Tag Archives: dogs

Ode to My Sandy, the Junkyard Dog

sandy old-sandy-1024x702

03.28.15. Saturday.

On a bright, warm, sunny Saturday morning, just minutes after she arrived home, she just sort of sat down and collapsed and gasped a few times and she was gone, her hair shimmering like silver diamonds in the morning light on a soft bed of fresh spring-green growth.

Dave was with her. “It’s ok, you’re home now,” he said. Then he told her it was ok for her to go. And so she did.

She came.

We got Sandy almost exactly 14 years before she died.

Steph was a college student working part time at the BFI landfill office near Denver International Airport. Some one had abandoned this woolly, frightened mutt there and she was running wild, looking for food and afraid of everyone and her own shadow. Stephanie spotted her and started working on becoming friends. She mentioned maybe bringing the pup-dog home and did not get an enthusiastic response from me. Not at all.

But for some reason, Dave went to see Steph one day and he returned with this crazy-looking, fuzz-exploding full-grown dog.

She was afraid of her shadow, this canine, afraid of us, afraid of the freak spring-snow we’d just gotten; she was afraid to move off the oval rug, her feet planted firmly as though she were hoping Scotty would indeed beam her up and away from our staring eyes. Her little spirit had been broken, somehow, by the completely stupid idiots who had dumped her at the landfill. Their loss was our total, joyful, utter gain!

We always joked that we found a junk-yard dog and she never quit looking like she was fresh from the junkyard. She loathed baths and thought any sort of grooming was pure torture. She was a trembling, hairy mess, but we quickly saw the rich sweetness of her, the deep pools of love and loyalty behind those brown eyes.

What shall we name her, we wondered? We toyed with Chewbacca (“Chewie,” for short), for she was similarly furry and gentle. But we couldn’t resist the name of the dog from the Annie movie the kids had grown up watching and since her hair was a millions shades of beige and brown, gold and copper, silver and cool grey, plus black and brown – “Sandy” seemed appropriate.

Ever heard the song from the musical, Annie, “Sandy?”

True he ain’t pedigreed, Sandy, there ain’t no better breed.
And he really comes in handy,
‘Specially when you’re all alone in the night
and you’re small and terribly frightened it’s
Sandy, Sandy who’ll always be there!

Well, our Sandy was a girl. But those very words could have been written of our dog, “it’s Sandy, Sandy who’ll always be there…”

sandy in annie

She actually got to play Sandy in a community theater production of Annie. This was a publicity shot in 2010.

She won our hearts

So we had this wild mutt. She became one of us immediately. She fit. She was born for us, for our family, I am completely certain. Sandy-the-dog was perfect for us.

We didn’t know her age, but she was full-grown. An early vet visit declared she was “4,” but another one several years later also declared her “4.” So, we know she was probably 1-2 years old when we got her fourteen years ago.

But she was an old soul, right out of the gate. She was able to navigate our huge family (5 kids, high school and college age) and  our loud house full of friends and visitors. She was wise and deep in her devotion, love-filled and loyal, generous in adoration of her people and affectionate, loving those belly rubs and declaring anyone who would take the time to pet her to be her best friend for life! She just made sure you knew she was right there if you needed her.

mom and sandy 2009

My mom and Sandy, summer 2009. They’re like sisters from different mothers, personality-wise. It was as if they’d always been close.

She was Steph’s dog, then Steph got married and she became Rocky’s dog. Then he got married and she was Stormie’s dog. Then Stormie bought a house and she became my dog and I didn’t even really want that, but good grief, how had I lived without that? She was my buddy, my friend, my shadow. She worked with me in the garden, or she napped lazily there while I worked, but we loved spring and sunny days together.

She sat as close to me as possible at all times and was my most trusted confidante during hard times and when I cried, she would move in close, place her paw and her face on my knees and look me straight in the face, as if to say, “There, there – everything will be ok. I’m right here.” She caught my tears when they fell.

I once wrote of her, on a blog way back when {click here} and said

She lives for love and lives to love.  The slightest kindness or gentle word from me and Sandy thumps a Morse-Code message of affection back to me with her ample tail.

