Sasha: Her papa’s dog

11728795_10153379730850664_6604841227787025429_oSasha. A good dog, a great dog, but, most of all, papa’s dog. On Thursday last, my father said goodbye to a cherished companion, an ardent admirer, a faithful friend. She was our dog, but, really, she was always his.

Letters and grammar are incapable of capturing their journey of fifteen-and-a-half years; memories, wonderful ones at that, will have to suffice. But, the last year stands out poignantly, for it was these past months that best represent what they meant to one another.

10959496_10153026705870664_4189142366839159657_nAs her hind legs began to give way, my father became Sasha’s support, hefting her body up and down stairs once they became staggering obstacles. When aches and sores kept her from sleeping, he lay by her side, comforting her, lulling her to slumber.

They had a routine. A pattern of waking, talking, being. They read the newspapers together, took afternoon naps in their favourite room, calmed each other. He groomed her to a fault, she smiled when he called her.

But, finally, they came to an understanding. A knowledge only she and he were ever privy to, of letting go. My sister, mother and I had our opinions, but, it was for them to decide.

IMG_7359They reached an agreement, and my father, with what I can only imagine was a very heavy heart, bid adieu to his faithful friend, his lifetime dog. A dog, whose love we had to earn, whose personality we learned to respect, but whose admiration was gained by one man alone.

Sasha. A wilful dog, a spirited dog, but, most of all, her papa’s dog.


3 thoughts on “Sasha: Her papa’s dog

  1. Happy happy spaces and relationships are always difficult to put in words, but that’s beautifully left a lump in the throat.

  2. Hi Beta,

    So touching, so moving. She was my darling, my friend, my shadow and my trusted friend. Even now even a slight sound in the house and I think she’s somewhere in the house.

    What I cannot forget is her trust and lying down without demur not knowing her final moments were so close. But she did so because her papa was there. She didn’t like vet clinics but when I put my hand on her she would calm down.

    I can never forget the look of love in her eyes as they dimmed and closed. I am so gtateful to Priyanka was right beside me to console her. I break down even now because there is an emptiness in my heart, which I know while take a long time to fill. Imagine carrying her limp body to the crematorium, which just 30 mins earlier was safely ensconsed in my arms.

    Love. Papa

  3. Beta,

    In continuation of my earlier mail, when I try to define my relationship with Sasha, it goes beyond words. There was a deeper bond of love & caring – a shared destiny. So often we used to call her as Hoochie’s gentler incarnation – I really believe she was that, and more.

    Retrievers normally do not go to such an age – in Sasha’s case it was driven by an urge to be with us, and she did her best to stay on. I have made peace with myself now, because I felt remorseful in putting her to sleep. Perhaps, and indeed with her desire and our support, she could have carried on for another few months.

    But was this the life for her – from a bubbly, tail wagging, boisterous friend, to one incarcerated in a wheel chair, just eating/sleeping, and not even able to sit or turn? She could not speak, but her eyes and body language seemed to say, “Papa, I’m old & tired, but for you and the joy of seeing family I’m willing to carry on”.

    I could not allow our selfishness in keeping her going for our joy – it would be so unfair to her. With tears we bid good bye to her, remembering only the beautiful journey we had together; and mutual, spiritual love and bonding we forged in this time.

    But, I do miss her dearly – perhaps even the passage of time will not lessen that ache.

    Love. Papa

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