she couldn't walk any more. She just sat there, looking at me, My Sally Dog.
The vet came, and we wept. The vet also wept, as she injected The Sally Dog with the solution that would end her life.
SuperDad had dug a hole under the flag pole, where the equally infamous Dooley had been buried years before.
He dug a wonderful hole, very deep, that was layered. He picked up our Sally Dog, myself and his wife weeping quietly by his side, and laid her ever so gently in her grave. He tucked her legs up under her, and she looked the same way she did sleeping on our couch for all those years. SuperNan and I had to go inside, have a Coke and a smoke while SuperDad filled in her grave. We couldn't be there to see our dog covered in ground, gone from us forever.
Sally was the dog. You know how in wedding stories on TV, they talk about THE ONE? Yeah, well Sally was that dog. She was our protector. She dragged me down the laneway hitched to a sled when I was little. She came to each individual bed in our house each night to sniff us out and make sure we were ok before she could go to bed. She snarled and growled and put on a good show for any scary characters that showed up at our door, but everyone who knew her loved Sally.
She was there from when I was about five to when I was sixteen.
And I still think about her. I still love her. I still plant flowers for her under the flag pole every year.
We love you, Sally Dog....