Sandy was totally undisciplined, as “good” dogs go, never really trained for “show.” She lived her life with us sort of free–form and relaxed.  She feigned deafness when it suited her, but could hear the crackling of a bag of chips from miles away. Her breed, German Wire-Haired Pointer, hunts birds, so she’d bark her head off at a bird flying overhead, then just lie quietly, her head on her paws and watch little birds bathe in her water dish on sunny days on the patio. She’d even welcome them to her food, gentle spirit that she was. Or fraidy-cat, whichever. :)

But she was a good dog. Because a good dog teaches us so much about love and loyalty and forgiveness. Sandy did that for me. She was affectionate and humble, sweet and protective, saving me from many a solicitor at the front door. Her bark could scare, but we always laughed that had a burglar just reached out to her, she’d have given them anything and everything they wanted.

I loved her stretch, her behind in the air, back-back-back, then forward lunge, with her face to the sky, all the while making a loud old-man stretching sigh. Or how she’d grab a dryer sheet and waller all over it, so she’d smell nice for us, I assume.

sandy and me 12 27 14

A few months before “the day”

My old Sandy-girl, she was faithful and loving and loyal to all of us, the whole tribe of us, including each new grandchild as they came. Once she learned on the first grandchild, how to love and protect, she always understood, new baby by baby. They trusted her, too. She was our dog and we were her people.

sandy oct 2014

Sandy with my grandson Kai. He was 1 3/4. About 6 months before Sandy died.She patently waits, hoping he’ll send chicken her way.

Sandy never met a human being she didn’t want to love zealously with her whole heart and to forgive if they didn’t like dogs or just couldn’t return her affection.

Oh, she was a lover.

me and sandy 2004

The end.

We were planning to put her down soon, as ailments of old-age were taking a toll, but on that Saturday morning, when my husband took her into the backyard on the brightest and loveliest of spring days, she just dropped and gasped a few times and he gently gave her the ok to go.

I wasn’t ready…

And even though I ran out, dropped to the ground and called to her, Sandy-girl, hey girl, are you ok?, Hey Sandy, come here, girl...trying to woo her back, gently jostling and petting my old dog to awaken her, she kept on going.

The birds were singing in the blue, blue sky, and the old trees were filled with youthful, green buds for a new season, a new life; and the day was alive, humming its spring melody, so perfectly beautiful – just like every day Sandy gave us for 14 years.

Hey, Sandy-girl, dear old devoted dog. You are not forgotten. Your people still love you…

Thought-Collage Thursday // What it’s all a-bow-wow-wowt



I don’t know why this cracked me up so much, but when I came across it a few weeks ago on Pinterest, I just fell in love with this cute pup! From Pinterest Everybody else is doing “phelfies!” Why shouldn’t he?

Bark. Bow-wow!

always dogs


Image seen on Pinterest

I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren’t certain we knew better. They fight for honor at the first challenge, make love with no moral restraint, and they do not for all their marvelous instincts appear to know about death. Being such wonderfully uncomplicated beings, they need us to do their worrying. ~George Bird Evans, Troubles with Bird Dogs

So true!

5 Dogs I’ve loved

1// Lady – she was in my home before I was. I have no idea what type was she was, but I just know she was always there – waiting for me when I was born. And she was part of our family. Then one day when I was 10, while I was playing at Nancy Lydon’s house, my mom called and told me to come home because Lady had been hit by a car. She was old and blind and deaf and just went and sat in the street. And somebody just drove over her. The end.

I sort of remember thinking I didn’t want to have to cry over a dog again. But I would – many more times.

2// Red – he was a mess. We had just left my beloved childhood home in Des Moines and moved to an acreage 180 miles away. And this big German Shepherd mix kept lurking nearby, scaring us, barking at us. But my mom, who can talk to the animals {for real}, kept pursuing and coaxing and talking sweet to him, convinced that he just needed her love. We learned he was from down the block and my mom believed there was abuse, plus Red looked to be starving.

Finally, mom gained his trust and we discovered that the owners had put rubber bands tightly around his neck, lots of them. His neck was bloody and matted and some if them had nearly grown in to his skin and she doted on that dog until little by little he let her remove the painful bands of abuse and cruelty and we kept him. From that second on, he was ours.

Red the dog with Danny & Tami

Red with my little brother, Danny, and little sister, Tami. 1971

I recall those neighbor kids at school saying we stole their dog, but they never bothered to come and get him back and they’d have had to cross my mom if they tried. Red was a good dog. And when my aunt lost him once while she was dog-sitting, I cried again. But he came home.

