Every once in awhile, something clicks and the universe presents something that’s supposed to be in your life at that moment. I had very few of those moments but I really feel like it was Fate that I got my dog, Sari.
She died last year at the age of 14. She was loyal, stubborn, courageous, smart, and incredibly intuitive. I didn’t think it was possible for anything to be that attuned to my feelings but she was. She used to sleep right below my window on summer nights and I would whisper her name and hear her “Woof” back and hear the sound of her claws scratching the stucco as she stood on her hind legs to try to look in my window.
She was head strong and stubborn and only wanted to learn “Sit” and “Down” but she knew things I didn’t think dogs could know because it just seemed like common sense or just common courtesy. She never stepped on us, even as a puppy, she never tripped us up when we walked her, and she never jumped up on us. She did other things too, which I guess are good traits of a guard dog, but she protected her humans as well, not only from outsiders but from each other. If she thought my brother and I were playing too roughly she’d saunter over and nudge us away from each other while yapping in a really annoying, high pitched yap. I just thought all dogs would be like that and I took that for granted, especially with my current dog who steps all over you (and it feels like he aims for the super fleshy spots or your bladder) and won’t protect me at all.
She just wanted to be near you and I remember spending hours sitting on the back porch steps with her leaning against me and we would watch the clouds roll by. I remember lying out in the summer to tan and even though it was 100 degrees outside, she’d lie on the blanket next to me panting heavily just so she could touch me even though I tried to get her to sit in the shade. She would try to lick us faster and get frustrated because she couldn’t and she’d just end up holding your hand in her mouth while her tongue massaged and drooled all over your hand.
I would come home from college and she’d act like a puppy again. She wasn’t that old, but my mom said she got a little mopey and depressed when I left even though she had my brother. When I went home, we’d play for hours in the backyard and just sit on the steps like we used to. I’d sneak whatever we ate that day so she can have some yummy food and when my mom wasn’t home I’d cook Sari meats and eggs.
She remembered me after years of not seeing her, worrying about her. I’ll never forget that spark of recognition in her eyes as she saw me and the way her head lifted up and it looked like she was smiling. And she was, and she was crying as she hopped around as much as her arthritis let her as she strained to get close to me. Just thinking about that brings tears to my eyes; the strangled sobbing bark as soon as she realized it was me, the way her ears pinned all the way back, how hard she wagged her tail so her entire back half was wriggling, the second she caught herself before she jumped up on me, the humble crawl and roll on her back when I finally reached her, the way she attempted to pet me too, and the way our high pitched squeals of glee mingled as one loud voice of pure happiness.
And that’s how I’d like to remember her. That spunky, stubborn, loving dog leaping off the steps of the back porch, paws tucked under her like she’s about to take flight.