Sasha. 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.
As 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.
They 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.