3// Duke – when we moved to Louisiana, we inherited Duke a family who had just moved away and left him. And we liked him a lot. I was a melancholy teenager and Duke was my best buddy on mild evenings, letting me rest my head on him as we looked at the stars and talked about the meaning of love.

A truck Duke loved to chase seemed to purposefully try to take him out and he was hurt badly and we thought he would die. I cried and cried and prayed and made vows to God. My mom nursed him and cared for him and prayed more than any of us and he recovered. Duke was a good dog.

But when we left Louisiana, we left him there. What on earth? We heard later that the neighbor shot him. And killed him. Booooo to that &^%$#.

4// Lady, Stephanie’s Christmas Cocker Spaniel – she was just so sweet (Lady II, to me). She was freshly weaned and the teeny one of the litter. But we knew when we saw her at the local pet store she would fit in to our family. The kids were all young, Steph was 7 1/2 that Christmas morning.  Lady (named for the star of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, obviously) just had the most pleasant, fun nature and loved us all.

One afternoon, some one at the door, another dog got riled and got Lady riled, too. And as the other dog took off, she darted after him and was hit by a passing car, killed instantly…

We only had her for 9 months, but she fit. She was right, you know? She was a part of us.

My heart was broken to bits. Don’t know if I’d ever cried so much. For days.


My little dog — a heartbeat at my feet. ~Edith Wharton

5// Sandy, the junk-yard mutt (also known as our faithful, family dog). But there have been none like Sandy to me. Good grief, she is going to shred my heart in to pieces when she goes. We were not ever going to do the dog thing again. The heartbreak of Lady II had settled it for me for life.

But Stephanie saw this abandoned dog running wild near the landfill close to DIA. Sandy was woolly and afraid and emotionally wounded and some ignorant person had just abandoned her. Stephanie mentioned maybe bringing her home and we were very ANTI about the possibility!

But one day Dave drove out to see Steph at her office and he ended up bringing this big, 40-pound, hairy, trembling, scared-of-her-own-shadow chewabacca-of-a-dog home.

That was 13 years and almost 4 months ago (she was fully grown so we don’t know how old she really is).  And oh the love she has given us so freely over these many years. She is devoted, loyal and totally a people person.

sandy in annie

Sandy got to “play Sandy” in a community theater production of Annie in 2010. She loves the stage.

Her hearing is going – at least for obeying orders, not so much when some one opens a bag of chips 3 rooms away. Her sight isn’t good – unless you drop a bite of something on the floor. She misbehaves and pretends to be surprised that she is being scolded. Some days her arthritis gets the best of her hips which makes her wobble when she walks, though that is generally balanced by the days she still thinks she is a pup and she runs and bounds and rolls and dances with glee.

She is showing some signs of doggie dementia – erratic eating habits, not recognizing us sometimes, pacing in the dark  – just not herself. *sniff, makes me sad

But then she is suddenly ok again and I become certain she’ll be fine forever and we’ll always have Sandy. One day I will experience life without so much dog hair to vacuum, but I will never be ready for Sandy to leave me. Not ever.


This was our photo goal:

barb and dog


Omygosh! Barbara Streisand is 72 and rocking the high-heel pumps. So…

This was all we could manage. Another day, perhaps. Ha!

me and sandy b & w

Some one desperately needs a their hair brushed (and the dog, too). Current.

Oh Sandy, you sweet, old dog, you. I love how you watch me from the corner of your eye when I have told you to look away while I eat. I love how you patrol the yard and make a ruckus at the hint of the first sprinkle, as if you can hold thunder and lightening at bay. I love how you chase the birds loudly one day, then share your water bowl the next while you just look at them inches away from your nose. They are not afraid of you at all. And you’re a bird-dog.  I love your big, brown, pouty eyes and how you know when I need a friend. Oh, pooch, you’re killing me.

You know there will be blogs, right? Many, many blogs about my heart breaking.  Because she is going to do that to me.

My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

The Dog Song

Needed something silly. Sandy-the-dog is napping with utter dereliction as I write and every home with a dog in it is just a little bit more alive, ya know?

Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

PS ~ I am babysitting my grand-dog, Tuppy-the-Puppy

tuppy the puppy

Her familia is in the Springs.  It’s the dog days of summer, for sure!